Sunday, 25 September 2016

Why is no one on the Mayor's team banging heads together? London hospital claims Westminster Bridge bike lane will be 'dangerous' for cyclists & pedestrians. Spends £10,000 NHS cash on a media campaign. Admits it has zero evidence for its claim

Westminster Bridge proposed cycle track
I haven't blogged much recently. I've been watching the new Mayor's team settle in and been gently talking to people to find out what they think about things.

And what I'm noticing is that things are going a bit strange in the world of London's cycling investment.

Let's look at a few examples:

Birdcage Walk and the area outside Buckingham Palace. The cycle track there was meant to open this summer, then this December. Sources now tell me we'll be lucky to see anything by summer 2017.

Or cycle highway 11 up to Swiss Cottage. Consulted on back in February, the consultation report came back with a positive in August and the Mayor committed to building it. But since then, lots of silence. Actually, not so much silence, as lots of time for anti-cycle infrastructure groups to plan how to attack the cycle highway and many rumours from all sorts of different sources of compromises all round.

Email from Peter Allanson admitting there's no evidence
'floating bus stops' are unsafe 
One particular compromise that is worthy of more attention is the northbound bus stop at the southern end of Westminster Bridge. Let's look at the puzzled world of this bus stop.

TfL's plan is to build a cycle path over the Bridge. The cycle path will go past a bus stop that I've marked in the red circle on the picture above. The bus stop is next to St Thomas's hospital. In fact, for several hundred yards below this picture, it is already an area of 'shared use' pavement - used by both cyclists and pedestrians. And it is really suboptimal. The new design is meant to give more space to people on foot and also to make cycling here much safer, especially through the horrendous junction just south of the Bridge.

Same week, same person, different email. This time
Peter Allanson tells us floating bus stops
are 'dangerous' 
Yet for some reason, that we have yet to get to the real bottom of, St Thomas's chairman has gone bezerk about this bus stop. He has spent £10,000 of NHS cash on a military-style PR campaign against the bus stops. This is a much more organised campaign than a few years ago when St Thomas's hospital (and other landowners) tried (and failed) to ban cycling on the South Bank.

And to me, it's really not clear what the Chairman of St Thomas's is actually objecting to.

Let's look at a few of the claims flying around.

Testing a floating bus stop outside a
hospital in Manchester
The Trust Secretary of St Thomas's hospital is Peter Allanson. Back in May, Allanson sent a note to his Chairman stating the Trust had no "evidence that [this design of floating bus stop is] unsafe.

That same week, however, the same Trust Secretary was happily emailing Trust members and other senior big wigs telling them that this floating bus stop design was "dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists".

On the one hand, then, the Trust's secretary claims that floating bus stops are 'dangerous'. On the other, the very same week, he admits internally that he has no evidence for his claim. Very odd. 

There followed a deliberately placed article in the Evening Standard about 'angry cyclists' that was planted by the hospital's director of communications. And further articles in other local papers all to stir up faux anger and outrage about the cycle paths.

Let's just take a step back here. The situation as it stands is that the stretch of pavement up to (but not quite including) this bus stop is already shared use. Pedestrians crossing from the hospital back to the bus stops heading south already have to mingle with cyclists coming off the South Bank and then anyone walking towards Lambeth is on a shared use foot and cycle path. People legally cycle on it to avoid the horrible road junction. And why might they do that? Well, one cyclist and one pedestrian have been killed right here in recent years. Both by people driving cars, and a further dozen seriously injured, also by people driving. No pedestrians or cyclists have been seriously hurt or killed in collisions with each other here. But the current layout is a mess with bikes and pedestrians competing for the same space with no clarity about who goes where.

So what happens next?

Posters popping up inside St Thomas's hospital last week
The local Labour councillors issued a statement last week suggesting they thought it would be possible to come up with a compromise that keeps everyone happy. "We believe that an eventual solution has to both protect pedestrians and users of the hospital and not endanger the life of a single cyclist. Both these objectives can and must be met, and we're engaging constructively in the process."

The reality is, however, that floating bus stop don't seem to actually endanger pedestrians or users of hospitals. There's a floating bus stop outside the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel and that's doing just fine, with not a single reported collision. There's a floating bus stop too just near the eye hospital on Manchester's Oxford Road working fine. The 15+ floating bus stops in Brighton have been working fine for a couple of years.

You'd think that a hospital, of all places, might look at the evidence and conclude that, designed right, a floating bus stop could work perfectly well. In fact, you'd think a hospital wouldn't spend £10,000 of its own money fighting something it has no evidence doesn't work.

Compromise in action. Cycle highway 2 just
gives up at Whitechapel Market. Is this
what our local councillors want here?
Pic courtesy @RantyHighwayman
Meanwhile, our MP Kate Hoey, and our councillors are trying to find a compromise that works for everyone. But whatever their good intentions, that compromise will be based on a complete lack of evidence that floating bus stops are in some way 'endangering' pedestrians and cyclists.

So, they are a looking for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. 

What's more, people who should know better actually know this. The Trust's chairman had a very detailed meeting with Lambeth Cyclists and Wheels for Wellbeing who talked him through why the bus stop bypass, if designed consensually, will work well.

What I think will happen is that the fake outrage drummed up by St Thomas's will be used to force TfL to build something really rubbish, like the section on Cycle Super Highway 2 where it passes Whitechapel Market. The protected cycle track here just gives up and dumps cyclists between parked vans on the one side and buses on the other.

To finish off then, there's no evidence the floating bus stops are 'dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists'. But the hospital trust has spent £10,000 of NHS cash convincing our local councillors that they are. And as a result, our councillors and our MP are promising a compromise that means cyclists won't be 'endangered' and pedestrians will be 'protected'.

I can't work out why St Thomas's hospital is doing this. If there was clear evidence that St Thomas's was on to something, then that would seem fair enough. But the opposite is true.

What's really bothering me is that Westminster Bridge is just a symptom of something wider. All across London, cycle highway schemes that were supposed to have been finished by now, are 'in progress'. But not an awful lot is happening. And people, like St Thomas's hospital, are basically making up stories and using them to try and get cycling schemes delayed, postponed or generally watered down. It doesn't bode well at all.



28 comments:

  1. Looking for Banquet halls or Banquet halls in ECR/Mahabalipuram? Our Landmarkpallavaa beach resort is becoming one of the favorite event hubs in ECR/Mahabalipuram. Book now to get a good deal.

    Wedding Halls in Mahabalipuram

    ReplyDelete
  2. We are one of the authorized person for bus branding in Chennai metropolitan. Across Tamilnadu we can do bus advertising like city’s Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy, Tirunelveli, Pondycherry.

    Bus back advertising size

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for sharing us education, please kindly visit mine :D

    AGEN POKER TERPERCAYA
    SITUS POKER ONLINE RESMI

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for this blog. I have found some interesting blogs on google. You can check these blogs also which are related to technologies…..
    Avast Login
    garmin.com/express
    avg login
    bullguard login
    mcafee.com/activate

    ReplyDelete
  5. We Help in resolving the issue of all antivirus. so if you are getting stuck in any problem related to any antivirus just follow this link below:
    Kaspersky Contact Number UK
    Gmail Help Number UK
    Bullguard Support Number UK
    Canon Printer Help Number UK

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kaspersky is given the crown for detecting and then removing viruses. Sometimes, it starts showing darkening issues. Connect Kaspersky Support UK to correct such issues
    Kaspersky Support UK

    ReplyDelete
  7. We Help in resolving the issue of all antivirus. so if you are getting stuck in any problem related to any antivirus just follow this link below:
    Kaspersky Support Number UK
    Bullguard Support Number UK
    Canon Printer Help Number UK
    Gmail Help Number UK

    ReplyDelete
  8. Kaspersky antivirus software is the best security software that provides compressive protection to your device against virus, malware, ransomware and online threats.
    How effective is Kaspersky against Ransomware
    Kaspersky Help Number UK

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your site blog is good because in your blog i found a new thing that’s why this site will help me and many people can get knowledge from you site. Just read the whole blog. So I found some site like you. This site also will help to all Thank you
    Avast Login
    garmin.com/express
    avg login
    bullguard login
    mcafee.com/activate

    ReplyDelete
  10. Bullguard Login is a superb web technology which allow you to access all of your database like as product,services,etc. You can activate your bullguard antiviurs within minute ,can renew your subscription,change your password. And if you are new to Bullguard , so can create new account.
    Whenever is there any trouble with your bullguard. So must call to Support expert/ executive.

    Bullguard Login
    Office Login
    Mcafee Login
    AVG Login
    Norton Login
    webroot login
    webroot.com/safe
    Turbotax Login

    ReplyDelete
  11. Tractor Spare Parts Catalog online - Ford Tractor, Massey Ferguson Tractor, IMT Tractor, UTB Tractor, MTZ tractor, Eicher tractor, swaraj tractor, mahindra tractor
    tractor spare parts
    mtz tractor parts
    utb tractor parts
    massey ferguson tractor parts
    imt tractor parts
    ford tractor parts

    ReplyDelete
  12. Goela Engineers is currently one of the leading Axle shafts manufacturers in India. We are manufacturing rear axle shafts, P.T.O. shafts, differential axle, propeller shafts for Commercial Vehicles and axle shafts and supply in India and overseas
    axle shafts
    rotavator gear shafts
    gearbox
    bevel gears
    face gears

    ReplyDelete
  13. We are Ring gear pinions, Rueda de corona y piñón gear manufacturers for application in agricultural tractors, Agri machines, automobiles, cars, buses and trucks and we also cater to export markets. We have state of the art manufacturing facility with more than 100 Gleason Machines imported for USA. for any query mail us on : goela.parts@gmail.com
    gearbox
    crown wheel pinion
    spiral bevel gears
    staight bevel gear
    transmission gear shafts
    differential gears

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great job did by you . This blog is really a inspiration for me and very nice it is.Amazing it is. Bullguard Login

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for sharing this genuine blogspot with us. I like your post and now I am gone share it to my profile of facebook.
    Garmin Express

    ReplyDelete
  16. Very great post you done. I like your post and really way of your writing is great and nice. Have a nice day and also know of me > AVG Login. I hope you will follow this content to know more about the industry . Turbotax Login

    ReplyDelete
  17. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites. Canon Printer Offline issues can also prevail when your printer gets disconnected from your computer or the network you are using.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites. Rand McNally GPS Update is Lifetime Map Update all the time. By playing out this movement, a client can use every one of the highlights of the items that Rand McNally brings to the table to its customers.

    ReplyDelete