Healthy streets

2 days ago (11:51 AM)
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Terry Vaughan

"Are there things about London’s streets that encourage you to walk or cycle around? Or things that prevent you?"

Why is it still thought necessary to ask questions like this? If we want more people to walk and cycle, the answers are well-known and proven to work. Separate pedestrian, cycle and motor traffic so that people feel safe, do something about toxic exhaust fumes and vehicle noise, and provide secure parking for bikes.

We don't need to 'encourage' people to cycle, we need to make it possible.


More trees - so reverse the cut to the planned tree-planting programme

Less pollution. Could we not say that from a date say eight years in the future only electric vehicles will be allowed into central London (and 12 years for the rest of London). That will give time to build up the charging infrastructure and allow people to get value from their existing vehicles.

More miniparks - nick that idea of Zac's. Or even just an expansion of the pavement every now and then in side streets and a couple of benches and a concrete planter. Close off more streets so that instead of a junction there is a paved area with benches and trees. And if drivers have to get out by reversing, that is not the end of the world either.

Better signage of green or quiet routes that more or less parallel main roads so that one has a quiet fume-free walking alternative.

Better signage of parks and open spaces. Many are one street away from a main road. There must be many people who pass along the main road and who do not know of the existence of the park. Where could another gate be built into a park so that it can become part of a green route?

More public lavatories - if we are going to spend time outside then they become a necessity. They are being closed down, and Westiminister's 50p charge is excessive.


Having the Met Police adopt the tactics of the West Midlands Police with respect to targeting those who bring most danger to our streets would be very welcome indeed. As a regular cyclist on London's streets it's hard not to form the opinion that the Met are not the slightest bit bothered about the welfare of cyclists.

denise julien

Pavements for pedestrians, not cycles or toys such as hoverboards, skates or mini-scooters.
I have done a FOI on the number of FPN the Met Police have issued in the whole of London for pavement cycling...The very low numbers below indicates that the police are not protecting pedestrians from this. The elderly, disabled, blind and deaf are highly unnerved by anything on wheels coming up behind them. Toys need to stay in the playground and cycles on the road.

June 2016 there were 32 Offences for Cycling on the pavement and of those 16
are Paid Confirmed.

July 2016 there were 42 Offences for Cycling on the pavement and of those 20
are Paid Confirmed.

August 2016 there were 45 Offences for Cycling on the pavement and of those
30 are Paid Confirmed.

Terry Vaughan

Denise, government advice to police is that people cycling safely and considerately on the pavement should not be harassed. It's illegal, but the law is out of touch with modern traffic conditions. Drivers are far more dangerous to pedestrians than bikes are, even on the pavement, let alone the road. This country is too poor to take action against both antisocial driving and cycling, and I think resources should go to the greater problem. Personally, I never have any problem at all from bike riders or skaters etc.

You want bikes to stay on the road, but many drivers want them on the pavement. The answer is separate cycle tracks. With those, you might be able to cycle yourself.

robert l cooper

A sore subject I live in outer London The main street resembles the M25 at its peak
Pollution is terrible Cyclists use the pavements which themselves are something one would expect to see in the 3rd world .That is apart from aeroplanes from City airport flying very very low over or houses.


I completely agree with that we need the Met police to adopt Birmingham's approach to protecting cyclists and penalising drivers for dangerous behaviour:

We need joined up measures to seriously discourage car use and encourage other forms of transport especially walking and cycling. Cars are not only a problem because of pollution. They also make our streets unpleasant and unsafe for other road users. So many London drivers are stupid, aggressive and dangerous. They turn without indicating, jump red lights, fail to even notice pedestrian crossings because they are too focussed on their mobile phones, overtake cyclists when there is no space to do so even though the traffic is clearly completely stationary just a few metres ahead etc etc.


More walking maps telling me how long would take to walk to next station. More cycle lanes. Less food takeaways selling unhealthy food. Less adverts of unhealthy things. More flowers on high st . Safer cycle parking areas I'm scared having my bike stolen.

Ed Jason

Some great points guys. Greenways, Quietways and even Slowways are often a new route way of thinking. Some routes can only be shown/travelled as they are not part of any official mapping.

New narrow routes need to be considered, for example alongside railway tracks, through cemetries, behind shops, side streets, older streets, neglected streets, gated 'private' gardens opened etc. There are also shortcuts through buildings, courtyards etc that locals use. These can be supported. For example funding for churchyards and other potential shortcuts. New safe foot bridges over or under railways.


Clear Signage
Having places for people to sit and shaded areas
Ensuring that people have a clear understanding of where the road starts and pavement ends.
Have you tested or consulted with people with dementia about what they want for streets?

Paul Hagger

I'd like to see less traffic on our local roads meaning less noise and pollution. This could be about reducing the number of taxis and minicabs, better co-ordination between delivery companies, more efforts to encourage behavioural change because of air pollution.

Terry Vaughan

Reducing traffic on local roads is very important, and simpler than that, Paul. An important part of sustainable transport policy is to close residential streets to through motor traffic to stop rat running. This not only helps to enable cycling but makes the streets much quieter, with less air pollution, which will encourage walking, and they will be safer for children.


- Consitant routes for cyclists, there are great investments in cycle super highways which connect to extremely dangerous routes (no bike lane/busy traffic/poor quality roads).

- Secure bike parking so more people feel at ease parking their bikes in public spaces.

- A reduction in the amount of unhealthy take aways and restaurants available, particularly around schools / playgrounds / parks.

- Information on the streets/stations about how far to walk to destination.

App developers to sync information so that when you request a journey the time spent to walk or commute is considered in the quickest options.


Where cycle infrastructure is built it MUST conform to the government design guidance - Note in particular the hierarchy of provision, working from the most preferred options downwards : -

Traffic volume reduction
Traffic speed reduction
Junction treatment, hazard site treatment, traffic management
Reallocation of carriageway space
Cycle tracks away from roads
Conversion of footways/footpaths to shared use for pedestrians and cyclists

Terry Vaughan

hatler, inconsistency of cycling infrastructure provision is a real problem. There is little enough of it, but the great majority is seriously substandard and therefore little used. We badly need mandatory specifications. But not those. They provide mainly for 'vehicular' cycling and are useless for most people. The proper standard is Dutch style cycle tracks. We need clear specifications for where infrastructure is necessary and how it should be built, with no wriggle room for the local authorities.



That is fine as an ideal, but there isn't the will, money or space to provide Dutch style infrastructure to every front-door. I absolutely agree that for major thoroughfares there should be segregated provision. There are however two potential downsides to this for which some sort of allowance would have to be made.

1) Drivers might become accustomed to having bikes segregated from motorised traffic, but where the segregation ends or does not exist, they are less well prepared to cope with cyclists.

2) If the projected numbers of cyclists are generated by segregated facilities, the facilities will soon become clogged and many cyclists would prefer to take to the road. (I understand that this is already happening.) This would doubtless lead to a good deal of confrontation. One way to overcome that might be for the authorities to ban cyclists from the road where there is a segregated facility. This last option MUST NOT be allowed to come to pass.

I was mildly sceptical that segregated facilities would ever be built in the capital to a sufficiently high standard that would make them both safe and usable. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised at how well the recent facilities have turned out. The pressure needs to be maintained to ensure that standards are not allowed to drop on all future provision.

Terry Vaughan

Hatler, the money is in the transport budget, being spent mainly on other things deemed more important than public health etc. The space is there, being used mainly for motorists and pedestrians. The will isn't there yet.

As to your other points:

1) "Drivers might become accustomed to having bikes segregated from motorised traffic, but where the segregation ends or does not exist, they are less well prepared to cope with cyclists."

That could happen, but sooner or later the problem will have to be faced. It can't be a reason not to build proper facilities.

2) "If the projected numbers of cyclists are generated by segregated facilities, the facilities will soon become clogged and many cyclists would prefer to take to the road. (I understand that this is already happening.) This would doubtless lead to a good deal of confrontation. One way to overcome that might be for the authorities to ban cyclists from the road where there is a segregated facility. This last option MUST NOT be allowed to come to pass."

When cycle tracks fill up, they will relieve the pressure on pavements and motor lanes. They will have to be widened until the proper balance is achieved. Until then, hardened riders will use the road as now, leading to even more hostility. If they are banned from the road, I would see it as preferable to the current situation, where most potential riders are already effectively banned. Where there is a good quality cycle track, acceptable to all riders, with sufficient capacity, there seems no real need for bikes to mix with motor traffic. The standards in the document you referred to don't mandate good quality facilities. They are unambitious and too flexible.


There will never be a segregated cycle track to every front door. Not only is that wholly impractical it is also not necessary.

The decision then becomes; down to what grade of road they should be implemented for.

That will be determined by political will (which lags public will by a good few years), and available budget vs cost of implementation.

Having lesser standards will enable more schemes.

One worry with the 'adjust it as we go' idea is that continual re-working of schemes as demand grows would suck up significantly larger chunks of budget, and could well reduce public support if the roads are for ever being dug up.

As ever, it's one almighty compromise.

Terry Vaughan

Hatler, politicians, compromise and lesser standards have got us where we are today, with cycling almost extinct. If the idea is to improve conditions for existing riders (or pretend to), the old standards may do. But if the target is to make it possible for almost anyone to cycle, there have to be Dutch-style tracks wherever they are needed. They aren't needed everywhere, only where the street carries fast motor traffic. Proper standards would be mandatory and specify acceptable traffic levels. We must get away from poor local standards and local interpretations.


Terry, Amen to absolutely all of that, except the bit about 'almost extinct'. Utility cycling numbers in London were already on the rise long before the new cycle highways, and this in an era of inconsistently applied (read downright dangerous) or non-existent infrastructure and a daily dose of aggravated and bullying hostility from a tiny but significant minority of vehicle drivers.

If the numbers were on the rise despite all of that, then that is as good an indicator as any of a hugely suppressed demand for the desire to cycle.

Terry Vaughan

Hatler, I meant almost extinct in the suburbs and in the country as a whole, compared to far higher levels in the past. There are various reasons for this, including the actual and perceived danger, and the hostility of some motorists. There are a lot of people commuting in the centre, and the numbers are rising. But in my part of London there are few cycling during the day, and you can drive all day out of town and hardly see a single bike. There is plenty of scope for increase.


When I walk around London streets the biggest danger and nuisance to me is motor traffic; for example (i) the risk of being hit (ii) the chemical pollution (iii) the noise pollution, especially of sports cars and motorcycles (iv) motor traffic takes so much space away from other land uses in cities, for example wider pavements, safe cycle lanes (v) the congestion caused by private motor traffic when I use the bus.

To achieve healthy streets I would:
1- Have a mandatory 20 mph speed limit on all central London roads, and ENFORCE it.
2- Follow Singapore's lead and limit the number of motor vehicles on London's roads to how many our roads can actually take without getting clogged in congestion. People would bid at auction (just like in Singapore) for the right to own a motor vehicle in central London. The benefits include (i) removal of congestion on our streets, so those who use a vehicle, including bus passengers, can get from A to B quickly (ii) reduced chemical, noise pollution (iii) reduced number of accidents (iv) the revenue is used to fund public transport, making it affordable for all, and allowing well-funded maintenance and improvements.
3- Forbid motor vehicles whose engines make loud noise: these vehicles are a real noise nuisance especially in the early morning/ late night hours.
4- Take space from motor vehicles and use it to widen pavements, and provide safe cycling facilities.


Huzzah to everything there, but particularly the first point. 20mph should be the default speed limit on everything but major through routes across the capital and all boroughs.

E17 Pioneer

I love your suggestions to make pavements wider - give space back to people and away from cars, please!


-Enforced cycle ways and stricter penalties for drivers who endanger cyclists. Until London's roads are perceived as safer, cycling numbers will not increase.

-Clear and consistent cycle ways from central to outer London boroughs

-Ban on advertising any foods that are high in added/refined sugar and aimed at children

-Reduce pollution by: Green taxis - why can't we have hybrid Taxi's? Higher congestion charge (reinvesting the money earned into cycleways, greener public transport).

-Advertise walking times and cycle times more effectively (through use of apps etc), create a colour coded cycle route map, similar to the underground, to make navigation easy and accessible. People won't do anything unless it is either a habit, or easy to do once.


- smoking bans along busy streets and outside cafes, restaurants, pubs and in parks (particularly children's playparks)
- more secure bike storage locally
- restrictions on numbers of unhealthy food venues/takeaways
- more information about the walkable distance between places (could include price of transport compared to walking/cycling as well as the calories burned if using more active methods)
- Helmets and high vis for Boris bikes


Encouraging people to use their streets for other purposes than for parking cars and as thoroughfares - 90% of public space in London is made up of streets and in a city where space is at a premium, this should be viewed as a valuable community resource.

Play streets are an easy, low cost place to start - residents agreeing to shut their streets to through traffic for a few hours a week or month, so that children can play out and adults have an excuse to get out and chat to their neighbours. This is already happening in a lot of London's boroughs but needs to grow to become the norm. The transformation that takes place on streets through this modest initiative is amazing to see. Children are more active and happy, friendships blossom between neighbours of all ages, and social networks are strengthened. There is one car per 0.3 adults in London - meaning that drivers are in the minority. Drivers need to understand that the non-driving majority (including children) also have a claim on street space.

E17 Pioneer

I would feel happier walking around with my children, and allowing my children to walk home from school on their own if -

1. Car use is reduced by filtering all residential roads in London. Home owners should be offered a reduction in their council tax for getting their streets filtered.

2. Ban permissions for drop-kerbs - many streets in Manor Park have been completely given over to cars because everyone has been allowed to drop their kerb and park outside their house. My elderly aunt lost her mobility, mainly due to the fact the pavement has completely disappeared on her street because everyone wants to drive and park on it. Drop kerbs create a hostile environment for pedestrians with cars parked and cutting across your path.

3. Diesels were banned from London

4. More segregated cycle lanes or car-free zones

5. Better education for car users - there is so much hate directed at pedestrians and cyclists
Better education for London residents in general - so many people say 'I don't care about pollution' or say that cycle lanes create pollution. Cycle lanes don't cause pollution, too many people driving cars cause pollution.

6. Incentivise people to give up their cars - offer more / better bus routes. For example, where I live in Walthamstow, it can take up to an hour to get to Stratford by bus - can't more one-destination bus routes be created?


Right so they ban all diesel Lorries and Cars, what happens when you go to your local store or supermarket and there is no food to buy because you just banned deliveries in London. Then everyone would be shouting at for doing this.
When Boris Johnson spent how many millions on a new super highway for cycles and now they don't want to use it. Sorry but I don't think you really thought this through E17.


1- Breaking news: food deliveries can be made using petrol fuelled lorries.
The proposal to ban diesel is a great idea: diesel engines emit significantly higher nitrogen oxides than petrol engines.

2- CS2 and CS3 are already so popular that at two junctions (Blackfriars Bridge and Embankment onto Bridge Street) there are more cyclists than can be accommodated through the cyclist green light phase at peak times even in WINTER. Cyclists joining the queue need to wait for the light to turn green twice before they can get through.

Your statements stand up to any scrutiny Captnight78.


*Should read "Your statements *don't* stand up to any scrutiny Captnight78"(!)


There is only a handful of cyclists stop at red lights, I should know I service them and they are far worse a temporary lights I know because I set them up. It's so easy now to just jump on a bike and ride, should a cyclist not have to read the Highway Code if you ride on our roads you need the same standards as Car and Lorry drivers and Motorbikes.

And how do haulage firms afford to pay the cost for having their Lorries change to Petrol they barely scrape a living as it is. I hate to think how much a conversion kit is for a Lorry or a Van.
And then if they get this stuff to keep you happy they have to put the costs onto the retailer and then everyone starts to moan as food and clothing is more expensive.. And now of course we have more European Lorries coming into the Capital so what happens when we turn round and say only petrol Lorries can come in what do you think their answers would be. Hmmm...


You seem to be pulling facts from the air, Captnight78.

There are many cyclists who stop at red lights. Just because you set up lights clearly not mean you know how many road-users stop at lights. I suggest you stand at the lights turning from Embankment into Bridge Street and count the proportion of cyclists who stop.

Sure, there is a cost to decommissioning diesel engines. There was also a cost to decommissioning household fires as part of the 1956 Clean Air Act; the benefit is that we haven't suffered a repeat of the 1952 Great Smog, and the health of millions of Londoners has been improved.
I suspect our European friends would say "Congratulations!" if we phased out polluting diesel engines. :)

Terry Vaughan

Captnight78, a large proportion of people cycling have passed the driving test and know the Highway Code as well as any other group of road users. They have to be much more alert and cautious because, unlike comfortably protected drivers, they risk getting hurt if they make a mistake. Some do make mistakes, and so do some drivers. There will always be human error. So they shouldn't have to cycle on the roads, they need proper cycle tracks.


Captnight78 said : -
"There is only a handful of cyclists stop at red lights, I should know I service them and they are far worse a temporary lights I know because I set them up. It's so easy now to just jump on a bike and ride, should a cyclist not have to read the Highway Code if you ride on our roads you need the same standards as Car and Lorry drivers and Motorbikes."

On three occasions I have sat by a busy junction in London for about an hour and counted the number of motorised vehicles and cyclists that have jumped a red light, then worked out the proportion of motorists and cyclists who jumped the light as compared to the number of motorists and cyclists who **could** have jumped the red light. On all three occasions the proportion of motorists slightly exceeded the proportion of cyclists, but not enough to be statistically significant I believe.

(For the purposes of this count I considered that all cyclists could potentially jump the lights as they are able to get to the front of the traffic queue. However, only the cars that did jump a red light and the first car that stopped were counted as potential red light jumpers. Once one car has stopped, further drivers are prevented from jumping the lights.)

Anyhow, we're straying way off topic here. The question is about how we make 'healthy' streets. Only deluded individuals could possibly deny that increasing cycling levels would lead to healthier streets.

Hugo mac

Hi Captnite78

I do welcome your posts as they certainly spark a reaction and help to challenge. Although I don't on the whole, agree with them..

Do you see any positive behavior when you're out and about? You have a fairly unique view of the city from your perspective which is worth sharing. Do you have any ideas to help clean the air that we breath? Or the street environment generally?

E17 Pioneer

More benches along pathways for the elderly to stop, rest, or for someone to rest a shopping bag. In a recent consultation for Mini Holland, benches were suggested but were rejected by local residents and shopkeepers because they were fearful of anti-social behaviour. If there were lots of benches available everywhere, the risk of anti-social behaviour would be reduced.


More benches more damage to clear up. Anything they put in London gets smashed, Bustops, Rubbish Bins, Childrens Play Areas, Gardens and Parks anything White is spray painted.
If you want nice things in London then the people who want it should police it. Down the road from me the residents wanted a Playground for the children as soon as it was installed they set it on fire, now is just a mess of molten plastic and a local rubbish dump. There is nothing for the kids to do so they either smash things up or turn to drugs.


Vandalism does exist; but most bus stops are not smashed up. Most play areas are not smashed up. Most white things are not spray painted. Most parks are not spray painted. And most playgrounds are not a mess of molten plastic.

Most kids do not smash things up.

Which is the playground near you Captnight78 which is now a mess of molten plastic and a local rubbish dump?


You need to give your glasses a wipe next time you are out and about. Do you work in the Traffic Industry because I do I watched the other day whilst doing my work two youths kicking the hell out of a telephone box at 02.00am in London near Elephant and Castle and know one took any notice. A bunch of youths tearing a new sapling to pieces on New Cross road but see you guys don't see this at night because you are tucked up in bed.
I have been set about 3 times now because they have know one else to pick on, yea London is a great place to be. Try going upto Thamesmead or Peckham or Deptford I could go on. I put cones out one time on London Bridge and roped them together so pedestrians would not fall over them and a cyclist rode straight through them and took the cones down the road and when I offered to help him untangle them he spat in my face. Take off the rose coloured glasses please.


I'm going to give you a 2nd opportunity to answer the question "Which is the playground near you which is now a mess of molten plastic and a local rubbish dump?"

IF your stories of you being spat at in the face and being beaten up 3 times are true, I sympathise; however, future London transport policy should not be decided by the personal misfortune of Captnight78.

The plural of personal anecdote is not statistics.

E17 Pioneer

I am sad to hear your perspective on this issue, especially that when 'there is nothing for kids to do' they turn to destruction. My experience of living in London for 25 years in tough, poor areas is the opposite - any improvement is cherished. Benches, even in my tough East London area, don't get destroyed. You should have a look into NY Mayor Giuliani's 'Broken Window' approach for the opposite of your theory.

E17 Pioneer

More benches along pathways for the elderly to stop, rest, or for someone to rest a shopping bag. In a recent consultation for Mini Holland, benches were suggested but were rejected by local residents and shopkeepers because they were fearful of anti-social behaviour. If there were lots of benches available everywhere, the risk of anti-social behaviour would be reduced.


It's not just *moving* cars. When you look at it with fresh eyes you notice just how much public space is taken up by stationary cars. Street after street is lined with hundreds of thousands of parked cars.

They're there because we allow the use of public roads to store these extremely large items of private property. For something like £3 a week!

Without them there'd be lots more space for humans.. for separate foot and cycle paths.. for benches and trees. And indeed more space for motor traffic to get through.

Allow those who really need a car to park on the road. Discourage others with much more realistic charges which encourage them to rent a car park space - or join Zipcar.


It's far healthier in Lewisham since that huge hole appeared in Lee High Road. The vast majority of traffic firing through Lewisham in rush hour time is single occupancy cars trying to get from Kent to central London as quickly as possible. Time for London to enter the 21st century and stop burning hydrocarbons to get around. Buses would be far more efficient if there were less vehicles on the road - more people would then use them and they wouldn't run empty.

Time for change Mr Khan.


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