Report of the Corporate Director, Community
The Panel received a report which detailed the six-month review of the three cycle lanes introduced as a part of the Harrow Streetspace Programme in October 2020 and considered the future of the schemes.
An officer introduced the report and highlighted the following:
· This had been funded by Government and required specifically that road space reallocation be used to facilitate these routes.
· Monthly reviews, traffic studies and opinion surveys had been undertaken. Overall, there had been negative response to the trial.
· Dual-carriageways that had been at 40mph and were now set at 30mph would need to be reinstated to 40mph, consideration of introducing a 30mph limit in these roads in the future would need to go through a consultation with the Police.
The Panel raised a number of questions to which the officer responded to as follows:
· A survey had been adopted following general practice and the portal had been found to be an effective way for feedback to be gathered. The company that oversaw the portal checked for abnormal activity to mitigate the results being affected, therefore there had been confidence in the portal’s effectiveness.
· There had still been an aspiration to continue the promotion of cycling but there was a need to review the current strategy.
· At the time the scheme had been accepted, normal funding for these types of projects had no longer been available. The pandemic had created unusual circumstances and this scheme was the best at that given time. The bids for these government schemes did not make allowances for any fees in terms of removals.
· A breakdown of the costs involved in the removal of the Streetspace Cycle Scheme had been largely made up of the removal and replacement of road markings as well as signage.
The Panel agreed that a number of Councillors, who were not members of the Panel could address the meeting and the issues raised included:
· Many residents had been opposed to the Uxbridge Road cycle route and would be pleased to see the officer recommendation as it had caused congestion in the surrounding area. This had not been a case of being anti-cycling but in favour of well executed schemes.
In response to the comments made, members of the Panel made the following comments:
· That although there had been good intentions with this scheme, it had been important for the residents to be listened to and for cycling schemes to be better implemented.
· There had been a need for infrastructure to be in place for residents to be encouraged. There had also been a need for bicycle parking facilities.
· The recommendations were supported but highlighted that although this particular scheme had not materialised, a cycling strategy would still remain in place.
· From a cycling perspective, it had been noted that the lanes were kept in place with the strategies developed and a survey carried out.
A Member proposed an additional recommendation to review the capital spend for these issues and, following a further amendment to this additional recommendation by another member of the Panel, this was agreed.
Resolved to RECOMMEND: (to Cabinet)
(1) having considered the information provided in the report of the Corporate Director of Community, these schemes be removed with immediate effect;
(2) the Corporate Director of Community, following consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Environment, work towards:
· a review of the strategy with all stakeholders to create the infrastructure in Harrow that could be improved and expanded, including quiet ways, to create a seamless cycle link across the borough and a further report be submitted to the Panel in three months;
· introducing speed reductions on Honeypot Lane and Uxbridge Road where budget and enforcement constraints allow.
(3) the Corporate Director of Community, following consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Environment, review the Council capital programme in order to ring-fence dedicated additional funding to promote relevant walking, cycling, road safety measures, cycling facilities and schemes.
Reason for Recommendations: The three schemes had been implemented in October 2020 on an experimental basis for 6-months to test the effects of Strategic Cycle lanes in three areas.
The schemes were funded on the condition that only the Transport for London (TfL) design criteria be used, which was not Harrow specific and therefore did not account for any local conditions.
Therefore, post implementation the schemes had clearly demonstrated that they were not the option best suited to Harrow and that alternative designs for any future cycle scheme fully account for local conditions.
The TfL funding had been exhausted and therefore any new scheme would require new funding which was not currently available from within existing budgets.
With the need for social distancing to continue for the longer-term, alongside the return of schools and easing of lockdown restrictions it was expected that levels of car usage would remain high, if not increase, in the short term, thereby putting further strain on the highways and junctions.
The engagement and consultation over the experimental six-month period have highlighted that a majority do not agree with the design of the cycle lanes and had clearly indicated that they were not working for all users.
There remained support from residents and Ward Councillors to retain the 30mph speed limit introduced as part of the cycle lanes schemes on Honeypot Lane and Uxbridge Road.