Saturday 15 February 2020

LIP Service?

To most people ‘lips’ are those bodily elements that crack open for a good laugh, but in the singular the LIP has quite serious connotations, particularly for those who cycle or fancy cycling - and especially those think that encouraging more people to cycle is crucial to taking action to tackle the climate emergency.

Merton Council’s ‘Local Implementation Plan’ sets out how the Council hopes to satisfy London’s Mayoral Transport Strategy in order that, the keeper of the purse, Transport for London (TfL), can cough up the cash for cycling infrastructure.

The London Borough of Merton’s LIP follows the Mayor’s advice in proposing a local cycle infrastructure plan and it picks up those Strategic areas and corridors currently prioritised for TfL funding. The extent of Merton’s cycling infrastructure plan means that, if implemented, everyone can have reasonable access to a satisfactory cycle route. An essential provision in zero emissions initiatives.

The problem is that the first financial year of LIP action (2019-2020) has, thus far, produced little in results. Nine of Merton's ten proposed actions have yet to show signs of any action at all.
‘Quietways’ are part of the package- these have a tendency to get cyclists off the roads to share space with pedestrians- (‘roudy ways’ might be a better title). Four of the 2019-2020 LIP items involve connecting up Quietways. These are currently eligible for TfL cash but we have seen no progress on them.

A ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’ is not something that estate agents have cottoned on to yet; they have always assumed that any neighbourhood is liveable provided you can drive to it. But more TfL cash is available to make neighbourhoods more liveable by encouraging cycling and walking. Three of the 2019-2020 LIP items involve preparing a TfL ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’ application for either Pollards Hill or Western Road. Both areas could benefit from cycling and walking encouragement but Western Road is more strategic and more likely to attract the cash. The opportunity is lost for 2019; will the Council decide to act in 2020?

Two top-of-the-list items still crying out for action are:
The Beddington Lane/Croydon Road junction; right in the middle of Mitcham Common. Half a million pounds worth of shared-use path converging on a cross-roads that can’t be crossed safely by pedestrians or cyclists. There is an approved  design and until it happens TfL’s half a million is wasted.

The South Wimbledon junction; the busiest in the Borough. After much modelling, scrutinising and blue-sky thinking TfL conclude it is over capacity and irredeemably unpleasant for anyone using it. For the fourth time in recent memory they are having another crack at it in 2020-21 (So the LIP predicts). The, still-to-be-enacted, action in Merton’s 2019-2020 LIP is for cyclists to have sign-posted by-passes to the junction as an option.

With 9 actions outstanding for 2019-2020 there are 9 new actions listed for 2020-2021, that’s 18 before 2021. Having declared a Climate emergency Merton might like to consider the benefits of quickly moving to take action on cycling in order to take action on the climate. You can read the full LIP on Merton’s website here, but here are the details of the schemes that will need to come forward over the next 6 years to achieve their ambitious targets, and we’ll be pushing them to do just that.

Merton's "Proposed Cycle Infrastructure Delivery Programme"

The project numbers match the Plan at the bottom of the page. 

Financial year 2019/2020 

1) Install a Toucan/Pedestrian phase across Windmill Road and Croydon Road. Works are due to commence summer 2019 and will require uptake of common land.
2) Investigate walking/cycling connections in the region of Pollards Hill including connections into Croydon (links to liveable neighbourhood bid at Pollards Hill).
3) Investigate improvements on Sandy Lane and Streatham Road, including wayfinding interventions.
4) Signed wayfinding scheme connecting Mitcham/Tooting & Colliers Wood (avoiding the northern end of Western Road). 5) Investigate bus depot area for improved cycling facilities to link up Colliers Wood to City cycle route with Colliers Wood to Sutton cycle route.
6) Investigate measures to link up the cycle superhighway (CS7) with Clapham Common to Wimbledon quietway.
7) Tighten up kerb geometry at junction of East Road/South Road and the mini roundabout on North Road/East Road.
8) Signing and wayfinding scheme to avoid the South Wimbledon junction.
9) Improve pedestrian/cycle timings at junction of Coombe Lane/West Barnes Lane financial year 2020-2021.
10) Segregated path to link Raynes Park with New Malden alongside railway line. Works expected to be complete June 2019.

Financial year 2020-2021 

11) Provide a 2.5m shared use path in town green alongside Commonside West. This is likely to need Secretary of State sign-off, if stakeholder comments are negative.
12) Improve existing footpath alongside western side of Lavender Park. This will involve resurfacing existing block paved path and possibly widening by relocation the fence line in the park.
13) Proposed compacted gravel path through Abbey Park with minimum width of 2m shared-use.
14) Potential cycle contra-flow on Lingfield Road
15) Proposed toucan crossing across Bushey Road
16) Improve existing link from Whatley Avenue to grand drive to create shared-use path. This will need approval from the land owner, which is currently being investigated.
17) Investigate measures to improve cycling infrastructure on Martin Way
18) Investigate measures to improve cycle infrastructure between Motspur Park/Wimbledon Chase and Merton Park
19) Investigate walking/cycling connections in the region of Willow Lane Industrial Estate.

Financial year 2021-2022 

20) Investigate potential 2-way cycle track on common land between Cedars Avenue and Watneys Road (subject to approval from the Mitcham Common Conservators).
21) Re-explore improving south Wimbledon Junction incorporating measures to make the junction safer for cyclists.
22) Investigate improvement measures for roundabout and improve cycle infrastructure on Garth Road, Lower Morden Lane and Hillcross Avenue.
23) Explore improving Bushey Road junction particularly the east bound movement from Bushey Road into Martin Way. Investigate improvement measures on approach to junction from Kingston Road.

Financial years 2022-2024 

24) Morden Town Centre Regeneration scheme to provide cycle improvements. Works estimated to commence 2022.
25) Improve cycle facilities on London Road between Figges Marsh and Mitcham Town Centre.
26) Investigate bridge widening/improvements at Durnsford Road.
27) Develop cycle proposals for "missing link and bridge crossing along Wandle
Trail in partnership with Wandsworth Council.
28) Investigate potential to upgrade existing tracks on Wimbledon Common with hardbound gravel surface.
29) Proposed new walk/cycleway through railway embankment improve safety for cyclists crossing of Lower Downs Road from Railway Path.
30) Proposed wheel channel on footbridges subject to rebuilding.
31) Investigate measures to improve the north/south link from Home Park Road to Morden Road via Gap and Trinity roads.
32) Investigate measures to improve cycling infrastructure on Morden Road.
33) Investigate measures to improve cycling infrastructure on Merantun Way and use as a night time alternative to using Morden Hall Park for the Colliers Wood to Sutton Quietway.
34) Propose improvements to existing traffic free route from tandem way to Fleming Mead and improve link to London Road.
35) Investigate measures to improve cycling infrastructure from Ridgeway to Kingston Road.
36) Investigate measures to improve cycling infrastructure on Church Road.