Hackney Cycling Campaign calls for protected space on Seven Sisters Road

Hackney Cycling Campaign Response to the ideas for the Reconfiguration of Seven Sisters Road

Summary 

  • The Hackney Cycling Campaign overwhelmingly supports Idea 5 – Segregated Cycle Lanes, which provides dedicated space, segregated from motor vehicles and pedestrians for people cycling.
  • Given the levels of motor traffic on this road, segregated lanes, or cycleways, are essential for providing a comfortable cycling environment for people of all ages and abilities.
  • In addition to Idea 5, we would also like to see the progression of Idea 3, which relates to increasing the numbers of pedestrian crossings.
  • It is essential that careful thought is given to the configuration of the junctions to address the issues, including providing safe passage for vulnerable road users, and reducing conflict where protected cycleways feeds back into the existing road network.

Introduction

With nearly 1,000 members, Hackney Cycling Campaign is the largest local group of the London Cycling Campaign, representing the interests of people cycling in and through Hackney.  We welcome this partnership between Hackney Council, TfL and Berkeley Homes to begin looking at modernising this stretch of road.

History

The widening of this section, which was carried out post-war, together with subsequent incremental changes, has resulted in its excessive domination by private motor traffic.  Traffic count data show that the levels of motor traffic on this section of the road is far in excess of 2,000 Passenger Car Units per day (2000 PCU), which in the view of LCC is the maximum threshold at which cyclists may comfortably share with motorised traffic’.  Moreover, this part of the road and the junctions have an appalling safety record, as well as acting as a major barrier between communities.

The current consultation is one of the first fruits of our long interest in this issue, which dates back to 1999, and we are pleased to see that some of the options incorporate some of the suggestions that we have made in the past, in particular, the reduction of motor traffic lanes from 6 to 4.  However, as is discussed below, it is a matter of concern that the consultation relates only to the links between junctions, and it omits the junctions themselves.

Response

There is a strong consensus from our members that Seven Sisters Road desperately needs modernisation.

In our meeting of March 2016, the attendees voted overwhelmingly to support Idea 5 – Segregated Cycle Lanes, which provides cyclists with their own dedicated space, segregated from pedestrians and motor vehicles.

Given the levels of motor traffic on this road, segregated lanes, or cycleways, are essential for providing a comfortable cycling environment for people of all ages and abilities. Moreover, Idea 5 will provide the families that will be living the 5,500 new homes currently under construction with a safe cycling route into Finsbury Park. In the near future, we would expect protected cycleways on Seven Sisters Road to be extended along the major neighbouring roads, to Stamford Hill and Finsbury Park, to the east/west, and along Green Lanes in the north/south alignment.

In addition to Idea 5, we would also like to see the progression of Idea 3, which relates to increasing the numbers of pedestrian crossings and we also support the planting of trees to provide a more pleasant environment. The reconfiguration of the road space in accordance with Idea 5, with crossings as proposed in Idea 3, will create a more pleasant walking environment and permits the maintenance of bus priority. We would hope that the reduction in motor traffic lanes in Idea 5 improves the air quality in the area.

We strongly oppose Idea 2, because it would prevent improvements for sustainable modes of transport. Furthermore, with regard to Idea 4, we are concerned that the ‘island strip’ might result in increased average motor vehicle speeds, which are a greater risk for pedestrians. One of our members wrote that she had “cycled this stretch of Seven Sisters a couple of weeks ago with my 2 year-old on the front of my bike to get to the dentist at 7 Sisters/Woodberry Grove. Whilst overtaking a bus, we had a terrifying and needless close pass by someone at 30mph who couldn’t be bothered to pull out into the outside lane. We biked home via the pavement, which is something I hardly ever do.”

Junctions

As stated previously, the proposed options omit any detail about the three major junctions along this section of the road, where statistics show that the most conflict and collisions occur. In this regard, we note that there have been a number of tragic incidents at these junctions in the last few years.

It is therefore essential that careful thought is given to the configuration of the junctions to address the issues, including providing safe passage for vulnerable road users, and reducing conflict where protected cycleways feeds back into the existing road network. We expect any design to achieve high Cycling Level of Service without any critical fails, especially at junctions. We look forward to seeing the CLOS assessments produced as part of this scheme

For example, as currently proposed, these options do not address the junction at Manor House station. This junction must be made safe for people of all ages and cycling abilities for the route to be worthwhile. We would also like to see the Amhurst Park junction addressed. The New River path crosses the road close to the junction with Amhurst Park, and we would expect the junction design to take account of this route and include safe passage for those cycling using this route.

We would like to see Woodberry Grove filtered on the north arm, to remove through motor traffic between Green Lanes and Seven Sisters Road, to help create a safer link for people cycling north/south and reduce rat running along this alignment.

Hackney Cycling Campaign very much wish to be kept up to date with the progression of the designs for these improvements, with particular attention to bus stop bypasses and junctions, so that we have an opportunity to comment further prior to a full public consultation.