Most of this Traffic Order is more than a
tidying up of the legalities & detailed description of motor vehicle parking bays in the East Kentish Town area. However buried amongst the pages of tables we found a proposal for new
echelon (ie diagonal) parking in Lady Margaret Road.
We wish to object to the proposal to introduce echelon parking arrangements at the bottom of the hill on Lady Margaret Road. It is well known that this style of parking presents safety hazards for cyclists due to the problem of vehicles reversing blindly into the carriageway.
First, there needs to be an overwhelming case established for the need for introducing such a dangerous parking system. This has not been established. CCC inquired of the consultants, Parkman, why the proposal had come forward, but were told,
This proposal resulted from a request made as part of the East Kentish Town Controlled Parking Zone Review. All controlled parking zones maximise on-street parking facilities in order to provide as many parking spaces as possible for local users.
We reject the assertion that
all CPZs maximize on-street parking spaces in order to provide as many parking spaces as possible for local users. CPZs should be considered in conjunction with other policies. No more parking spaces should be provided than are needed and the interests of all residents should be taken into account, not just
local [car] users. We see no need to
maximize parking here and the consultants have failed to establish any such case despite being invited to do so.
Second, This is an important cycle route for many cyclists as well as being a rat-run for motor vehicles. High speeds, double-parkingâ and indiscipline of motor drivers at junctions already make this cycle route hazardous. The introduction of a particularly dangerous additional hazard at the bottom of a hill needs to be assessed for its impact on cyclist safety.
We inquired of the consultants, Parkman, to state what assessment they made of the safety implications for cyclists. The response, after considerable pressure and repeated requests to provide the information, was:
There is no obligation on behalf of any Local Authority or consultant to conduct a safety audit regarding parking schemes. This practice was followed in this case. The risks associated with echelon parking are recognised and are a consideration when put forward as a proposal. It is the level of risk which is important relative to the perceived gain for road users.
We object on the grounds that, as the consultants admit, there was no assessment made of the safety impact on cyclists. Target 8 of the Camden Cycle Plan states that: “The Council will audit all new traffic management, environmental and engineering schemes on the public highway to ensure that cycle facilities are provided where appropriate, that the safety of cyclists is assured and that the convenience of cyclists is a high priority.” The consultants clearly and unambiguously state that they did not undertake any such audit.
Further, we note that the consultants admit that they are aware of the dangers of echelon parking for cyclists, stating,
The risks associated with echelon parking are recognized. Their failure to assess the safety impact on cyclists is thus all the more unacceptable.
The British Standard, “Cycle-friendly Infrastructure”, rejects echelon parking on safety grounds. Furthermore, these problems are well recognized in other countries. For example, the US Institute of Transportation Engineers says that
diagonal parking, because it requires motorists to back into traffic at an angle, does not work well with bicycle traffic. It says,
The best solution is to replace the diagonal parking by parallel parking and a bike lane.
The Dutch “Sign up for the bike,” standards say, “If there is angular or perpendicular parking, the parking-spaces should be of spacious dimensions; preferably 2.50 m wide and of an adequate depth. Motorists wishing to vacate a parking space can back out slightly to see if the road is clear, without causing any hindrance to cyclists. For this an extra space of 1.00 to 1.50 m is needed. This extra space should be made visible by means of a road marking or a differing colour and/or pavement.”
We see no reason to accept lower standards in London than available to others.
Finally the suggestion that, ‘There are various measures that can be introduced to improve safety for road users, such as 20mph schemes, traffic calming, weight restrictions and the provision of additional signing and lining measures. The area in question, as I am sure you are aware, is within a 20mph zone and is traffic calmed for this very reason.” CCC is indeed well aware that this is an 20mph zone.
But as our members cycle this road daily we also constantly reminded that the 20mph zone was introduced without entry measures and without any enforcement whatsoever. It has made no difference to the speed with which motor vehicles use the road and, critically for cyclists and pedestrians, turn into and out of it at junctions.
The speed humps have made an improvement, but their effect is sharply localisedâ and will not apply to the point where there is the proposal for the echelon parking. On this section motor vehicles coming down the hill will provide a difficult problem for any cyclists facing a vehicle reversing out of a diagonal parking space.
We are considerably worried about this proposal which puts maximizing parking spaces above safety considerations.