The following area in West Hampstead is the latest to be proposed as a 20mph zone: Westbere Road, Sarre Road, Minster Road (east of railway line), Asmara Road, Somali Road and Menelik Road.
The main impact of the proposals will be speed humps in all of the roads, except Westbere Road which will have its speed cushions rebuilt.
The Camden Cycling Campaign (CCC) supports this proposed 20mph zone with enthusiasm.
We do however have a number of suggestions as to how the scheme could be further improved.
Speed cushions in Westbere Road
The existing cushions are well-placed with respect to facilitating cycling, so we recommend that the current positioning is maintained (CCC can give guidance on how to maximise the cycle friendliness of cushions). We suggest however that the (lower than usual) height of the cushions could be increased in order to reduce motor traffic speeds.
At the previous phase of traffic-calming of this road, a few years ago, we were informed that humps were not possible because of the use of Westbere Road by emergency vehicles. However, this was before Barnet constructed their speed tables in Lichfield Road, which is contiguous with Westbere Road. In view of the school, we therefore suggest that the use of speed humps instead of cushions be reconsidered as cushions do not slow vehicles with larger wheelbases, or motorcycles.
Road narrowings in Westbere Road
We request that the council consider the removal of the 3 road narrowings at the school entrances, as these are highly dangerous for cyclists. TRL published TAL 1/97 Cyclists at road narrowings which clearly identifies the threat that cyclists experience when motorists attempt to push through when there is inadequate space.
We note that the plan is inconsistent with respect to entry treatments at the edges of the zone. There is an entry treatment of Westbere Road at the Mill Lane junction shown, but nothing at the entrance to the zone at the Westbere Road/Minster Road junction, or indeed at the Westbere Road/Lichfied Road (Barnet) interface. We believe that it is important that road users get a consistent message wherever they are entering the 20 mph zone.
Most of the traffic in this area enters via Minster Road, and most of it is, in fact, rat-running through-traffic turning left from Minster Road into Westbere Road and heading for Barnet.
Therefore we suggest, at the very least, a speed table across all four arms of the Minster Road/ Westbere Road junction.
Westbere Road through traffic
Better would be the consideration of options for banning traffic, other than buses, from using Westbere Road and Lichfield Road (Barnet) as a through-route. This could be effected by rising bollards, as have been used in Grafton Road in Camden, and are being currently considered for Prince Albert Road (a very similar case).
In Westbere Road, this would be the most effective way to protect the children and encourage walking and cycling to Hampstead School (a secondary school). There are currently many heavy goods vehicles, skip lorries etc. inappropriately passing the school every day in order to access, via Lichfield and Claremont Roads, the industrial and waste transfer sites in the Staples Corner area of Barnet. These vehicles could and should be confined to the A5 (Shoot-Up Hill and Cricklewood Broadway). Cushions, tables and road narrowings have already been tried in Westbere and Lichfield Roads, by Camden and Barnet, with limited effect. The only solution is a bollard-filtered road closure.
Westbere Road/Mill Lane
With regard to the Westbere Road/Mill Lane junction, since much, though not actually this, section of Mill Lane is also a 20 mph zone, we suggest it would be better, though not strictly required by the schemes as they stand, to extend the table across Mill Lane. This would not affect the buses more than the proposed humps in Westbere Road, and would send out a more consistent message to motorists than these “bits and pieces” of not-quite connecting 20 mph zones