The Upton Corridor

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Our objections have been lodged in the following terms:

Newham Cyclists object to the plans for the Upton Corridor.

Upton Lane is a combination of residential and shopping with access from it to both parks and schools. Furthermore the section of Upton Lane from St Georges Ave to Romford Rd is a key section of a proposed North Woolwich to Forest Gate quietway cycle route providing an essential north south route for cycling linking numerous schools and Newham Hospital. This section of road also complements Woodgrange Rd, north of the Romford Rd where improvements are contemplated using Crossrail money.

This context requires that genuine priority should be given to pedestrians and cyclists.

This can be achieved by:
• The creation of segregated cycle lanes and safe junctions, providing proper “Space for Cycling”. The traffic flow along Upton Lane justifies this. Alternatively;
• The creation of genuine “shared space” route where a completely decluttered space gives pedestrians and cyclists as much priority as motor vehicles, following the principles put into effect, most notably, in Exhibition Rd.

This scheme is misconceived because it does neither; the result is expenditure of public money which will be wasted in gestures to cyclists and pedestrians, but which will not achieve the proper objective of making the Upton Lane along the Upton Corridor a living street which pedestrians and cyclist will consider themselves safe and will actually want to use the space – as opposed to a space where the needs of cyclists and pedestrians remain so obviously secondary to those of motor vehicles. A particularly egregious example of gesture expenditure are the cycling “patches” when the scheme as it stands is unlikely to bring about any significant increase in cycling as it does not properly address the safety of cyclists and certainly will not increase the perception of safety for cyclists. Therefore this scheme does not assist in bringing the level of exercise in the Borough up from its present shameful place of the worst in the country.
No serious thinking appears to have been given to cycling. In particular there does not appear to have been a Cycle Level of Service (CLOS) analysis. This should be done.

In the light of the above, Newham Cyclists advocate the scrapping of these plans and replacing them with something giving genuine priority to cyclists and pedestrians following one of the models outlined above.
Should the Council nevertheless persist in this “gesture scheme” Newham Cyclists object to the following features:
• It is vital that this whole section of Upton Lane be limited to 20mph, given the context outlined above. Furthermore, (a) a 20 mph limit is a the natural complement to steps taken to prevent fast exit from side roads, to facilitate pedestrians crossing the road, and to improve the general environment; (b) the curving line of the road makes travelling more than 20mph particularly dangerous. In the past Newham Council have objected to requests for 20mph limits on the grounds of objections from the bus companies. But there is no need for buses to travel at more than 20mph along this stretch of road.
• The Upton Cross and Romford Rd junctions should be made safe for cyclists to normal continental standards enabling them to avoid being “left hooked” by motor traffic and giving a safe option for right turns.
• St Georges Rd should have a cycle contraflow (as already contemplated as part of the LIP minor schemes) improvements, and, as a consequence provision for cyclists to turn right into and out of it should be made, as a matter of joined up thinking.
• We support the additional cycle parking but do not consider it sufficient – particularly as Upton Lane includes one of the very few cycle shops in Newham.
• We support removal of guardrails which just encourage motor vehicle to regard the road as a race track, but consider they should all be removed.
• Build out of pavements should be used to benefit pedestrians and cyclists rather than create additional parking space.

We support the removal of the cross hatch dead areas in the middle of the road and central bollards. This is space that could be made available for cycle lanes or tracks.