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Cynemon sticks it to Crouch End and Turnpike Lane - @original_sol @HaringeyCyclist

Management Summary: I'm slightly at a loss to understand where the demand comes from for a cycle route along Turnpike Lane and into Crouch End.

My attempt to understand: Everyone loves a pronounceable acronym and Cynemon (Cycle Network Model for London) is not a bad one to spice up your attempt to push bikes. I first read of it in the TfL (not so pronounceable but more familiar) document Strategic Cycling Analysis (SCA). Another TfL document adds to the fun with CYDER and HAMS though I haven't yet made any effort to understand why.

The requirement to get very many more people onto bikes is now very deeply embedded in transport planning thinking, and TfL maintains an Analysis of Cycling Potential (AoCP) which cycling enthusiasts as easy as falling off a bike have simplified in a blog with colour illustrations for the hard of thinking.

Which brings me, via some calm and undemanding side roads to Turnpike Lane and Crouch End. These two areas are almost neighbours, separated only by a stonking great railway line and a few hundred yards, united by their both being 1) in Haringey and 2) busy shopping centres.

Where they come together is in a consultation being run by Haringey into ways in which Turnpike Lane might change. There at the foot of the Improving Turnpike Lane page are six bullet points under the heading "Liveable Crouch End".

It wasn't immediately clear to me why the two areas should be so closely conjoined, but I think the answer lies in the bullet point

  • There is an aspiration to align future plans for Turnpike Lane with what is happening in Crouch End

Now I know I don't nurture any such aspiration and I have not heard, seen or read any such aspiration in any of the Liveable CE proceeding I've been involved with. Of course, if Liveable CE is going to transform Crouch End in a good way, then I'd be quite happy for Turnpike Lane to enjoy similar benefits. Equally if "Improving Turnpike Lane" throws up ideas of which Crouch End could take advantage then why not. But alignment is surely going too far. Why should TL wait for CE or vice versa? How far does the alignment go? As far as joint funding? A common project board? I don't think so.

The answer lies in a Cynemon swirl of confected demand based in the SCA (that's the Strategic Cycling Analysis). It is Transport for London which has this ambition, and so, therefore, does Haringey, because in order to realise the ambition TfL will dig into their panniers and stump up oodles of lolly, over which Haringey has some control and can refer to in press releases.

The ambition is set out in the table accompanying figure 5.1 in the SCA where item 1, right at the top of the list, is a 'potentially cyclable route' from Wood Green to Kentish Town.

This potential is based on a map showing current cycle flows (figure 1.1 in the SCA). I offer as exhibit A a small portion of this map extending, roughly, from Kentish Town in the south to Wood Green in the north. (I have typed in 'Kentish Town')

Turning next to a route finding tool (I used Google maps) we find three routes suggested.

Here we find three routes suggested, all roughly equal in time and distance. The North West Passage passes through Crouch End along Hornsey High Street and through the existing cycle/quietway beside the Ally Pally waterworks . The most south easterly skirts Finsbury Park via Seven Sisters Road and Green Lanes. The most central (and of most relevance to this outpouring) passes through both Crouch End and Turnpike Lane.

One major difference between these three routes is hills. It appears that Wood Green is some 30 feet less above sea level than Kentish Town. Google maps helpfully tells us that the rise and fall on the central and north west routes are roughly the same (about 130 feet and 160 feet), while the Seven Sisters route is relatively flat (+66 feet and -95 feet).

Another difference is that plans are already well afoot to widen Seven Sisters Road into the Park to provide a cycle route joining up with Green Lanes. In terms of getting between Wood Green and Kentish Town the route through Turnpike Lane and Crouch End might be thought of as duplication.

And looking a bit more closely at the 'potential cycling demand' we find that there is no demand for the stretch of road from the end of Turnpike Lane to Crouch End

Unless some demand has been manufactured by the creation of a cycle lane as part of a project undertaken some little while ago, the Coronation Sidings plan from November 2016

Tags: TfL, liveable crouch end, strategic cycling analysis, turnpike lane

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Thanks Adrian for a well-researched article. I beg to differ with your statement that, based on the cycle usage map, there is no demand for the stretch of road from the end of Turnpike Lane to Crouch End. That map does indeed have a gap in the red line. But only from Hornsey Police Station to the bottom of Church Lane, where it joins High Street. And that is mostly one-way, so the lack of redness could be because traffic volumes are roughly split in two (assuming most journeys are two-way) between that and the one-way stretch of Tottenham Lane. 

I considered the one way section as a  possible explanation. I did not search for counter examples to demonstrate that the model takes them into account, on the grounds that surely they can't be that dumb.

I cycled to work either in the city or the west end most days between 1973 and 1999. One of the most satisfying stretches was Holloway Road from the university to Highbury Corner, where a long stretch of carriageway seemed to have been set aside especially for me.

[Somewhat off-topic...] You were braver than I in cycling on the Holloway Road, even with the lower volumes of traffic in those days! As I remember it was a favourite route for lorries, so many that the police operated a weighbridge to catch any that were overloaded. It was installed in the middle of the road just down from the Coronet (now a Wetherspoons).

Meanwhile in Birmingham.

A council has been criticised for spending £10 million on a bicycle super highway that critics say is little-used and causes traffic jams.

In April, Birmingham City Council opened a 3-mile segregated two-lane path alongside the A34 to encourage more people to ride bicycles.

But drivers complain it has increased congestion. Photographs taken at 4pm on a weekday show traffic at a standstill in single file while cycle paths and bus lanes sit empty.

Mechanic Stephen Bolton, 35, from West Bromwich, said: “They’ve made it worse for the environment. It’s adding to air pollution.”

The council says it has provided a “safer and more enjoyable cycling experience” that will “help reduce congestion and reduce air pollution”.

and maybe it is just a cheap shot, with a temporary absence of cyclists , but the criticisms remain. And I admit the Telegraph is bit pro-car

The phenomenon of "induced demand" is normally applied to cars.

It well-describes the situation where additional lanes or road-widening quickly fills-up, encourages use and creates demands for either more roads, extra-lanes or road-widening. This is a vicious circle that promotes pollution and congestion.

If induced demand for transport is valid, then it suggest the converse is also true: i.e. reducing the space given over to carriageways leads to less traffic.

And it may also hold true for cycle ways:

In the same way that cycling lobbyists like to take photos of cycle-ways that are chock-full of bicycles, Petrolhead-interests (the Telegraph?) love to take photos of newly-built cycleways with not a bicycle in sight.

However given time, they are also likely to fill up, to everyone's benefit. That they are not filling more quickly may be down to other factors, such as the general lack of safe cycle routes and the general risks of using heavily trafficked roads. In the next few years, as the internal combustion engine is phased out, there may come a tipping point, where there is a rapid take-up of cycling infrastructure.

The intellectual dishonesty of the Petrolheads is that they expect a new cycle route to solve all transport problems in the vicinity immediately. Their motivation for this dishonesty is their own transitory inconvenience.

These were the issues faced in Denmark and Holland, the two countries most advanced in cycling infra.

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