Dear All, please see the below update on the state of play of CS11 & the work of RPC…
CS11 WORKSHOPS AND THE CURRENT STATE OF PLAY
Until recently, engagement with the Royal Parks had suggested that there were no material issues with the growing number of cyclists that use the park. Tensions appeared to be few and far between and all was well. Unfortunately, however, this recently changed when we were invited to represent our position at the third CS11 planning workshop.
In addition to some limited data suggesting cases of speeding cars, ‘sports cyclists’ were also seen as a “big problem” by this forum. There was a view that such cyclists didn’t respect the park, speed around freely and jump red lights. This view was discussed in this forum at length and agreed as fact.
At these initial CS11 planning workshops, pro-cycling groups such as London Cycle Campaign, CTC and other groups did not recognise the potential impact of proposed ‘solutions’ to deal with the above matters – which, as we’ve noted, were taken at face value as fact.
In particular the impact of speed humps (or raised platforms) being introduced to the park was not considered in the context of certain users – e.g. sports cyclists, disabled cyclists and commuters generally. Nor were certain circumstances considered, e.g. visibility of said speed humps in very low light conditions etc.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO TRY AND IMPROVE PERCEPTIONS OF RP CYCLISTS
During the last month, we have engaged with the bulk of the groups represented at the CS11 workshops, including the Royal Parks, TfL, Westminster Council, etc – meeting to understand where there are either perceived or real issues. We have documented their stance along the way and put our case forward.
We have put our hand up to one of the key arguments used against cyclists, that of red light jumping. Through active campaigning to raise awareness I am pleased to report that as a response to a massive amount of work by various individuals, we have documented a very significant (more than 80%) reduction in RLJs observed in the park compared to previous data collected. This reduction is supported by the Police observations and has, needless to say, been commended.
Airing our dirty laundry may have been seen by a few as a strategically flawed plan, but we don’t agree. This view is partly validated by the fact that a number of the parties involved in the CS11 discussions have expressed a view that physical countermeasures need not be introduced if, by raising awareness and educating cyclists, we are able to improve cyclists’ behaviour and in turn improve perceptions from the wider users within the park. We think this puts us in a strong negotiating position and has unquestionably won us support from certain parties which otherwise, we would not have.
SUPPORT GAINED FROM OTHER PRO-CYCLNG GROUPS
We were quick to bring the pro-cycling lobby groups on board with our material concerns. It is fair to say that they had not thought about the unique nature of the Outer Circle. Since our initial discussion, these groups have been very supportive and will lend their weight to our cause.
PROPOSED GATE CLOSURES
The facts in our opinion are clear, the proposal to close some of the gates to vehicle traffic (not cyclists) until 11am and after 3pm will deal with most of the perceived or real issues in the park.
Traffic volumes (particularly rat run vehicles) will be massively reduced. We have produced analysis that suggests a 75% reduction in vehicle volumes and believe that it is likely that less than 2,000 vehicles per day will enter the park. This would make an already superb resource, even better.
Unfortunately, there also remains a desire to use the TfL CS11 budget to put raised platforms in the park.
The Royal Parks typically struggle to balance the books year-on-year – without parking receipts and things like the Frieze Fair, they would be very much in the red. As a result there is limited extra money to change infrastructure materially in the park or deal with current issues, such as the Inner Circle road surface.
As a quid pro quo for letting the CS11 scheme come through the park, additional TfL money has been earmarked for 14 very expensive raised platforms. The logic for implementing these raised platforms is chiefly that it would slow traffic through causing uncertainly over right of way. However, we have material concerns about the safety of this approach for both pedestrians and cyclists and for a number of compelling reasons.
Short term therefore, our objective is to save the park from raised platforms and protect the use of the Outer Circle for all types of cycling. Tonight we represent our case at the fourth CS11workshop meeting and will consider media related strategies to highlight the shortcomings of CS11 – a supposed pro-cycling scheme acting against the very thing it should be supporting: thousands of cyclists in London.
RPC CYCLING LEGACY / POSSIBLE EVENT IN THE FUTURE
We truly hope we are successful in changing their opinion and will continue to work tirelessly towards this aim. Going forward though, we are beginning to think about the RPC cycling legacy.
Historically, we have kept quiet partly in an effort to maintain the status quo, but there is little point in that now and we believe we need to act.
Initial proposals for a broad based cycling day/event in Regent’s Park have been discussed, with one of the objectives being giving back to the park financially whilst celebrating all elements of cycling at what remains the most cycling friendly resource inside of central London.
We are starting to plan what this might look like and we would like your thoughts and ideas. As with RPC – it’s open to anyone to attend and express their views, whether you represent or are a member of one of the largest clubs or ride solo, we would love to hear from you!