Southwark Council has received funds from Transport for London to create Quietway 7 from Elephant and Castle to Dulwich. The Quietways are designed to be safe and pleasant for people aged 8-80, of all abilities, for trips to school, work and shops. No lycra required! The changes will also improve the streets for people on foot, including new crossings along the route, and wider pavements outside Brunswick Park on Benhill Road.
But contractors working for Notting Hill Housing on Edmund Street put in two new humps along the Quietway route – and made them the wrong shape!
Southwark Council's guidelines specify the height and width of 'sinusoidal humps' so that they slow motor traffic but let people on bikes travel smoothly. If the humps are too steep, they are dangerous for users of mobility scooters, bike trailers or cycles adapted for disabled people.
Local activist Eleanor Margolies spotted the problem.
She says: 'I use this route most days on my way to work. These two humps are much steeper than others on the street. They put people at risk - if you're riding a tricycle or a handcycle and you approach at slightly the wrong angle, you could be tipped off. And many cyclists swerve into the gutter to try to avoid riding over them - which puts them at risk from drivers trying to overtake.'
- In January 2017, Eleanor emailed the Southwark Council's Highways department about the problem, asking them to check the humps followed Southwark's rules.
- In February 2017, she was told there would be an independent safety audit to review the works, 'and any anomalies found will be corrected [...] This should be before the end of March.'
- The humps were judged to be non-compliant with Southwark's guidelines. Works were scheduled for June.
- Then they were scheduled for August. The road was marked up, an initial cut was made... but nothing else happened.
- In October 2017, the Highways Department told the contractors that if the work was not done by Christmas, the council would do the work itself and charge the developer.
- The contractor said they would have someone there in 7-10 days (i.e. by the end of October).
- January 2018: Nothing has been done. The speed bumps are STILL the wrong shape.
Eleanor says: 'Southwark Council has told the contractor to fix the mistake - but nothing has been done. This simply won't be a Quietway if it can't be used by everyone.
I'm really fed up with the delay. I will be writing to Ian Wingfield, the Cabinet member for Environment and Public Realm, to ask for the work to be done by Southwark instead. Notting Hill Housing can't be allowed to wreck a route that is meant to enable people of all abilities and ages to cycle.'
1. Quietway 1 from Waterloo to Greenwich has been a huge success with lots of people changing the way they travel to work and school. There has been a 56% increase in the number of people cycling, thanks to some fairly small interventions like signs and safer crossings. More information from TfL here and personal comments from people using the route here.