Update: Routes north of the A312 have been completed however, despite the southbound lane being set back from the road, motorists are still able to drive over the cycle lane which is not even lined by a curb.
At the Feltham Area Forum on 17 November 2016, details were circulated of the next stage of works south of the A312. Construction is planned Spring -Autumn 2017.
It is great that the council listened and that they are now consulting on plans to provide some protected space for cycling on Hounslow Road (A314) from the River Crane bridge near Middlesex Crematorium all the way to Bear Road flyover.
Problems with existing cycle lane
Unusually for this bit of London, there is a cycle lane marked along some of this route already that is separate from both the road and the pavement. The existing cycle lane is however substandard as it is very narrow and is blocked by vehicles that get parked on top of it and by poorly positioned road signs and lamp posts. There is also poor drainage a various places on the pavement and cycle lane that need to be addressed.
Hounslow Road is a key route for getting to Oriel Academy, so it is vital that this new cycle route is safe enough and good enough for everyone, including small children. Interestingly this scheme includes both cycle lanes and, in places, reduction of speed limit to 20mph.
How do the new designs stack up?
The council presents two options: A and B.
Option B is our favorite as it has bike lanes more clearly separated from cars.
(However, we’re not sure about the removal of traffic lights underneath Bear Rd flyover)
There is one place where in both plan A and B, the northbound cycle lane cannot be described as protected space for cycling as it has car parking where motorists have to drive across the cycle lane to reach the parking bays. This place is the curb opposite Tescos. Do people really need car parking there? The design could be improved by installing armadillos to separate the cycle lane from the motor traffic outside Little Park Drive Doctors surgery.
In general, more car and van drivers have to cross cycle lanes in order to reach parking than in option B. In the central section, the cycle lanes cross junctions right at the mouth of minor roads (eg Winslow Way), putting people traveling by bike in the near impossible of having to predict whether a vehicle overtaking them will suddenly turn left.
If a shared use pavement is marked outside Oriel Academy it will most likely look as though the cycle lane has disappeared just when it is needed. Shared pavements carry the risk of conflicts with pedestrians and people waiting for the bus.
In option A, it also looks like the car parking bays could block people cycling into Hanworth Park on the new greenway cycle route.
In this option, most parking bays do not require motorists to drive on the cycle lane.
With the close proximity of the cycle lane to parked cars and vans, it is important that there is a boundary between them so that vehicles are not parked on the cycle lane and so that vehicle doors cannot be opened across the cycle lane. Such separation is typically done with bollards or with planting and we would like to see one of these options used on Hounslow Road.
In the central section of Option B, the cycle lanes are set back at the junctions of minor roads and cross these junctions on top of raised speed bumps.
With the cycle lane at the edge of the pedestrian pavement, in Option B it will be easier to access the Hanworth Park Greenway cycle route.
Despite the road speed limit being adjusted to 20mph, removal of traffic lights for motorists leaving the motorway style A316 seems a bad idea when the speed with which people drive here is considered.
Please take a moment to email firstname.lastname@example.org in support of better cycle lanes in Hanworth, connecting to Oriel Academy.