Industry trade bodies express their concerns about what Transport for London is planning
The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) is very disappointed that TfL (Transport for London) intends to proceed with the London Cycle Superhighway which as it stands will result in fewer coach parking facilities, inconvenience to visitors and increased traffic congestion which will inevitably add to operator costs.
CPT’s Coaching Executive, Andy Warrender said: “Throughout the consultation process CPT has made very robust and consistent representations to TfL about the effect on coach parking and how this adversely affects a large proportion of almost 50m visitors a year who travel to the capital by coach.
“We understand that subject to final ratification next week, TfL intends to press ahead quickly with works to create the Cycle Superhighway and we are concerned that this haste will result in the loss of coach parking facilities before adequate replacement parking has been identified. This disruption, at the start of the summer season, is a double whammy for the tourist industry.
“TfL has indicated that discussions can continue and we welcome the opportunity to further press for proper facilities for coaches. We remain very concerned that at this late stage there is still scant information available about the impact on the wider road network, traffic flow and on general congestion across London which has the capability to drastically add to journey times for visitors and Londoners alike.
“Overall we still believe this scheme has the potential to cause more disruption and inconvenience to a major part of London’s economy than the benefits it will deliver.”
Bus Users UK CEO Claire Walters told CBW: “Cycling is a healthy activity that can have a positive environmental impact on towns and cities. However, we would be concerned if plans for a Cycle Superhighway compromised existing bus lanes. The resulting increase in congestion would negate any environmental benefits and put the needs of the few above the needs of the many.”
Responding to the TfL announcement the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has voiced its disappointment and concern.
FTA has stated that whilst it isn’t opposed to Cycle Superhighways in principle, it is concerned over the speed that the plans are to be introduced saying: “these projects will be in place for decades and therefore, more time should be spent now getting all of the aspects understood and correct before work begins.”
The Association added that the root of the problem is the speed with which the Mayor – Boris Johnson appears to be pushing the changes through. FTA raised the point that the environmental impact report and business case were only published today when versions of these should have been involved in the consultation, and that the final picture on loading restrictions is still not set.
FTA’s Head of Urban Logistics Christopher Snelling commented that despite there being ‘positives’ in the announcement today – overall the package of routes still raises cause for concern
“The information published on delay times still does not reflect how industry and private motorists actually use these roads,” he said. “And yet the first road-works to build these superhighways will start in just a few weeks’ time. By this April we will see works underway on all the proposed routes, affecting some key routes into the centre of London. It seems that the target pushing this is the aim to finish the routes by May 2016 – when the Mayor leaves office.”
FTA has also said that there will still be considerable impact on traffic not just on the routes themselves, but also across London and even out to the M25, as TfL re-sequences red lights to make it harder for motor traffic to get on the routes.
Christopher added: “Given the tight constraints of drivers’ hours rules, this could result in significantly increased costs to the logistics industry. And that means increased costs for the businesses and residents in London who rely on them.
“The improvements that have been announced today show how careful work can improve the situation to better reflect the balance of London’s transport needs, and the revised plans issued are an improvement on those previously put out – traffic delays have been reduced somewhat and more loading capacity has been added than was planned before. TfL has also committed today to work further with the freight industry to refine the loading facilities on the routes before they go live, which we welcome.”