MQT late answers Dec 15
Metropolitan Police reserves
Question No: 2015/4058
Press reports have suggested that the Met. is sitting on £431million in reserves, or 17.2 per cent of its budget. What is this money earmarked for , if anything; and do you consider this level of reserves to be right?
Written response from the Mayor
MOPAC/MPS reserves are currently £419 million.
As set out in the MOPAC budget submission £337 million of the reserves are earmarked for investment in IT and for our extensive programme of reform and transformation over the next 4 years, as well as to address budget pressures.
Dollis Valley Greenwalk
Question No: 2015/3532
Barnet Council have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of Transport for London money on the “upgrade” of Dollis Valley Greenwalk from Dollis Road to Fursby Road. This was done without any public consultation, proper planning or consideration of the Health and Safety of users. Users were not informed of the works until the month before the project was scheduled and then with just basic information. The resulting path does not comply with the Department for Transport ‘Shared Use Routes for Pedestrians and Cyclists (LTN 1/12)’ or TfL’s ‘London Cycling Design Standards’. This is also an area for Nature Conservation and Green Chains but this was not considered with trees and vegetation removed, the contours changed, and, many plants, likely in seed form, foreign to the area brought in during the path construction and not monitored or eliminated when they later grew. In the process of building this path, the contractors raised it in some places by more than 40cm and it consisted of various layers – gravel, base layer asphalt and top layer. The majority of users are pedestrians where the interaction with the surface is with a foot strike. The harder the surface is, the greater the force back through the body. If you are jogging or running the force is even greater. The needs of pedestrians have been overlooked in the interest of cyclists: do you agree that pedestrians should be given proper priority in this Walk and what are you going to do to ensure TfL money is spent appropriately?
Written response from the Mayor
The improvements to the Dollis Valley Greenwalk were funded through the Local Improvement Plan (LIP) funding that TfL and I awarded to Barnet. The scheme was submitted by Barnet and approved by TfL as it meets my Transport Strategy and LIP guidance for improving facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users, including those will mobility impairments.
Under the standard LIP funding arrangements, Barnet Council undertook the design, feasibility, consultation and construction of the scheme to ensure that it is in line with current standards and legislation. The path is 2.5 metres wide at its narrowest, widening elsewhere to 3 metres. It is constructed of standard materials that meet the relevant construction guidelines, and as such the surface of the path is suitable for use by pedestrians and joggers without discomfort. To ensure that pedestrian safety and comfort is maintained, the 3m-wide bridge allows adequate space for cyclists to pass pedestrians, and posts have been installed as an additional pedestrian safety measure.
A TfL officer has carried out a site visit to ensure that the work has been completed to the correct standard, and I understand that Barnet Council has subsequently installed the appropriate ‘shared use’ signage. I am therefore confident that the Greenwalk meets the needs of both pedestrians and cyclists, and I am happy that the scheme constitutes an appropriate investment of TfL funds.
London Cycling Design Standards (1)
Question No: 2015/3794
TfL has recently published an extensively revised and updated set of London Cycling Design Standards (LCDS, 2014). They represent a significant step towards the achievement of consistent highway designs offering safe and convenient cycling conditions on all London’s roads. Included in the LCDS is a Cycling Level of Service (CLoS) assessment procedure and an associated Junction Assessment Tool (JAT), both of which offer scoring schemes that aid the assessment of cycling safety and convenience in new highway designs. However, neither the CLoS procedure nor the simpler JAT appears to be in regular use by TfL to evaluate the designs for proposed new and upgraded junctions. Will you ensure that an assessment based on one or both of these useful metrics is used by TfL for future highway designs and will you set minimum assessment scores that should normally be achieved in such designs?
Written response from the Mayor
TfL updated the London Cycling Design Standards (LCDS) in 2014 to provide a comprehensive guide to planning, designing and delivering high quality infrastructure for cycling through highway schemes.
TfL promotes the use of the Cycling Level of Service (CLoS) and Junction Assessment Tool (JAT) on all highway schemes. TfL trains people in each tool’s use during design development, particularly at the analysis and option development stage.
The CLoS and JAT are designed to aid decision making when multiple options are available in order to identify the best solution for cyclists. The needs of other road users and pedestrians are also assessed at this stage to ensure the delivery of a balanced scheme. The use of these tools does not substitute for other important aspects of the design process, such as taking into account the specific issues and constraints at the location being assessed, establishing and meeting agreed project outcomes and responding to all user needs.
The JAT, for example, is used to analyse potential cycle movements through a junction in a way that promotes discussion between designers about the best ways of addressing identified design issues. While scores may be useful in comparing options, the creative process to generate the optimal design for a given context is far more important. CLoS has been used to great effect on several high profile schemes, helping to highlight deficiencies and identify design solutions.
CLoS and JAT are tools to improve quality but they are not currently used to benchmark performance. Therefore, neither tool includes a minimum benchmark score at present, although this is not ruled out for the future. If analysis of the impacts and value show this would be beneficial, TfL may consider this.