Cycle facilites at Westfield Stratford City
- All,In view of our discussions at the annual meeting last week I am forwrding a letter sent from LCC to Westfield's Transport Co-ordinatorarnold.
Attn: Kevin De Leeuw, Transport Coordinator, Westfield Stratford City
As you know LCC has had high expectations of the Westfield Stratford City/Olympic Park area as a potential example of best practice in sustainable transport. We are concerned that the expectations are not being fulfilled because of poor road design from the perspective of cycle users and walkers, and poor communication regarding cycle parking facilities.
Rectifying both these issues would serve Westfield’s interests as well as those of your staff and customers. As the gateway to what have been widely heralded as the ‘Green’ Olympics Westfield Stratford City would benefit from delivering exemplary cycle provision and highlighting this to its customers and the world at large.
You will recall that we discussed cycle access and cycle parking at Westfield. It appears that our initial concerns about poor implementation were well founded. Two of the roads mentioned below may not be under Westfield’s control but they are all important access roads to the centre.
You will undoubtedly be aware of the very poorly designed and executed cycle routes around the shopping centre. These now include:
- Car parking signs placed in the centre of the cycle track (Montfichet Road and Westfield Avenue North).
- Cobbles, from tree surrounds, located in the centre of cycle tracks at 20 yard intervals (Westfield Avenue and Westfield Ave North).
- Cycle tracks leading on and off the pavement without due warning (Warton Road, Montfichet Road)
- Cycle track that ends abruptly leaving cyclists in the middle of a busy road (Alma Road)
- Multi stage cycle and pedestrian crossing that can take 2 minutes to cross even if no motor vehicles are present or waiting at any time (Montfichet Rd/Westfield Ave)
- Poorly signed and confusing multistage crossing (Westfield Ave/ Temple Mills Lane)
- Cycle track exiting abruptly into road with no warning for car drivers (Warton Road)
- Cycle lane of a sub-standard 1 metre width (Warton Road).
- Cycle ban on key route to cycle parking compound and Stratford International (Hitchcock Lane)
We discussed cycle parking at our meeting and it is welcome that a significant number of stands have been provided. As we observed at the meeting location is crucial and communication is vital as well.
The stands at the Stratford side of the centre are always full with extensive use of nearby railings. The stands at the back of the centre are increasingly being used despite no signage directing cyclists to them. The stands in car park A (two tier parking in a cage and some Sheffield stands outside the cage) are hardly used at all. There are no signs directing cyclists to these stands (for example from the full stands at the front) and your staff appear unaware that the stands exist. In sharp contrast, there is ample signage to public transport and shopping areas and staff are well aware of both. Car parking is well signposted and the number of empty spaces is advertised, as you are aware, in the cycle track. The only formal route for cyclists to car Park A from the main entrance appears to be to ride around the whole centre.
The official exit and access routes to and from the cycle parking in car park A are both unsigned and unclear.
The parking cage in car park A is not supervised and is left unlocked so presumably it offers no additional security compared to the stands outside it. We did not see any cameras trained on the cage. The usual procedure for cages for use by staff or regular customers is to provide card entry (e.g. Sutton Station).
You may or may not be aware that the two-tier cycle parking installed in the cage is a cheap imitation of the commonly used Orion and Josta stands. It fails in two respects – the tubing is so thin that it is vulnerable to thieves with bolt cutters and, unlike the Orion/Josta stands, there is no convenient roll-on/ roll-off mechanism which means that the upper tier stands are inaccessible to all but strong young men who can lift their bikes three foot into the air and place them in the racks.
We understood that there were plans for a cycle hub at Stratford Regional station offering cycle parking, hire, repairs and sales. It would be helpful to know if Westfield has any role in this hub and what the timetable is for its implementation.
Our understanding is that Westfield is currently responsible for roads, signage and cycle parking on the estate. The roads have not yet been adopted by Newham and presumably Westfield will retain control of the parking and signage.
Bringing the cycle tracks and junctions around the centre up to Dutch standards would be welcome, but as a minimum they should meet UK and London standards (we can supply these). Westfield would also benefit from working with Newham to provide good cycle links to Stratford, the Olympic Park, Hackney and Tower Hamlets.
Access from Leyton Road to the Westfield area needs significant work and the organisation needs to work with Newham Council to ensure that safe conditions for cycling are in place. We would welcome a clarification of how cyclists are expected to reach the cycle tracks in Montfichet Road from Leyton Road.
Making Hitchcock Lane accessible to cyclists ( a cycle track protected by plastic ‘wands’ could be installed) would provide a safe route from Montfichet Road to the cycle parking in car park A and also to and from Stratford International (some riders need to make the link from Stratford International to Stratford Regional).
Installing signage for the cycle parking on the ‘finger’ post next to the cycle parking at the front of the centre could be a low cost and quick improvement. Other signage should be placed at other access points to the centre (the rear and staff should be fully informed about the parking. The Westfield websites should include not only the location of cycle parking (as it does at present) but also the locations cycle lanes and tracks leading to the parking. .
The low grade two tier parking should be replaced by quality two-tier units or Sheffield stands.
We strongly suggest that in view of the series of errors and problems associated with the cycling facilities at, and around, Westfield, the organisation should develop a comprehensive cycling strategy for its staff and customers. The strategy could be integrated with the organisation’s travel plan and address both cycle parking and cycle access. This will be particularly relevant when the Olympics are on and staff and customers may wish to make much greater use of cycles. It is also worth noting that Westfield’s will be in the public spotlight throughout the Olympic period.
We are copying this email to Councillor David Christie who leads on cycling issues for Newham; Erica Blenner Hassett, adviser to the Mayor, who takes an interest in developments in, and around, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Andrew Boff, London Assembly Member who covers cycling issues.
We very much look forward to hearing from you so that we can report back to London’s thousands of cycle users on how Westfield is raising the standard of cycling facilities at Stratford City.
If there is any further information or assistance that you require please do not hesitate to contact us.
Senior Policy & Development Officer
London Cycling Campaign
020 7234 9310 ext 209
CC Arnold Ridout, Newham Cyclists
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