Kensington High Street Cycle Scheme

As part of post COVID-19 recovery measures, the Council is introducing temporary with-traffic-flow segregated cycle lanes on Kensington High Street to support the local economy and to help people walk and cycle safely, while capacity is reduced on public transport.

Permanent cycle lane schemes often take many months to design, consult on and refine. Government guidance published during lockdown instructed local authorities to make changes to transport policy ‘within weeks’ and we have been working at pace to bring forward measures as part of our Active Travel Plan. The plans have been developed in consultation with local residents’ associations, businesses groups and other key stakeholders.

The lanes will run the length of the High Street, connecting to similar facilities at the borough’s boundaries with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and the City of Westminster, and will provide protected space for cycling in both directions. The lanes will be protected using high visibility plastic wands at regular intervals. New loading facilities will be provided in side roads to ensure businesses have places to receive deliveries, and to help people using taxis and private hire vehicles.

The scheme is an important part of the Council’s plan to boost the local economy - with more passing trade for shops and businesses as they bounce back after lockdown – and will make cycling to Kensington feel much safer as more people return to work by bike.

Kensington High Street Cycleway Plan

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does the scheme involve?As part of post-COVID19 recovery measures, the Council is introducing temporary with-traffic-flow segregated cycle lanes on Kensington High Street to support the local economy and to help people walk and cycle safely, while capacity is reduced on public transport.

The lanes will run the length of the High Street, connecting to similar facilities at the borough’s boundaries with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and the City of Westminster, and will provide protected space for cycling in both directions.  The lanes will be protected using high visibility plastic wands at regular intervals. New loading facilities will be provided in side roads to ensure businesses have places to receive deliveries, and to help people using taxis and private hire vehicles. 

The scheme is an important part of the Council’s plan to boost the local economy - with more passing trade for shops and businesses as they bounce back after lockdown – and will make cycling to Kensington feel much safer as more people return to work by bike.

How will the scheme be implemented?From late September, we will begin introducing the cycle lanes and protective wands along the full length of Kensington High Street, starting at the western end. This involves converting most of the nearside carriageway lane to space reserved for cycling. This is our ‘Phase 1’.  Phase 2 will upgrade four major signalised junctions along the High Street, to continue the protection for cyclists.

Work to traffic signals takes time to design and implement, but Transport for London, the signals authority, is working hard to deliver Phase 2 from November 2020.  So please take care when using our new cycle lanes from the end of September – at some locations you will need to either re-join the main carriageway, or dismount and use the pedestrian crossings to cross junctions until we can complete the scheme.

How will the cycle lanes be enforced?The cycle lanes are protected with protective wands featuring high visibility materials.  Vehicles should not bypass these wands and enter these lanes.

How will my deliveries/pick-ups take place now?Protecting the cycle lanes means informal loading can no longer take place in most places along the High Street.  Instead, we are providing 10 new loading areas in side roads.

Plan of loading opportunities Kensington High Street

Will bus stops be affected?No bus stops or routes are being removed as part of this scheme.

Four existing bus stops (three between Addison Road and Earl’s Court Road, and one near Kensington Court) will become ‘bus stop by-passes’. This is where bus passengers board and alight buses from a new temporary island between the cycle lane and the bus. At the other bus stops, cyclists will have to wait if there is a bus in the bus stop.  We have been unable to provide bus stop by-passes at all bus stops as part of a temporary scheme, as this would mean traffic would be unable to pass a stationary bus.

 

How will taxis/private hire vehicles pick up and drop off passengers – particularly older people and people with disabilities?No taxi ranks will be removed as part of this scheme. Protecting the cycle lanes does mean informal pick-up and drop-off can no longer take place in most places along the High Street. Taxis will still be able to pick up and drop off passengers close to the high street in the side roads, and will be allowed to use the 10 new loading areas at the ends of side streets closest to the High Street. 

Will the scheme impact my refuse collection?We have been working closely with Kensington and Chelsea’s waste collection partner SUEZ, to make sure this service is not negatively impacted by the changes. If you use the Council’s commercial waste collection service, we will contact you directly if there are any changes needed to the way you have your waste and recycling collected. If you use a different waste and recycling collector, we recommend you speak with them at your earliest opportunity so they can make any necessary arrangements and make sure your service is not interrupted.

 

How will these proposals affect journey times?

Transforming road layouts is not without impacts and for some road users, these changes could mean that some journeys through this area may take longer.  We also know that if we do not provide safe cycling routes, there is a risk that traffic volumes will increase further as people who used to use public transport switch to cars. We believe cycling trips will become safer and more convenient as residents are provided with safe space to visit their local shops, and a direct route to travel to other boroughs for work or leisure journeys.

We will be monitoring traffic flow and journey times, including bus journey times – as well as monitoring the use of the cycle lanes themselves. This will help us to understand how and where traffic flow is affected, so that the scheme designers can identify possible improvements. This is a temporary scheme that is being implemented quickly in response to government instructions to councils to assist cycling.

Won’t this mean more traffic uses the side streets?Some traffic may potentially divert to side streets as they get used to the changes. We will be monitoring air quality, traffic flow and journey times on the high street and in nearby roads to help us to understand how and where traffic flow is affected. This will enable us to identify possible improvements.

Are there any changes to parking?

Where we are introducing new loading facilities, we are suspending some parking bays to utilise them for deliveries and pick up/drop-off of passengers.  These are temporary changes alongside the rest of the scheme.

Who do I contact if I want to make a comment on how it is working?

You can email us at activetravel@rbkc.gov.uk. Permanent cycle lane schemes often take many months to design, consult on and refine.  Government guidance published during lockdown instructed local authorities to make changes to Transport Policy ‘within weeks’ and we have been working at pace to bring forward measures as part of our Active Travel Plan. The plans have been developed in consultation with local residents’ associations, businesses groups and other key stakeholders, the speed with which we must make these changes means that unfortunately, we have not been able to undertake formal consultation as we normally would do. Remember though that this is a temporary scheme.

The Kensington High Street cycle lane scheme is part of our plan to support the local economy and help people walk and cycle safely, as capacity is reduced on public transport. The scheme is being introduced on an experimental basis, and we welcome all comments on how it’s going.  

 

Why is the cycle route on this road?

We hope that providing protected cycle lanes on Kensington High Street will encourage and enable potential customers to stop and shop in our fantastic high street. The scheme also links to similar facilities in Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham, forming part of a direct link from West London all the way into central London.

Why are the lanes on both sides of the road?Although some permanent cycle lanes are bi-directional, running on one side of the road, these are complex to design and to build, and require more costly and time-consuming changes to traffic signals.

Will the cycle lane be wide enough for cyclists to pass each other?The lanes are a minimum of 2.5m wide in all places, providing room to pass each other. Alternatively, the wands are positioned at 4m intervals in most places, so cyclists can also join the main carriageway lane to overtake if they would prefer to do so.

How much will the scheme cost?The scheme is currently estimated at around £700k and is funded entirely by Transport for London, from its London Streetspace Plan fund agreed with the Department for Transport.

 

Why must the cycle lanes be in place at all times? It would not be practical to operate protected cycle lanes on a part-time basis, given the large number of wands that would need to be removed each day. And although cycling has traditionally been seen as primarily for commuting, we have seen a huge increase in cycling at the weekend this year, as more and people have turned to bikes for shopping, visiting friends, and exercise.

Why do you need to install wands – couldn’t you just use painted lanes?Painted cycle lanes do not offer enough protection from traffic to encourage large numbers of people to feel safe cycling. The instruction from government has been very clear that we need to make meaningful changes to our roads in order to achieve this. Wands are a relatively cheap and easy to install method of providing that protection and are ideal for an experimental scheme as they can be removed just as easily.

Are you removing any cycle stands – if so where can I park my bike?We are removing a number of stands currently situated within the central reservation.  We will be replacing some of these stands with new facilities on the footway at various locations along the high street.

 

Will the cycle lanes reduce the amount of space for pedestrians?No footway is being removed or reduced as part of this scheme, with two minor exceptions where a few inches of a wide pavement will be cut back. We will not require pedestrians and cyclists to share any space.

Will you be monitoring the new arrangements?We will be monitoring air quality, traffic flow and journey times, including bus journey times in both the high street itself, and nearby roads – as well as monitoring the use of the cycle lanes themselves.

This will help us to understand how and where traffic flow is affected, so that the scheme designers can identify possible improvements. This is a temporary scheme that is being implemented quickly in response to government instructions to councils to assist cycling.

How can I find out more? Email us at activetravel@rbkc.gov.uk or write to us at Active Travel, Room 308, 37 Pembroke Road, W8 6PW.

Have you considered the equality impacts of this scheme?

Yes, here is the Equality Impact Assessment.

Kensington High Street Equality Impact Analysis July 2020