Response to Battersea Bridge safety improvement scheme

Better Streets Kensington & Chelsea response to Battersea Bridge safety improvement scheme

19 January 2023

Please respond to this quick survey today! The Battersea Bridge safety improvement scheme closes on Tuesday 24 January, and it’s vital that we make this dangerous area safer for everyone walking, wheeling and cycling.

In question 3 of the survey you can write comments. In brief, we’d say that the junction north of Battersea Bridge will be much safer for all modes of transport, but there’s not enough to address active travel in the rest of the scheme – on Chelsea Embankment, on Battersea Bridge itself and going south into Wandsworth. Respond here:

For a more detailed response, see our consultation response below.

Thanks for supporting a safer Kensington & Chelsea!

About Better Streets Kensington & Chelsea

We’re a group of local volunteers united by a common wish to make our streets safer, healthier and happier, now and for future generations. Across the borough, from North Kensington to Chelsea to Earl’s Court to South Kensington and Notting Hill we bring people together, including parents wanting to be able to walk, scoot or cycle safely to school with their children, students getting to lectures, business people getting to meetings, people shopping locally, all of whom want to breathe and exercise in clean air.

Our overview of the situation on Chelsea embankment can be found here:

Response – Summary

Overall, Better Streets Kensington & Chelsea supports the northern end component of the proposed Battersea Bridge scheme as it will deliver:

1. additional safety and amenity for those cycling through what was previously one of the most dangerous junctions in London,

2. significant improvements for pedestrians at the northern junction.

However, the scheme does not go far enough. There are missed opportunities to enable more people to travel actively and safely across these strategic routes and to reduce motor traffic: cycling on Chelsea Embankment will indeed not be made safer and Battersea Bridge itself will remain hostile to people walking, cycling or wheeling.

Response to TfL’s survey – Question 3

We specifically think that the following additional changes should be considered in order to address the remaining safety gaps and missed opportunities to encourage active travel:

Hook risk – Beaufort Street

We are concerned about people cycling from the north to the south of the junction onto Battersea Bridge because on the Beaufort Street arm of the junction, there is nothing to protect cyclists going ahead from drivers turning left onto Chelsea Embankment. ‘Left hooks’ by drivers are the cause of too many of London’s cycling fatalities. Cyclists are likely to use the left-turn lane for motor vehicles, rather than the lane going ahead, which puts them at more risk. Separation is needed from motor vehicles in regards to time and/or space.

Protected cycle lanes – Chelsea Embankment / Cheyne Walk

Protected cycle lanes are urgently needed on the east-west route especially, which is a top priority strategic cycling analysis route for TfL and used by thousands of cycles daily. Protected cycle tracks here would encourage more journeys by bike and help reduce trips in vehicles. Given that Chelsea Embankment is a Transport for London road and identified as ‘top priority’ in its strategic cycling analysis, why are no protected cycle lanes planned and included in this improvement scheme?

Besides, there is a significant opportunity here to open up cycling between Chelsea and the Fulham end of Hammersmith & Fulham, and thus enable connection between H&F and the City / Canary Wharf.

Cheyne Walk – Safety

On the Cheyne Walk arm of the junction, westbound, the proposed mandatory cycle lane lacks any physical separation from motor vehicles.

Battersea Bridge

On the bridge itself, no improvement is proposed for walking, wheeling or cycling. It is clear that the space is constrained but we would urge TfL to find a solution here that either radically reduces motor traffic or introduces protected space for active travel. Likewise, beyond the bridge heading south into Wandsworth, there is very little to support active travel.

This strategic north-south route needs much more ambitious work if we are to persuade more Londoners to walk, wheel and cycle more frequently. Failure to appropriately treat the roads south of the bridge and the bridge itself for pedestrians, cyclists and other wheelers means that the Thames will continue to be a bottleneck and a barrier suppressing active traveller demand. There are several design approaches that could be used on the bridge – doing nothing isn’t an appropriate one for such a high potential, strategically important point.