Daniel Moylan (Photo: Charlotte Gilhooly)

Daniel Moylan (Photo: Charlotte Gilhooly)

Daniel Moylan, Conservative councillor and deputy leader Kensington and Chelsea, board member TfL

Daniel said there were three things he wanted to briefly talk about, (and apologised for them being London-centric): shared space, Boris and some suggestions for Living Streets

Daniel made it known that he is in favour of shared space. He began by saying that whoever you, whatever mode you use, there is a problem with excessive demand for the use of a limited resource (i.e. space and time). This can be rationalised by charging, but charging would not work for pedestrians and cyclists. Daniel argued that non-segregated, de-cluttered, shared space made a location more civilised and safer, because users would use it with caution, remain alert and travel more slowly. Daniel accepted that shared space is not currently popular with people who are partially sighted. One reason for this is that guide dogs are, under present arrangements, trained to stop at the kerbside. The changes made in Exhibition Road (Kensington and Chelsea) were carried out through working closely with the Guide Dogs for the Blind, but on completion there were still things not quite right and this proves that it is impossible to get 100% of all the requirements incorporated. The TaxPayers’ Alliance is a lobby group that doesn’t like the government spending tax payers’ money on anything and in particular they think spending money on streets is a waste. Daniel said that he would encourage Living Streets to think positively on shared space and to seek to engage with such lobbying groups and to ensure them that many of their anxieties can be dealt with.

As deputy chair of the TfL Board, Daniel now sees a lot of Boris. Boris is a lovely man, hard-working and committed and he knows he has been entrusted with a huge honour as Mayor of London. He’s a crazed cyclist and not a timid one, opting to cycle straight down the middle of the road! Meanwhile, Ben Webster is Transport Correspondent with The Times and a very good journalist. However, he likes to be first with a story and can jump the gun. It was his article, published in The Times on 11 March 2009, which suggested that TfL had plans to re-phase traffic lights that would result in pedestrians losing up to six seconds of the “green man” phase at traffic lights. Daniel made the assurance that all that TfL is trying to do is look at the “dead time” of the light sequence, i.e. that part of the sequence time that is not needed. This assessment is supported by a letter subsequently published in The Times on 14 March.

Finally Daniel went on to suggest what Living Streets should do next. Firstly, Living Streets should not get too overtly concerned about the initial safety issues associated with a new scheme, and question the reasoning behind safety standards and practice. Daniel suggested that local authorities are made up of timid people, who are scared of being sued. All that the safety experts tell you is how a particular proposal differs from the standard. But the standard may not be completely safe, for example cages at crossings. They are only safe if used properly, but not safe if, for example, cages are by-passed or jumped over. Secondly, the payments made from TfL to the boroughs from April 2010 will be in larger packages, and this should mean that it should be easier to complete big schemes with more flexibility for a whole scheme approach. The bids for the money are needed in the next couple of months, so now is the time to consider requirements.

Questions for Daniel then followed:

  1. A delegate from the Campaign for Better Transport (Hackney) suggested that there was a need to limit cars and that re-phasing the traffic lights to improve the flow of traffic was contradictory to improving the lot of the pedestrian. Daniel replied that in the last 10 years the number of cars in London had reduced but there was the impression of increased congestion. His personal take is that motorists are reasonable people up to a point, but whenever any government is seen as anti-motorist that government will collapse. As a result, Kensington and Chelsea have never taken an anti-motorist stance but talk about the best use of space for everyone.
  2. A delegate from Active Streets suggested that anything that sped up traffic was as the detriment of pedestrians. Daniel didn’t agree, saying that it depended on the type of road.
  3. Someone asked Daniel to expand on what he had said regarding safety. Daniel said it was the fear of being sued that produced a “risk averse” culture. There is duty of care. K&C put a sum aside each year for such an eventuality as a form of self-insurance.
  4. According to a social attitude survey, 75% of motorists are in favour of 20 mph speed limits. Compliance is higher when whole area is 20 mph (as in Portsmouth) as drivers more readily accept slower speeds elsewhere when they know their own street is 20 mph. What role should TfL have in relation to 20 mph speed limit? Daniel replied that TfL’s role is determined by transport strategy. A draft transport strategy is expected late April/early May, followed by public consultation in the autumn. TfL will not be telling the boroughs what they should do (like the last 8 years), but offer support and encouragement.