Green Wrythe Lane, update 17 March 2015:
Improvements to be made to footway, but footway not to be part of a cycle network
Further to our 22 January 2015 update on the Green Wrythe Lane footway cycleway we now understand, from the minutes of the Sutton Council meeting held on 19 January 2015 and from correspondence received from Transport for London in early March 2015, that a compromise position has been reached.
Minutes of January’s full Council meeting were published online on, or around, the 20 February 2015. The minutes include the reply given by Councillor Jill Whitehead to a supplementary question that had been asked by Councillor Neil Garratt in relation to the Green Wrythe Lane cycle scheme . From these we learn that the scheme is to go ahead in its present form without any changes. However, it will be a pedestrian scheme and will not be described as part of Sutton’s cycle network.
In her reply, Councillor Whitehead notes that Transport for London had put on hold the Green Wrythe Lane scheme, following objections from Get Sutton Cycling, to enable the suitability of the scheme to be assessed. Brian Deegan, Principle Technical Planner at Transport for London, and a lead developer of the London Cycling Design Standards, had subsequently visited the site. Brian had “appreciated the site constraints and the need of a safe scheme taking into account the number of local schools in the area”. Furthermore, he “fully supported the proposals in their present form without any changes”. Jill adds “The Cycling Commissioner [Andrew Gilligan] has agreed that the scheme can progress. However, he has requested that it is rebadged as a pedestrian scheme. Cyclists will be able to use the new build out footways and it will be promoted as a safe route to schools in the area for walkers and cyclists”.
Correspondence subsequently received from TfL, on 6 March 2015, confirmed that, following high-level discussion between the Cycling Commissioner and the Lead Member for Transport at Sutton [Councillor Jill Whitehead], a compromise position had been reached “whereby a scheme for Green Wrythe Lane will go ahead that will be promoted as a local safe cycling route rather than as a part of Sutton’s cycle network”.
Work commenced on the Green Wrythe Lane scheme during the week beginning Monday, 9 March 2015 – the same week that saw construction start on the north-south cycle superhighway in central London.
The decision to proceed with this “compromise” is rather disheartening, but not surprising. Clearly, we have a long way to go in Sutton to make the case for cycling. But perhaps this Green Wrythe Lane scheme will signal the end to proposals to convert pavements in the borough to ‘footway cycleways”. Perhaps the forthcoming Cycling Strategy for Sutton, expected in draft form by the end of April, will be a driver for change. In the meantime, let’s hope that residents of Green Wrythe Lane like their new footway when it is finished. Let’s hope that those who cycle on it will do so with care and consideration for other users.
 Councillor Garratt’s supplementary question, along with the full reply given by Councillor Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee and Lead Member for Transport, can be found in the supporting document “Council Minutes Appendix D, Item 1” (see pages 30-31) to the Agenda items for the 2 March 2015 meeting on the Sutton Council website. The original question that Councillor Garratt had tabled at the 19 January 2015 meeting in regard to Green Wrythe Lane, and the reply he received, can be found in the supporting document “Appendix B – Amended, item 1” (page 21) also on the Agenda items for the 2 March 2015 meeting page. Get Sutton Cycling hope to publish a post discussing these replies in more detail at a later date.
Previous posts on Green Wrythe Lane:
23 January 2015: Green Wrythe Lane: an update
Subsequent posts on Green Wrythe Lane:
21 December 2015: Green Wrythe Lane – one year on
28 January 2016: Green Wrythe Lane back on the agenda