The Mayor of London has given Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon a revised answer regarding how many kilometres of cycling quietway has been built during his mayoralty. As of 11 January’19, he’s declaring 65km as being “constructed” with “wayfinding” signs.
In December 2018, the Mayor told Ms Pidgeon that 116+km of quietway and central London grid sections were built, defining built as “completed and signposted”.
I was sceptical about this, and checked five sections in south-west London. None of them were finished – signposting was largely absent – and work on one section hadn’t even started (Wimbledon to Raynes Park). I wrote a blogpost appraising each section, using photos to show the work that had been done, and pointing out the works needing to be completed.
(I won’t repeat the details of the five sections – grab a cuppa and work through this blogpost if you’re interested).
By coincidence, Ms Pidgeon tabled a further question in December to the Mayor asking for clarification (2018/5135), with the answer being published on 11 January.
What’s changed between December’18 and January’19?
The Mayor has clarified his previous answer to say that 65km have “wayfinding” markings, with the remainder awaiting further works. Also, a further 9km of additional quietway has been constructed, bring the claimed total to 125km.
The tables below have the December and January answers side-by-side. The red rows are updated/new data. The green rows are the five south-west London sections of interest to me.
What’s the difference between “signposts” and “wayfinding”?
One of the frustrating aspects of teasing out answers from the Mayor, TfL and its quietway programme manager, Sustrans, is how the numbers, language and definitions keep changing.
I took “signposted” to mean TfL’s official purple quietway signage. For example, here’s some of the Quietway 14 signs spotted by @MarkMbrighouse around Woolwich:
“Wayfinding”, however, seems to be a broader collection, ranging from purple quietway signage through to painted Qs on the carriageway. On the sections of central London grid (common in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea), painted Qs are quite common. While they indicate a street with supposedly quiet levels of motorised traffic, they don’t necessarily indicate any particular route.
(Here’s an example from Phene Street in Chelsea (Streetview link), a contribution to the grid by RBKC).
And the five sections in south-west London?
The Mayor and I now agree on four of the five sections – further work is needed to “wayfind” or “signpost” the sections of Q4, Q5 and Q21 where construction is largely complete.
However, I still disagree about Wimbledon to Raynes Park – absolutely no work has been done!
I may learn more if-and-when TfL answer an FOI request I submitted last month, asking for more information about each of the five sections.
Thank you to Assembly Member Pidgeon for asking the Mayor for clarification of his previous answer – we may be getting somewhere nearer the truth.
I am not going to be an auditor, checking 125km of TfL’s and Sustrans’ work. But while the Wimbledon-to-Raynes Park quietway continues to be reported as “constructed” in these answers, I will continue to be very sceptical about the accuracy of these reports.