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But without the infratructure, is it worth the effort?

Heathrow Airport has appointed the first airport Cycling Officer in the world, with a particular focus of getting local staff riding to work and improving the infrastructure for them.

Ali Jafarey has been put in charge of the project - and his sights are set on the 16,500 local staff members who live within 5km of the airport.

Sustrans will be helping the project by giving training and advice on how to improve cycle routes.

Theo Panayi, Sustainable Travel Manager for Heathrow told Get West London: “We are looking forward to the partnership with Sustrans, which will make the airport’s cycle routes safer and more accessible, helping many of our 16,500 colleagues who live locally feel more confident about making the journey to the airport on their bikes.”

Plans include linking Heathrow’s existing cycling network with corridors running to Feltham , Chiswick , West Drayton , Hayes , Slough and Staines.

James Scott, Sustrans Programme Manager for Workplace Behaviour Change said: "Heathrow is the largest centre of employment in West London and is uniquely placed to deliver changes to the cycling experience our region."

Mr Scott added: "Our one year cycle partnership project will help make cycling to work the easy choice for staff, enabling them to travel more sustainable and ease congestion and emissions in local road networks.

"I look forward to seeing the changes that we create to deliver a great cycling experience, and improve employee wellbeing."

A study in February showed just one in 20 workers were cycling to Heathrow Airport who live 5km away , a figure which Heathrow's business resilience manager Ray Fitzgerald labelled "pretty disappointing".

This could be partly explained by the poor connections to the area at present.

Just last month we reported how police in Surrey fined a cyclist they found cycling on the M25 as he headed for London Heathrow Airport along the hard shoulder of the busy motorway. The man had earlier been told to get off the motorway by Highways England officials.

A video of the rider, a man aged in his 30s from Feltham, was posted to YouTube by Surrey Police, who said:

“It was reported that the man was initially traveling along the hard shoulder of the anti-clockwise carriageway between junctions 11 and 13. He was escorted off the motorway by Highways England officers and given guidance for an appropriate route.

“A short time later the cyclist re-appeared on the slip road of the clockwise carriageway of the M25 traveling in a clockwise direction between junction 13 and 14 before continuing his journey on the spur road to Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport. He was stopped by officers from Highways England and an officer from Surrey Police Roads Policing Unit was called to assist.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

16 comments

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Username [233 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes

They've correctly identified Heathrow is a massive employer and if they got a fraction of that workforce commuting by bike it would be a great result.

But it's all about infrastructure. No amount of training, showers at work, bike-to-work purchase options, free hi-viz vests, or pretty poster campaigns are going to pursuade people to mix it with HGVs and white vans.

I don't know the environs of LHR very well but I'm living in Zone 4 Perivale at the moment, I suspect cycling provision around LHR is pretty similar ie non-existant.

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ibike [166 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

"Workplace Behaviour Change"? Like that's going to work.

Just build high-quality cycleways and nobody will need to be persuaded to ride a bike.

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Housecathst [628 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

Brilliant, Sustrans. So 200 yards of "cycle route" surfaced with ground glass with 200 Chicane on it. 

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GrahamH [21 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

mmmm.. this might have something to do with it.

http://cyclingfront.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/lhr-missing-fucking-point.html

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OldRidgeback [2855 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Username wrote:

They've correctly identified Heathrow is a massive employer and if they got a fraction of that workforce commuting by bike it would be a great result.

But it's all about infrastructure. No amount of training, showers at work, bike-to-work purchase options, free hi-viz vests, or pretty poster campaigns are going to pursuade people to mix it with HGVs and white vans.

I don't know the environs of LHR very well but I'm living in Zone 4 Perivale at the moment, I suspect cycling provision around LHR is pretty similar ie non-existant.

 

I know the area quite well and there are a lot of very busy roads. That said, some of them are quite wide. There's space for separated cycle lanes on quite a lot of routes. Given the queues for motor vehicle traffic in and out of Heathrow much of the time, I can see that if some decent cycling provision is installed, a lot of the workforce might realise they'd save a lot of time and frustration by going on two wheels. A big percentage of the workforce lives pretty close and a short commute by bicycle would probably take no longer than driving. As for using the public transport, well that's pretty jammed at times too.

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wycombewheeler [1257 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes
Housecathst wrote:

Brilliant, Sustrans. So 200 yards of "cycle route" surfaced with ground glass with 200 Chicane on it. 

Don't forget the mud or the entrypost which are too narrow for bike handlebars.

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Argos74 [470 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I'm pretty dubious about cycling infrastructure, having had huge amounts of money spent on it in south Manchester, only to see the route made more dangerous, slower and more annoying. I tried using it once, and ended up sounding like a Quentin Tarantino film. And that's in summer. In winter, the level of lethality will go through the roof.

 

If the infrastructure is designed by engineers who ride bikes, it might just be worthwhile. But in my experience, I'd worry about cycling infrastructure designers playing Rollercoaster Tycoon without parental oversight.

 

So although TfGM want to see me use their shiny new commuter route at 10mph, I'll still prefer to mix it with white vans and HGVs on a dual carriageway. Personally I'm happy if (laughing maniacally) the roads are kept in decent nick, enforcement on vehicles in cycle lanes/ASBs and there's somewhere dry and safe to lock up my bike. Well. One out of three ain't bad.

 

Edit: delete words "Quentin Tarantino film", replace with "Cycling Front of South Gloustershire blog post". Colour me impressed by the grossly excessive and entirely appropriate use of language.

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Mikerammell [4 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I live in Virginia Water, just the other side of Staines and Egham. whilst it is feasible to ride to Heathrow, i wouldn't be happy doing so. that feeling would be amplified if I were a have-a-go cycle commuter on a fat-wheeled bike averaging less than 10mph. The cycle lanes are narrow and filled with all sorts of junk from the cars, not to mention road debris. It would be a nightmare. They would have to implement cycle paths with dedicated lanes separated by curbs, much like London's cycle super highway to make it feel more safe.

 

then, add to that hundreds of additional cyclists riding on potentially unsafe bikes through lack of maintenance know-how. They'd have to account for that and really offer a strong community at the site. Free hi-vis', free bike checks, discount parts etc. The reason to want to cycle would have to be more than just personal preference or desire.

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riotgibbon [231 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

When I was a teenager, I remember riding into Heathrow at night and riding around in those tunnels high up above the ground between the terminals. Happy days. When I got a lift though the big tunnel the other day, the cycle lanes were all blocked off, so you couldn't even get in by bike.

There are some good little routes very close though, around Sipson and Harmondsworth, its amazing how rural it can get so close to the nightmare of concrete and aviation fuel just minutes away

 

Heathrow have pots of money, when they actually want to do something it can work out pretty well

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vbvb [621 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

1:20 disappointing? Bloody marvellous, I say. Bit suspect, even.

16500 staff, with 1 in 20 cycling? Are there really 800 parked bikes?

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bikebot [2118 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
vbvb wrote:

1:20 disappointing? Bloody marvellous, I say. Bit suspect, even.

16500 staff, with 1 in 20 cycling? Are there really 800 parked bikes?

Apparently not. Heathrow picked up a few gongs for its cycling projects, they have a staff cycle hub with secure parking and mechanics for servicing. However, I just checked it and if their website it up to date it's only 174 places.  The same site says there's about another 400 around the terminals.

So that would be the first job for the new cyclign officer, meet existing demand.

It's surprising that Heathrow haven't weighed in more over local infrastructure. if they want a hope in hell of building a third runway (which I don't support), they have to make serious efforts to reduce motor vehicle traffic in the area. That's not just a niceity, it's an absolute necessity to meet their legal pollution targets.

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FerrisBFW [29 posts] 1 year ago
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I used to commute from Hampton Court into Hayes a few years back.  I did it for about three months and I always thought it was pure hell.

My end - Hampton was fine but the closer I got to work it was like cycling through a war zone....  and if it rained the mess you ended up covered in was disgusting, grey road slime!

In the end I was cycling across two big three or four lane round-a-bouts and around the Heathrow obital roads.  The only way for me to feel safe riding to work was to build in a proper training ride and do a wide arc into the countryside more west.  Still beated driving there though  1

The way I see it the only way to make it safe and efficient time wise would be to remove 2/3rds of the traffic....

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Al__S [1284 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

Maybe if they didn't decided to close the cycle access through the tunnel to Heathrow Central that would help?

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ron611087 [358 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Up till a few months ago part my commute was from Feltham station to the Shoreham road cargo warehouses on the South Perimeter road. I'm glad to be shot of that!

In on the urban roads the infra is much the same as anywhere else. There are some shared facilities which I never used because they're crap.

The chief problem is the perimeter roads, which by their nature carry lots of HGV traffic.  Where they exist the shared facilities are barely useable and discontinious. It's clear that whoever planned them isn't a cyclist (surprise).

As far as I know there is no way to cycle to terminals 1 - 3 in the centre of the airport because the tunnel is closed to bikes.

If they're serious about promoting cycling they need to get someone with the authority to make changes to shift their arse off a car seat and onto a bike saddle, and do what cycle commuters to on a daily basis. That's the only way they will find the obstacles to cycling.

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PaulBox [679 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

My commute goes around Heathrow and the roads are shite to ride on. Even though they are 50mph limited dual carriageways most frivers are doing 70 and don't bother pulling out of the near lane to pass you. Lots of big trucks too.

What pisses me off is that with all the work that has been done around there already, why didn't they just stick in some seperated cycle lanes then, now it's just going to fek the place up even more and they will bodge it again.

Current "infrastructure" includes some shared use paths (on one side of the dual carriageways) some of which are so rough (between the reservoirs) you need a full-sus mtb to use them).

riotgibbon wrote:

There are some good little routes very close though, around Sipson and Harmondsworth, its amazing how rural it can get so close to the nightmare of concrete and aviation fuel just minutes away

I use the cut through to/from Harmondsworth by the BA offices, probably one of the nicest parts of my whole commute.

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OldRidgeback [2855 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

The thing is, there are plenty of wide roads that could have a separated lane added. And because much of the area is flat round there, it'd be feasible to add a separated cycle lane alongside the main roads and yet within the bounadries of the existing infrastructure.