Conflict created on Clapham Common

Designs for Windmill Drive on Clapham Common will build in conflict between pedestrians and cyclists.

We welcome plans to make Windmill Drive a permanent no through route for motor vehicles after a trial was put in last year. However, we are surprised by the council’s design which will generate conflict between people walking and those cycling, even slowly.

Last month we wrote to the council saying:

We are surprised by the approach being taken, namely that despite thoughtful design to reduce conflict at the ends of the scheme, the preferred design will generate increased conflict in the middle section.

Lambeth Cyclists response to Lambeth Council

Respond to the council’s short survey. We hope you will support the permanent closure of Windmill Drive to through traffic but add concern about conflict in the proposed design.

From segregated cycle tracks to slalom

The stretch of Windmill Drive that will be affected is by Bandstand Beds. There are three segregated or road way routes approaching but as people pass Bandstand Beds they will use a shared walking and cycling space designed with sections of planting that create a slalom. This will significantly narrow the width of the straight route through. It is this narrowed space that will create conflict.

The council had a design for a separate footpath and cycle track but is asking people to support the shared space plan.

Drawing showing proposed shared walking and cycling space on Windmill Drive.
Lambeth Council’s design shows narrowed sections past planting. Interesting it also shows the cycle route sign that still points up the footpath not the northbound cycle track.

Shared use advised against

Shared use as a way of reducing conflict has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a poor approach that research has shown is unpopular with the majority of both pedestrians and cyclists. This option will generate conflict between people walking and those cycling, even when doing so slowly and carefully.

While previous UK infrastructure guidance led to the implementation of significant shared use space, the new LTN 1/20 guidance strongly advises against use of shared space for pedestrians and cyclists :

Shared use facilities are generally not favoured by either pedestrians or cyclists, particularly when flows are high. It can create particular difficulties for visually impaired people. Actual conflict may be rare, but the interactions between people moving at different speeds can be perceived to be unsafe and inaccessible, particularly by vulnerable pedestrians. This adversely affects the comfort of both types of user, as well as directness for the cyclist.


Designers should be realistic about cyclists wanting to make adequate progress. The preferred approach for shared use routes is therefore to provide sufficient space so that cyclists can comfortably overtake groups of pedestrians and slower cyclists.

LTN 1/20 guidance

A minimum width for shared use with over 300 cyclists an hour, which Windmill Drive achieves at peak times, is given as 4.5m and the guidance says physical calming features should not be necessary.  The design proposed seems inconsistent with this guidance, with the chicanes designed to act as calming and a resulting effective width far below 4m.

Respond to the council’s short survey. We hope you will support the permanent closure of Windmill Drive to through traffic but add concern about conflict in the proposed design. The survey closes on Sunday 7 November.