Ham & High)
Jessica Learmond-Criqui, Partner – Employment & Executive Immigration Law at Learmond Criqui Sokel, Solicitors.
PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:42 21 May 2018
The mayor responded to Andrew Dismore last year in answer to questions in the London Assembly that “it remains my intention to deliver the whole of Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11) from Swiss Cottage to the West End”.
Has he now lost control of TfL who have decided to construct only 200 to 300m of it at Swiss Cottage?
TfL has announced they have internally approved CS11 in the face of a lack of approvals from owners of over three quarters of the CS11 route. As a result, they will now build just the section that they own, namely 300m of road between the Swiss Cottage Odeon and the library above Adelaide Road, starting July 2018.
This means they will block the left hand Swiss Cottage gyratory (going south) and push five lanes of southbound traffic into three lanes in front of the Swiss Cottage Odeon, keeping just two lanes of the right hand gyratory for northbound traffic (with no bus lane). This decision took everyone by surprise following, as it did, years of TfL deliberately failing to provide promised information to the councils concerned, Crown Estates or to stakeholders. Whatever one’s response to the consultation, this road block on its own was not what was consulted on in March, 2016. When we were invited to comment, we did so in the context of a 1.5 mile cycle scheme that would take cyclists from Swiss Cottage to the West End.
TfL’s decision will draw cyclists into a stretch of road which will be shared with lorries building 100 Avenue Road, which will be constructed at the same time as CS11 starts to be built. While the wisdom of that arrangement is questionable, at the same time, and as TfL predicts, journey times will increase and, having modelled only a handful of streets, rat running will take place in some residential streets in North West London, causing congestion and increased pollution – exacerbating air quality problems in an area suffering from poor air quality.
TfL’s announcement amounts to a lose, lose situation for cyclists and residents, with benefits to neither, ignoring as it does, the balance which needs to be struck between the legitimate needs and aspirations of cyclists and those of the many other local stakeholders.
If Mayor Khan is still in control of TfL, what is his true intention here? Is he gearing up for his next election and keen to show that he has made some headway on his promises to create a cycling infrastructure up here? If so, the result is bad decision making and an abject failure to keep the public informed of the true impact of this scheme by providing environmental assessments and cost/benefit analyses which have been promised for years.
While stalling in their interaction with the local councils and Crown Estates, TfL have managed to work consistently in tandem with the developers of the highly controversial and locally hated 100 Avenue Road eyesore, resulting in the helpful clearance of their front porch of significant traffic. Wouldn’t we all like to have that clout with TfL.
I call on the Mayor to reverse this decision by TfL with immediate effect, thereby safeguarding the health and lives of cyclists and local residents.