The LB Brent together with the consultants Babtie are in the early stages of designing LCN+ route 5, a cycle route intended to follow the direction of the A5 between Kilburn and Burnt Oak. CCC together with Brent and Barnet LCC branches were invited as stakeholders to participate in the development process.
David Arditti has proposed a radical alternative for the route which he presented to members at the CCC August meeting. This route runs to the west of the A5, using minor roads through Cricklewood, the paths in Gladstone Park and then the current LCN route on minor roads through Dollis Hill. David proposes a new crossing of the North Circular Road near to the current pedestrian bridge next to Neasden Recreation Ground. A new link would be needed to cross the dam at the end of Brent reservoir. The remainder of the route is via parks and minor roads in the Kingsbury area.
David’s proposed route is marked in red on the map below:
Following this talk, David and I attended the CRIM (cycle route inspection meeting). This involved an all day walk along the A5 following the proposed route. CRIMs are usually conducted on cycles, but apparently the Brent officers are not insured to ride the pool cycles!. In addition to the Babtie folk and the Brent officers, the meeting was attended by Lynette Ellis and Kate Collins from LCN+ and Jeremy Parker (LCC Barnet) on a bike.
David and I were pleased to hear that the Babtie people had already ridden David’s proposed route.
The early part of the route, from Burnt Oak to Cricklewood was pretty depressing when studied in detail – the traffic speed and noise being one of the worst aspects. There were odd stretches where there might be room for a 2-way cycle lane off the road. A lot of time was spent looking for improvements at junctions where cyclists had been involved in collisions – this is a very bad stretch of road for cyclists.
We were met by reps from TfL to consider the intersection of A5 and North Circular Road – options being to use the footbridge or to use a toucan about 100m up the west side of the A5 – which people though cyclists wouldn’t use. If you’re trying to plan a cycle route, then that intersection is just about the worst place in London that you could choose.
When we reached the Camden border, Andrew Hellyer from LB Camden joined us to walk the Camden section of the route. David and I spent some time telling him what was wrong with the new junction proposals in Kilburn High Road at Willesden Lane and Quex Road (which he had worked on). I think that we succeeded in persuading him of the problems with the former – it turns out that he is a cyclist.
By the end of the day, I got the general feeling that most people, including Babtie, the LCN+ people and probably even Dawit Worku (the Brent officer who started it all) did not have much hope of getting a good route along the A5.
Finally, the Babtie people said their next report would present options, one of them being David’s route. So we’re keeping our fingers crossed that some good may come from David’s efforts.
Jean Dollimore 19 August 2004