21 August 2017
Just over two years ago Hackney Council revealed plans to turn Wick Road into a two way road, as part of their commitment to remove the Victoria Park one way system. Wick Road is wide, with wide pavements and has only a handful of side roads and shops along it. However, there were no plans in the original consultation to introduce protected space for cycling, even though the road is already used by a high number of buses, lorries and other motor vehicles and making it two way would only increase that number. There was even a plan to remove the well used bidirectional cycle track located on the north side of the road and force parents and children who currently use it onto the road instead! Since the consultation closed there has been no mention of this scheme from the council and no consultation report was produced, with just the odd hint that the scheme had been shelved from those close to key people within Hackney Council. Earlier this year Phillip Glanville, the Mayor of Hackney, confirmed that new plans for Wick Road were on the way with “clear space for cycling” and so now Hackney Council are consulting on Wick Road again.
Firstly I want to say how pleased I am to see that Hackney Council listened to the hundreds of local residents who responded to the original consultation to express that these plans were just not good enough. Not only have the council revealed that they now plan for cycle tracks to be built on both sides of the road, they will also retain the popular bidirectional track which forms part of London Cycle Network 8, providing a popular cut through from Homerton towards Victoria Park and Well Street Common. They’ve also proposed to remove all of the car parking from this road, apart from some footway parking which is to be retained. After a number of poor street schemes in recent years it is really exciting to see these plans from the council and to think that later this year they could be reconstructing Wick Road with cycle tracks, allowing anyone, no matter what their age or ability, to cycle along here.
Whilst the main consultation page promises “cycle tracks” here, the PDF plan of works linked to from there describes them as “proposed footway cycle lanes”. It is important not to think of this as a scheme where people are “cycling on the pavement” and so the Council need to make clear throughout that these are cycle tracks, not pavement cycle lanes.