andrewgilliganblogDecember 15, 2016
The position on Cycle Superhighway 11 was announced to stakeholders tonight. It is a decision effectively not to decide on the key issue.
TfL have committed to removing the Swiss Cottage gyratory; work will begin next year. But they have not committed to the key proposal which turns this from merely a junction scheme into a route – to close four of the eight gates to Regent’s Park to stop the Outer Circle being a rat-run. (Under the proposal, you would still be able to drive into the park at any time through one of the other four gates, but it would be harder to use it as a through route.)
TfL told the meeting that closing the four gates at certain times “remains the default position,” but “consideration will be given to other options to make the park safer for everyone.” A final decision will be made next summer.
This shouldn’t have been a hard decision for Sadiq, so the refusal to commit is a pretty bad sign.
Any decision not to close the gates at Regent’s Park, in response to the shrill falsehoods of a nimby minority, would be an act of defining weakness which would effectively end any serious cycling and walking programme in this mayoral term.
If Sadiq cannot even close four of the eight gates to a park, part of a proposal with 60 per cent support, it is difficult to imagine him doing the much harder things which await – such as constructing segregated tracks on busy arterial roads. This is now the second cycling proposal with clear public support that the Mayor may go back on. (Public support for the specific proposals on the Regent’s Park section was slightly higher than the overall level of support, at 61%.)
If the Mayor does decide that one of the world’s great parks should remain a traffic-choked rat-run, his rhetoric about transforming London for pedestrians and cyclists will be shown to be hollow.
Grand announcements of millions of pounds for cycling mean nothing without the political will to spend it on meaningful schemes.