The Independent London Newspaper
25th March 2017

CS11 bike route plans: Is it cyclists vs Tom Conti and the car drivers?

    How Swiss Cottage could look if the CS11 route is installed 

    Published: 7 March, 2016
    By DAN CARRIER

    TRANSPORT for London’s controversial plans to re-draw the road map in Swiss Cottage to include a new cycle lane is facing criticism – but this week the man behind the project insisted the changes will help everyone.

    A petition against the scheme had last night (Wednesday) reached 1,200 signatures and a public meeting to hear arguments against the project has been set up by opponents for Monday night.

    But TfL’s road chief Nigel Hardy told the New Journal the project was not about pitting bike users against car drivers – and if it goes ahead, the new lanes will make roads better for all.

    He said: “Cycling has become popular for a high proportion of people. It helps with fitness, air quality and it helps with road space use. Bikes take up one fifth of the space a car does. It could be a good new route for cyclists in Camden and Westminster, and also gives the chance to remove what is a notorious gyratory system at Swiss Cottage.”

    Known as the Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11), TfL want to close a section of Avenue Road that runs alongside Swiss Cottage library  to cars, creating a space reserved for bike and buses.

    Cars would be re-routed past the Swiss Cottage Odeon gyratory on a section of Finchley Road. Cars will still be able to access Avenue Road south of Adelaide Road, though entry into Regent’s Park from key gates will be limited during peak times before 11am and after 3pm.

    Swiss Cottage and Hampstead residents say they fear the scheme will lead to traffic heading into their back streets and add the project, costing around £15.5m, favours a minority group of bike riders at the expense of cars. 

    Hampstead-based actor Tom Conti, who is campaigning against the project, told the New Journal: “It will cause mayhem.  The whole area will be destroyed – but it will not happen. We are going to make this a national issue. A bike lane from Portland Place to Brent Cross will be absolutely massive. Finchley Road is one of the main routes from the north into the capital. There will be a solid queue to Hatfield. 

    “Cyclists should be made to pay road tax. If they want money spent they should contribute. If they want a special road, they should have to pay for it.”

    He added: “There are still far more cars than other forms of transport on our roads. This is the beginning of some kind of Soviet idea to ban all vehicular traffic from London.”

    In early summer, TfL will publish a report looking at the responses to the scheme, with work possibly starting in 12 months’ time. 

    CS11 is part of a London-wide aim to rebalance streets to take into account changing transport needs, said Mr Hardy. 

    Figures from TfL show that cycling is no longer a niche activity. Since the early Noughties, there has been an annual 10 per cent increase in cycling, standing now at 650,000 daily bike journeys. 

    Opponents to CS11 have organised a public meeting at St John’s Church, Lord’s Roundabout, on Monday from 6.30pm. 

    Comments

    Acting the goat

    Why should anyone listen to any celebrity's views concerning a subject, whether minor or major for that matter, especially when they demonstrate sheer and utter cluelessness about the subject at hand?
    Perhaps Mr Conti should have used a script written by a competent script-writer who actually checked their facts.
    As already clearly stated, Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is not a road-tax. Road-tax was abolished by Winston Churchill in 1937, that's before WW2, (when Hitler was in the ascendant). VED is a pollution-tax and the existence of zero-rated vehicles shows that VED is not a road-tax in all but name. VED is a voluntary tax. Roads are funded out of taxation, national and local. The problem is that many journeys are very short: In the UK, 1995/97-2013 the average trip length was up to one mile 21.1% One to two miles 18.6% Two to five miles 27.7% Source: NTS0307
    most of these could be easily cycled.
    Furthermore many vehicles are driver-only.
    Vehicle (car/van) occupancy (commuting & business, 2013) 1.2ppmv. Single occupancy rate 85%. Source: NTS0906

    Roads are becoming increasingly crowded and hostile to pedestrians and cyclists and it's only reasonable that cyclists should be able to pass freely along the Public Highway that is often clogged by too many people driving over-sized space-hogging vehicles that are all too often driver-only. The pollution emitted by those vehicles must surely be a concern for many Londoners even inside their own homes.

    Tom Conti was always a petrolhead oik!

    Nothing new from the famous Roller driving actor. He is only happy if he cant get from A to B at 100 mph. Inconsiderate irresponsible idiot!

    Please everyone respond to the TFL consultation and support CS11. Its on their website and will only take a minute. Its critical and we only have until the 20th.

    Peter Hartley
    Westminster Living Streets

    Conti

    Maybe hard for old people like Tom to accept that cycling will play a major part in London's future. I'm fed up with bad air quality and congestion. Cars are so 20th century

    Ill thought out road layout

    As a cyclist I'm in favour of having a safe cycle route through Swiss Cottage but this scheme is ill thought out and will create rat-runs in neighbouring streets. The new road layout will undoubtedly cause more congestion for all traffic, but with the removal of a stretch of bus lane on Finchley Road, in addition to the reduced number of lanes, bus journey times will certainly be negatively affected.

    Licensing

    I drive in LA because there is no choice and used to quite enjoy it. I am not against cars but Central London is crowded and it seems silly to bring them in, pay all the congestion charges, sit in the traffic and then pay through the nose to park. I don't understand why people do it. I've lived here for 16 years and I use public transport and walk loads. And I like cycling in other places like the countryside, Yosemite, Holland… but I don't cycle in London. The roads aren't designed for it and none of these redesigns seem to be helping. Places in London with lots of modern cycle paths quickly become terribly pedestrian unfriendly which then just takes one vehicle and replaces it with another and still adds to the destruction of the communal space. None of this is to say that this is ALL cyclists. We all know that but it is a reasonably sized group who are probably also aggressive go-getters in the office, and who will push past you to board a crowded train without a 2nd thought and lie about their address for the last school place. They are part a new generation of entitled barbarians brought up to think it is every one for themselves and that being rude and nasty makes you a strong and successful person. Cycling isn’t the cause BUT these people truly shine in their lycra on the way to the office to eat babies for a living and without some form of licensing we will never separate this lot from the decent cyclists and get them off the roads. They are a danger to absolutely everyone - the driver, pedestrian and fellow cyclist alike. I know people are against licensing bicycles because they haven't been previously but neither were cars in the beginning. Once the numbers tip it just has to happen or there is no way to control what is happening on our roads.

    Tom Conti

    What a nut job. The CS11 scheme will create a much more pleasant place to live, work and shop for the less-vocal majority.

    Most households in central London don't own a car

    Most households in central London (across all central boroughs) don't own a car. In Camden, it's only 34% of households who have access to a car (2013 figures, haven't seen anything more recent).
    Mr Conti needs to wise up and realise that car drivers are a minority and that car use is far from essential for the vast majority of Londoners.

    Just because someone can act...

    Doesn't mean anyone should listen to them on transport policy. Conti is mad as a box of frogs on this one and, like the rest of the "more car space at any cost" rentamob completely out of touch with reality. You can fit at least 5 bikes into the road space taken up by one car, and every extra bike journey therefore drastically reduces congestion.

    It is now high time to reverse the carnage done to London in the name of the antisocial minority of Londoners who drive. The majority who walk, cycle and use public transport want cleaner, safer, useable spaces, not filthy, dangerous car oriented wastelands. In constrained spaces like London, more space for cars simply creates more congestion. What we need is to orientate our public spaces around sensible transport choices and 1200 diehard motorgeddon proponents like Conti trotting out manifest gibberish shouldn't be allowed to stand in the way of really quite tiny positive changes in the right direction like this one.

    The views of these dinosaurs are killing Londoners day in day out with the polution and road deaths that are the inevitable result of the policies of decades of dedicating more publuc space to cars. Tiny tweaks like this plan are too little too late, but they are a start at least!

    Just because someone can act...

    Doesn't mean anyone should listen to them on transport policy. Conti is mad as a box of frogs on this one and, like the rest of the "more car space at any cost" rentamob completely out of touch with reality. You can fit at least 5 bikes into the road space taken up by one car, and every extra bike journey therefore drastically reduces congestion.

    It is now high time to reverse the carnage done to London in the name of the antisocial minority of Londoners who drive. The majority who walk, cycle and use public transport want cleaner, safer, useable spaces, not filthy, dangerous car oriented wastelands. In constrained spaces like London, more space for cars simply creates more congestion. What we need is to orientate our public spaces around sensible transport choices and 1200 diehard motorgeddon proponents like Conti trotting out manifest gibberish shouldn't be allowed to stand in the way of really quite tiny positive changes in the right direction like this one.

    The views of these dinosaurs are killing Londoners day in day out with the polution and road deaths that are the inevitable result of the policies of decades of dedicating more publuc space to cars. Tiny tweaks like this plan are too little too late, but they are a start at least!

    Just because someone can act...

    Doesn't mean anyone should listen to them on transport policy. Conti is mad as a box of frogs on this one and, like the rest of the "more car space at any cost" rentamob completely out of touch with reality. You can fit at least 5 bikes into the road space taken up by one car, and every extra bike journey therefore drastically reduces congestion.

    It is now high time to reverse the carnage done to London in the name of the antisocial minority of Londoners who drive. The majority who walk, cycle and use public transport want cleaner, safer, useable spaces, not filthy, dangerous car oriented wastelands. In constrained spaces like London, more space for cars simply creates more congestion. What we need is to orientate our public spaces around sensible transport choices and 1200 diehard motorgeddon proponents like Conti trotting out manifest gibberish shouldn't be allowed to stand in the way of really quite tiny positive changes in the right direction like this one.

    The views of these dinosaurs are killing Londoners day in day out with the polution and road deaths that are the inevitable result of the policies of decades of dedicating more publuc space to cars. Tiny tweaks like this plan are too little too late, but they are a start at least!

    I love the photo of what

    I love the photo of what Swiss Cottage could look like.
    I'm just wondering where all the traffic is going to go?
    Does it just disappear into thin air in 12 months time?
    Or will it dissipate and block all the residential side roads?
    The tubes and buses are already packed in the rush hour.
    Does Mr Cambridge think he'll still be riding his bike when he's 85?
    What about the school run?
    Are the Mums supposed to be on tandems or running up and down the streets with toddlers on tow?
    You're lucky you only do a weekly shop.
    Some people with bigger households have to shop more often.
    Transporting some elderly and disabled people from A-B by taxi would be prohibitive, and fairly impossible on a bike or by public transport.
    Henry Ford had a mission that cars should be accessible to everyone.
    Healthier options to diesel and petrol are most welcome.
    Boris wants his legacy regardless.
    I guess it's time for me to go and live abroad..............

    For all the people who really

    For all the people who really need to use the road, there should be less traffic, as more people will be able to cycle.

    Yes, I do expect to be cycling when I'm 85.

    I've heard Copenhagen is very

    I've heard Copenhagen is very nice ;)

    bye then

    bye then

    There are no rat runs

    The idea that local streets will be used as rat runs is nonsense. If that were the case it would be happening already. You can't save time by cutting through Hampstead or Belsize Park.
    It is also complete nonsense to say CS11 will ruin the area. There is nothing to ruin at the Swiss Cottage gyratory, it's a nightmare! I can't stand crossing multiple lanes of speeding traffic with my kids. This sort of traffic roundabout was designed in the 60's and is completely out of date. It's time to reclaim our streets ... And I have always walked to school with my kids since they were toddlers. Totally pointless using the car.

    Sad (but actually hilarious) own goal from antis

    Shame they couldn't have found someone more knowledgable about road funding and active transport in general to speak on their behalf. Makes you wonder about the intellectual vigour behind their campaign.

    Tom almost campaigned as a Conservative once. Quote: "Conservatism was about enabling people to improve their lives."

    Is breathing more NOx and CO2, and putting up with more congestion and road danger really an improvement?

    Ignorance And Choking on Pollution Are Bliss, Eh?

    “It will cause mayhem. The whole area will be destroyed..."
    I assume this claim is based on evidence gathered from other similar schemes? Indeed actual evidence points to areas becoming more human friendly - less polluted because more people feel encouraged to cycle there rather than drive, which leads to reductions in congestion and pollution; easier for pedestrians to get around; and good for local businesses that rely mainly on passing trade.

    "We are going to make this a national issue".
    I doubt the rest of the nation gives much of a poop about what happens in your precious little corner of the world, Tom.

    “There are still far more cars than other forms of transport on our roads."
    And as a result people are being killed and injured on our roads every day and pollution levels in London are at an all-time, and dangerous high. But that's OK, eh? Just keep driving around like you have some God-given right to dominate the roads and slowly kill us all with the crap your expensive metal box spews out.

    Driving minority

    Only 1/3 of households in St. John's Wood drive though cars accounts for 90% of space. Reallocation is right and allows to increase street capacity. Park will still be accessible by car at all times. Only driving through will be restricted. It's a park, not a motorway.

    Tired old argument Tom. Roads

    Tired old argument Tom. Roads are paid for out of general taxation, which does not discriminate based on preferred transport method.

    "Cyclists should be made to pay road tax"

    Yeah, we do that already — roads are paid for out of general taxation, which includes income tax and VAT. And vehicle excise duty (VED), too. General taxation also pays for schools, hospitals, the emergency services, and law and order, and all those other things we like to make use of in this society that are provided by the state.

    What vehicle users think of as "road tax" — the old tax disc — is specifically NOT a tax on using the road! Vehicle excise duty is, in fact, a licence that allows drivers to take a dangerous machine onto the public highway (highways that are paid for by everyone, not just them), and for said machine to emit pollutants (the more you emit, the more you pay, broadly speaking). VED is paid into the general-taxation pot and has nothing specifically to do with roads at all.

    Churchill of the Winston variety got rid of all specific "road tax" in the 1930s — Conti, learn your history.

    Anyway, just consider the nonsensical idea of applying VED to cyclists: although cyclists do occasionally collide with pedestrians, actual deaths amount to around one a year caused by cyclists, so they are quite clearly NOT in the same league of "dangerous" as motor vehicles, which kill and injure several thousand people a year in the UK, so cycles would be zero-rated for "danger tax". AND cyclists don't emit any pollutants, so no "pollutant tax" either. Which means, Mr Conti, that the cost of collecting a tax of zero would be far greater than anybody would consider at all sensible.

    Notwithstanding the above, I own both a car and a bike. I travel many thousands of miles every year using both. But to move around town I always prefer the bike, unless doing the weekly shop, because it's quicker, simpler, cheaper for me, and cleaner for everyone else.

    Not that I'm for or against the changes at Swiss Cottage — at £15m they sound a bit on the pricey side compared to some decent line markings and enforcement to keep cars out of bike lanes. I just don't like the self-entitled like Mr Conti trying to validate a patently-false argument by shouting loudly.

    Nick, Cambridge.

    Numskull Tome Conti..

    Well said Mr Cambridge,

    I am surprised at the idiocy Tom Conti as shown here.

    Unbelievable ..

    If they want money spent they should contribute. If they want a

    ever heard of council tax?

    Post new comment

    By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.