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.