The Independent London Newspaper
25th June 2018

WATCH: Cycle super-highway supporters and objectors come face to face at rival street demonstrations

    Objectors to CS11 arrive in Swiss Cottage

    Published: 8 October, 2016
    By TOM FOOT

    CYCLISTS faced down protesters to the new CS11 cycle route in Swiss Cottage as the scheme's objectors marched through the streets. The two sides eyeballed each other close to Hampstead theatre at lunchtime today (Saturday).

    London Mayor Sadiq Khan has backed the 'superhighway' plan which will see a major overhaul of the Swiss Cottage gyratory. While cyclists argue it will make life safer for them, opponents say it will drive traffic into the side streets around Hampstead.

    The objectors chanted 'sanctimonious clap track' before marching on past the pro-CS11 group of cyclists, who were holding their own demonstration urging City Hall to make sure the plans become a reality.

    Under the CS11 proposals, the 1960s one-way system at Swiss Cottage would be ripped up, the north end of Avenue Road pedestrianised and there would be a cycle route down to Regent’s Park. Four entry points to the Regent’s Park Outer Circle would also be blocked off to cars, as a route to the West End is mapped out for cycling.

    Many residents in Hampstead, West Hampstead and Swiss Cottage think this will create heavier traffic jams in Finchley Road and that cars and lorries will try taking short cuts through quieter, residential streets.

    Comments

    CS11 - the residents' view

    I have looked at the various reports and documentation related to the proposed CS11 cycle route and the effect it will have on all those affected for better or worse.

    It seems that, while laudable in principle, if implemented as proposed, it will have a significant impact on residential roads surrounding the area by displacing a considerable amount of traffic currently using Finchley Road and Avenue Road. This must be the case as TFL's modelling (which illustrates envisaged volume of traffic on the Finchley Road) indicates a reduction of more that 200 vehicles using this acknowledged, purpose built, vital artery each hour during the rush hour. As such (though I gather TFL's modelling cannot accommodate numbers greater than 200 so the figure is ill-defined), the burden of accommodating this displaced traffic falls, invariably, on surrounding residential streets and thus impacts on residents.

    It appears that Fleet Road is one of these roads that will be expected to absorb an additional 200 plus vehicles each hour at peak times. My interest is that I am a resident of Fleet Road and am asthmatic. I applaud legislators who consider best use of the shared urban environment with pollution and safety for all users in mind but the proposed route has a far-reaching impact on others, namely residents in and around Swiss Cottage and the wider area.

    Fleet Road is one of the streets expected to cope with an additional 200 and more vehicles per hour at peak times. At present it is a busy one way road which sees congestion during morning and evening rush hours (which commences with the late afternoon school run). It is home to a primary school, the Royal Free Hospital site and the adjacent Cressy Road Ambulance Station as well as the unofficial terminus for two bus routes. It leads into the local hub of South End Green and ever busy Pond Street and is a busy collection of shops, services and cafes, Hampstead Heath overground and terminus for two bus routes serving local residents and many staff working at the Royal Free Hospital.

    The flow through the hub is governed primarily by pedestrian crossings. As the traffic is often at a standstill for hundreds of metres, additional traffic must, presumably, exacerbate the amount of pollutants my neighbours and I are being asked to absorb in exchange for a cycle lane one mile away (an idling engine can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion).

    My question is therefore this. Is there a better compromise for both cyclists, pedestrians, drivers and residents with safety and health concerns of all stakeholders that has yet to be explored? It is my impression that the proposed route is self-referential in terms of the benefits it accords users with less consideration for those on whom the burden of longer journey times and increased pollution falls. I appreciate there are ideals and vested interests at the heart of this issue and as it seems there are many unanswered questions and concerns to yet address, would not an independent appraisal of both the route and the many concerns voiced by residents and road users be welcome before a decision is made?

    Cycling safety very important

    But even at the moment the traffic around Hampstead and West Hampstead is blocked constantly and we also have the problem of the Tesco lorries that are always parked in West End Lane. All traffic from the north has to travel this way and this is an extremely ill considered project. Also it is the drivers who pay road tax and I have always felt, since a cycle went over my bonnet whilst I was stationery, that cyclists should be licensed and insured.

    CS11

    The view that cyclists should pay road tax is rubbish and uneducated. Churchill abolished it in 1937. VED is based an pollution and bikes don't pollute. You are all going to have to learn to drive less and share the road.

    CS11

    The view that cyclists should pay road tax is rubbish and uneducated. Churchill abolished it in 1937. VED is based an pollution and bikes don't pollute. You are all going to have to learn to drive less and share the road.

    WRONG as usual about ROAD TAX: WRONG about the cycle scheme

    The kind of people condemning a scheme that will promote safe, active travel amongst children and ALL members of the local community, show how appalling they are at grasping facts and logic.
    How many times does it need to be said:

    THERE. IS. NO. SUCH. THING. AS. ROAD. TAX.

    There!

    When you have grasped this come back and try a rational discussion, about which causes pollution - motor cars? or cycles?

    Road Tax?

    Please tell us more about this 'road tax' you pay: how much is it and who are you paying it to?

    NW3 residents support CS11

    I have lived in NW3 for 25 years and fully support CS11. This is not an argument between cyclists and residents.

    The pro-rat running group NIMBYs are uninterested in reality

    It is astonishing and disgraceful that a group of adults can consider opposing a scheme that will contribute to a healthier and more pleasant environment for everyone whether they cycle or not.
    They have said they don't want rat-running and yet THEY are the ones who want to continue rat-running through Regents Park as well as contributing to the awful foulled up side streets and high street of Hampstead.
    Doing nothing is NOT an option.
    The solution to a vast list of problems is to create a network of safe space for cycling and walking.
    The CS11 is an essential component of this and will enable children and parents to ride to school, to shops. to the park.

    I'm all for making cycling safer but...

    I'm all for making cycling safer but I am worried about these proposals. Having more traffic using neighbouring narrow residential streets (which is what will happen) won't make things safer for cyclists, pedestrians and other road users using said streets. Local traffic wanting to cross Finchley Road will have to now take a much longer route, which adds to congestion and therefore makes the roads less safe for cyclists! Why don't road planners ever look at the bigger picture when developing these schemes?

    please dont speak for cyclist safety

    feel free to argue the merits of the proposal, but lay off the "less safe for cyclists!" bit. If you ever tried to cycle round the gyratory -even just to get the swimming pool or library, you'll see that it is terrifying today.

    It is not going to make things less safe, it is going to provide a survivable route. Accordingly please don't pretend you are opposing this from the view of cyclist safety.

    I speak as a cyclist and pedestrian who lives locally

    Thank you for your opinion on my opinion. It's very kind of you to tell me what I can and can't say. My comment was arguing the merits of the proposals, can you say the same about your comment?

    I've been riding around Swiss Cottage since I was a kid. I spent a lot of my teenage years in Swiss. Had my first job there in the market and used to play football at the old pitch, hang out at the community centre, the winch, the library and swimming pool.

    I remember being so excited when they installed the current cycle path that cuts across Finchley Road from Eton Avenue to by Barclays bank, with dedicated traffic lights for cyclists (which I had never seen before). Before that I always used to push my bike across the pedestrian crossings because it was too scary to cycle. To this day I still usually use this cycle lane to bypass the gyratory, even when it's not a direct route and would be quicker to use the gyratory. So, I think we both agree that the Swiss Cottage gyratory is unsafe for cyclists.

    My concern is not just for cyclists using Finchley Road to pass through Swiss Cottage but also for cyclists who use neighbouring streets.

    Whenever there are roadworks or accidents on Finchley Road, the nearby residential roads are extremely dangerous to cycle on due to the increase in traffic, which seems to drive even more aggressively than usual. It's reasonable to assume that sending more traffic down these roads is going to make cycling less safe.

    At no point have I said things should stay as they are. Improvements need to be made to the Swiss Cottage layout and I'm in favour of segregated cycle lanes but I don't think the current proposals are the answer. I'm sure a more suitable scheme could be drawn up that could provide safe passage for cyclists at Swiss Cottage and segregated cycle lanes on Finchley Road, without diverting traffic down the adjoining narrow residential streets.

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