The Independent London Newspaper
16th January 2018

Supporters and opponents of CS11 cycle superhighway to hold rival street demos on the same day

    The meeting on Tuesday night where Jessica Learmond-Criqui urged people to fight CS11

    Published: 29 September, 2016
    By TOM FOOT

    CAMPAIGNERS against a cycling superhighway say they are ready to hit back with a street protest and a legal challenge in the courts. 

    Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who is leading the campaign against Transport for London’s (TfL’s) “CS11” scheme, called on more than 200 people at a meeting in St Stephen’s Church, in Rosslyn Hill, to join a “public demo” outside Hampstead Theatre on October 8.

    “It is time for action,” she said. “We have to stand up and not roll over.”

    Ms Learmond-Criqui, a solicitor, told the meeting on Tuesday night that residents were raising £150,000 to fight TfL in the courts and that a donations page had been set up online. She said: “All donations, however small, are welcome.”

    Cycling groups are organising a counter protest on the same day in support of CS11.

    London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced his support for the new “superhighway”, running between Swiss Cottage and around Regent’s Park earlier this summer. 

    Under the plans, 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 be blocked off to cars. Many residents in Hampstead, West Hampstead and Swiss Cottage fear that the changes will create heavier traffic jams in Finchley Road and that cars and lorries will try taking short cuts through quieter, residential streets. 

    Clive Beecham, from the St John’s Wood Society, said that lorries were bound to “take evasive action” if TfL stopped traffic turning left off Finchley Road into College Crescent, and right into Hilgrove Road. “The sum total will be rat-runs,” he said.

    The meeting focused on TfL’s decision not to include High Speed 2 lorries in its traffic projections. HS2 says that hundreds of its lorries will be travelling in and out of Swiss Cottage every day – for at least 16 years – to remove rubble from construction sites in Camden. 

    Jenny White, who lives in Lyndhurst Gardens, Hampstead, has penned an open letter calling on Camden Council to openly campaign against CS11 in the same way it had perceived to have done against HS2. 

    But quality activist Paul Braithwaite, a former councillor who had the title of Camden’s cycling champion, said: “If you believe the outraged speakers and residents of Hampstead, TfL is evil personified and should be stripped of responsibility for traffic planning for causing ‘carmaggedon’ by prospectively imposing the CS11 superhighway – that laudably would stop cars commuting through Regent’s Park – on their precious neighbourhoods.”

    First Dates barman asks: Will this be the Cyclepath of Khan?

    THE bartender from TV’s First Dates says there is a need to cut the number of heavy goods lorries in central London to help protect cyclists, writes Tom Foot.

    Merlin Griffiths told the New Journal “there needs to be a way to reduce HGV traffic in central London full stop”.

    The keen cyclist, who runs the Priory Tavern in Belsize Road, said he had been following the Swiss Cottage “CS11” cycle superhighway debate “with great interest” and that he supported “any project that made cycling safer in London”.

    Residents in Hampstead and Swiss Cottage believe the proposal of ripping up the 1960s gyratory in Swiss Cottage will push traffic out onto surrounding roads. But cycling groups are campaigning for it to go ahead.He said: “I do agree that Swiss Cottage gyratory needs some attention. I also generally support any project that makes cycling safer in London. However, how it will ultimately work I’m unsure. I’m not an expert on traffic flow and city planning and understand there are objections from both sides. As far as overspill of traffic, especially HGVs, I feel there needs to be a way to reduce HGV traffic in central London full stop.” He added: “In a nod to Star Trek, will this be the Cyclepath of Khan? Time will tell.”

    Merlin Griffiths

    Mayor Sadiq Khan has, since being elected Mayor in May, said that he wants the CS11 superhighway to happen and has told planners to carry on working up the designs.

    Originally from south London, Mr Griffiths said he had come to love NW6 for its “fiercely protective” residents and the “strong sense of community, individuality and diversity” in Kilburn.

    In his spare time, Mr Griffiths is a serious cyclist and regularly rides long distance journeys. “I did Land’s End to John O’ Groats in nine days,” he said.

     

    Comments

    CS11 and Swiss Cottage/Finchley Road

    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, 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 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 both 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 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 up to half a kilometre, additional traffic must presumably exacerbate the amount of pollutants my neighbours and I are being asked to absorb (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 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 even-handed appraisal of both the route and the many concerns voiced by residents and road users be welcome?

    Cycle Lanes Tavistock Place

    I don't know if the Tavistock Place cycle lanes which residents object too are part of the superhighway but as a keen cyclist and a local resident, the cycle lanes in Camden have caused a nightmare for both pedestrians and those using public transport. Tavistock Place has always been a fairly quiet road - and even now, during the day there are hardly any cyclists at all & yet due to Camden Council making this one way traffic only and building two (unnecessary) cycle lanes, buses to and from Euston to Waterloo are shock a block with HGV lorries passing through the quiet residential streets nearby (Coram St, Herbrand St). It seems, when Councils and the Major decide to build cycle lanes they choose to do so in areas where there's very little traffic (Regent's Park?) whilst the major A roads remain just as busy and dangerous as before. It's a real shame that the cycle lobby includes all cyclists and is at odds with local residents (including those who cycle locally) who are most likely to convey the real problems - like, not being able to get any sleep due to the rerouting of traffic.

    Re: Cycle Lanes Tavistock Place

    Oh my, quite a few howlers in there:

    1. "The cycle lanes in Camden have caused a nightmare for both pedestrians and those using public transport." No, they haven't. Pretty much the only people complaining about the tracks are a) residents who, rightly or wrongly, feel that they have been affected and b) taxi drivers.

    2. "Tavistock Place has always been a fairly quiet road - and even now, during the day there are hardly any cyclists at all". Nope. Tavistock Place had huge amounts of ratrun/through traffic - that has been massively reduced. And it has thousands of cyclists a day using it - it's one of the busiest stretches for cyclists outside the Cycle Superhighways. Yes, during the day you won't see hordes of cyclists down it - but nor do you see hordes of pedestrians, taxis etc. (nor did you before). That's the middle of the day on many streets in London.

    3. "Euston to Waterloo are shock a block with HGV lorries passing through the quiet residential streets nearby (Coram St, Herbrand St)" And they often were before. Camden has taken traffic counts. Some nearby streets are up. But not as dramatically as this implies.

    As with CS11, there are some folks for whom their driving convenience seems to trump all other considerations. And as with CS11, it seems they're quite willing to throw in any old mud to stick to the scheme.

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