The Independent London Newspaper
20th October 2017

Residents’ concerns over the ‘walking and cycling improvements’ have not been resolved and Cllr Phil Jones knows it

    Published: 12 January, 2016

    • REGARDING the proposed Pratt and Delancey streets walking and cycling improvements, contrary to the impression that Cllr Phil Jones’s remarks may have given readers, residents and business people, many of whom are regular cyclists, would welcome any integrated scheme that slowed traffic speeds, improved air quality and created paths that were safe not only for cyclists but other road users and pedestrians alike.

    Cllr Jones said the current infrastructure proposal was extremely safe, that other suggested routes didn’t come up to scratch and that this had been repeatedly explained to resident associations in many meetings and emails. 

    This is a flagrant misrepresentation our experience with Cllr Jones, to whom the majority of our concerns, repeatedly raised in detail over the last 18 months, have still not been satisfactorily resolved, but instead replied to with generic responses and without proper answers to our proper questions. Consequently we still believe, with every justification, that this scheme is ill-conceived and not fully thought through. 

    Cllr Jones added insult to injury when he stated: “HS2… is often used as an excuse by people who don’t want to change the way our streets are organised,” and that we should “…give up the old-fashioned mindset that says car domination is the best way to organise our streets”. 

    Residents are keener than anybody, including Cllr Jones, to reduce the number of vehicles using our road and, contrary to his comments, we are certainly not of the mindset that roads should be about vehicles, but equally, it shouldn’t be just about cyclists either.  

    A great number of local residents have dedicated countless hours of their time and campaigned long and hard over many months against the proposal of HS2 and the devastating impact it will have not only in Camden in general, but in Delancey Street in particular. 

    We have presented petitions in person to the select committees in both the House of Commons and House of Lords arguing in detail against the impact that a huge increase in road traffic will have on our streets and our lives. 

    Therefore, we don’t take kindly to Cllr Jones’s dismissive and unjustified remarks. 

    We also object to the manner in which objectors to such ill-conceived schemes as this one are routinely and insultingly described as wealthy nimby residents and naysayers… 

    We respect the right of Cllr Jones, as a committed cyclist, to support the Pratt Street and Delancey Street walking and cycling Improvements proposal, but we do not think it appropriate that he also has the power to authorise it.

    The manner in which the consultation for this scheme has been conducted, and the resulting conclusions, are highly flawed and unfairly influenced by the intense lobbying and highly organised campaign conducted by cycling groups – many of whom are not local residents. This is a pattern which has now been repeated in other areas.

    The Danish style segregated cycle lanes pioneered in Copenhagen has undoubtedly been a great success over there. 

    However, unlike London, Copenhagen is much smaller and has enjoyed an urban cycle culture for over 40 years. If an urban cycle culture is to be successfully developed here, it must designed and adapted as Cllr Jones himself has said - with the particular needs of residents in mind.

    RK GRANT
    Delancey Street, NW1

     

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