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An Inconvenient Truth

The current edition of the Enfield Independent newspaper carries four letters from residents over in the Green Lanes area of London, regards the negative impact of the A105 cycle scheme on their community and businesses. The anger is palpable.

We cannot post the actual page here for copyright reasons, but one resident, Helen Osman, who runs the community portal N21 online, has written the following which she has given us permission to publish here.

Residents and business owners in Chiswick are right to worry about the prospect of having a cycle superhighway foisted on them. The A105 cycle lane from Enfield Town, through Winchmore Hill to Palmers Green, is part of the Mini Holland outer London boroughs programme, not a cycle superhighway; but has suffered all the problems envisaged by Stephen Curtis and Charlotte Kasner, just as our local residents and business owners also predicted.

We have worse traffic congestion, where traffic used to flow relatively freely; due to the construction of new signalised crossings and the narrowing of the carriageway. Every time a bus stops all the following traffic has to stop; the same is true when a driver is turning right as there is no longer any room for vehicles to undertake. The deterioration in air quality is noticeable. Businesses have suffered, because of loss of parking and because many residents are avoiding the area.

Most alarming is that a road which previously had a good safety record is now dangerous. Dozens of people have required hospital treatment as a direct result of accidents and incidents related to the new cycle lanes.

Pedestrians have been overlooked, in a scheme designed purely to meet the needs of cyclists. Central islands have been removed and zebra crossings moved to locations away from where people actually want to cross the road, including our local high streets. People are tripping over orcas (the rubber cycle lane dividers), as well as other obstacles; are being hit by cyclists on the new bus borders and on the sections where the cycle track is at pavement level.

Driving along the A105 is now like negotiating an obstacle course. Vehicles are hitting the cycle lane dividers, protruding kerbs and bus boarders, damaging tyres and worse. Many residents have to drive over these solid lumps to get in and out of their homes, as well as garages, GPs surgeries and other public places.

Meanwhile most local cyclists are sticking to the main road, they say it is faster and safer. To quote one local cyclist on Facebook “Conclusion as a pedestrian, cyclist and motorist it is utterly catastrophic”.

The A105 is too narrow to accommodate two segregated cycle lanes. Meanwhile, we are waiting for Will Norman the walking and cycling ‘czar’ to visit. Many people believe it is only a matter of time before we have a fatality, but too late then to say we told you so.

The best way to illustrate what has happened to our road would be to come and have a look. Here is just one example; the new bus stop/bus boarder in the heart of Palmers Green, which stretches for seven shops.

What cyclist in his/her right mind is going to use this? You can see how narrow the pavement is, not surprisingly pedestrians often walk along the cycle track at pavement level, seemingly totally oblivious of its intended function. Mobility scooters, ladies pushing walking trollies, kids on skate boards, mummies with buggies and small tots are a daily sight. The whole scheme is shambolic.

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Rise and Sign – Display a Poster

We’ve printed some #RedesignCS9 posters, which are now being distributed, and we’ve created an offline petition for traders who are happy to print out a document and display it on their premises.

We have co-ordinated this with the petition on the Hounslow website. Any party affiliation has been removed, but the wording needs to be the same in order to have all signatures added to the final total.

The online deadline is not until March 15, so our petition will remain active until then.

http://petitions.hounslow.gov.uk/StopCS9/

Hounslow has delayed putting CS9 before cabinet until after the May election. At that we are being told it’s likely not to be on the agenda again until September-ish once a new cabinet settles in. But that does not mean we can relax.

Chiswick Area Forum is on Tuesday, January 23 and the Hammersmith one is on January 29. Anyone can attend. Both boroughs will address CS9.

We’ve met with Hounslow Council Leader Steve Curran and Mark Frost, Head of Transport. Both say to keep the pressure on TfL. Pressuring them won’t hurt either. Contact steve.curran@hounslow.gov.uk and mark.frost@hounslow.gov.uk

CS9

Ditch It or Switch It

Hounslow Council has announced that a decision on the proposed controversial Cycle Superhighway (CS9) in Hammersmith and Chiswick will be deferred until after the local elections in May.

On January 11 we met with Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of the Council, who confirmed that a decision will not be taken until the summer at the earliest, and that the Council is still open to letters and views from members of the community regards the proposed Cycle Superhighway.

RedesignCS9 is urgently seeking to raise wider local awareness about the Tfl scheme and to air the views of hundreds of local residents and business owners in Chiswick and Hammersmith. Many have never been informed of the public consultation by Tfl, despite claims of “an extensive marketing and community engagement campaign.”

RedesignCS9 maintains that the Tfl consultation, which opened on September 21 and closed on October 31 2017, was not transparent and obvious interest groups that should have been consulted were not. Tfl is due to publish a report about its consultation next month (February). Several petitions opposing the current plans have since been launched.

We welcome Hounslow Council’s deferment of a decision on CS9 which allows for a serious rethink of the current proposals. RedesignCS9 will now be launching a public campaign to set out our concerns and better inform local residents and businesses of the impact of a cycle superhighway running through Hammersmith to Chiswick.

Cllr Curran and head of traffic and transport for Hounslow, Mark Frost, have told us that the Council is still open to emails, letters and meetings with community members and business owners as part of the decision making process, which ultimately lies with the Council. They assure us that the Council is a long way off making a decision and that the scheme is highly unlikely to progress in its present form.

We’ve been informed that a Cabinet decision will be based on the available technical evidence and professional advice. It is therefore incumbent on local tax payers to present robust evidence to show Tfl and our elected representatives why a two-way cycle track along Chiswick High Road is a dangerous and unfeasible option for all parties involved.

RedesignCS9’s position is that the current CS9 Cycle Superhighway will adversely impact the local community because:

  • The scheme discriminates against pedestrians and public transport users with little evidence of demand or key impact assessments undertaken
  • It creates a dangerous obstacle course for pedestrians especially the old, infirm, those with mobility issues, auditory and sight impairment; pushchair users and the very young
  • Bus journey times, pollution, traffic congestion and noise levels will rise as a result, by Tfl’s own admission
  • A two way cycle track on the southern pavement of Chiswick High Road represents significant risks to both cyclists and pedestrians who will be forced to cross it to reach and leave floating bus islands
  • The design is fundamentally at odds with the Healthy Streets Approach adopted by Tfl
  • The scheme severely limits access to businesses and Our Lady of Grace & St Edward Catholic Church on the southern side, affecting peak use during holidays and ceremonies in particular
  • It will also have an adverse impact on the present evening economy, the use of street pavements and street market traders

RedesignCS9 is calling for an alternative scheme to keep local and passing cyclists of all abilities safe by using alternative and existing, but neglected routes and without degradation of Chiswick High Road. Hounslow Cycling, for example, continues to ask for protected cycle routes along the A4 and A316 linked together at the Hogarth Roundabout.

If implemented, the proposed CS9 scheme will cost £70 million of public money at a time when Hounslow Council tax rates are set to rise by around four percent.

You can contact Cllr Curran or Mark Frost by email at the following addresses:

 

 

Sign the Petition – Have Your Say

The way things are currently, CS9 will destroy Chiswick High Road. It will make it far less pleasant to shop. Buses will be delayed. Traffic will crawl along spewing fumes. We will lose trees and the tables and chairs outside cafes. Pedestrians won’t be able to cross the road very easily. Our local independent shops will lose business. Exactly who in Chiswick will benefit from cyclists whizzing past at 25mph?

David, a local resident with a restaurant business on the High Road, said:

“What I oppose is the fact that the consultation started from the point that the Superhighway is coming so how would you like it implemented? If Tfl had asked us how would we like nearly £70m spent on improving life for residents and visitors, we would have said ‘Get the Piccadilly Line trains to stop, retain our pavements, support events on the High Road for the young and old, put in more seating, try some public art.
“Instead, they run a really poor consultation and their so-called Walking and Cycling Champion even Tweets to attract cyclists from outside the Borough to our meeting. They claim they have mailed all shop owners and residents on their databases, but they did not. They can’t even tell from the responses they received if you are a resident or business contributing to the area, or an activist from somewhere outside the area. It’s time to give local democracy a chance.” 

 

The first thing for residents and local businesses in Chiswick and Hammersmith to do is to sign and share the petition: http://petitions.hounslow.gov.uk/StopCS9/

 

Nick, from Linden Gardens, has done that – and more. This is what he told us:

“Hounslow are struggling to fund Day Centres for the elderly; care for the disadvantaged, schools and recreational facilities. Yet they support a disruptive scheme that is discredited elsewhere in London which will cost millions to the benefit of who exactly? A few white male cyclists? I have sat with neighbours and we have counted the number of cyclists on three occasions. The most we got to in one hour was 14. Try it yourself. We hope that our representatives in Hounslow will see sense and spend their time and money where it is needed.”

 

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