politics

Cycle lane wars: Kensington High Street’s temporary cycle lane axed after hundreds of complaints


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controversial cycle lane in west London is to removed after hundreds of protests.

The scheme, which saw bollards erected on the protected path along Kensington High Street, will be removed on Wednesday, council chiefs have revealed.

The £700,000 scheme was introduced in September in a bid to encourage visitors back to the area after lockdown but local business groups said it made congestion worse and affected bus journey times and easy access for loading and unloading.

Members of a local disability group said it also made it more difficult for taxis and cars to drop people off safely at the pavements edge.

Johnny Thalassites, lead member for transport on Kensington and Chelsea council, said: “The cycle lane was a trial scheme to help those hopping on bikes during lockdowns and encourage shoppers to the High Street. Businesses and residents have told us loud and clear that they believe the experiment has not worked. We are listening.

 “By removing the temporary lanes as lockdown lifts, we hope to help get the High Street moving again and give our local economy the best possible chance of a good December.”

The scheme does have its supporters – TV presenter and prominent cyclist Jeremy Vine said it had “massively” improved safety for cyclists and encouraged less confident riders onto their bikes.

Posting a video if himself using the cycle lane on Twitter on Saturday, he wrote: “I guess this will be my last time on the High Street Kensington cycle lane. They have only been in place for two months, and they are reportedly being ripped out next week after residents’ complaints.”

The video showed a cyclist pulling up as she approached a junction as traffic pulled out. “The woman up ahead appears to have lost confidence that she can proceed,” Vine wrote. “Do you think this young woman will cycle once the protective lane is stripped out?” he asked. 

However the local Tory MP, Felicity Buchan, was among a chorus of voices in the community calling for the scheme to be scrapped.

In a clip posted to Twitter, Ms Buchan said: “We’re on the verge of Kensington High Street and we’ve come to see the traffic this morning.  

“I very much wanted the cycle lane on Kensington High Street to work but unfortunately it just hasn’t.”

( The Cycle Lane and road narrowing along Chiswick High Road causing / NIGEL HOWARD © )

Across London, almost 100 “low traffic neighbourhoods” (LTNs) that discourage through traffic in residential areas have been installed since April, with 89km of new or upgraded cycle lanes and more than 300 “school streets”, which ban non-residential vehicles at the start and end of the school day.

Several LTNs have been axed or modified, such as those in Tooting, Redbridge and Lewisham. One of two temporary cycle lanes in Euston Road is due to be removed “in the coming weeks” after delaying westbound buses.



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