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Extinction Rebellion activist warns Euston Road cycle lane jams will add to pollution

Climate change campaigners says TfL and council should consult with environmental groups

16 July, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

The new cycle lane in Euston Road [Simon Lamrock]

THEY always favour cycling over motor car fumes, but climate change activists say a new bike lane in Euston Road will lead to more of the latter.

Amid a hot debate over the installation of the new road layout in Euston and King’s Cross, the Camden branch of Extinction Rebellion said it was concerned that traffic tailbacks meant more idling engines.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Transport for London and Camden Council are together implementing one of the biggest reorderings of the roadmap in recent memory, with the Town Hall alone considering 1,000 new measures to encourage walking and cycling.

All the authorities say they must make the roads safer for pedestrians and those travelling on two wheels as the use of public transport falls due to the coronavirus crisis.

But Dorothea Hackman from Camden Extinction Rebellion said: “If they were to measure the pollution it will be infinitely worse than before cycle lanes were put there. The council have to stand up and do something because they have a carbon emergency target to have zero carbon emissions by 2030. How are they going to achieve that if they have idling traffic?”

She added: “We applaud improved cycle lanes, it is such a good thing, but it has to be done with discussion with the local residents in advance. TfL should not be doing these things without talking to people and finding out what the consequences are.”

Ms Hackman said jams in Euston Road meant forcing drivers into residential streets.

“If they shared the modelling with us, we could share with them how it could be done,” she said. “They should be taking systematic and well documented steps to prevent air pollution in Camden. Instead they have kettled the traffic in residential streets.”

Euston Road is one of the biggest flashpoints as changes to the road continue at speed. Cyclists have celebrated feeling safer travelling in the new lane – a man on a bike was killed during a collision in Euston Road earlier in the lockdown – but car drivers, including cab drivers, say they have been left gridlocked in the city’s biggest traffic jam.

Labour councillor Adam Harrison

Camden’s environment chief, Councillor Adam Harrison, said: “I am glad to see TfL taking this urgent action to provide safe travel for Camdeners, and all Londoners, during Covid. Locally we have long talked about how Euston Road needs improving.”

“The recent Camden-TfL scheme to allow safe cycling between Judd Street and Midland Road was one step forward, but the Euston Road pop-up lanes will be a huge additional help, complementing TfL’s new Hampstead Road lanes and the pop-up lanes Camden and Islington Councils have now begun installing on York Way.”

Nigel Hardy, TfL’s head of healthy streets investment and delivery, said: “Creating extra space for walking and cycling is absolutely central to ensuring that London’s recovery from coronavirus is green, sustainable and safe. The temporary new cycle lane being built along Euston Road will give people confidence that they can move around the area by bike safely and we’re working to deliver the lane as quickly as possible to minimise the impact of construction work.”

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