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Mayor backs controversial CS11 cycle ‘superhighway’

The No to CS11 campaign are “mulling over” legal action

22 December, 2016 — By Tom Foot

A MAJOR transforma­tion of Swiss Cottage has been given the go-ahead by the Mayor of London.

The 1960s one-way system will be ripped up and the north end of Avenue Road, between the library and the Odeon cinema, will be pedestrianised. Work is expected to begin in autumn 2017.

It’s part of the 2.5-mile CS11 cycle “superhighway”, from Swiss Cottage through Regent’s Park and into the West End, which was approved by Sadiq Khan on Friday.

He said: “Together, such improvements will make cycling safer and easier for all Londoners in the area, helping to make cycling a part of their everyday lives.”

The original plans – which reduced the number of lanes in Finchley Road – have been amended following complaints from residents that heavy traffic would create a rat-run through neigh­bouring backstreets.

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who spearheaded a No to CS11 campaign, said: “What TfL are planning is not a cycle superhighway at all. It is a concerted effort to create a traffic gridlock situation in north-west London. We would urge the Mayor to scrap these plans which are not what was consulted on or modelled by TfL.”

She added that No to CS11 are “mulling over” legal action. A fund-raising campaign, announced in October for potential legal action, has raised £5,000 towards a target of £150,000.

TfL have been criticised for not taking HS2 construction works, scheduled to take 17 years in Camden, into account when drawing up its designs and traffic modelling for the scheme.

Clive Beecham, chairman of the St John’s Wood High Street Association, said: “Would you think, for example, of building a multimillion-pound, disruptive and politically contentious piece of public works right where the proposed third runway at Heathrow is going? No sane person would do that, but that is precisely what our mayor, the GLA [Greater London Authority[ and [Deputy Mayor, Transport] Val Shawcross, together with Camden Council and TfL are committed to doing.”

The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) has welcomed the announcement but some cyclists have also criticised the Mayor for delaying a final decision on whether to ban vehicles from entering four “gates” around Regent’s Park. In a lengthy blog post, City Hall’s former cycling adviser Andrew Gilligan said Mr Khan was in danger of losing credib­ility with cyclists and bowing to a “nimby minority” over Regent’s Park.

He added: “TfL have committed to removing the Swiss Cottage gyratory. But they have not committed to the key proposal which turns this from merely a junction scheme into a route – to close four of the eight gates to Regent’s Park to stop the Outer Circle being a rat-run. This shouldn’t have been a hard decision for Sadiq, so the refusal to commit is a pretty bad sign. If the Mayor does decide that one of the world’s great parks should remain a traffic-choked rat-run, his rhetoric about transforming London for pedestrians and cyclists will be shown to be hollow.”

In February-March 2016, Transport for London consulted on CS11, receiving 6,270 responses, 60 per cent of which supported or partially supported the scheme.

Ashok Sinha, chief executive of the London Cycling Campaign said: “LCC particularly wel­comes the long overdue redevelopment of the dangerous Swiss Cottage gyratory and the Mayor and Royal Parks’ commit­ment to ensuring the safety for people walking and cycling through Regent’s Park.”

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