Council leader Steve Curran visits Chiswick to hear from opponents
CS9 opponents marked pavement space they say is to be lost. Picture: @W4resident
Hounslow Council is expected to announce its decision on the cycleway through Chiswick, formerly known as CS9, in the autumn. The Cabinet is to debate the issue in September, and a formal response to the plan would then follow.
This means that Transport for London's (TfL) original hope to start work on the project in the summer, when traffic is lighter due to the holidays, will not happen. Concerns are being raised that the traffic in the area currently being generated by the long-term closure of Hammersmith Bridge will be intensified if work starts on the cycle highway. The works would also now coincide with the construction of the enabling development around Brentford Stadium which will see 1,000 flats being built close to the route.
The Council will consider the outcome of the second consultation on the £70million scheme which asked for views on two revisions to the original plan. Changes were made to the design north of Kew Bridge and in the Dukes Road/Dukes Avenue area. The results of this consultation, which raised concerns particularly for residents of the Glebe Estate, are expected to be published in the next two weeks.
Leader of Hounslow Council Steve Curran visited Chiswick last week to meet with residents and business leaders opposed to the cycleway. Areas of the pavement on the High Street which would be removed if the cycleway was to proceed were marked off with tape and cones for the visit by campaigners.
Mr Curran said, “On Sunday, I met some residents from Chiswick who are opposed to the proposals for the new cycle route being put forward by TfL. It was helpful to listen to their views and concerns and to walk the route. We await the outcome of the consultation from TfL and we will then be considering the plans at Cabinet in the autumn.”
At one point during Cllr Curran's visit, he was told of how a local undertaker would have to carry coffins along the pavement and cross the cycle highway in order to load deceased persons onto a hearse. WS Bond Undertakers, at 129 Chiswick High Road, have been told they can no longer park their hearse on a wide section of pavement outside their front entrance. Instead TfL propose a new loading bay, for general public use, at 111-113 CHR, outside the vets. It is understood that the new loading arrangements for the undertakers were among a number of changes considered too minor to be part of the consultation.
Cllr Steve Curran walks the route of the cycleway
TfL say that, due to the presence of mature trees and the change of the existing two stage zebra crossing to a signalised pedestrian crossing, it is not possible to place a loading bay nearer the undertakers and, after 'careful consideration' of their requirements a new 7m bay is being proposed outside 111-113 Chiswick High Road for their use. The bus stop at that location is to be moved further down towards Chiswick Lane.
TfL have been heavily criticised throughout the process for inadequate consultation with local businesses and residents. Opponents claim they are deliberately making little effort to promote consultations locally to increase the chances that effective lobbying by pro-cycling groups will show overall support for their plans in the consultation.
The Catholic Church at Our Lady of Grace & St Edward successfully challenged TfL when it was proposed to decrease the pavement width outside their front entrance which is used for congregating after Mass and as the main entrance for funerals and weddings.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council have already given their backing to Cycleway 9 having persuaded TfL to rebrand it after the 'superhighway' name caused concern among local disability groups. They negotiated with TfL for extra funding including support for a 'safer cycle pathway through the centre of Hammersmith' plus an additional route by the A4 'for those riders who simply want to get from A to B as quickly and safely as possible'. The details of this second route have yet to be published.
Nigel Hardy, TfL's Head of Programme Sponsorship, said, “Cycleway 9 will make cycling and walking easier, safer, and more appealing in neighbourhoods right across west London. We have made significant changes to our plans in response to the feedback received from local businesses and will continue to work closely with Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow Councils to make sure that our plans work for the local community.”
Cycleway 9 is the new name to be given to the segregated cycle lane between Brentford and Olympia that was previously called Cycle Superhighway 9.
Last week, Kensington & Chelsea council refused to support the plan for the cycle highway, citing congestion and air quality concerns. The scheme, part of Mayor Sadiq Khan's Transport Strategy, included 4.7 miles (7.6km) of bike paths between Wood Lane and Notting Hill Gate. The Council's decision came before the end of a public consultation and during a public meeting organised by the Kensington Society. There was significant local opposition to the scheme particular over the loss of trees that would have resulted but the Mayor's Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said 'people would die' because of the decision.
It is thought likely that, without the backing of the local authority, it would be impossible to proceed with this scheme.
June 16, 2019