TfL Admits Cycle Superhighway 9 Consultation Was Flawed
Report on responses to be published soon as they work on 'evolving proposal'
Transport for London (TfL) has acknowledged that there were significant flaws in the consultation held for Cycle Superhighway 9 (CS9). They have pledged to consult more widely in advance of submitting a revised plan which they will do once they have fully assessed responses to the initial design.
In a letter to Tony Arbour, the London Assembly member for the constituency covering most of Chiswick, Heather Preen the head of the newly formed Local Communities and Partnership team admitted that mistakes had been made and promised that the next stage of consultation they would not just hold pre-consultation discussions with political leadership. She apologised to local councillors and other stakeholders for the lack of communication about the original proposal. The letter was sent following a meeting with Heather Preen last month, attended by three Chiswick councillors.
She said in her letter, “With regards to the proposed CS9 cycle route, I recognise that very little pre-consultation engagement took place with elected representatives and local people and I apologise for this. Obviously we worked very closely with the political leadership of the three boroughs ahead of the consultation launch but we understand that conversations about all our policies, projects and programmes need to happen more widely and at an earlier stage.”
She added that they are continuing to engage with local people and this feedback is being fed into what she describes as an ‘evolving’ proposal. Traffic reassignment modelling on the revisions is currently taking place and they will be publishing a revised proposal once this process has been completed.
TfL was widely criticised for its initial consultation with many businesses saying they were unaware of any plan until after a detailed design was published and they disputed claims that there had been pre-consultation discussions with local shops and other organisations likely to be affected. TfL claimed to have sent out over 70,000 letters to residents along the route but they do not seem to have included residents of the London Borough of Ealing some of whom live just a few hundred yards from the proposed route. The consultation also was not publicised in any local media.
The transport company is to publish its 'Responses to Issues Raised' report next month and says it will "ensure that the report provides a breakdown of respondents by postcode". It is expected that a significantly modified plan for CS9 will go to public consultation in the near future but at this stage it is unclear what is meant by 'significantly'. There are some suggestions that the major changes will take place between Wellesley Road and Kew Bridge Road where a bi-directional cycle lane is planned.
Although the public consultation into the scheme, showed a majority of respondents in favour, TfL have refused to release a detailed breakdown of where the responses came from. They declined a Freedom of Information of request from ChiswickW4.com for this data. Opponents of the scheme believe that these numbers will show that a large proportion of people directly affected were against CS9 and that the favourable majority was secured by support from outside the area co-ordinated by pro-cycling campaign groups.
One source told us there were 900 identically worded responses to the consultation and that TfL had to take this into account. LA member Tony Arbour had criticised the consultation findings as 'flawed", when they were released and said he had seen no support for the cycle highway in Chiswick.
Heather Preen defended the methodology employed to assess results saying, "In this case, where we are asking people about changes to cycling facilities, we would expect a greater proportion of people who cycle to respond. As noted in the meeting, we will ensure that the report provides a breakdown of respondents by postcode and, as set out in the consultation, this will include how buses will be affected along the CS9 route."
Hounslow Council's transport department has objected to some of the proposals on traffic management issues, particularly involving junctions. The Council delayed its official response to the CS9 plan because of the local elections. It is now not likely to be forthcoming until after the next consultation, which will be on the modified scheme. That will then be followed by a statutory consultation.
September 23, 2018