Packed Meeting Hears Range of Views on Cycle Superhighway
Heated debate on issues for Chiswick raised by CS9
The public meeting on the proposed Cycle Superhighway (CS9) for Chiswick High Road heard from residents concerned about issues ranging from pedestrians worrying about shared crossings, to air pollution, the reasons why the A4 was not selected, and whether the cycle highway would affect restaurants with outside tables.
The meeting was organised by The Chiswick Calendar and chaired by Julian Worricker of the BBC. It was held in the George IV on Chiswick High Road and was a sell out event.
At one stage when a resident queried why such a major change for Chiswick had been given a relatively short consultation period (until 31 October), the Mayor's Commissioner for Walking and Cycling, Will Norman, replied that the Cycle Superhighway was not "a done deal" and that was the purpose of the consultation. Amendments could be made and they were looking for local feedback.
One local man told of how he had been knocked over by a cyclist on a pavement near Flanders Road. It necessitated surgery and a plaster. He was now very aware of how many cyclists used the pavement. When would we have some legal implications for this such as registration of cyclists so that they could be traced in this situation?
Another resident said she had experience of a 'shared' crossing between pedestrians and cyclists and it was "terrifying". "In many ways I am for these cycle highways but not in a suburban area".
David Lesniak, the proprietor of Outsider Tart, asked how it would work if children were using the cycle highway at peak time such as the school run, and cyclists were rushing to work. He said CS9 would not be wide enough to allow easy overtaking. He also queried the changes to the parking bays where loading and deliveries would take place. He said despite TfL's assertion that traders were consulted, he had not been told anything about the CS9 in advance, and neither had one single trader that he knew off.
The owner of Chateau Dessert said that she believed the pedestrian crossing being so near to her cafe, she was likely to lose pavement space and that outside space was vital to her business, rents and rates had increased, and she was also concerned how it would affect deliveries.
Joy Wigg of TfL said they were going door to door to businesses last week and they would all be consulted before the deadline. There would be enough remaining space for outside tables and pedestrians.
Mark Frost head of Traffic at Hounslow Council said they were trying to encourage people to stop driving cars to Chiswick High Road and if it were made nicer to travel there by cycling they would do so. The A4 had poor connectivity to side roads and cyclists would have to get across six lanes of traffic.
There were also questions as to why the CS9 did not go to the Chiswick Business Park and would be routed instead through Wellesley Road. A member of the audience said that residents of Stile Hall Gardens and Wellesley Road would have to go be rerouted through other streets and asked "how is that a green solution?! The meeting was told the routing was to enable access to Kew and Brentford.
Cyclists on the pavement were "an absolute nightmare" and how would the CS9 ensure that it would be safer for pedestrians, one person asked?
Will Norman said that there would be enforcement teams on the ground, a team of officers working with police and when there were new cycle routes, the team would usually target the area. There was a shout from a member of the audience that police were not enforcing the 20mph limit for cars, let alone cyclists.
Nigel Walley said that he was a regular cyclist, both in Chiswick and further afield, to the West End and Heathrow. The current cycle lane from Chiswick roundabout was dreadful, with potholes and dead ends. The A4 would be the perfect solution for the cycle superhighway and it had been dismissed too easily.
Ruth Mayorcas (on the panel) said young people would not be able to afford to buy cars and cycling needed to be made safer. One good example of shared use was Kingston upon Thames market where everyone showed respect to other users whether pedestrians or cyclists.
Councillor Sam Hearn said that there was so much money being spent on the cycle superhighway that they ought to be able to figure out how to get cyclists to cross the A4. He asked about the results of the TfL impact survey on Stile Hall Gardens.
The air quality of Chiswick High Road was also a subject of the debate. One man said he did not want to die of air pollution when he was sixty but it seemed the cycle highway was giving to cyclists and taking from pedestrians.
Will Norman said that there were 336 cyclists in peak times, on Chiswick High Road, that was 5-6 a minute and the prediction was this would increase, as it had in other cycle highway areas.
A number of people queried whether TfL knew how many cyclists there were on Chiswick High Road and where they were travelling to.
A representative from the parish of Our Lady of Grace, which has raised concerns about the impact of a reduced pavement outside the church entrance, said that 400 people attended Mass and people congregated outside the church afterwards. One member of the audience said that they could just use the pavement at the side entrance on Dukes's Avenue, but he said this was not a wide enough area.
Will Norman said that it had become a heated issue and he would like people to calm down and have a productive conversation on the matter.
A video of the debate will be available at a later date on the Chiswick Calendar.
You can read more details about how the cycle highway will operate with maps.
The cycle path is to be located on the southern side of Chiswick High Road because surveys indicated this had a lower footfall and it would have a lower impact on tree removal, according to TfL.
The consultation on the cycle highway closes on 31 October.
Further details with maps and images available on the TfL website.
Click here for larger version of this map
The CS9 is part of the Mayor's draft Transport Strategy and Healthy Streets project which aims to encourage walking, cycling and using public transport. TfL say it will provide improvement for all road users and offer a clearer and safer route for people to cycle in West London, make it easier to cross busy roads, and remove traffic on some residential roads.
October 19, 2017