Controversy continues over the flawed plans from Transport for London for a “Cycle Superhighway” from Olympia to Brentford. The Hammersmith Society has come out against the scheme. There are a range of objectors – motorists concerned about traffic congestion being made worse, bus users (especially the elderly and disabled) who would find getting to a bus stop hazardous. Local churches and shops worry that it would be harder for people to visit them. There are also objections from slower, gentler cyclists who find the idea of “cycle superhighway” rather intimidating. The £70 million could be better spent in ways that provide genuine cycling improvements without harming others.
So there is no surprise that opposition is considerable. In order to proceed Transport for London would need permission from both Hounslow and Hammersmith and Fulham Council. Both councils seem to be dithering.
Hounslow Council says “reservations have been raised about some elements by significant numbers of people, particularly around proposals for Chiswick High Road.” It adds:
“TfL is currently analysing responses to the consultation and considering in detail the issues raised. Although we await the final report, it is evident that some elements of the scheme will need to be revised for it to be acceptable to our residents and businesses.
These include, for example:
- A review of options to reduce the impact on the southern footway of Chiswick High Road for pedestrians, particularly outside the Our Lady of Grace church;
- Access arrangements for some side roads off Chiswick High Road;
- Loading provisions for businesses along the high road;
- Consideration to wider parking and traffic management measures if the scheme is implemented to deal with likely knock on impacts from the scheme.
In order to ensure that TfL and the council have time to analyse and interpret the huge response received, and give consideration to all the issues raised, a decision on the revised scheme will not be taken until the summer, when the newly elected administration will review the revised scheme and determine the council’s position on it.”
In a report Hammersmith and Fulham Council says in a report to a meeting taking place on January 29th:
“TfL is currently analysing responses to their consultation and considering in detail the issues raised. 1.5. The council submitted to TfL initial technical comments on the proposed route and continues to collect the views of its residents and business owners along the route.
Hammersmith and Fulham council is the Highways Authority for the roads used for this route in the borough, and a decision to allow any scheme to be implemented lies with the Cabinet.
The Cabinet will make a final decision over whether or not the proposed scheme is to be allowed after considering all the responses from its Residents and Businesses and any revised changes proposed by TfL.”
“The council will ensure that the views and opinions of its residents and businesses are carefully considered in the development of any proposed scheme, to enable the administration to review any revised scheme and determine the council’s position on it.”
Come off it.
The TfL consultation closed on October 31st. How long does “analysing responses” take? Surely they would managed to come up with an initial tally of how support and opposition there is by now.
I understood the Hammersmith and Fulham Council report to the meeting on January 29th was going to tells us the level of support for the scheme both from responses to TfL and later responses to the Council.
There are five rules of Dodgeball – “Dodge, duck, dip, dive and…dodge.”
Hounslow and Hammersmith and Fulham councils don’t wish to defy the Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Nor do they want to defy their residents – at least not before May 3rd. Thus they are keen to avoid taking an unpopular decision – until after the local elections.
The difficulty for these councils in not that the consultation responses are inconclusive. It is that the message is loud and clear – that the CS9 scheme is not wanted. So a few tinkering changes are proposed and until May their great rallying cry will be that they and TfL are “currently analysing responses”.
What should the response be? To keep up the opposition. Urge all those who haven’t yet done so to sign the petition.