…By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media.
Advisory Cycle Lanes Proposed for Kensington High Street and Fulham Road, Prompting Mixed Reactions
Support for Advisory Cycle Lanes, Criticisms from Cyclists
Over 60 percent of respondents in a public consultation expressed at least partial support for the introduction of new “advisory” cycle lanes on Fulham Road, as well as the eastern and western sections of Kensington High Street.
However, cyclists have voiced criticism towards Kensington and Chelsea Council for proposing advisory lanes, which use broken white lines to demarcate the lanes without physical barriers to prevent cars from entering.
This proposal comes after a recent High Court dismissal of residents’ claim that the council acted unlawfully when removing temporary cycle lanes on Kensington High Street after only seven weeks.
Background of Temporary Cycle Lanes and Public Consultation Results
Temporary cycle lanes were initially implemented on Kensington High Street, costing £171,500, using plastic wands to separate cyclists from motorists, in an effort to promote walking and cycling during the Covid pandemic.
However, these lanes were removed following complaints from residents and businesses, leading to a judicial review sought by walking and cycling campaigners.
The public consultation conducted after the High Court ruling revealed that over 60 percent of respondents either fully or partially supported the introduction of new cycle lanes on Kensington High Street and Fulham Road.
Proposed Scheme and Criticisms
The council has proposed the introduction of cycle lanes on both Kensington High Street and Fulham Road, with a recommendation for the lanes to be two meters wide wherever possible according to a road safety audit.
The proposed scheme would rely on painted dashed white lines without any physical infrastructure.
However, the London Cycling Campaign spokesperson, Simon Munk, views this as only a small step forward for cyclists.
He criticizes the council’s approach, stating that it seems focused on doing the bare minimum and exacerbating residents’ perception of cycling as a driving issue rather than an opportunity to reduce car usage and combat climate emissions.
Disagreements and Safety Concerns
The spokesperson highlights that the proposed “advisory cycle lanes” without physical protection go against the government’s guidance on cycle safety and scheme design.
Furthermore, gaps and safety issues still exist within the proposed schemes.
The exclusion of the central section of Kensington High Street and potential work on dangerous junctions is attributed to resident concerns and the risk of further delays.
However, critics argue that the council has already delayed action for an extensive period, and other councils in London, as well as Transport for London (TfL), have successfully implemented better schemes on similarly congested roads within weeks or months.
Views from Campaigners and Council’s Response
Justin Abbott, a member of Better Streets for Kensington and Chelsea, who initiated the legal case against the council, expresses disappointment with their approach.
He points out that the borough is the only one in London without protected cycle lanes, preventing safe journeys.
The council states that it began researching a long-term cycle scheme for Kensington High Street in March 2021 after evaluating evidence from the temporary cycle lanes.
The council’s decision was to refrain from installing temporary cycle lanes but rather conduct research on post-Covid transport patterns in collaboration with residents, academic institutions, and research partners.
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