St. John’s Wood Society Response to Proposed Cycle Superhighway 11
The executive committee of the St. John’s Wood Society has had difficulty reaching a consensus view on Transport for London’s Cycle Superhighway 11 proposal. Members have a range of opposing opinions on CS11 and have expressed them with conviction. The issues CS11 raises about pollution, transport and the sharing of resources are difficult ones that will persist for years, particularly as London’s population grows and becomes more dense. We recognise these issues can’t be ignored, and that there do need to be cultural changes in how Londoners approach transport. We recognise that change will be disruptive.
The executive committee unanimously supports the principle of Cycle Superhighways as a way to reduce London’s air pollution and promote cycling as an alternative to private car travel.
Regarding the current CS11 proposal, however, a majority of committee members view it as having fundamental flaws, and we therefore oppose it. The committee also is aware – based on views expressed at the 7 March public forum at St. John’s Wood Church and in written and other communications – that a clear majority of the general membership of the Society oppose the scheme.
The committee would like to see the CS11 proposal withdrawn until there is clarity about the impact of the HS2 train line on the route and surrounding areas. We believe it is essential that any CS11 proposal factor that impact into its design. While we note that other cycle superhighways have been built near Crossrail, we do not regard that as comparable to the magnitude of HS2 on this proposed route.
Regarding the current CS11 proposal, our main objections are:
-Failure to model for the traffic impact of HS2 and the re-development of the St. John’s Wood Barracks. HS2 will have a major, more than decade-long impact on traffic flows from Camden Town and Albany Street, across Primrose Hill and Adelaide Road and west down Boundary Road. The re-development of the Barracks will involve more than 200 lorries a day travelling on Finchley Road in both directions. Any modelling of traffic that fails to include them can’t be regarded as complete.
-Failure to release traffic modelling data. This has made it impossible to judge the validity of the conclusions TfL has drawn about likely traffic flows associated with CS11 or the assumptions on which those conclusions are based.
We also are concerned that the modelled traffic times are not accurate. The proposed route runs from Swiss Cottage to Portland Place, but the estimated travel times cited in the consultation document are from Swiss Cottage to Baker Street, not all the way to Portland Place.
-Increased congestion. Even with “smart” traffic lights, it is difficult to believe that there won’t be increased congestion on Finchley Road and Wellington Road (and Park Road further on, particularly with the probable introduction of the Baker Street two-way system) as a result of this proposal. (And without TfL’s traffic modelling data, it’s impossible to make an informed judgment.)
Additionally, the proposed scheme will mean that there will be essentially no place for traffic on Marylebone Road travelling west to turn north between Tottenham Court Road and just west of Baker Street once the HS2 construction is underway, as moving north on Albany Street will be closed and severely restricted. That will increase traffic on Marylebone Road.
All of this is likely to bring heightened air pollution. It also is likely to create rat runs through residential streets of St. John’s Wood, adding to emissions there and risking the safety of residents. Some of the likely rat runs will be on newly created Cycle Quietways such as Ordnance Hill, which would undermine the very purpose for which they were created.
-Failure to consult comprehensively. There was compelling evidence at the St. John’s Wood public forum on 7 March that TfL’s consultation documents on CS11 hadn’t reached a significant number of residents. Anecdotally, similar accounts have continued to surface since then of individuals or buildings that say they hadn’t received the documents.
Design changes the Society would like to see:
-Regent’s Park segregated cycle lanes. We believe Regent’s Park should be treated like other parts of CS11, and other Cycle Superhighways generally, and utilise segregated cycle lanes. We note this is how the East-West Cycle Superhighway is configured in Hyde Park. We also note that highway doesn’t restrict car journeys in Hyde Park, and we believe that same policy should apply in Regent’s Park. While we recognise Regent’s Park is Grade-I listed, we do not accept that as a convincing reason segregated cycle lanes can’t be introduced in the Outer Circle or speed cameras or speed limit signs erected there. Segregated cycle lanes would encourage commuter cycling, while allowing for continuing co-existence with motorists. The shared use of roads and segregated lanes are elements of essentially all Cycle Superhighways and Regent’s Park shouldn’t be an exception.
-Swiss Cottage layout. We believe the stretch of Avenue Road between the Swiss Cottage Library and the back of the Odeon cinema should be accessible for cars continuing south to Avenue Road or turning east onto Adelaide Road, not just to buses and bicycles. This would help to prevent increased congestion on Finchley Road south of Swiss Cottage and also would prevent the creation of rat runs in the residential streets of St. John’s Wood. This design change would be crucial if auto access to Regent’s Park were left in the status quo – as we are seeking.
If these points were addressed, the Society would consider taking a fresh look at a re-imagined CS11. In its current form, a majority of the committee oppose the plan.
St. John’s Wood Society,
on behalf of the Executive Committee