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‘Temporary’ Chiswick cycle lane to be kept after council approval

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 21/07/2021 Ross Lydall
a group of people on a city street filled with lots of traffic: People cycling on Chiswick High Road.jpg © TfL People cycling on Chiswick High Road.jpg

A temporary cycle lane introduced under emergency Covid rules is to be retained after councillors approved a second trial of the “pop-up” scheme.

The Cycleway 9 segregated route along Chiswick High Road forms part of the only protected route in west London, between Olympia and Brentford.

It has been credited with a big increase in cycling but has faced hostility from a number of residents and businesses.

The entire two-way route was originally planned by Transport for London as a £70m cycle superhighway but delays to construction and the arrival of Covid meant parts, including the Chiswick section, were introduced without full consultation and using plastic wands rather than permanent kerbs.

Hounslow council’s cabinet on Tuesday night agreed to introduce a new experimental traffic order, for up to 18 months, to modify the original trial scheme, which opened last December, in a bid to tackle congestion hotspots.

Two bus lanes are to be reintroduced, as is a left-turning traffic lane at the Chiswick Lane junction, and more taxi drop-off points in side streets will be created.

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The council rejected the option of scrapping the cycleway and said there “remains a clear strategic case for Cycleway 9 to connect Brentford to Kew, Chiswick, Hammersmith and Olympia”.

The need for a protected cycle route was likely to increase as more people returned to the office following Monday’s lifting of many lockdown laws, it added.

The route followed by the cycleway previously had a “poor cycle casualty record” and, without a segregated scheme, “collisions with cyclists are likely to increase”.

Hanif Khan, Hounslow’s lead member for transport, said the new trial would continue to gather data about cycling levels and the impact on motorists and bus passengers. “This trial will address many of the concerns raised by residents and businesses,” he said.

Cllr Guy Lambert said: “I’m sure the very pleasant area that is Chiswick will be further enhanced by a better version of cycleway 9.”

A recent TfL survey found 47 per cent of residents supported the scheme, compared to 43 per cent against.

Cllr Lily Bath said: “Obviously it has been a very emotive subject. This is just the beginning and it’s not the end. This is a live scheme. This will allow further input and further feedback.”

Cyclists now account for one in five daytime trips along Chiswick High Road. The number of cycle journeys has increased by 72 per cent between February and April, to 2,700 journeys on weekdays. Many families with children have been seen cycling at weekends.

The One Chiswick group, which opposes the scheme, said TfL’s figures were flawed because the better weather would have encouraged more people onto bikes.


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