Cycle lane scheme will bring benefits
22 October, 2020
Haverstock Hill: due to get new cycle lanes
• WITH reference to the report (Cycle lane ‘will ruin our businesses’, October 15) on a petition from shops to Camden Council against the removal of parking on Haverstock Hill to make way for pop-up cycle lanes, we want to reassure traders that, based on experience elsewhere, their fears are likely to be unfounded.
It is excellent news that the chief executive of the Royal Free Hospital strongly supports the new cycle lanes as a means of promoting active travel and enabling the staff to cycle more safely to work.
She says that the staff are increasingly aware of the health effects of the climate and environmental emergency and its impact on all of us through pollution, which is of real concern for both staff and patients, many of whom have respiratory conditions.
Your report notes that we have already endorsed the Haverstock Hill route because it will have an important role in Camden’s growing cycle network extending via Prince of Wales Road and Royal College Street to central London.
Since 69 per cent of households in Camden don’t have a car, most visitors to Haverstock Hill are likely to arrive on foot or using the nearby tube and bus connections. The provision of safe and convenient cycle lanes is bound to add to the footfall.
Transport for London’s study Walking and Cycling: the economic benefits (2014) shows that high street walking and cycling improvements in London can increase retail sales by up to 30 per cent.
Over a month, people who walk to the high street spend up to 40 per cent more than those who drive; 45 per cent visited for social and community reasons and this led to a 216 per cent increase in people stopping, sitting, or socialising.
Outside dining is on the increase as London enters tier 2 Covid restrictions and was already popular on the wider footways in Belsize Park.
The bike lanes will create a protective buffer against the motor vehicle pollution and noise for pedestrians and for those sitting at restaurant tables.
The absence of parking will remove the additional pollution that occurs when people manoeuvre their vehicles in and out of parking spaces or leave engines running.
We thank Camden for proposing this scheme and urge Cllr Adam Harrison to give it the go ahead. And we look forward to the benefits to hospital staff, local residents, and others including families with their children from being able to cycle from Kentish Town and Camden Town up the hill to Belsize village in a safe cycle lane rather than being terrified by the motor traffic trying to push past.
On the return journey they will be able to travel more freely down the hill without any need to queue with the cars and breathe in their exhaust fumes.
JOHN CHAMBERLAIN, GEORGE COULOURIS & JEAN DOLLIMORE
Camden Cycling Campaign