Cyclists and residents clash over Delancey Street bike lane plans
People living in Camden Town street fear more congestion and pollution
27 November, 2017
CYCLISTS and residents are divided over a new cycle lane planned for Camden Town, coming head-to-head to argue their case in the Town Hall chamber on Monday evening.
The council is set to introduce protected tracks at Pratt Street and Delancey Street in a bid to make the route safer for people on bikes.
But residents living in the backstreets fear it will lead to a build-up of traffic which will increase pollution around their homes. John Chamberlain, from the Camden Cycling Campaign, urged members not to put the brakes on the scheme, which he said would provide the “final link” in a safe route across the borough for those on two wheels.
He told the full council meeting: “We cannot continue to develop Camden as a vibrant, safe, healthy borough without building infrastructure that will enable and encourage people of future generations to choose sustainable forms of transport.”
But Catherine Colley, representing residents in Delancey Street, said people wanted the scheme to be looked at again for “the health and safety of everyone”, telling councillors: “New data shows pollution in Delancey Street exceeds legal limits by 50 per cent. This is a public health risk.” She added: “An experimental scheme that exposes residents to more pollution is entirely unacceptable. The scheme is fundamentally flawed in trying to cram too much into a road width that can’t take it without too many compromises.”
Both sides are concerned by the impact of major works and construction site traffic coming up for the High Speed 2 railway line disruption near Parkway: cyclists because they think the roads will be more dangerous, and residents because of the volume of traffic.
Labour ward councillors in Camden Town have split views on the scheme but Cllr Lazzaro Pietragnoli said he believed the safety measures for cyclists were too important to halt. He said: “I always wonder about an inexplicable human nature to, whenever possible, travel by car. I think it’s very important to take actions to deter the use of private cars and encourage cycling, walking and use of public transport.”
Environment chief Cllr Adam Harrison said he supported the scheme but would “carefully examine” concerns raised at the meeting.