CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

The council should not kowtow to a single interest group

20 November, 2020

‘The council needs to create some kind of citizens’ assembly to create safe solutions for all parties’

• THE argument for more cycle lanes and more provision for active transport was won a very long time ago.

Despite this the whole borough is still plagued with heavy traffic, deafening noise, and poor air. Camden Council have only very belatedly started to respond, and are doing so extremely badly.

What should have been an exercise in the democratisation of Camden streets for everyone is now just pedestrians, the elderly, the disabled and public transport users pitted against cycle lane zealots.

Prince of Wales Road is a prime example of this which was achieved on the strength of vigorous pressure from the local cycling campaigners and is catastrophic.

As can be seen on its own website Camden Cycling Campaign (CCC) gave no indication to its own members that this was an HS2 route, or that the widths quoted were not actual road but included the pavements also.

Nor are they admitting that the two lanes which we now have are in direct contradiction to the one lane the council consultation proposed as being what was safe.

Even that consultation, conveniently done in August when many people were away, garnered just 28 responses for the scheme of one cycle lane.

CCC also wrongly claim there are no other east-west routes. There are a considerable number of already quietened and residential roads which aren’t main arteries or bus routes which could have been used.

These join up from Royal College Street to amenities such as Castlehaven Park, local schools and churches, and on to the north of the road. There was very little thought for this scheme which was then passed by more votes from those outside the borough.

Now the council have capitulated once more to CCC demands with the “trial” scheme on Haverstock Hill and Belsize Park.

Instead of using adjacent roads which aren’t going to be used by HS2 lorries and buses they’ve plumped for this, ignoring disability access advisers and a 1:4 gradient to achieve their demands.

The council desperately needs to create some kind of citizens’ assembly to create safe solutions for all parties rather than kowtowing to single interest groups whose executive members don’t live in the areas affected and who have no interest what these cycle lanes create for anyone other than cyclists.

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