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There are two major flaws in the cycle lane proposal for Prince of Wales Road

13 September, 2018

• THE consultation to “improve” safety along Prince of Wales Road by building a segregated cycle lane seems at last to be getting some attention. The consultation went out on August 6 and was to be returned September 10.

As I write, applications for an extension have been turned down. Few seem to have seen it and that is not just because it went out in the holiday period. I live a short distance away from Prince of Wales Road and it was by chance that I was alerted to it on August 24.

The two major flaws in the scheme need some explanation. The first is something that is not even shown in the consultation document.

Major flaw: five of the refuges (islands in the road, to most of us) will be removed. The only ones left will be on two of the arms of the Prince of Wales – Malden Road crossing (south and west arms).

Removed would be, from east to west, the zebra crossing on the Talacre side of the bridge, the northern (Malden Road) arm and the eastern arm (Prince of Wales Road eastbound) at the signalised crossing, the zebra crossing by Truro Road, and the crossings by Craddock Street and by the Queen’s Crescent barrier. So if you have a young child you have decided can walk safely to school, review your decision.

You have to experience or observe children, disabled, old, insecure to appreciate how much danger and perception of danger the removal of islands produces. It means a road has to be crossed in one go.

There is nothing in the consultation document to tell you these islands are to be removed and no measurements of the road are given. If measurements were given, at least the more alert would realise that if you didn’t remove them, only vehicles of half the average width would be able to drive down the road!

The south side of Prince of Wales Road has the segregated cycle lane which means anyone catching a bus has to cross it when getting on or off, something I know many bus passengers dislike. It is not as wide as the popular and respected ones in Royal College Street which means that many cyclists on fast commutes will opt for the open road so they can more easily overtake their brethren.

Major flaw: cyclists riding down Haverstock Hill past the Seventh Day Adventist Church will find the kerb has been dropped to allow them to legally mount the pavement and avoid the traffic lights. This is not easily found in the consultation. Cyclists are shown as rejoining the highway on Prince of Wales Road. Shared pavements should not be permitted in any urban environment. This case is particularly bad.

Most cyclists turning left into Prince of Wales Road are commuting. Many ride very fast (it is downhill). Many are going to Queen’s Crescent – they will almost certainly stay on the pavement until they reach it.

There are several other bad features and some good but to describe them would allow the conversation to be diverted from these two major flaws.

St Ann’s Gardens, NW5


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