CS11 supporters and opponents came face to face on Saturday morning
Published: 13 October, 2016
DO the planners who designed the CS11 Cycle Superhighway have a strategic vision for London? If they had, and this scheme had been properly thought through, would such large numbers of residents have come out on the streets in opposition and also in support of it?
In both cases, the locals feel like they are not been heard and are concerned about a rushed approach to reducing the number of cars and lorries on inner London roads.
There is a fog of confusion hanging over this superhighway. Things have gone radically wrong, it could be argued, when two sets of protesters are blaming each other for worsening pollution.
The council’s trial cycle lane scheme in Tavistock Place has been a kind of microcosm for the dispute raging on a larger scale in Swiss Cottage and Regent’s Park.
It has caused similar uproar among many Bloomsbury residents who say quieter back roads are now jammed throughout the day, the air noticeably dirtier.
In the council’s trial scheme in Bloomsbury, air monitors were placed in the road itself and showed a significant decrease in pollutants. But in the neighbouring streets, where traffic has undoubtedly built up, no monitors were installed. There have been questions about emergency services’ ability to negotiate certain areas, but again no comprehensive monitoring has been done.
Then there is the cycle superhighway at the Embankment that has unquestionably been a disaster for drivers. It has turned a major central London artery into a no-go zone for car drivers during peak hours. The lanes are no doubt proving popular during rush hour, but rarely at night.
It has left many asking whether the cycling lobby has grown too powerful.
But a few days later, in Camden Town, another protest brought some perspective. The “die in” was a timely reminder of why these changes are being heaped upon us.
The new London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, due to make a final decision in the coming weeks on CS11, is stuck between a rock and a hard place with these superhighways, a legacy of Boris Johnson. And the slanging matches will surely only continue unless a more strategic approach is taken to developing them.
WHAT a sparkling performance by Keir Starmer in the House of Commons yesterday (Wednesday). It is abundantly clear that it was the right decision by Jeremy Corbyn to reinstate him into his shadow cabinet, as the Brexit minister.
He appears to be a natural for the role. At one point the Conservative MPs appeared to be swooning around him.
Will this light up aspirations Starmer has for the leadership? And if it does, will he make his move before the general election?