Hounslow Cabinet signs off on Cycleway 9, making it permanent

Image above: Cycleway 9

Experimental Traffic Order for Cycleway 9 made permanent

Chiswick High Road’s temporary cycle lane (Cycleway 9 or C9) is now a permanent fixture, after Hounslow Council’s Cabinet approved proposals to make the experimental traffic order permanent, following an extensive trial period and ‘careful consideration’ of the impact on Chiswick.

Reading her report on the cycle lane to Cabinet on Tuesday (5 September), Cllr Katherine Dunne, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Climate, Environment and Transport, said the Experimental Traffic Order (ETO) for Cycleway 9, which covers the section between Heathfield Terrace and Goldhawk Road and Acton Lane, had led to an increase in cycling, improved bus journey times, minimal impact on general traffic journey times, and no significant effects on air quality, all of which prompted Cllr Dunne to recommend making the cycle lane permanent.

During the meeting on Tuesday, she said:

“…The key headlines are that cycling has increased – we’ve seen a 47% increase since 2021. Collisions along the route have decreased. When we look at other things, bus journey times we have a mixed picture. The improvements that were made under the latest ETO did improve bus journey times, so in some instances they are back to what they were before, pre Cycleway 9, some of them there’s still a slightly longer… we think we can make more improvements.

“This report does recommend removal of the bus gate at Acton Lane, although that has improved journey times we are concerned about the effect it has had elsewhere on the network. We have had lots of representations from people saying that that has been the case – and that the bus gate has caused problems – we have listened to that and we are recommending for removal of the bus gate.”

“… along with then some further package of improvements that I’m recommending be delegated to officers, that is what I am recommending to you today.”

Image above: A bus stop island on Chiswick High Road

Cycle lane does not sufficiently discriminate against those with protected characteristics, report claims

One of the key features of the cycle lane is its “floating” bus stops, which have been designed in collaboration with older and disabled people’s organisations to ensure accessibility, she said.

Concerns were raised during the trial about the safety of single-stage zebra crossings that require both cycle track and carriageway traffic to stop simultaneously. In response to these concerns, the Council is seeking advice from local sight loss organisations and plans to use this feedback to inform future design improvements.

According to the report, the cycle lane has also led to some changes in parking and loading provisions along Chiswick High Road, particularly affecting blue-badge holders and vehicles carrying disabled passengers. While some parking spaces were reduced, loading areas and service roads were introduced to maintain kerb-side access for the majority of the south side of Chiswick High Road.

The report acknowledges there have been concerns about the impact on people with ‘protected characteristics’, as covered by the Equality Act 2010, including blind people, but the overall impact has been assessed as moderate and has been continuously monitored and mitigated throughout the trial period.

Additionally, the report highlights the positive impact of the cycle lane on equalities groups such as women and pregnant women, who are more likely to take up cycling when safe infrastructure is in place.

The Council plans to introduce further measures to address issues identified during the review of the operation of Cycleway 9. These include upgrading temporary materials, converting zebra crossings to parallel zebras, and exploring options to improve links to and from Prebend Gardens.

Image above: Hounslow CEO Niall Bolger, Council Leader Cllr Shantanu Rajawat and Deputy Leader Cllr Katherine Dunne during the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 6 September 

Enhancements for bus journeys planned for the future

The decision to make the cycle lane permanent comes with a range of future improvements, including signalised crossings to replace zebras at key locations and updates to signalised junctions to enhance traffic flow. These improvements will be subject to funding availability and further consultations.

While some funding challenges and discussions with TfL remain, officers said they were confident that bus journey times can be maintained through alternative measures, even after the removal of the bus gate at Acton Lane.

READ ALSO: Removal of Acton Lane bus gate on Chiswick High Road proposed

Such measures include implementing further stretches of bus lane across the High Road, which would subject to funding and Cabinet approval.

The traffic order giving permanent effect to Cycleway 9 is scheduled to be published on October 13, 2023, with an operational date of October 21, 2023. Further improvements and alterations will be discussed and implemented in due course.