LB Hounslow sign off on changes to Cycleway 9

LB Hounslow has signed off changes to Cycleway 9 proposed by Transport for London. Amongst other improvements, they now plan to add bus shelters at stops along the High Rd and to introduce more places for taxis and other vehicles to pick up and drop off passengers.

At a Cabinet meeting on 20 July, Cabinet Members approved the discontinuation of the current Experimental Traffic Order (“ETO”) and trial relating to the Temporary Cycleway 9 located on Chiswick High Road, between Goldhawk Road and Heathfield Terrace and approved making a new ETO (C9 2021) ‘to trial a range of measures resulting from data and responses to C9’.

Image above: Cycleway 9 on Chiswick High Rd; photograph James Willcocks

Is this the end for OneChiswick’s Judicial Review?

Where this leaves the legal action by OneChiswick Ltd is unclear. They have initiated a Judicial Review of the Council’s decision to install the the cycle lane, which is due to be heard in the autumn.

TfL consulted on proposals for a permanent version of Cycleway 9 in 2017. It was signed off by Hounslow Council in September 2019. Before that could be constructed the pandemic hit, the Government gave local councils emergency powers to install Streetspace schemes and TfL installed a temporary version of the cycle lane, which differs in several respects from the planned version.

OneChiswick’s legal action is based on the initial Experimental Traffic Order. Now that has been discontinued, it may be that OneChiswick are not able to pursue the Judicial Review. We have asked them for a comment.

Read the detail of the new changes to the cycle lane in our story dated 10 July.

READ ALSO: TfL propose changes to Cycleway 9

Conservative councillors continue to oppose C9

Hounslow’s group of Conservative opposition councillors, all but one representing Chiswick, presented a report to the Cabinet outlining their objections to Cycleway 9 and calling on Cabinet members to reconsider it.

‘The impact of the cycleway on the lives of residents, businesses and the many other users of Chiswick High Road has been huge’ they say.

‘It is the opinion of the Conservative Group of Councillors that the recent review of the scheme by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) was inadequate….

‘Cabinet members must ask themselves whether the information being presented to them is complete and sufficiently free of bias’.

Chiswick’s councillor noted that the Cabinet was being asked to consider either continuing C9 in its existing form or amending or modifying it, but they were not being asked to consider scrapping it altogether.

Image above: Cycleway 9 on Chiswick High Rd; photograph James Willcox

Are more people cycling?

They note that the ‘modal shift’ anticipated by planners – the idea that the public will leave their cars behind and either walk or cycle more – has yet to materialise.

Cabinet Member Cllr Guy Lambert, who says he cycles the route most days, told The Chiswick Calendar that, anecdotally, he had certainly noticed more people using the cycle lane.

“Research shows that this stuff takes time. It takes a while for people to change their habits, but there is another new bike shop opening on the High Rd”.

Cllr Sam Hearn, the Conservative Group’s spokesman on transport, said in his submission:

‘The report notes that there has been a reduction in commuter journeys during lock-down and that the use of public transport has fallen. When confidence in the safety of public transport’s revives we can be certain that a proportion of commuter cyclists will return to travelling by tube, train and bus.

‘None of the changes contained in the new experimental traffic order will facilitate modal shift in anyway. Please look at the detail.

‘Without modal shift the argument for a segregated cycleway is fatally weakened. It becomes just a prestige trophy project whose limited benefits must be measured against the substantial damage it does directly and indirectly to businesses and the lives of road users who, for one reason or another, are unable to make their journeys by bike’.

Air pollution

In its report, Transport for London claimed air quality had improved in Chiswick High Rd since the introduction of Cycleway 9 in December 2020.

‘Data from an air quality monitoring station in Chiswick High Road opposite Windmill Road also shows an overall improvement in air quality, with levels of nitrogen dioxide, nitricoxide and particulate matter that are consistently lower than before the cycle lane was installed’.

But opponents of the cycle lane point out that air quality is not being measured on other key roads nearby.

READ ALSO: TfL and LB Hounslow claim C9 is a success

The Conservative Group of councillors say:

‘One of the most worrying things about the papers submitted to cabinet members is the insistence that cycleway 9 will improve air quality. There is only one air monitoring station on the whole route of the cycleway 9 and that is located away from the vehicle lanes.

‘A clue as to why TfL are not particularly interested in measuring air quality is contained in the report produced for TfL by its specialist air pollution consultants at the time of the consultation on original cycleway scheme.

‘The consultants were quite clear that the cycleway will have little or no impact on air quality. They instead predicted that air pollution will simply be moved around the area as drivers find alternative local routes’.

Image above: Cycleway 9 on Chiswick High Rd; photograph James Willcox

Cycle Safety

Cllr Hearn says the issue of cycle safety was raised at the Oversight and Scrutiny committee.

‘Members of the OSC asked that more work be done to clarify the statistics before they were reported to cabinet. It is regrettable that this appears not to have been done’.

Cycle lane ‘here to stay’

Cllr Lily Bath, who chaired Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, told the Evening Standard:

“Obviously it has been a very emotive subject. This is just the beginning and it’s not the end. This is a live scheme. This will allow further impact and further feedback”.

In discussion on Twitter, @ChiswickHighRd Tweeted:

‘It’s time for everyone to accept tha the cycle lane, C9, 10 years in the discussion / consultation is here to stay.

Time to improve it, but time to stop wasting time and money arguing about whether it should exist or not’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: TfL propose changes to Cycleway 9

See also: TfL & LB Hounslow claim C9 is a success

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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