TfL & LB Hounslow claim C9 is a success

Image above: Chiswick High Rd cycle lane; photograph James Willcocks

Transport for London claims new data published by themselves and LB Hounslow shows that Cycleway 9 is a success, both in terms of the number of people using it and of improved road safety and air quality in Chiswick.

The new data shows cycling has increased by 72 per cent, they say, and there have been fewer collisions. It also shows that air quality along the road has improved during the trial, resulting from an increase in cycling and a reduction in motor traffic.

‘Creating more space for safe walking and cycling is providing a healthier and more sustainable alternative to cars as part of London’s recovery from coronavirus ’ they say.

LB Hounslow introduced the temporary cycleway in December 2020, designed and delivered by TfL, with the aim of enabling people ‘to make journeys in a safe and sustainable way’.

C9 has been a divisive and highly contentious issue in Chiswick, with those who oppose it saying it’s dangerous for pedestrians unused to stepping off the pavement into a two-way cycle lane, and for bus passengers who have to cross it to get to a bus island to get on their bus. Opponents also claim it has the reverse effect on air pollution to that intended, by slowing down traffic by forcing it into a narrower space.

Members of the OneChiswick Facebook group upload pictures regularly of the cycleway looking empty, claiming that it is not used, and even that the pictures of cyclists posted on social media by those who suport the cycway aren’t genuine.

TfL and Hounslow Council say their new data:

‘clearly demonstrates that cycling continues to increase on the already-busy corridor and that there has been a significant fall in cyclist collisions since its installation. The data shows that cycling along the trial route has increased by 72 per cent on weekdays between February and April 2021. Up to 2,700 people a day are cycling along the route, including children and families. Cycling is now a major form of transport for people in the area and around 20 per cent of the ‘vehicles’ using the road during the day are bikes’.

Claim 1: C9 makes Chiswick High Rd safer for cyclists

They say their data is also supported by provisional data from the Metropolitan Police.

‘Provisional data from the Metropolitan Police also suggests that it is now safer to cycle along Chiswick High Road than before the cycle lanes were introduced.

‘In the 12 months before TfL introduced new temporary cycle lanes to Chiswick High Road, there were eight collisions involving a cyclist, while in the six months since TfL introduced the temporary scheme, there have been two such collisions.

Claim 2: C9 improves Chiswick High Rd air quality

TfL say: ‘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’.

Claim 3: Cycleway supported by the majority

TfL say they commissioned independent representative research to get a balanced view from residents in the area.

‘This research shows that there is support from residents for the protected cycle lanes on Chiswick High Road, with 47 per cent in support of the scheme, compared to 43 per cent against’.

Planned changes to C9

Hounslow Council is due to make a decision in the coming weeks about tweaks to the scheme on Chiswick High Road proposed by TfL which are intended to help improve bus journey times and reduce congestion in the area, including new eastbound and westbound bus lanes.

READ ALSO: TfL proposes changes to Cycleway 9

Image above: Chiswick High Rd cycle lane; photograph James Willcocks

Report welcomed by cyclists’ lobby

Simon Munk, Infrastructure Campaigner at the London Cycling Campaign, said:

“Cycle tracks like C9 are popular and safer – the evidence on this, despite some controversy, is clearer every day. If we want to move rapidly towards a zero carbon transport system, to reduce road danger, pollution and inactivity, to make London a place where kids can cycle to school and grandparents can cycle to the shops, we need more schemes like this.

“It is important tweaks are considered to further enhance the scheme for cyclists and pedestrians and improve bus journey times”.

Report dismissed by anti C9 lobby

OneChiswick Ltd, who are taking LB Hounslow’s decision to introduce the temporary cycle lane to Judicial Reveiw, dismissed TfL and LB Hounslow’s report, saying:

‘Metropolitan Police data shows collisions involving cyclists are actually up 175% since the introduction of the Temporary Cycleway C9’ and

‘Hounslow and TfL claim cycling has increased 72% – but their data compares a sunny April to snowstorms in February under lockdown’.

They conclude the claims made for C9 by LB Hounslow and Tfl are either ‘untrue or grossly misleading.

‘The data OneChiswick received from the Metropolitan Police, combined with TfL’s prior year data indicates that in six months there have been three more collisions than there were in the entire prior year’.

On air quality OneChiswick say:

‘Actually, we don’t disagree with that the air quality has improved at the single point they measured it. At the one sensor that TfL references on Chiswick High Road, pollution has decreased – but TfL will not say by how much?

‘What residents of Chiswick know is that Hounslow Council’s and TfL’s Streetspace measures have deliberately displaced traffic from Chiswick High Road onto surrounding roads’.

They ask: ‘have pollution levels been monitored for possible increases at the following?

  • Goldhawk Road – NO
  • King Street- NO
  • Chiswick Lane- NO
  • Acton Lane- NO
  • South Parade- NO
  • Turnham Green Terrace – NO
  • Bath Road- NO
  • A4 – NO

Has pollution and congestion increased at all of these locations? – YES’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: TfL proposes changes to Cycleway 9

See also: Appeal Court says Sadiq Khan’s Streetspace programme is legal

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