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LTDA's attempts to disrupt cycle routes unlikely to succeed as deadline passes...

A legal challenge launched by an association of taxi drivers against one of London's Cycle Superhighways projects has been called "extraordinary", "unmeritorious" and "smacking of desperation".

Yesterday it was announced the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) launched a judicial review over the East-West Cycle Superhighway despite its head, Steve McNamara withdrawing a threatened challenge earlier in the year, saying delays to the route could leave "blood on his hands". Transport for London (TfL), the body in charge of the Superhighways scheme, say questions raised by the LTDA now were answered at the time.

The LTDA appears to have taken issue with the route's lack of planning permission, which the Campaign to Protect Rural England say is not needed for bike lanes and, it is believed, on the environmental impact the route may have, if traffic worsens as a result of its construction.

- Could London taxi drivers scupper Cycle Superhighway plans?

The CPRE's Ralph Smyth questions the move, which came after the deadline for legal challenge and on the day of the LTDA's AGM.

Smyth told road.cc: “This attempt to quash the Embankment Superhighway, over three months after the time limit for bringing a legal challenge expired, is as extraordinary as it is unexpected. While traffic orders were needed and indeed were obtained to improve these roads for cycling, planning permission was not. 

"This wholly unmeritorious challenge seems to have rather more to do with the LTDA AGM than any known legal principle. It smacks of desperation for the taxi lobby to challenge the environmental impacts of a cycle route, let’s hope it’s a last gasp.”

TfL confirmed to road.cc it addressed the LTDA's concerns previously and believes the protected cycle lanes will have a positive impact on London.

Howard Carter, General Counsel, TfL, said: “We have received the LTDA’s Judicial Review claim and, despite having addressed their points previously, will respond formally in due course.

"Construction of the East-West Cycle Superhighway is progressing well and although we are having to work hard to manage areas of temporary congestion around the construction sites, the end result will make London’s roads safer for all, particularly cyclists.”

The LTDA threatened to delay construction of the 18-mile route with judicial review earlier in the year on the basis that replacing traffic lanes with bike lanes would increase congestion and therefore pollution. However, they later withdrew the threat, their head Steve McNamara saying London needs protected bike routes and he didn't want blood on his hands caused by any delays.

Smyth points out the Victoria Embankment, one of the most contentious parts of the route for the Association, is one of three places in London that exceeds EU air pollution limits and believes the cycle route, by reducing traffic, will help improve air quality. Part of the Cycle Superhighway on the Victoria Embankment is nearly complete (pictured above). It has been estimated London taxis are responsible for 30% of particle emissions in Central London, while carrying just 1% of passengers.

Road.cc has contacted the LTDA for response.

19 comments

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Housecathst [587 posts] 1 year ago
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Good, I just hope they have wasted thousands in legal fee to find this out.

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zanf [914 posts] 1 year ago
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Is this the same Steve McNamara that accused cyclists of being like ISIS?

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kie7077 [904 posts] 1 year ago
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Can we challenge the environmental impact of having taxis in London? (edit: oops, read all article now)

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jasecd [438 posts] 1 year ago
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Quite pathetic - between this bullshit and my experiences of them on the roads, I shall go out of my way not to use a black cab ever again.

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bikebot [2120 posts] 1 year ago
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It'll get chucked out as easily as their challenge to Tottenham Court Road. If they keep going like this, the L in LTDA will stand for losers.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1582 posts] 1 year ago
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Seems quite a strange thing to do, to me. Its not as if black cab drivers are currently in a position of unchallengeable security where they can afford to keep lashing out to make enemies and alienate people for the sheer joy of it.

I'm starting to wonder whether they have some sort of collective professional death-wish?

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bikebot [2120 posts] 1 year ago
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Good comment in today's copy of the Evening Standard. I've just found it online as well, not that easy as the sites a bit weird. I think they're trying to push everyone back to print!

http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/rosamund-urwin-shame-of-black-...

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ibike [164 posts] 1 year ago
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Que the mother of all protest rides!

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Must be Mad [610 posts] 1 year ago
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How can the group using polluting cars complain about the environmental impact of increasing cycling???
How to reduce pollution? - get rid of the cars!

And on the subject of increasing traffic congestion - I have the perfect solution for Taxi's. How about they start charging passengers on a 'per time' basis? So if a journey takes longer.... they just charge more. Seems like a winner to me.

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hampstead_bandit [614 posts] 1 year ago
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Ride past Kings Cross station every morning along Pancras Road and there will be 40+ black cabs queuing for fares, all with their engines running, belching out dirty diesel particulate.

//kingscrossenvironment.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/05012012257.jpg)

Absolutely disgusting. Combine that with their tendency to pull sudden u-turns without indicating, swerve lanes without indicating and drive into clearly marked bicycle boxes whilst on red lights. Not surprising no love from London cyclists.

Roll on Uber....

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step-hent [724 posts] 1 year ago
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Must be Mad wrote:

And on the subject of increasing traffic congestion - I have the perfect solution for Taxi's. How about they start charging passengers on a 'per time' basis? So if a journey takes longer.... they just charge more. Seems like a winner to me.

They already do this - they charge by a combination of distance and time, so the meter keeps going up even when you're standing still. The real issue for black is not how they charge, but what people are prepared to pay for. The reason for the rise of Uber and the falling popularity of black cabs is simply that Uber is much cheaper - the black cab needs to provide a premium service in comparison, but they largely fail to provide something people want to pay extra for. They seem to have difficulty understanding that they operate in a consumer marketplace where they might have to compete for customers...

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jollygoodvelo [1616 posts] 1 year ago
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hampstead_bandit wrote:

Roll on Uber....

In fairness, I'd rather London's roads were populated by experienced black cab drivers than any old Tom, Tariq or Pavel who's just got a car, doesn't really know where they're going and is racing to beat the GPS route on their phone.

But this really is laughably poor from the LTDA. Surely their energies would be better focused on fighting the unfair competition or upgrading their technology to remove Uber's advantage?

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Tony [127 posts] 1 year ago
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Can we please stop falling for the marketing hype of calling them Superhighways? They are nothing of the sort. Along the Embankment they are between 1.5 and 2m wide in each direction. That's between the absolute minimum and recommended width for an ordinary cycle lane on an ordinary road. Calling them Superhighways does not change that. But it does give the impression that something extraordinary is being done for cyclists when in fact its just very ordinary and totally under-provided for the sort of traffic it is supposed to be taking. If it were designed to the Dutch CROW standard it would be twice its current maximum width.

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Yorkshie Whippet [597 posts] 1 year ago
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Tony wrote:

Can we please stop falling for the marketing hype of calling them Superhighways? They are nothing of the sort. Along the Embankment they are between 1.5 and 2m wide in each direction. That's between the absolute minimum and recommended width for an ordinary cycle lane on an ordinary road. Calling them Superhighways does not change that. But it does give the impression that something extraordinary is being done for cyclists when in fact its just very ordinary and totally under-provided for the sort of traffic it is supposed to be taking. If it were designed to the Dutch CROW standard it would be twice its current maximum width.

If you want a proper superhighway, come and have a look at Leeds' idea of perfection.

Cycle lanes that don't exist, have entrances blocked by signs, exit straight into the back of cars parked on the pavement. Have give way lines to traffic waiting to join the road heading in the direction you would wish to travel. Heading the other way, you seemingly come off a perfectly good cycle lane to cross either three or four lanes of traffic depending on where the planners have put the crossing. To get onto the inside of the roundabout. Then to cross another three or four lanes of traffic to get onto the two way segragation that snakes it's way between the cinema entrance and the garage. To be left with no where to go but ride on the footpath to the pedestrian crossing, cross and get back into the flow of traffic towards Leeds. I'm not entirely convinced the segregated lanes are wide enough for the two way traffic they've been marked up for. Oh and don't forget, this is in about half a mile.

And that's how you make travelling by cycle safer and faster in Yorkshire! Still at least the council have made a £9 million effort in pissing eveyone off. One wonders who much of the money was syphoned to pay for the work done at Thornbury and elsewhere on the outer ring road.

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kie7077 [904 posts] 1 year ago
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Gizmo_ wrote:
hampstead_bandit wrote:

Roll on Uber....

In fairness, I'd rather London's roads were populated by experienced black cab drivers than any old Tom, Tariq or Pavel who's just got a car, doesn't really know where they're going and is racing to beat the GPS route on their phone.

But this really is laughably poor from the LTDA. Surely their energies would be better focused on fighting the unfair competition or upgrading their technology to remove Uber's advantage?

They are all bad, I've had insanely dangerous high speed passes (deliberate) by black cab drivers - punishment passes for daring to be on the road - a city road with 2 lanes so no excuse - they had to move into the other lane far enough that they could have completely entered the other lane but they maliciously chose not to. I've lost count of the number of extremely bad passes by black cabs - at least 10 times.

Google claim they will have autonomous cars in 5 years, I hope this is true, goodbye all minicab, Uber and taxi drivers and good riddance, I hope they crush those vile black smoke emitting heaps of junk too.

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arfa [847 posts] 1 year ago
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Black cabs are under threat from all sorts of directions, whether it's technology, new competition or environmental change. Bottom line is you either change with the times or become extinct. I have had a degree of sympathy in the past but with behaviour like this, I just view them as a bunch of luddites accelerating their own demise.

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earth [344 posts] 1 year ago
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Tony wrote:

Can we please stop falling for the marketing hype of calling them Superhighways? They are nothing of the sort. Along the Embankment they are between 1.5 and 2m wide in each direction. That's between the absolute minimum and recommended width for an ordinary cycle lane on an ordinary road. Calling them Superhighways does not change that. But it does give the impression that something extraordinary is being done for cyclists when in fact its just very ordinary and totally under-provided for the sort of traffic it is supposed to be taking. If it were designed to the Dutch CROW standard it would be twice its current maximum width.

They do look a bit narrow. You have to wonder if cycling does take off in the way that Boris hopes how long will it be before the superhighways need widening? Then the argument about wider roads leading to more congestion can be used against cycling.

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kie7077 [904 posts] 1 year ago
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Then the argument about wider roads leading to more congestion can be used against cycling.

Assuming you means wider cycle lanes, the argument doesn't work because more people cycling = less cars.

And congestion for who - why should cyclists experience congestion, are they not as important as car drivers?

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earth [344 posts] 1 year ago
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kie7077 wrote:

Then the argument about wider roads leading to more congestion can be used against cycling.

Assuming you means wider cycle lanes, the argument doesn't work because more people cycling = less cars.

And congestion for who - why should cyclists experience congestion, are they not as important as car drivers?

I'm commenting that the cycle lane will become congested if the number of people that TfL want to use it actually do so. Do you not think cycle lanes can become congested?