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Locals block Quietway on exclusive London private road

Whisper it quietly, though ... it's perfectly legal to cycle through Kensington Palace Gardens...

A planned Quietway through one of London’s most exclusive streets is to be scrapped after locals complained – although cyclists will still be able to ride through it, as they can at present.

Kensington Palace Gardens, gated at either end, runs north to south from Bayswater Road to Kensington High Street and is home to the Russian and Israeli embassies, among others, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and oligarch Roman Abramovich.

Instead of passing through the private road, the route, which runs from Earls Court to Wormwood Scrubs, will have a gap of half a mile on the Crown Estates-owned road, reports the London Evening Standard.

According to a report from City of Westminster Council, a number of objections were raised. “Many of these were based on the premise that the private road would be designated as being part of the Quietway, while others feared that more cyclists would use the private road,” it said.

“A number of responses raised concerns that the proposals would be detrimental to the tranquillity of the road.

“This concern seems to be related to a view that the numbers of bikes on the road would increase quite substantially.”

Transport for London said that as a private road, neither it nor the local authority could designate Kensington Palace Gardens as a Quietway.

Meanwhile, London Cycling Campaign said that there would be “a big hole in the middle” of the route, meaning that people might ride their bikes on more congested roads, or avoid the route altogether.

In practice, though, the road will not be off-limits to cyclists, who can access it round the clock, unlike rat-running drivers – so we’d expect that through the power of word of mouth, it will become a de facto Quietway, even if it isn’t signed as such.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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20 comments

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tyviano | 7 years ago
0 likes

@darrenleroy

I ride down here all the time and it's by far the quietest, safest stretch of road I've ever ridden in London.

I totally agree with you. the size of this road is huge - there is so much room and so few cars able to use it that it's easily the safest, quietest rat run for cyclists I've ever used in London.

Makes not a jot that it's not granted quietway status just a shame the powerful and influential don't understand the benefits of promoting increased cycling and their preferred use of motor car.

It's not surprising though is it. I wonder if they all pay their congestion charges...

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J90 | 8 years ago
0 likes

They'll cite security as a reason to fob it off.

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thereverent | 8 years ago
1 like

This doesn't sound like a problem. The Quieteay will end at the start of this road, then the cycle along Kensington Palace Gardens, and pick up the Quietway again at the other end. The only thing missing will be signage on Kensington Palace Gardens itself.

As the road is almost traffic free, it's even better than the rest of the Quietway.

 

I did like the typical NIMBY response:

<blockquote>“A number of responses raised concerns that the proposals would be detrimental to the tranquillity of the road.

“This concern seems to be related to a view that the numbers of bikes on the road would increase quite substantially.”</blockquote>

Damm those noisy bikes!

 

<blockquote>In practice, though, the road will not be off-limits to cyclists, who can access it round the clock, unlike rat-running drivers</blockquote>

We need more roads in London with this feature.

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jasecd | 8 years ago
5 likes

Perhaps a fun detour for the next crictical mass.

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tritecommentbot replied to jasecd | 8 years ago
0 likes

jasecd wrote:

Perhaps a fun detour for the next crictical mass.

 

Liking this. blush

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darrenleroy | 8 years ago
1 like

I ride down here all the time and it's by far the quietest, safest stretch of road I've ever ridden in London.

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mike the bike | 8 years ago
6 likes

Certainly if I were to become rich and powerful I'm damned if I'd want to share my road with poor people.  And as for poor people on bicycles ..... it's too ghastly to think about.

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tritecommentbot | 8 years ago
0 likes

Isn't there something in land law about pathway that is commonly used, even if it's on private land, granting right of access to the public? There's definitely a bunch of case law on that sort of thing.

 

Too long ago for me to remember if any of it's relevant..

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handlebarcam | 8 years ago
1 like

Kensington, you say, where have I heard that before?

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Hipshot | 8 years ago
3 likes

This isn't necessarily simply about excluding cyclists, it's about excluding plebs (i.e. ordinary, tax paying British citizens) from being in the same environment and using the same facilities as the rich and powerful.

Although Kensington Palace gardens is a historic example and also contains high security  sites, this is a worldwide phenomenon that is on the increase.

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Rich_cb | 8 years ago
1 like

If it is private land then, short of compulsory purchase, there's not much that can be done.

They could probably block cycling too if they wanted to.

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Bmblbzzz replied to Rich_cb | 8 years ago
4 likes

Rich_cb wrote:

If it is private land then, short of compulsory purchase, there's not much that can be done. They could probably block cycling too if they wanted to.

There can be a right of way over private land. 

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Paul_C replied to Bmblbzzz | 8 years ago
0 likes
Bmblbzzz wrote:

Rich_cb wrote:

If it is private land then, short of compulsory purchase, there's not much that can be done. They could probably block cycling too if they wanted to.

There can be a right of way over private land. 

True... there is a cycle route near me that includes a segment of private road... some tosspot tried to block it on google maps but I got it reversed and included in the routing...

https://goo.gl/maps/S2Vx5UN8DyF2

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Paul_C replied to Rich_cb | 8 years ago
0 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

If it is private land then, short of compulsory purchase, there's not much that can be done.

They could probably block cycling too if they wanted to.

just buy the road from them and then jack their council charges up...

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brooksby replied to Rich_cb | 8 years ago
1 like

Rich_cb wrote:

If it is private land then, short of compulsory purchase, there's not much that can be done. They could probably block cycling too if they wanted to.

The joke is that it's private land "owned by the Crown Estates".  So, private land owned by the property portfolio of the Queen and her family. Which gets first dibs when someone dies intestate, or when a company is dissolved while still holding assets.

Reminds you that the Royals are an entirely separate thing from the public State.

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thereverent replied to brooksby | 8 years ago
0 likes

brooksby wrote:

Rich_cb wrote:

If it is private land then, short of compulsory purchase, there's not much that can be done. They could probably block cycling too if they wanted to.

The joke is that it's private land "owned by the Crown Estates".  So, private land owned by the property portfolio of the Queen and her family. Which gets first dibs when someone dies intestate, or when a company is dissolved while still holding assets.

Reminds you that the Royals are an entirely separate thing from the public State.

Not quite:

The Crown Estate is a collection of lands and holdings in the United Kingdom belonging to the British monarch as a corporation sole, making it the "Sovereign's public estate", which is neither government property nor part of the monarch's private estate.
The estate's extensive portfolio is overseen by a semi-independent, incorporated public body headed by the Crown Estate Commissioners, who exercise "the powers of ownership" of the estate, although they are not "owners in their own right". The revenues from these hereditary possessions have been placed by the monarch at the disposition of Her Majesty's Government and thus proceed directly to Her Majesty's Treasury for the benefit of the British nation.
The Crown Estate is formally accountable to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, where it is legally mandated to make an annual report to the sovereign, a copy of which is forwarded to the House of Commons.

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psling | 8 years ago
7 likes

Surely this is just down to designation. If the "Quietway" runs up to each end of the gated (to motorised vehicles) Kensington Palace Gardens then it's hardly an inconvenience for cyclists to just ride along what is in reality quite a quiet although not a "quietway" road to join up the ends of the designated "Quietway".

OK, I'll quit now. Quite.

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Zermattjohn | 8 years ago
16 likes

I can't imagine it's that quiet when drivers come and go in all those cars....funny how people feel bikes are a danger to peace and tranquility and 1-2 tonnes of metal are ok.

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bikebot replied to Zermattjohn | 8 years ago
6 likes

Zermattjohn wrote:

I can't imagine it's that quiet when drivers come and go in all those cars....funny how people feel bikes are a danger to peace and tranquility and 1-2 tonnes of metal are ok.

Very little traffic comes and goes on that road. I've walked through it many times, it is very peaceful though you do get the feeling you're being watched by a few hundred cameras. Especially when you pass the Israeli embassy.

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burtthebike | 8 years ago
16 likes

Pretty well demonstrates everything that is wrong with cycle provision in this country: the rich and powerful drive cars and can prevent decent cycle provision.

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