Chris Boardman has clarified his part in discussions with London’s deputy mayor for transport, Val Shawcross, following reports a protected cycle route on the Westway are to be cancelled.
Boardman, who is British Cycling’s policy advisor, defended Shawcross and the Mayor’s commitment to cycling, but said he was concerned about plans to re-route an extension of the East-West cycle superhighway from the Westway flyover.
Following talks between Boardman and Shawcross, former London Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, wrote on his blog this week raising concerns of running the route on roads controlled by Kensington and Chelsea, a borough which previously opposed proposals for a segregated cycle route between Hounslow and Hyde Park.
In a written statement on British Cycling’s website Boardman wrote: “In response to media reports regarding a meeting I recently had with London's deputy mayor for transport, I want to clarify mine and British Cycling's part in the discussion.
“It was clear from my meeting with Val Shawcross that the Mayor's team is committed to cycling, but I expressed concerns about the new plans for the east-west extension.
“The new route, mainly on local borough maintained roads, presents challenges and I advised in the meeting that there needs to be a back-up plan if it is not of sufficient quality or takes too much time to deliver.
“The consultation for the previous route along the Westway received over 70% support and - while not perfect - would have been on Transport for London controlled roads, provided a direct route through west London, and could be started promptly.
“In the spirit of providing continuity on the significant progress made by the previous administration, it would be a good idea for the deputy mayor and the previous cycling commissioner to meet and compare notes regarding all aspects of cycling policy before any decisions are made.”
Gilligan has been critical of long delays without Khan’s cycling and walking commissioner being appointed, a situation he previously warned would play into the hands of cycle scheme opponents.
“We could have had the Westway superhighway by next year,” wrote Gilligan. “But a rerouting will mean perhaps two years’ delay for new designs, new traffic modelling, and a new consultation that will make the row with the local nimbies over CS11 look like a child’s tea-party.”
Val Shawcross this week tweeted the route itself isn't cancelled, and the mayor is "totally committed" to the East-West route.
The Mayor has already announced two new CSHs and is totally committed to a new E-W route. Project is not cancelled.
— Valerie Shawcross (@ValShawcross) November 15, 2016
Today, in the Guardian, Gilligan reiterated his concerns over the route: "To partly make up for the loss of the Westway, Khan will need to persuade Kensington & Chelsea council to accept segregated tracks on Kensington High Street, not something we managed in my time. Then – an even taller order – he’ll have to get them to stick with it after the inevitable nimby backlash. The rest of the route won’t be easy, either."