London’s former cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, has declared Cycle Superhighway 11 “dead” in response to watered down plans in which only two gates to Regent’s Park would be shut to motorists and only for shorter hours. Responding to this, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has blamed the “unnecessarily confrontational approach” of Gilligan and Boris Johnson for creating a “community bitterly divided.”
Writing on his blog, Gilligan said that a key element of the original CS11 plans was to close four of the eight gates to Regent’s Park for 20 hours a day, seven days a week (13 hours more on top of their existing midnight-7am closure) to prevent the Outer Circle being used as a rat-run by motorists.
The majority of consultation respondents were in favour of such a move, but Westminster Council has been among those to have objected to plans since.
According to Gilligan: “The closure of the gates, and the removal of rat-running in the park, is the only thing which makes CS11 a meaningful route. But a nimby minority is vocally opposed to losing their rat-run.”
He characterises Khan’s willingness to water down the plan an “act of defining weakness [that] effectively ends any serious cycling and walking programme in this mayoralty.”
“Let no-one imagine, by the way, that this abject capitulation will satisfy anybody. The pro-cycling groups are and will be against it. But nor will the antis be satisfied, because the scheme still includes some gate closures and a remodelling of the gyratory at Swiss Cottage, which they hate.
“With exquisite political skill, Sadiq and his A-team have now succeeded in changing a scheme which would have done real good, and had 60% support, into to a scheme which will do little or no good, and which has no support at all (including, crucially, from one of the controllers of the roads.) For that reason, what will almost certainly happen is nothing, not even the brief gate closures proposed. CS11 is dead.”
In a statement to Camden New Journal, the mayor said: “CS11 was left for dead by Andrew Gilligan and Boris Johnson, with the community bitterly divided by their unnecessarily confrontational approach and all the stakeholders in disagreement about the plans. This work is ongoing and involves rebuilding relationships that were severely damaged by Andrew Gilligan.”
London Cycling Campaign’s Simon Munk told the Guardian: “Long term, through motor traffic has no business in any park, particularly this one. It shouldn’t be acceptable that massive volumes of motor traffic, saving a minute or two on people’s journeys, are cutting through the park. Every day, let alone every week and month that goes by, we risk further collisions.”
A spokesperson for Khan added: “Despite the positive consultation results there has to be agreement from all responsible authorities for the plans to be progressed, and we continue to work with all stakeholders to take these plans forward.”