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West London priest who asked parishioners to pray against Cycle Superhighway is converted after plans tweaked

Father Michael Dunne says changes prove that "consultation brings changes which benefit the community"...

A Roman Catholic priest at a church in Chiswick that opposed plans for a Cycle Superhighway has been converted to the idea after a redesign of the part of the route in question by Transport for London (TfL).

When the route was under consultation in 2017 parishioners at Our Lady of Grace and St Edward’s Church on Chiswick High Road were encouraged to pray “for success in turning CS9 away from the High Road and the church.”

> West London church urges parishioners to pray against Cycle Superhighway

On its website, the parish claimed that the “the pavement outside of the church will be reduced to about one third of its current size and the Cycle Superhighway would have right of way.”

The original layout is shown in the artist’s impression above, with trees to the right obscuring the red-brick church building.

Outlining the revised proposals today as it confirmed that construction of the route from Kensington Olympia to Brentford will start later this year, TfL said:

Along Chiswick High Road, the existing space for pedestrians on Duke’s Avenue outside Our Lady of Grace and St Edward Church has been retained, whilst maintaining the proposed benefits for cyclists and the fully segregated cycle track, by removing the right turn lane into Duke’s Avenue. Banning the right turn for vehicles will also reduce the likelihood of collisions at this junction.

Parish priest Father Michael Dunne, quoted in TfL’s press release, praised planners for taking some of his concerns on board.

He said: “I can now endorse the TfL consultation process. TfL has listened to the church community and in their revising proposals for the cycle route made very significant changes conscientiously and adequately addressing concerns both for the safety of church-goers and other pedestrians and the impeding of the practice of the faith. 

“If the cycle lane cannot be re-routed away from Chiswick High Road altogether, TfL has proved to me that engaging in the consultation brings changes which benefit the community,” he added.

A new consultation is now open on the section of the route in question, as well as on fresh plans to make the junction at the northern end of Kew Bridge safer for cyclists (pictured below).

CS9 Kew Bridge revised proposals

Eventually, it is planned for the 7-kilometre route to be extended westwards towards Hounslow.

At the eastern end, it will terminate at Hammersmith & Fulham’s border with Kensington & Chelsea, which is opposed to the idea of having a segregated cycle lanes along Kensington High Street.

That means that after passing Kensington Olympia, cyclists heading into the city centre will have to join the main carriageway for a couple of kilometres before picking up CS3 just past the Royal Albert Hall.

London’s cycling and walking commissioner, Will Norman, said: “I’m delighted that construction on this high-quality route will start later this year. We know there is a high demand for cycling in the area and these plans will make it safer and easier, opening it up to even more budding riders.

“I’m really pleased that the improved plans will deliver further improvements for walking and cycling, helping to reduce car use which is crucial to cleaning up London’s toxic air.”

Michael Robinson, co-ordinator of the Hounslow Cycling Campaign, said: “We welcome the new plans for this vital cycle route and are pleased that TfL has listened to local responses.

“The changes will help link the town centres of Chiswick and Brentford and rebalance their high streets away from motor vehicle traffic in favour of people walking and cycling. This will enhance the environment and improve safety for all.”  

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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