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West London council votes to make temporary cycleway permanent - for next 18 months at least

Hounslow Council keeps segregated route along Chiswick High Road

Hounslow Council has voted to make Cycleway 9, built as a temporary facility last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, permanent.

The route, much of which passes along Chiswick High Road, has been a decade in the planning and proposals for the segregated infrastructure were overwhelmingly backed following two consultations.

The West London borough brought forward the mainly segregated route in a slightly modified form last year due to COVID-19, and it opened shortly before Christmas.

At a meeting last night, Hounslow Council approved an experimental traffic order that in effect makes the route permanent, reports the London Evening Standard.

Ahead of the meeting, the council had said it was looking at introducing several tweaks to the current infrastructure, including providing two bus lanes and more drop-off points for taxis.

The borough said that there “remains a clear strategic case for Cycleway 9 to connect Brentford to Kew, Chiswick, Hammersmith and Olympia,” especially given a forecast rise in commuters as lockdown restrictions are eased.

The council’s lead member for transport, Hanif Khan, said of the 18-month extension: “This trial will address many of the concerns raised by residents and businesses,” he said.

The cycleway has been opposed by a small but vociferous faction, including Conservative councillors elected to wards in Chiswick, with other parts of the borough, as well as the council, being Labour.

Council leader Guy Lambert said: “I’m sure the very pleasant area that is Chiswick will be further enhanced by a better version of Cycleway 9.”

Earlier this month, data TfL and Hounslow Council have revealed 72 per cent growth in the number of people cycling on Chiswick High Road since Cycleway 9 opened last December.

> Huge growth in number of people including families riding bikes on West London protected cycleway

The road also saw a reduction in road traffic casualties and improved air quality – the latter contrary to claims by opponents of the infrastructure that it leads to more pollution.

Bicycles now account for one in five vehicles on the route, with up to 2,700 people cycling on it, including children and families, with a 72 per cent increase from February to April this year.

An independent survey commissioned by TfL found that 47 per cent of local residents support the segregated infrastructure on Chiswick High Road, compared to 43 per cent who are opposed to it, and Hounslow council is studying whether improvements can be made including putting bus lanes in place to improve journey times.

At the time, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said: “This data shows the huge positive impact cycle lanes can have not only in enabling more people to cycle, but also in reducing road danger and improving air quality.

“Chiswick High Road has been transformed by the trial lane, with cycling on weekdays up by almost three quarters and bikes now making up a fifth of ‘vehicles’ using the road during the day.

“We will continue to work with Hounslow Council and boroughs across London to do all we can to ensure a greener and cleaner recovery from the pandemic.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc 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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