Let’s help give Chiswick back it’s villagey feel

The traffic along the High Road in Chiswick ruins the lovely villagey character and cafe culture that Chiswick once had. Sitting outside the High Road Brasserie I’m struggling to hear my companion over the noise of a truck accelerating past and the delicate flavours of my blueberry pancakes spoilt by the taste of diesel fumes in the air.

How will we ever return Chiswick to calmer more civilised place for humans?
Well good news – Will Norman and TFL have the answer. Through their mini-Hollands programme, they have managed to tame Kingston and car controlled Walthamstow and make them clean, green and spaces fit for humans to live, breath and unwind in.

TFL has the bold goal to make 80% of all trips in London by foot or by cycle which also has the side-effect of removing the noise and pollution of cars and trucks from our London streets. The side effect of these schemes and #CS9, in particular, is that ‘rat-running’ cars, on the increase now thanks to the WAZE and Google Maps apps, will be cut off and blocked from racing down our side-streets to cut through to the A4.

Already in central London 460,000 km are cycled every day – imagine how London would feel if these 150,000 daily trips were carried out by car rather than by cycle?

Cycle Superhighway 9 is just a tiny part of a bigger brighter safer and greener future for Chiswick and given the predicted increases in population and traffic in London, endorsing and supporting TFL’s vision for a nicer Chiswick is the only way we might return to the Chiswick we all want to work and live in.

TFL need your responses to their consultation before the end of October. Have your say here – and vote yes:
its go-ahead depends on you.

Following on from the debate about #CS9 at the George IV on Tuesday 17th October I’ve been thinking about the following points.

  1. The general consensus that Chiswick is happy to have a cycle lane just not along the High Road.
    If the cycleway doesn’t follow the High Street then there will be no reduction in the cycling casualties along the High Street and people will continue to be seriously injured and die along this stretch of road.

    People are dying and being seriously injured every year on the Chiswick High Road.

    Not only that but if the goals for increasing the number of journeys by walking and cycling are to be met then ultimately we will need to end up with high-quality cycleways along the Uxbridge, the A4 and the High Road. #CS9 is a very positive and simple start in the right direction.

  2. That TFL had specified the wrong type of road for the Cycle Superhighway along the High Road.
    TFL’s guide to cycling infrastructure was interpreted during the meeting that it recommended white lines painted on the road in a High Street setting. What the audience failed to understand, was that although people still think of Chiswick High Road as a High Street it is actually an incredibly busy road with hundreds of thousands of car journeys per week. This means the design warrants the segregated cycleway approach as it is the only way to safeguard its users.  In fact, even the original blue painted Cycle Superhighways were as dangerous – the only way to save cyclists from the risk of serious injury and death is to segregate them in space and time.
  3. That a Cycle Superhighway will have the wrong type of people speeding through Chiswick on their way elsewhere and will spoil the villagey atmosphere.
    I cycle to work in Chiswick from Ealing along this route. I am courteous and obey the traffic laws. I cycle in my normal work clothes to and from a number of local businesses along the High Road and my colleagues take the same route to work by bicycle as well. The High Road is often full of very busy, aggressive car and van drivers who are rushing through Chiswick to get to a destination elsewhere. These car and van drivers often break the law by using the mobile phones at the wheel and jumping red traffic lights. These people and the road that already divides the High Road makes a previously peaceful and green place feel grey, urban, polluted and dirty. As the figures and illustrations  just taking hundreds of cars off the road will create a more peaceful, less polluted, more human-friendly environment.  Safe and segregated cycling infrastructure is proven to do this across London and the World.

 

There were also three very strange but obviously genuine fears from the local community:

  1. A lot of roads in Chiswick are 20 mph and there is no way of policing speeding cyclists.
    There are three answers to this point:
    a. It is actually quite difficult and energy consuming to cycle at sustained speeds above 20mph and would be impossible along this route – most cyclists hit 15mph at a peak around town and it’s only possible to sustain speeds greater thatn 20mph for long journeys without the stop-start of city cycling.
    b. The route for the cycleway is along the High Road which has a 30mph speed limit.
    c. I’m pretty sure everybody who lives in Chiswick, bike users and pedestrians alike would love the 20mph limit to be policed but unfortunately, the Police rarely prosecute car drivers for breaking this limit let alone the less dangerous bike users.
  2. The TFL scheme is very expensive and cyclists should pay for it.
    The entire route (from Olympia to Hounslow) would cost £70 million which is funded by TFL, not the tax-payer. To put this in perspective, the new Power Road bridge on the South Circular is costing half this at £35 million just for one bridge that is about 25 meters long.
  3. Cyclists are currently cycling on the pavement and this is very dangerous.
    It does appear that cycling on the pavement is becoming more prevalent and is something that as someone who cycles I have previously been very critical of. However, since the risk this poses to pedestrians is insignificant compared to the numbers of pedestrians struck by cars whilst they are on the pavement the Police have decided to turn a blind eye.
    The obvious question is “Why do cyclists feel the need to cycle on the pavement when it is slower and hard to do?” And the overwhelming answer is because they are intimidated and scared of being on the road, the obvious answer to this problem which will be solved in one stroke is to provide safe, segregated cycleways.

In summary, a cycleway should be built along the Chiswick High Road to save people like you and I who bike to and from work in Chiswick from serious harm and possible death.

So let’s build #CS9 along Chiswick High Road and make Chiswick a safer, quieter, greener space for all.

Have your say here – and vote yes:
its go-ahead depends on you.

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