Councillor Caroline ffiske writes:
Transport for London opened its consultation on the Cycle Superhighway 9 ("CS9") proposal in late September, closing it on 31 October. The proposal involves the development of a three metre wide Cycle Superhighway from Olympia, around the top of the Hammersmith Gyratory, along through King Street and Chiswick High Road and through to Brentford Town Centre.
CS9 passes through the heart of Olympia, Avonmore and Brook Green, Hammersmith, and Ravenscourt Park. Therefore Conservative councillors representing these area have spent the last few months doing as much as we can to make sure residents know about the scheme and consultation, and then seeing what they think about it.
While a local councillor can never speak to everyone or for everyone, it is safe to say that, in its current form, CS9 is very unpopular. A huge number of local people have spent a considerable amount of time looking at the scheme in detail and sending in comments and observations.
It is also important to put on record concerns about the quality of the consultation. Large numbers of people living near the route had no idea about the scheme. This includes many people who use Hammersmith Road as their main commuting route, and people who use King Street every week and regard it as their main local shopping and community area. It is also difficult to make head or tail of some important details of the scheme which matter for particular areas, such as where pavements will be narrowed.
A number of important concerns have been raised with us by local residents. The most significant is the increased congestion and resulting air pollution that the scheme will cause, and the impact that this will have on local people's health and well-being. Air pollution and its impact is high on the agenda in local government, yet no-one has shown how this scheme along already densely congested roads will do anything but make it worse for local people. The second concern is the congestion itself. Whether you're sitting in a bus or car in traffic that can't move, walking past those queues of traffic, or living in a street that is suddenly filled with backed-up rat-runners, it is misery. Locals have told us it can take an hour to move along Hammersmith Road from North End Road to the Gyratory - and that's now, without CS9. It will only get worse.
Then there is the narrowing of pavements, particularly in King Street: a big 'no' when we are trying to make King Street a lively destination that all local people use and are proud of. And we are all hoping it will get busier with new developments like Landmark House. Many cyclists themselves have said that higher-speed 'commuter' cycling next to busy pedestrian streets like King Street will be dangerous for the cyclists as well as for pedestrians.
There are also many details which have not been thought through, such as moving bus-stops that elderly people use, or removing bus lanes so that traffic will grind to a stand-still every time a bus stops.
Because of these factors, Hammersmith and Fulham Conservatives are launching a petition asking the Council to withdraw its support for CS9 in its current form. We would like them to look instead at more incremental measures to improve the experience of cyclists within the borough, to continue to look at other transport improvements that will work for the benefit of everyone in the borough, and to work with TfL to find an alternative route for a major cycle super-highway.
Throughout the coming months we will continue to raise awareness of the CS9 scheme with local people, and we will compile and publish comments on our website so people can see what others are thinking. If you have any specific comments on the scheme, please e-mail us.
If, like us, you are seeking more time, more detail, or are already concerned about aspects of the CS9 scheme, please sign our petition and forward it to any friends and family who live along the route.