Council votes against reinstating Kensington cycle lane


Kensington and Chelsea Council has voted to not re-install the Kensington High Street temporary cycle lane scheme, which caused controversy last year after being introduced in October only to be abandoned seven weeks later.

A council report suggests the scheme had managed to boost cycling levels, despite being fully removed within just nine weeks of being implemented after residents complaints.

'The number of bikes counted was 50% higher in the second half of October than it was during the construction of the cycle lanes in the first half of that month. Transport for London officers compared a series of manual one hour counts in October 2020 with similar surveys undertaken in October 2018, and reported increases ranging between 60% and 175%.'

Picture @willnorman, October 2020

The data also suggests 'there was a substantial amount of leisure cycling while the cycle lanes were in place'.

The council’s leadership team unanimously opted to commission research into transport patterns in the post-COVID world but 'will not reinstall temporary cycle lanes on Kensington High Street'.

Council leader Elizabeth Campbell suggested working with an academic partner on the research, which could lead to a feasibility study for travel options in the longer-term.

Cllr Campbell said: 'The Kensington High Street scheme was a temporary solution to an urgent problem but permanent changes to our roads need full and proper consultation.

'This has been a divisive issue and passionate arguments were made on both sides. I would urge people to come together and work with us to find an alternative for our whole community.' The council's report highlights that both the London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade (LFB) 'raised concerns about the scheme and noted that their vehicles would not use the cycle lanes'.

The LFB stated that as an organisation, it was not encouraging fire appliance drivers to drive over the collapsible wands.

However, public appears to have backed the cycle lane. A telephone survey, commissioned by Transport for London, which supports the scheme, found the majority of residents (70%) were in favour of measures to make cycle routes in the area safer.

A majority (59%) supported the introduction of protected cycle lanes on main roads in RBKC and a slightly lower proportion (56%) supported protected cycle lanes on Kensington High St.

Though reports of costs have run to around £700,000, the council states the actual cost of installing the cycle lane was £171,500.

This comprised design fees (£85,000), the cost of 413 wands and associated fixings (£49,000) and the cost of construction (£37,500).

The cost of removing the cycle lane in High Street Kensington in December 2020 was £40,000 bringing the total cost of the scheme to date (installation and removal) to £211,500 9.5. The estimated cost of reinstating the cycle lane on High Street Kensington, in whole or in part, would have been £40,000.

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