London mayor Sadiq Khan has called on a borough council to reinstate protected cycle lanes on a main road after research found that a majority of local residents support them.
Kensington and Chelsea council installed the cycle lanes last year at a cost of £700,000 before removing them seven weeks later. It is set to revisit the decision at a meeting on March 17.
Picture @willnorman, October 2020
The survey, by ICM Unlimited, asked a sample of 1,000 Kensington and Chelsea residents whether they 'support or oppose having protected cycle lanes on Kensington High Street', with 56% of respondents in favour and 30% against.
A slightly higher majority (59%) supported the general concept of introducing protected cycle lanes on main roads in the borough.
Mr Khan said: ‘The ripping out of the new cycle lanes last year was not just an unacceptable waste of money, but went against what everyone could see: that the safe space for cycling on Kensington High Street was working. Cycling numbers were up, bus journey times down, yet the council were swayed by a few loud voices committed to the status quo.
‘I admire RBKC’s commitment to putting their residents first. What this poll shows is that their residents want to be able to cycle along Kensington High Street and other main roads across the borough. I urge the Council to make the right decision and work with TfL to reinstate the cycle lanes.’
Justin Abbott, chair of Better Streets for Kensington and Chelsea, said: ‘Some inaccurate claims were made when the safe cycle lanes were removed, and we would like to thank TfL for commissioning professional research.’
City Hall said that more than 3,000 people each day used the protected cycle lane on Kensington High Street while it was in place and that data from the Santander cycle hire scheme shows a significant increase in hires at docking stations close to the cycle lanes – up by 14% in October, compared to a decrease of 0.5% across the wider network.
It said that data from Transport for London shows that the trial cycle lanes did not lead to an increase in bus journeys times, although this was based on a comparison between pre-pandemic average bus journey times and times during the two weeks prior to the removal of the cycle tracks.
According to City Hall, the road is one of the borough's worst casualty hotspots for cycling, with 15 people killed or seriously injured while walking or cycling over the past three years.
A Kensington and Chelsea spokesperson said: 'We have asked the Mayor of London to see the questions and the methodology behind this survey because our residents have raised concerns. We have received complaints that questions were leading and it was not clear which organisation the survey was being run by.'
The spokesperson said the council's leadership team is due to meet on 17 March to discuss the issue, without the lead member in the room for that item.