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Cycling campaign draws up wishlist

West Hampstead has a low rate of car ownership compared to other areas (>40% of households have no car); yet, West End Lane is frequently congested.

Encouraging cycling is increasingly seen as part of the solution to reduce congestion. Camden Cyclists, as part of the London Cycling Campaign, has been very active for more than ten years in lobbying for the interests of cyclists.

Last Monday, the group held its regular monthly meeting and invited local election candidates for the Fortune Green, Kilburn and West Hampstead wards to respond to a set list of “asks” for those wards. These included:

  • Fortune Green – providing safer routes for pupils to cycle to Hampstead School
  • Kilburn – traffic calming and protected crossings for cyclists at the south end of Kilburn high Road (the junction of Kilburn Priory and Maida Vale)
  • West Hampstead – two-way cycling on Broadhurst Gardens west of Priory Road with subsequent changes to traffic lights.

All these issues will take time to resolve. Traffic planning is never an exact science and slowing down cars or encouraging cyclists in one road can lead to worse congestion elsewhere.

For example, would a two-way contraflow for cyclists on Broadhurst Gardens actually be less safe for cyclists? Would it lead to more congestion on West End Lane as the traffic lights would need to allow cyclists time to turn from Broadhurst Gardens onto West End Lane?

Ideas to improve conditions for cyclists on Mill Lane will be of particular interest to pupils of Hampstead School (and their parents). Yet, calming measures on Mill Lane may not be so simple given that it is a bus route for both the C11 and is used (controversially) by Metroline to move 139s to and from its Cricklewood depot.

This was my first Camden Cyclists meeting. It was good to have council candidates from all the major parties there, although only Labour’s Tulip Siddiq was there from the parliamentary candidates. Still, it suggests that the cycling vote is being taken seriously and that despite cuts, there is some money available for some improvements. However, improvements can only come about if people lobby their elected representatives and as part of the planning process.

Camden Cyclists meets every month. Notices of their meetings are posted on West Hampstead Life and meetings are open to all with an interest in cycling.

Follow Eugene on Twitter @Cycle_Whamp