The case of the missing space for cycling: Cycling Commissioner says he is not supportive of the Baker Street scheme

Westminster City Council’s consultation on returning Baker Street and Gloucester Place to two-way motor traffic comes to a close this week. Not much has been said about the plans during the consultation. It’s possible that Westminster hoped they’d be able to push them through without anyone noticing how poor they are. But the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan has now spoken out, telling LCC he is not supportive of the Baker Street scheme and wants to work with Westminster City Council to make it work for cycling.

Have your say on the plans. The deadline for responses is this Friday, 31st July. Read our suggested responses for each question.

What to say in the consultation response?

We've written some suggested responses and answers to the 8 main questions that feature in the consultation survey. Anyone can take part, not only localy residents, so please do take a moment to respond and call for safe space for cycling.

Artist’s impression from bakerstreettwoway.co.uk

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The reality of two-way traffic (on Edgware Rd)

Despite the desperate need for safe space for cycling in Westminster, this scheme is yet another that simply isn’t safe enough. The plans include painted cycle lanes along Gloucester Place which not only wouldn’t offer sufficient protection from the fast and heavy motor traffic on this busy road, but wouldn’t even be in operation 24 hours a day – Westminster say they couldn’t operate 24 hours a day, because of the need to allow loading and parking at certain times. So when cyclists are forced to use the carriageway because parking is permitted, not only will they have to share with heavy motor traffic in the lane, but they’ll also be at risk from opening doors.

The plans also fail to offer safe space for cycling at junctions. Cyclists continuing straight ahead will be at risk of collision with left-turning vehicles at many junctions, and it’ll be tough for cyclists to turn right, especially from the left-hand cycle lanes along Gloucester Place. 

Dominic Fee from LCC’s Westminster local group explains that "This is a once in a generation opportunity to improve Baker Street and Gloucester Place, and we’ve met with the Council’s cabinet member to express our concerns. But we know from experience how the Council will evaluate the results of the public consultation: they will simply use the results of their online questionnaire. We need cyclists to take 2 minutes to complete the multiple choice questionnaire, or their voice won’t be heard!"

London Cycling Campaign believes that good quality cycling provision that’s suitable for all ages and abilities can and should be provided along both Baker Street and Gloucester Place. This could be achieved either through filtering Baker Street to reduce through traffic, whilst also reducing carriageway space to create space for segregated cycle tracks; or by retaining one-way operation for motor vehicles and using the additional carriageway space to create bi-directional segregated tracks on both streets. And it sounds like the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner thinks so too.

Have your say on the plans. The deadline for responses is this Friday, 31st July.

Local Campaigning

 

Our local group in Westminster have been out on the street talking to local people and cyclists about the plans. If you want to help with their work locally please contact westminster@lcc.org.uk