West End Commission Acknowledges Positive Impact of Cycling

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The West End Commission has now published its long-awaited report, to which the London Cycling Campaign and Westminster Cycling Campaign both made submissions. Link to the report »

Amid the sense of panic at the prospect of CrossRail's opening, the report finally acknowledges that traffic is a problem on the streets of the West End. It also recognises the growing importance of cycling, as well as the contribution taxis make to congestion - and pollution.

On cycling, the report says that 'the potentially positive impact of a greater shift to cycling should be acknowledged and the likely impacts on the West End road network of ongoing proposals to improve the cycle network should be viewed as part of a holistic West End transport framework.'

The report recommends the establishment of an inter-organizational body to manage the West End, which the Evening Standard has dubbed the politburo. Other proposals are for up to 15 traffic-free days a year and running the Underground later at night.

Shaftesbury Avenue
The picture on the cover of Westminster's (positive) response to the Commission's report typifies much of what is wrong in the West End - even bikes locked to street furniture because of the lack of parking places.

According to DEFRA's forecast, in 2015 Oxford Street will have the worst level of nitrous oxide pollution in the UK.

'The West End is under threat from environmental deterioration and climate change, dynamic domestic and international competition, changing trends in commerce and lifestyle, and the failure, so far, to address acute, but unintended, symptoms of success and growth.' Sounds about right!

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