Islington cyclists protest over missing cycle track


Cyclists from Islington Cyclists Action Group, the LCC local branch, protested at Clerkenwell's unfinished and unused cycle track last week, as reported  in the Islington Tribune.

The 70ft by 10ft length of cycle track remains closed more than 10 years after it was built on the Clerkenwell road Faringdon road junction by Camden Council at a reported cost of £30,000.

It should have continued across Faringdon road into Islington but the eastern section has never been completed. There are traffic lights for cyclists at one end and a steel barrier preventing access at the other.

Islington Cycle Action Group campaigner Andrea Casalotti decided to draw attention to the unfinished path as part of his plan for a Clerkenwell Boulevard for cyclists. His "Space for Cycling" scheme calls for a route for bikes, buses and local traffic only.

"Conditions along Clerkenwell Road are extremely dangerous for cyclists," he said. "That’s why it is appalling to think that Camden started to provide a segregated cycle track and then abandoned it, presumably because Islington weren’t interested in continuing it.

"Since that small unused stretch of path was installed in 2009-2010 the number of cyclists that use this route has probably doubled. Up to 60 per cent of traffic on this route are now cyclists and we need to think about this as they do in cities in Scandinavia."

The Clerkenwell Boulevard plan was chosen as the ward ask for this  area in London Cycling Campaign's Space for Cycling initiative at the May elections. The plan would provide safer cycling  between Shoreditch and Fitzrovia along a  route where five cyclists have been killed in collisions with large vehicles in the  last eight years.

At the protest Islington's new Green Party councillor, Caroline Russell, said she was disappointed that the cycle lane had never been completed.

"Anything that starts addressing the traffic domination of our roads and makes them more people-friendly has got to be good," she said. "We understand we must allow for the city to function but a safe space should be reallocated for cyclists."

Councillor Claudia Webbe, Islington Council’s environment chief, said: "Islington Council is working closely with Camden Council, Hackney Council and Transport for London to prepare designs for improvements to Old Street and Clerkenwell Road.

"We propose to create high-quality cycling routes running across the south of Islington, including Clerkenwell Road, that link in with our neighbouring boroughs’ plans for new routes.

"It’s essential that residents and businesses have the chance to have their say on any planned improvements, and there will be public consultations when the proposals are ready."