Roads could be taken from councils that block Mayor’s safety measures
Councils that block attempts to cut road deaths and injuries in London could have key roads taken out of their control, the Standard can reveal.
City Hall is investigating ways to stop boroughs from “holding the city to ransom” by refusing to allow segregated cycle lanes and better pedestrian crossings to be built.
It comes in the wake of opposition from Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster councils that killed off proposed cycle superhighways in Holland Park Avenue and Swiss Cottage.
Demands for segregated routes intensified today as Transport for London statistics revealed a 14 per cent annual rise in the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in the capital.
There were 12 cycle deaths and 771 serious injuries last year, compared with 10 fatalities and 675 serious injuries in 2017. The number of cycle trips increased by about eight per cent in central London over the same period, TfL said. Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Vision Zero target is to eliminate road deaths by 2041.
Heidi Alexander, Mr Khan’s deputy mayor for transport, has asked TfL to investigate whether Holland Park Avenue and Notting Hill Gate can be taken from Kensington and Chelsea council and added to TfL’s “Red Routes” network.
The Tory council last month withdrew its support for a £42 million cycleway between Wood Lane and Notting Hill Gate after hundreds of residents claimed it would increase congestion and result in the loss of 23 trees. More than 5,500 people responded to a TfL consultation but the council decision was made while views were still being gathered.
Ms Alexander told TfL’s programmes and investment committee: “What is so upsetting is how premature the decision was on the part of Kensington and Chelsea. While we can always replace trees, we can’t replace limbs when people are injured in very serious collisions.
“We need to find a way to stop central London boroughs from holding the rest of the city to ransom when it comes to delivering safer cycling routes.”
Mr Khan decided earlier this year to abandon hope of building the CS11 cycle superhighway between Swiss Cottage and Oxford Circus after Westminster council won a court case.
TfL intends to build the west London cycleway to the borough boundary at the bottom of Holland Park Avenue but has effectively given up on CS11.
Transferring a borough road to TfL control would require the approval of the Transport Secretary and probably also the consent of the borough.
A Kensington and Chelsea council spokesman said: “Our position represents the clear view of residents. The Mayor and TfL would be ill-advised to ride roughshod over those views. Our door remains open for further discussion on a project if it can win the support of local people and local businesses.”