Friday, 15 May 2015

Response to Cambridge Circus Consultation

Westminster Council have recently come up with plans to close Moor St to cycling as part of 'changes' to Cambridge Circus. These plans are so appalling I've publicly posted my response to the consultation below.

Moor Street

Westminster Council's planned closure


Dear Mr Warden and Mr Balboa,

I'm writing to respond to the Cambridge Circus consultation as a local resident and worker who regularly cycles.

I think the plans are a significant step backwards for cycling in Westminster and wholeheartedly reject them. 

Closing Moor St to cycling is a very bad idea. Moor St is one of the few genuinely quiet and safe streets to cycle on in Westminster (due to the fact it is not a route for motorised through-traffic). People on bikes can already use Old Compton St but choose not to because it is far more dangerous and unpleasant due to rat-running traffic. Why further limit the already limited amount of routes there are for cycling in Westminster, especially when Moor St already contains a rather expensive cycle hire docking station?!

Furthermore, I believe it is perfectly easy to keep Moor St open to cycling. Cyclists and pedestrians currently interact harmoniously at the junction of Moor St and Charing Cross Road, and pedestrians do not need significantly more space here. If you are keen to improve things for pedestrians, areas like Oxford Street or parts of Soho could be much more fruitfully investigated, in my opinion.

It would be a terrible shame in Westminster Council were the only Council in London to be publicly closing cycle routes, especially given the current political, social and economic consensus on the benefits of increasing cycle rates.

I note that the Quietway plans are not finalised yet and I believe it would be incredibly retrograde to start closing cycle routes before you have even begun consulting on building any new ones.

Finally, the additional of 4 new bike parking stands is incredibly paltry given how much demand there is for cycle parking the West End. A scheme like this should be delivering closer to 40-50 new parking stands to cope with increasing demand in the West End and encourage sustainable transport. There's plenty of space for both bike parking and pedestrians and would be interested to see any evidence you might have to the contrary.

I think we should learn from the mistakes that were made with the changes to Haymarket over the last year (i.e. completely failing to design for cycling), rather than repeat them.

Very best wishes,