Barnet councillors approve cycle route plans as part of long-term strategy to reduce car use

Barnet Council's Hendon Town Hall base. Picture: LDRS

Barnet Council's Hendon Town Hall base. Picture: LDRS - Credit: Archant

Barnet councillors have approved plans for cycle routes across the borough – including a link to Highgate – after backing the town hall’s Long-term Transport Strategy.

Routes would serve “corridors of high demand” and include connections between Highgate, North Finchley and Totteridge and Whetstone – which Transport for London (TfL) sees as priorities.

The LTS was approved on September 9.

A survey by TfL in 2018 revealed only two per cent of trips in Barnet were cycled – a significantly lower proportion than in some neighbouring boroughs.

The transport strategy says designated cycle routes can overcome one of the main barriers to cycling by reducing the number of collisions by 50 per cent – rising to 90 per cent for protected cycle lanes.

READ MORE: ‘No Covid marshals here’, north London councils sayA cycle network was backed by 81 per cent of those who responded to a consultation on the plans, with those surveyed considering it to be the most important scheme proposed in the document.

The transport strategy, which covers the next two decades, also aims to make walking “the natural mode for short journeys in Barnet”, and includes plans for school streets, low-traffic neighbourhoods and improvements to pathways.

Express and orbital bus routes are also included in the document to provide better public transport connections between the east and west of the borough.

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Although cars will continue to be used for some journeys, the strategy proposes car clubs and more electric vehicle charging points to encourage greener alternatives.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the environment committee, Labour councillors criticised the document over what they claimed was a lack of focus on orbital transport facilities.

Cllr Geoff Cooke (Labour, Woodhouse) said there was “a lot of good stuff” in the paper but not enough on the need to lobby TfL and the government for resources to improve facilities such as the proposed West London Orbital railway line.

But Cllr Peter Zinkin (Conservative, Childs Hill), said the strategy recognises Barnet Council cannot sponsor a railway line and “addresses the issues that Barnet can influence, which is improving bus services in the area”.

When it came to the vote, Labour abstained on several recommendations – including the adoption of the strategy – while Conservative members voted in favour.