Cycle Superhighway supporters to stage rally in Regent's Park
PUBLISHED: 17:02 11 March 2016 | UPDATED: 17:27 11 March 2016
Cyclists backing the Mayor of London's plans for a cycle superhighway running from Swiss Cottage to the West End are staging a demonstration in Regent's Park this evening.
Riders from Camden Cyclists and Regent’s Park Cycling groups will congregate at Park Square East at 6pm in a show of support for Cycle Superhighway 11, which Boris Johnson, Mayor of London claims will open up cycling to thousands travelling form north to central London.
The move comes after hundreds of residents attended a heated meeting with Transport for London (TfL) bosses at St John’s Wood Church on Monday evening, with many road users warning the scheme would bring “traffic chaos” to Swiss Cottage, Regent’s Park and the surrounding area for years to come.
Under the proposals, the Swiss cottage gyratory- a major arterial road into central London- will be re-routed and lane capacity cut in half, Avenue Road will be bus and cycle access only and key gates to Regent’s Park will be closed to cars at peak times.
Simon Munk, Infrastructure Spokesman for the London Cycling Campaign, said: “We’re holding this demonstration tonight because many cyclists and residents feel CS11 is a much-needed and vital link and will also encourage many people who would be too scared to cycle down Swiss Cottage into central London to live healthier lifestyles.
“Closing the gates to Regent’s Park at key times will also make it much nicer for everyone, not just families and people who want to cycle together.”
Acknowledging the strength of feeling expressed by 2,500 residents who have signed a Change.org petition opposing the plans, Mr Munk said many residents were “very angry” but said those warning of “traffic apocalypse” were not seeing the benefits of an “excellent” scheme.
He added: “There has been a lot of scaremongering from those who don’t want this to happen. It’s not going to send lots of traffic into residential roads and it’s not the horror they’re making it out to be. It’s actually a really good, positive scheme for North London.”
However, local residents groups including the St John’s Wood Society and the I Love Hampstead NW3 Facebook group hit back at the plans, claiming the cycle superhighway was destined to become a “white elephant.”
Hampstead solicitor Jessica Learmond-Criqui said: “Local residents are up in arms because laudable safety aims that everyone can support have been transformed into a cycle superhighway white elephant that is going to spread traffic chaos and pollution far and wide in north west London.
“It will have huge ramifications too for huge numbers of businesses that rely on keeping the major north-south arterial route of the Finchley Road flowing including round Swiss Cottage.”
A TfL consultation into the plans is open until March 20, and is available to view here: tfl.gov.uk/cs11.