View from the street: CS11 is not the answer to health of NW3


- Credit: Archant

I am truly delighted that there are more voices discussing CS11 as the issues involved are deeply important for the health of NW3.

In this letter, I address Dr Mayer Hillman’s comments in your pages on August 9, 2018. Much of what he suggests may be true if it was not for the fact that CS11 pushes traffic on to residential roads through ‘traffic reassignment’ - TfL’s fancy word for rat running in residential streets.

It may also be true if the Finchley Road was not the main artery between the north and south of England with 2m vehicles using it a year or 40,000 a day. The Swiss Cottage (SC) gyratory pinchpoint will be a rat running nightmare which won’t make residents fitter or healthier as they pay the price for a £24m cycle way which is designed to move traffic from a main trunk road onto narrow roads in built up areas. How is this progressive as suggested by Dr Hillman?

While he questions the idea of quietways, Camden is in the process of rolling out yet more, spending tax payer’s money on what he regards as a folly. Quietways 1 and 3 already exist and a google of these names will reveal their locations.

It is true Hampstead has the school run traffic but by 9.30am, this traffic abates and normality returns until about 1pm when it starts building again. With CS11, such normality will be a distant memory as traffic held back by the SC pinchpoint continue to stream past this hour into NW3 as it struggles to find its way south.

Dr Hillman states that parents should be encouraged to choose schools which cannot be accessed by walking or cycling. Therein lies a major problem as individual choice of where one sends one’s child to school has been the mantra of the government and the preserve of schools in the area for decades. What he is suggesting requires a much larger political movement than a cycle lane.

Dr Hillman suggests that residents on the Finchley Road deserve more attention than those in its ‘hinterland’. I have never supposed to suggest that one type of resident should have precedence over another. Everyone is equally important. But, the impact of the pinchpoint will be detrimental to Finchley Road residents as traffic will be halted due to the pinchpoint and complex signalling required with the new scheme and remain halted for longer. Stationary traffic is worse for pollution than moving traffic.

Most Read

Dr Hillman has asked how I would feel if I cycled through the SC gyratory. I would not. I would take the quietways which are parallel to the SC gyratory put in at expense by Camden. Other cyclists do this in preference to the gyratory now and may continue to do this even if CS11 goes in as they may not want to mix with buses and the thousands of trucks which will be building the 24 stories of 100 Avenue Road which will cross the cycleway to get to Finchley Road to go on their journey north.

Dr Hillman has identified a number of systemic issues which cannot be solved with a single cycle lane. He may wish to continue to think about solutions to these problems because I know that I do not have the answer - yet. But, what I do know is that CS11 is not the answer.