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Editor's comment: Has TfL learnt its lesson?

PUBLISHED: 08:30 21 March 2019

Children help the NW3 Green School Runs team hand out leafets in Hampstead. Picture: NW3GSR

Children help the NW3 Green School Runs team hand out leafets in Hampstead. Picture: NW3GSR

Archant

So, with CS11 barely cold in its grave, it seems TfL has decided to swallow its pride and do the work necessary to get improvements to Swiss Cottage over the line. Good.

At least, it has done that to an extent: it will no longer be attempting to work with Westminster or the Crown Estate Paving Commission, so hard luck if you live or work south of Camden.

The resurrection of the Swiss Cottage gyratory project is a confusing announcement barely days after TfL resigned itself to construction traffic for 100 Avenue Road using the A41 – something that was considered unworkable in tandem with digging up the junction.

That aside, I hope TfL has learnt some lessons from its humiliating court defeat.

That will mean being transparent to a fault about its new assumptions, its modelling, its objectives, the options it has considered and discounted, and what it is actually trying to achieve. It will need to demonstrate how it has considered and addressed the concerns of different groups of road users and residents. Perhaps more than anything, it will need to do its homework. Without straying into Westminster’s patch, it is unlikely to face the wrath of environment chief Tim Mitchell, but recall that TfL only faced one legal challenge instead of two because the campaigners opposing work at Swiss Cottage withdrew theirs and threw their weight behind Westminster instead. There is still a vocal and angry group in Hampstead that will want to see TfL doing every bit of due diligence on what it is potentially still an unpopular scheme – and that means looking in more detail at traffic displacement.

With the green school run campaigners stepping up their drive for greener transport, now is the time for Camden and TfL to think big and to look holistically at Hampstead with the goal of reducing the numbers of cars on its streets.

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