Editor’s comment: Why give up on CS11 modelling?

An artist's impression of CS11 at Swiss Cottage. Picture: TfL

An artist's impression of CS11 at Swiss Cottage. Picture: TfL - Credit: Archant

The cancellation of CS11 is the latest baffling chapter of a saga in which it seems to have done everything except its actual job to try and get the scheme through.

I don’t think anyone, Westminster City Council and Sir Ross Cranston included, expected or even intended for TfL to abandon CS11 altogether, and it sends an odd message.

I’ve argued before in this column that I think better cycling infrastructure is urgent and vital, and that any problems created by schemes such as CS11 – for instance, the claims that displaced traffic would worsen congestion and air pollution – must be solved by more wide-ranging solutions, not by scaling them back.

And, sure, I was less than delighted when Westminster succeeded in blocking the project, because since then nothing has been done to sort out a dangerous junction.

But I also think the borough was pretty much doing its job by representing its constituents, just as TfL should have done its own by winning the argument using data. Instead, because of holes in its modelling, it failed to convince a High Court judge – and, subsequently, the Court of Appeal – that it was in fact ready to start work.

In so doing, it let us all down – including those of us who will die prematurely as a result of London’s toxic air, and those of us who will be killed or injured navigating the length of the route.

Could it not have gone away and done the work requested of it? Would it not then have been able to proceed with this scheme that, presumably, is no less of a good idea than it was before the court hearing?

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Or is its pride too great? Was it only interested in forcing the scheme through if it could do so by overturning the High Court’s decision? Has it done the work behind closed doors and decided CS11 doesn’t stack up after all? Or has something else changed that makes it expedient to abandon ship? TfL owes us more than just bluster about Westminster.