Letters supporting Haverstock Hill cycle lanes

Haverstock Hill

Haverstock Hill could could see cycle lanes installed - Credit: Google

Cllr Adam Harrison, cabinet member for a sustainable Camden, writes:

Support from four local schools; backing from the Royal Free Hospital; 27 casualties in three years, most involving vulnerable road users – such is the background to the better walking and cycling safety environment recently agreed for the Belsize Park area, but which four councillors are attempting to block. 

Starting outside Haverstock Hill – where cycle lanes have already been in place for nearly a year – this safer ‘segregated’ space would be extended all the way up to Pond Street.

This would provide security not just for those who already cycle, but, importantly, for those who would like to start using a bicycle to get around but do not feel confident to if they are forced to contend with motor vehicles.

Crucially, underrepresented groups, including women, are likely to be deterred from using this most affordable and healthy form of travel. If we knew of any other public service where a group was underrepresented, we would take all steps possible to address this.  

The same must go for our streets. It must no longer be the case that the only people cycling – or simply wanting to cross a busy road – are those who feel brave enough to take on the traffic.  

There are proposals for a cycle lanes on Haverstock Hill

The bike lanes would run between Prince of Wales Road and Pond Street - Credit: Archant

Importantly, the council has plans ready to go to install four new zebra crossings, a new “signalised” crossing, and pedestrian “countdowns” that let you see how long you still have left to cross, as well as a new cycle hangar to provide secure bike parking on Glenloch Road. Between Chalk Farm and Hampstead there are too few places where pedestrians are given priority to cross.    

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Bus users are too often forgotten, but the plans I approved earlier this month would also extend the hours of operation of the bus lane, helping passengers get around more quickly. An extra disabled parking space would also be provided. 

As one local resident told us during the public consultation, “It’s an area that is off-putting for cyclists currently and so more people drive – like me. I will use the lovely Belsize Park shops much more if I can safely cycle there.” 

Tomorrow (Thursday), the council’s culture and environment scrutiny committee will hear an attempt by Cllrs Parkinson, Spinella, Cooper, and Adams to try to block these much-needed safety changes.

But the councillors are ignoring the urgent need to make our streets safe – brought home by recent casualties, including one fatality. I therefore hope that members of the scrutiny committee will support the plans.

Mothers CAN, Hampstead/Belsize/Chalk Farm/Gospel Oak/Kentish Town, writes:

Haverstock School - could it also be home to Abacus Belsize Primary?

Haverstock School is one of four schools which support the proposed road changes - Credit: Archant

We write as local mothers and members of the Mothers Climate Action Network (Mothers CAN) to strongly support the proposed Haverstock Hill cycle lane scheme.

The five new pedestrian crossings on Haverstock will be transformative for local children and will change this road for the better for many generations. The protected cycle lanes, extra disabled parking space, and reduced traffic will make Haverstock Hill a safe community again, and one with significantly higher air quality. 

Mothers CAN undertook Air Quality Tests in the area in the last few weeks. At St Stephen’s on Pond Street, the air quality is becoming dangerous to breathe at 37.96 (Orange Zone: 30-40µg/m3) and on Haverstock Hill the reading went into the dangerous ‘Red’ category at 46.09 (Red Zone: 41-59 µg/m3). 

Schools in the area, including Rosary, Haverstock, and St Christopher’s, support the Haverstock Hill initiative, as does the Royal Free. These are voices we should listen to. The children of Belsize and Chalk Farm need local councillors to clean up the provenly dangerous air that the children breathe simply in going to school each day, by backing the Haverstock Hill scheme as soon as possible. 

File photo date 15/07/14 of a generic stock photo of school girls walking to school. Many children a

Mothers CAN want cleaner air for children going to school - Credit: PA