Residents opposing Cycle Superhighway stage Regent’s Park sit-in as cyclists rally behind plans
PUBLISHED: 16:13 17 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:32 17 March 2016
© Adam Tiernan Thomas
Residents opposing plans for a Cycle Superhighway held a sit-down protest in Regent’s Park on Tuesday in a bid to simulate the “traffic chaos” they claim it will bring to their roads.
More than 60 protesters held up oncoming traffic during a raucous “moment of civil action” in Avenue Road to protest against Boris Johnson’s plans for Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11), which he claims will open up safer cycling to thousands travelling from north to central London.
By physically blocking access to Macclesfield Gate amid cries of “Stop the super highway!”, the protestors sought to simulate how plans to close four key gates to Regent’s Park at all times except 11am-3pm will impact the flow of traffic in the area.
Beverley Black, of Springfield Road, described a Transport for London, (TfL) consultation into the plans as “ridiculous” and said: “Closing the gates is all very well for fit cyclists but what about the elderly and disabled who need to travel by car? It’s going to have a major impact on our lives. ”
John Kessler, of St John’s Wood, said the protest was an “absolute demonstration of the traffic gridlock” the plans will cause and added: “It’s got to be stopped.”
Under the proposals, the Swiss Cottage gyratory- a major arterial road into central London- will be re-routed and lane capacity cut in half while Avenue Road will become bus and cycle access only in addition to peak-time closure of gates into Regent’s Park.
Lindsey Hall, Conservative councillor for Abbey Road ward, echoed concerns about increased levels of traffic and pollution raised by Daniel Howard, of Childs Hill, who set up the ‘Stop Cycle Superhighway’ petition on Change.org which has been signed by more than 3,400 people.
She said: “If there was ever a clue as to the strength of feeling amongst residents it’s this - it’s going to be utterly miserable for mums wanting to take their children to school in Hampstead or anyone wanting to get into central London via Regent’s Park.”
The demonstration comes hot on the heels of a rally in support of CS11 attended by more than 150 cyclists in Regent’s Park on Friday evening.
Justin McKie of Regent’s Park Cyclists, who called the rally to make a “strong, positive” case for the scheme said: “Personally I don’t think the Cycle Superhighway goes far enough.
“Regent’s Park and Hampstead will benefit hugely from this and there has been a lot of misinformation being spread around.” He stressed the need for cycle lanes to improve public health by driving down pollution and encouraging more people to take up cycling.
A spokesman for TFL said: “We want London to become a more cycle-friendly city for everyone, not just experienced cyclists, and by providing safer cycling routes we can support a growing and changing capital.”
Protesters against CS11 were gearing up to attend a public meeting in Hampstead at 7pm last night to express their views.See our full report here.
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