A council have considered ripping up a Kensington High Street bike lane after MPs have complained – just two months after it was installed at a cost £700,000.
The Government provided money for the lanes in May in an effort to reduce demand on public transport and encourage more people to shift to bikes.
But two Tory MPs, Tony Devenish and Felicity Buchan, voiced their support for removing the lane in Kensington, saying the scheme ‘hasn’t worked’.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) initiative cost an estimated £700,000 and is completely funded by Transport for London (TfL).
Meanwhile, officials in West Sussex decided earlier this month to remove the cycle ways that were criticised for causing traffic jams from Crawley, East Grinstead, Horsham, Shoreham and Worthing.
Pictures show the lanes being removed today on Worthing High Street in Worthing, West Sussex. It comes as figures show the number of cyclists in the town plummeted after the initiative was introduced in September.
A worker can be seen removing pop-up cycle ways on Worthing High Street in Worthing, West Sussex, today after the controversial lanes caused traffic jams
Pop-up cycle lanes removed on Worthing High Street. It comes as figures show the number of cyclists in the town plummeted after the initiative was introduced in September
In a clip posted to Twitter yesterday, Ms Buchan said: ‘We’re on the verge of Kensington High Street and we’ve come to see the traffic this morning.
‘I very much wanted the cycle lane on Kensington High Street to work but unfortunately it just hasn’t.
‘It hasn’t worked for pedestrians, it hasn’t worked for the elderly, it hasn’t worked for the disabled. So very reluctantly, I am asking the council to take out the cycle lane on Kensington High Street.’
Mr Devenish added: ‘I’d like to thank our residents and residents’ associations for working with RBKC to actually look at this scheme.
‘It was a good idea but I’m afraid it hasn’t worked. And now we need to take it out as soon as possible.’
In a joint statement, the MPs also said: ‘TfL has always placed RBKC under immense pressure to implement a cycleway scheme, and have threatened to take over Borough roads. It is now clear that TfL severely miscalculated the impact of such schemes, which require careful analysis.
‘We would fully encourage RBKC to explore expanding their highly successful Quietways programme, and we note the success of other measures such as on Portobello Road. Anything that is done to promote active travel must be safe, fair, and balanced for all road users, including the elderly, children, and disabled.
‘We would like to see the cycle lane remain until the end of the current lockdown on December 2.
‘However, we believe that this scheme needs to be removed swiftly as soon as we exit lockdown, to allow businesses along the High Street a period of unimpeded business, in the run-up to Christmas, and following the very real difficulties they have faced during the coronavirus restrictions.
In the week commencing September 14 there were 7,444 cycle trips in the town, compared to 6,131 the next week, further dropping to 5,839 the following week
‘Kensington High Street is simply not the correct location, and we must act in the interests of our constituents.’
TV presenter Jeremy Vine was nearly hit by a driver while riding his bike along Kensington High Street, posting a video last night showing a motorist cutting across traffic.
He wrote: ‘Absolute madness this morning on a stretch of High Street Kensington where there’s not yet a dedicated lane for cyclists.
‘This is the most frightening scenario on a bicycle, when the danger comes out of nowhere.’
A spokeswoman for RBKC told MailOnline: ‘We’ve had lots of feedback from residents and businesses.
‘The lane is still in place for now but it has always been described as temporary and it is under constant review.’
TV presenter Jeremy Vine was nearly hit by a driver while riding his bike along Kensington High Street, posting a video last night showing a motorist cutting across traffic
He wrote: ‘Absolute madness this morning on a stretch of High Street Kensington where there’s not yet a dedicated lane for cyclists’
Meanwhile, in Worthing, there were 7,444 cycle trips in the week commencing September 14 , compared to 6,131 the next week, further dropping to 5,839 the following week, according to data from West Sussex County Council, reported the
Bike journeys also decreased by 44 per cent in Chapel Road and 14.9 per cent in Broadwater Road throughout September.
The report noted: ‘Based on WSCC Officer observations from the drive-through data, average journey times and speeds through the scheme during busy times still appears to be within a range that might be expected.’
According to the local council, with increased traffic levels and more people using public transport there is no longer any need for the cycle lanes.
Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, previously said: ‘The schemes fulfilled their main objectives of offering people dedicated space to cycle rather than using public transport, or to leave the car at home and use their bike instead.
‘This was in response to the unique set of circumstances during the first national lockdown, including schools and colleges having been closed for months and vastly-reduced public transport capacity.
A worker pictured removing the cycle lanes on Worthing High Street. Bike journeys also decreased by 44 per cent in Chapel Road and 14.9 per cent in Broadwater Road in September
‘The extraordinary environment that led to their installation no longer exists even though we are about to enter into a new national lockdown: schools and colleges are open, traffic volumes have increased and, although public transport capacity is not back to pre-March levels, it is significantly improved.’
Mr Elkins said the council feedback showed most people were opposed to the cycle paths, claiming they led to increased congestion.
Automatic traffic counters also showed that very few cyclists were using the lanes.
It comes as TfL confirms it will begin work to remove one of the pop-up cycle lanes on Euston Road this weekend.
A spokesperson for the transportation network told MailOnline: ‘In record time, over 90km of new and upgraded cycle lanes have been built or are under construction, with more being added to London’s expanding cycle network all the time.
‘All Streetspace schemes have been put in as temporary measures and the Euston Road cycle lane was only ever a short term scheme, given the changes that will be needed along the road next year to accommodate HS2 works.
‘Protected cycle lanes play a vital role in reducing danger to vulnerable road users and enabling more people to cycle.
‘However, our review of the Euston Road scheme found that the impact of the westbound cycle lane on buses and general traffic was outweighing the improvements for cycling, so, after investigating a number of options, we will be removing it.
‘The eastbound cycle lane will remain in place for the time being.’
They added: ‘We will continue to work closely with the local community on our plans to make cycling in the area safer and easier.’