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Sadiq Khan champions Chiswick High Road café culture as concerns are raised over Cycle Superhighway 9 impact on pavement space

Cycle Superhighway 9 is aimed at improving cycling and walking from West Kensington to Brentford, through Hammersmith and Chiswick

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said "it can't be right" that plans for a new cycle superhighway would reduce pavement space in Chiswick High Road.

The acknowledgement will come as a relief to residents, shopkeepers and church-goers who have highlighted their concerns over the lack of footpath in the southern part of the main road in Chiswick.

It is one of several problems highlighted during the first phase of the consultation for CS9, which aims to improve cycling and walking from West Kensington to Brentford, through Hammersmith and Chiswick.

The issue was raised during People's Question Time in Hounslow on Thursday March 1.

'We will take on board your concerns'

Mr Khan said: "The first draft of a consultation is never perfect, that's why you consult.

"I've been really impressed by the number of people that responded to the consultation saying, look we're in favour of the principle but you've got these details wrong.

"Particularly it can't be right in the southern part of Chiswick high street for example to have less pavement space, particularly when people are sitting outside enjoying the weather, enjoying some of the cafés that you benefit from.

"So what the walking and cycling commissioner [Dr Will Norman] is doing is not simply visiting Father Dunne and the church, he is speaking to residents and shopkeepers, reading the responses to the consultation.

"More than 60% are in favour of CS9 but making sure we improve the consultation phase. I can promise you we will take on board some of your concerns."

The Cycle Superhighway route from Chiswick to Brentford Town Centre

What are the concerns?

Transport for London (TfL) released the initial results of the consultation.

More than 5,000 people responded to the Mayor's initial proposals on nearly 6km of segregated cycle track on roads from Kensington Olympia to Brentford.

Among the concerns raised were:

  • A review of options to reduce the impact on the southern footway of Chiswick High Road for pedestrians, particularly outside the Our Lady of Grace church
  • Access arrangements for some side roads off Chiswick High Road
  • Loading provisions for businesses along the road
  • Consideration to wider parking and traffic management measures if the scheme is implemented to deal with likely knock-on impacts from the scheme.

An artist’s impression of the proposals, looking east along Chiswick High Road from Duke's Avenue(Image: TfL)

So what next?

Hounslow Council said it was working with TfL to ensure the scheme addressed these issues and provided a solution to benefit people who live, work in or visit Chiswick High Road.

Councillor Steve Curran, leader of Hounslow Council, said: “With 60% of respondents supporting plans for Cycle Superhighway 9, there is a clear desire for improved cycling links in west London, however in Hounslow there are local concerns about the effect of CS9 on other road users, particularly pedestrians.

“While we are very keen to improve cycle facilities between our town centres, we cannot ignore these valid comments and council officers are working with TfL to seek to address the concerns that have been raised.”

A final decision on a revised scheme has been pushed back until after the elections in May.

The Cycle Superhighway route from Kensington Olympia to Chiswick

What do cyclists say?

The Hounslow Cycling Campaign is in favour of CS9.

In a recent statement, a spokesman said: "Hounslow Cycling Campaign has raised a number of aspects of the CS9 design also highlighted by the council.

"We are confident that the additional [public consultation] time will allow TfL to further improve the CS9 implementation, which is the objective of the consultation process.

"In our campaigning, we have encountered many people who quietly support the scheme, the objectives of healthier streets and safer walking and cycling for all, enabled by the CS9 protected route linking the town centres of Hammersmith, Chiswick, Brentford and Hounslow."

Helen Cross, Liberal Democrat council candidate for Turnham Green Ward, said: "It is about time that the Mayor has come around.

"The improved cycling provision on the High Road must not come at the expense of pedestrians.

“It is disappointing that it has taken this long to come to this conclusion, if TFL had followed its own planning guidance and Healthy Streets approach, we would have a CS9 design that was fit for purpose for both cyclists and pedestrians."

The council has said there will be further opportunities for the public to have their say.

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