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Evening Standard: 'This hasty cycle lanes experiment has left residents hopping mad'

Reposted from the Evening Standard. A link to the article can also be found here

By Daniel Moylan | 23rd November 2020

Often it’s not what you do, but how you do it. As the pandemic started to engulf the country, reshaping our national life, campaigners with friends in high places saw an opportunity to reshape it for us, before we got ideas of our own.

Hence the huge amount of money thrown suddenly by the Government and Mayor at “low traffic neighbourhoods” and bicycle. Two of the latter have popped up in Kensington High Street. Nobody living locally was asked but suddenly there they were, installed by Kensington and Chelsea Council.

But they say they were forced to. When one inquires who did the forcing, it all gets very vague.

Many residents are hopping mad. It’s not just people who use and rely on a car: the organiser of a petition to remove the bicycle lanes is a cyclist.

The new lanes are, of course, “experimental”. By law that means they could be there for up to 18 months. And it means they have to be assessed before the end of the “experiment” to see if they are a success. But the council has not provided any criteria by which success will be judged, making residents very suspicious.

Councillors have retreated to a bunker, while, elsewhere in London, rashly installed schemes are being ripped out, adding to the futility. The lesson is that, if you want to do something like this, patience, consultation and consensus-building are the indispensable ingredients of success.

As it is, the only question of interest now in Kensington is how long the council will hide away watching its stock dwindle before it gets a grip.

Lord Moylan is a former deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea council. He lives near Kensington High Street

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