5 Asks #2: Protected cycle tracks on main roads

We are asking candidates to commit to building a minimum of 5 km of protected cycle tracks on main roads in the borough during the next two years.

Islington is a borough criss-crossed by main roads. All of its major shopping areas and much of its housing lies on these roads. But for most residents, these destinations are inaccessible by bicycle. That’s because people of all ages who want to cycle are unwilling to fight for road space with motor vehicles.

Islington has the second lowest household access to a car at 26% (source TfL). Yet the borough’s main roads are designed only for car users, with cycling at best an afterthought and more commonly not considered at all. This means that roads are currently only usable by residents in their cars or braver, younger, fitter cyclists. Constructing cycle tracks corrects this inequality and opens direct routes to people of all ages and abilities. When done properly, cycle tracks in London have also proved to be a welcome alternative to cluttered pavements for people who use mobility scooters.

Examples of exemplary cycle tracks in other boroughs include Lea Bridge Road in Waltham Forest and Green Lanes in Enfield, Tavistock Place in Camden and Carlton Vale in Brent.  And now it’s Islington’s turn.

We were very pleased to see that Islington Council committed to protected tracks on Old Street and Clerkenwell Road, as well as Highbury Corner, in its response to the Space for Cycling ward asks in 2014. We are also aware that there were proposals to segregate a segment of Junction Road but these were dropped.

Whilst several main roads in Islington are TfL red routes such as Holloway Road – and therefore outside the borough’s direct control – the majority are not. The borough’s principal road network includes Caledonian Road, Hornsey Road, Balls Pond Road, Essex Road and Goswell Road. At over 1000 PCU (passenger car units) during the peak, Drayton Park is another main road. We are asking Islington Council to make these roads like this safe and pleasant to cycle on for everyone from 8–80.

In the Council’s October response to the Draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy, Cllr Webbe, Executive Member for Environment & Transport, envisions a future with a “safe and attractive cycle network”. We couldn’t agree more. So let’s get on with building one!