“Many councils have introduced schemes touted as encouraging walking and cycling, but their real impact is gridlock. They’ve been built without proper consultation, illegitimately justified by the Covid crisis and backed by central government direction and finance.

“Congestion and pollution have increased, people are inconve- nienced, local businesses have lost trade and lives jeopardised with emergency vehicles stuck in traffic. Cycle tracks are often empty, while the roads alongside are jammed.”

The promoters of the petition acknowledge that the experiment was well-intentioned; but it is now clear that the temporary traffic measures are doing much more harm than good; and they need to be removed immediately to improve the travelling experience for the vast majority of road users.

Counterproductive schemes include: road closure and narrowing in Lewisham, Islington and other London boroughs, an epidemic of temporary cycle tracks and various schemes in Bradford-on-Avon, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Chester, Colchester, Derby, Edinburgh, Harleston, Manchester, Oxford and York, with others being planned.

David Tarsh, who posted the petition, said: “Where I live, the tem- porary cycle lanes around Hammersmith are a source of huge frustration. The traffic is frequently gridlocked whilst the cycle lanes alongside are often empty. They are dangerous; several peo- ple have complained about near misses at junctions and many experienced cyclists won’t use them as they feel the road is safer. Ambulances on emergency calls have been badly delayed and they are causing unnecessary pollution because crawling traffic is more polluting than flowing traffic. Worst of all, despite clear evidence now that they do more harm than good, our council wants to make them permanent!”


Mr Tarsh has proposed that when the Government’s response comes, the Transport Secretary answers the following questions:-

• Will you now withdraw guidance and funding for all schemes that are evidently creating congestion?

• If not, how do you justify funding these measures when it is now clear that they inconvenience people, harm the economy and put lives at risk owing to the emergency services being stuck in unnecessary traffic delays?

• A justification has been counteracting obesity. What data can you produce to show that obese people are taking up cycling? How many? In what circumstances? And to what extent are they using the temporary cycle tracks?

• What research or professional evaluation has been done to prove that these temporary measures will do more good than harm, from an economic perspective and from a health perspective?

• What consultation has taken place with the emergency services on the impact of these measures on journey times?

• If people are stuck in traffic, that has a negative effect on journey times, which has a knock-on cost to the economy. Have you sought to quantify this cost? If so, what is it? If not, why has the government not made a proper economic assessment before wasting hundreds of millions of pounds?

• If it were shown that removing these measures would benefit the economy, which desperately needs help, would the government now direct the measures be removed?

•Will the government now guarantee that if a council decides to withdraw these measures, it will not suffer from any penalties whatsoever for doing so? And, if not, why not?


You can see that all these points cover extensively the disadvan- tages highlighted in our feature last month. What we need to do now is to highlight to government the specific drawbacks these cycle lane and road layout changes have imposed on our industry:

• the loss of taxi ranks; • the sitting in traffic with passengers complaining about being late/breathing in fumes/paying more for their journey;

• the blocked access to disabled passengers both in wheelchairs and semi-ambulant, due to widened pavements and cycle lane placement;

• the keen Jobsworths who pounce on licensed drivers dropping off or picking up passengers on double yellows or cycle lanes;

• the blocked access to major roads and bridges, which add to the chaos and congestion – with all the inherent drawbacks to taxi/PHV passengers.

If any PHTM readers have strong views on this controversial matter, now is the time to take action – and sign the petition:

We will push for a response from the Transport Secretary on a national basis – not forgetting to remind him of the massive funding that has gone into this particular scheme, and the lack of funding for members of #theforgottenindustry.

Put your name down double-quick! And stay safe. MEANWHILE BACK IN THE TRANSPORT SECRETARY’S OFFICE…

The Transport Secretary has admitted too many cycle lanes are being left “unused” with traffic “backed up” as a result of his green transport revolution, The Telegraph can reveal.

In a strongly worded letter sent to councils, Grant Shapps has warned he is “not prepared to tolerate” badly designed road clo- sures and new cycle lanes which are imposing “sweeping changes” to entire communities.

And in a move that will infuriate cycling and green campaigners, he has declared the Government is not anti-car, explaining: “No one should be in doubt about our support for motorists.”

Mr Shapps announced a £250 million Emergency Active Travel Fund in May intended to promote walking and cycling as the coun- try emerged from lockdown. Councils were invited to apply for the cash by drawing up projects intended to entice people away from their cars and take more active forms of travel.

However, critics have complained that badly designed road closures and new cycle lanes have in fact increased traffic and pollution on main roads, as well as reduced the number of people visiting high streets at a time when small businesses are desperate to recover from lockdown.

Private residents have even launched legal action, claiming that because the schemes were introduced under emergency Covid powers, disability groups, local residents and businesses were not consulted, and consequently, normal local democratic procedures have been ignored.

Meanwhile, so-called ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’, where bollards and planters close off residential streets to traffic, have resulted in


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