With pollution levels in our smog-fest of a city sky high, you’d expect anything getting people to ditch their fuel-guzzling cars and start cycling would be welcomed by Londoners with open arms. But apparently not. Last week, Camden Council announced they're holding an independent public inquiry on whether a new cycle route, which has seen a surge in the number of people getting on their bikes, should be removed.
The cycle route, which opened in November 2015 as part of a 12-month pilot scheme, saw two roads in Bloomsbury – Tavistock Place and Torrington Place – reduced to one road, making the route, which links Tottenham Court Road and Islington, one-way for all vehicles, with the extra space given to cyclists to combat bike overcrowding. There’s been a 52 percent rise in the number of people cycling down the road since the route opened, but taxi drivers are less than impressed, saying the system slows down journeys and increases congestion.
Last week, more than 15,000 people gave their opinion on the system in a six-week public consultation – the largest number ever received by Camden Council over just one issue. The consultation showed that 79 percent backed the route and are gunning for it to become permanent, but a fifth of respondents, including taxi drivers and a group of residents, said it should be scrapped. The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association backed the forthcoming public inquiry while the London Cycling Campaign hit back saying taxi drivers were ‘standing in the way of progress’, adding they were ‘trying to hang on to a London that’s not going to change’. Looks like a case of road rage if we ever saw one.
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