Bike lane that 'caused congestion' found to be blocked by parked cars most of the time

A study has revealed the £320,000 bike lane in Kensington that was recently ripped out was blocked by parked cars 80 per cent of the time

(Simon Dawson/Bloomberg/Getty)
(Image credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A London bike lane costing hundreds of thousands of pounds that was removed after the local council said it was causing congestion, was blocked by parked cars 80 per cent of the time.

The segregated cycle lane on Kensington High Street, which cost £320,000, was pulled down just seven weeks after opening, a move criticised by Giro d'Italia champion Tao Geoghegan Hart as well as campaign groups.

The local council made the decision after receiving 322 complaints, which constitutes 0.2 per cent of the borough's population, including the Kensington Business Forum.

Coventry's Bicycle Mayor Adam Tranter used Google's AI platform to monitor how often the lane that used to be a bike lane was blocked by parked vehicles, with the Guardian reporting his analysis showed it was blocked 80 per cent of the time on one day last week.

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The 80 per cent day was December 29 between 7 am - 7 pm, with some vehicles parked on double yellow lines for more than 10 hours, while during the week December 21-28 the lane was blocked 64 per cent of the time.

Further analysis of Google Maps' real-time traffic data showed the average journey time also increased after the cycle lane had been removed, going up from five minutes to eight minutes in the eastbound direction, and by 45 seconds the other way.

"Active travel is probably one of the only modes that can be removed based on local opinion without data or research; you wouldn’t build a new dual carriageway and close it a month later because it didn’t look like it was at full capacity," Tranter said.

Kensington and Chelsea council have said they decided to end the bike lane trial because both residents and business said it wasn't working, and that they are still attempting to improve provisions for cyclists in the area.

"This isn’t the end, we are still listening, and we are still looking at ways to improve cycling provision, long term – but our focus is likely to shift to alternative schemes that have a positive impact for our residents," they said.

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