Scrapping bus lane for Jeremy Vine’s favourite cycle lane increases congestion, TFL admits

Mr Vine, a daytime television presenter and passionate cycling campaigner, has praised the lane which he says he can use now more “confidently”, particularly by the Hammersmith gyratory.

It meant a two-lane section of westbound carriageway just off the Hammersmith gyratory, a busy roundabout, was reduced to one to make way for the bike lane.

In December, TfL conducted a “full timing review” of traffic lights to adjust timings to cope with changes in “traffic flow” after some buses were found to be slower.

The “network performance report” explains how the new layout – which has a cycle lane separated by wands and kerbing – can become gridlocked because traffic forced onto the single carriageway must stop when buses pull up at a stop a short distance from the roundabout.

Under the heading “Operational Constraints”, the engineers wrote: “As part of the cycleway scheme, a general traffic lane was removed from King Street and replaced with the two-way cycle lane.

“This has contributed to congestion and queuing on King Street reaching the western side of the gyratory.

“This couldn’t be fixed as most of the time the queue was caused by buses stopping at the bus stop and general traffic unable to pass because it’s now a single lane.”

Traffic lights were adjusted “when the gyratory becomes congested” to try to prevent “heavy queuing.”

When The Telegraph visited the road during the 5pm rush hour, two ambulances responding to 999 calls were seen waiting in queues behind buses picking up passengers.

A failure ‘by every metric’

Conservative Councillor Jose Afonso, Hammersmith’s opposition spokesman for the environment, said: “The King Street Cycle Lane – or C9 – continues to fail by every metric.

“It is less safe than the cycle lane it replaced, both for cyclists and pedestrians and has caused traffic mayhem everytime a bus stops.”

Helen Cansick, TfL’s Head of Healthy Streets Investment, said: “We are in climate emergency and need to take action to help people travel more sustainably. Our work with Hounslow and Hammersmith and Fulham Councils along the Cycleway 9 route has enabled thousands of local people to get around safely by bike, which helps to reduce the number of private cars on our roads.

“We have been closely monitoring the changes and have made adjustments to ensure our bus services remain reliable, given the large numbers of passengers who rely on them.

“Air quality data shows reductions in levels of pollutants and cycling numbers are growing, both of which indicate that this is a positive change for London.”

Path is ‘hugely popular’

A TfL spokesman said bus journey times were “broadly” similar after the changes, adding some were slightly slower and some slightly quicker.

A Hammersmith council spokesman said: “The newly upgraded Safer Cycle Pathway in Hammersmith remains hugely popular and we will continue to work with TfL to monitor the route and make further improvements for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists.”

London Ambulance Service said both ambulances seen by The Telegraph reached their patients in the target time.

Earlier this year, The Telegraph revealed how both Hammersmith’s “Safer Cycle Pathway” and the connected Chiswick C9 route saw a marked increase in the number of injured cyclists recorded in Met Police data.

Eight cyclists needed lengthy hospital treatment last year after accidents on the route. In each of the previous three years, only two a year had been seriously hurt.

The councils both insisted the rise was linked to increases in the numbers of people using the routes.

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