The Council has two main concerns with regard to the proposals for providing
additional cycle facilities on the A5.
Firstly, the road layout and traffic conditions on the A5 do not provide a
particularly good environment for cyclists. The combination of relatively
fast moving traffic and congestion in alternating stretches, numerous busy
junctions, and high bus and HGV flows make it very challenging to find ways
of improving the route. Furthermore, as some lengths of the road have town
centre type retail frontage with the accompanying parking and loading
requirements and problems, any additional provision for cyclists is likely
to be both difficult to achieve and potentially create a hazardous situation
for cyclists and/or pedestrians.
With these issues in mind, the Council believes it is very unlikely that a
satisfactory and safe engineering solution can be developed for this section
of the A5, particularly where the route crosses the North Circular Road. It
is precisely for these reasons that other routes such as Brent Terrace have
been identified in the past.
The second main issue is the proposed regeneration of Cricklewood (& Brent
Cross) and West Hendon. Both these projects are at a stage where detailed
layouts have not been prepared, however they are sufficiently advanced that
the Council is confident that regeneration will proceed and that the scale
of the work involved will be significant. This means that there is an
opportunity to provide high quality routes as part of the regeneration
schemes, but also that changes to the existing road layout may mean any
improvements for cyclists made now may have to be removed or altered and
would therefore not be good value for money. TfLSM are aware of the scale
of the changes necessary in the area around Staples Corner.
Ultimately, as joint Highway Authority for some lengths of the A5, and sole
Highway Authority for one section, the Council would have to satisfy itself
that any changes to the road layout are appropriate, safe and value for
money, prior to implementing them. From past work and local knowledge, our
belief is that experienced cyclists will not get significant benefits from
comprehensive measures on the A5, and may in fact find them unhelpful.
There is also a risk that novice and inexperienced riders may be attracted
to the A5 by the presence of any new cycle facilities and be given a false
sense of security. The fact that the A5 offers a direct route when viewed
on a map does not necessarily mean that it is the best or most appropriate
route for all cyclists.