Searching my emails, I came cross this, written by Nick Bell, Barnet Council's transport strategy chief, on 4 August 2004, explaining Barnet's non-participation in the A5 CRISP :
The Council has two main concerns with regard to the proposals for providingadditional cycle facilities on the A5.
Firstly, the road layout and traffic conditions on the A5 do not provide aparticularly good environment for cyclists. The combination of relativelyfast moving traffic and congestion in alternating stretches, numerous busyjunctions, and high bus and HGV flows make it very challenging to find waysof improving the route. Furthermore, as some lengths of the road have towncentre type retail frontage with the accompanying parking and loadingrequirements and problems, any additional provision for cyclists is likelyto be both difficult to achieve and potentially create a hazardous situationfor cyclists and/or pedestrians.
With these issues in mind, the Council believes it is very unlikely that asatisfactory and safe engineering solution can be developed for this sectionof the A5, particularly where the route crosses the North Circular Road. Itis precisely for these reasons that other routes such as Brent Terrace havebeen identified in the past.
The second main issue is the proposed regeneration of Cricklewood (& BrentCross) and West Hendon. Both these projects are at a stage where detailedlayouts have not been prepared, however they are sufficiently advanced thatthe Council is confident that regeneration will proceed and that the scaleof the work involved will be significant. This means that there is anopportunity to provide high quality routes as part of the regenerationschemes, but also that changes to the existing road layout may mean anyimprovements for cyclists made now may have to be removed or altered andwould therefore not be good value for money. TfLSM are aware of the scaleof the changes necessary in the area around Staples Corner.
Ultimately, as joint Highway Authority for some lengths of the A5, and soleHighway Authority for one section, the Council would have to satisfy itselfthat any changes to the road layout are appropriate, safe and value formoney, prior to implementing them. From past work and local knowledge, ourbelief is that experienced cyclists will not get significant benefits fromcomprehensive measures on the A5, and may in fact find them unhelpful.There is also a risk that novice and inexperienced riders may be attractedto the A5 by the presence of any new cycle facilities and be given a falsesense of security. The fact that the A5 offers a direct route when viewedon a map does not necessarily mean that it is the best or most appropriateroute for all cyclists.
Quite apart from the ludicrous idea in his first paragraph that improving the A5 for cyclists would somehow harm conditions for pedestrians, all this is interesting when read in the context of the letter of 29 May 2009 from Brent Cross Cricklewood to us, where Jonathan Joseph, Development Director, writes of the plans for the development:
At this junction [Staples Corner], the fast commuter can either use the flyover or follow the general traffic route at ground level. The utility cyclist does have a safe route in both directions:-North to south via the combined pedestrian and cycle bridge, which has cycle ramps at both north and south sides of the A406, and is a two way facility-South to north via the toucan crossing of the A406.
The leisure cyclist would most probably travel along one of the new segregated north-south routes being provided within the scheme, which connect with the existing designated cycle routes at the perimeter of the regeneration area.
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