A group of Stamford Hill residents are campaigning for Hackney Council to remove a £20,000 cycle lane that was installed to encourage people to walk or cycle after claims that the road is too small and parking spaces are extremely limited.
But other residents do not want to see the cycle lane go, arguing that people’s reliance on cars within Stamford Hill needs to be decreased.
The cycle lane on West Bank was introduced this summer and since then has been the subject of much local debate with some people saying that it has ruined local businesses whilst others say it has caused reckless motorist usage. Residents claim the lane has made that stretch of road “dangerous” and “impossible to cross.”
One resident captured a driving instructor’s reaction when he was challenged for parking in the dedicated cycle lane.
Hackney Council’s environment chief, councillor Jon Burke, has been vocal in his support of the lane. He tweeted in response to the image: “This kind of behaviour is why we’ve just ordered additional wand orca barriers to keep drivers – in this case, driving instructors – out of West Bank cycle lane. Appalling sense of entitlement.”
But his tweet created a mixture of reactions. One person wrote: “My question is which idiot made West Bank a cyclist lane I’m not sure if that’s your borough, but the street was small enough as it is before the cyclist lane was there maybe you can explain me the point?”
Councillor Jon Burke responded: “Stamford Hill is completely overrun with unnecessary car use. That’s the problem, not cycle lanes. Hackney’s movement hierarchy places pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport users first. I’m ‘the idiot’ doing just that.”
Despite this controversy, some residents are in favour but don’t support the reckless usage surrounding the cycle lane.
Daniel Dammel, a Stamford Hill resident, told EastLondonLines: “I’m on the side of the story, I would love to see motoring shut down on these residential roads and people walking, cycling, scooting or whatever active travel they prefer to use. The Stamford Hill area has a lot to wish for both in terms of air quality and road safety.”
Springfield ward Conservative Councillor, Simche Steinberger, will put forward a motion at the full meeting of Hackney Council to call for the lane to be removed.
It reads: “We the local residents, bikers and shop keepers are asking the mayor and local council to immediately remove the cycle lane in West Bank due to the detriment it is causing the established residents and the community as well as the shops in Dunsmure Road.
“It is impacting severely also in the established Jewish community who need to access the shops. Moreover, due to the lack of usage observed by all of the above, it is also dangerous and confusing to the thousands of school children in the surrounding areas of Stamford Hill who cross West Bank on their way to school daily.”
Hackney Council say that they are committed to making Hackney’s roads safer for everyone living, working and visiting the borough. They said that their aim is to create an environment that will encourage more walking and cycling, improve air quality and reduce emissions within the local area.
Hackney Council on their consultation of the plans said: “Our Transport Strategy includes a Liveable Neighbourhoods Plan, which recognises that streets like West Bank are not just places to park vehicles or drive, walk and cycle on. They are also the places where we socialise and live our lives. An aspiration is to reclaim Hackney’s streets from parked vehicles and motor traffic congestion and transform them into the most attractive and liveable neighbourhoods in London.
“This can only be achieved by reducing the dominance of the private vehicle. Poor air quality resulting from vehicle emissions is finally being recognised for the damage it inflicts upon the health of the city with nearly 10,000 Londoners dying early every year as a result. Even more disturbing is the direct impact it is having on our children’s health with evidence providing its direct response for alarming rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses in our schools.”