Cycling campaigners renew calls for bike lanes on busy De Beauvoir street

Liam Duffy, Chesca Walton, Frances Cherry and Merje Shaw on Downham Road. Photograph: Julia Gregory

Cycling campaigners are keeping their foot on the pedal in their calls for bike lanes on a busy road in De Beauvoir.

Hackney Cycling Campaign wants the council to create bike lanes on Downham Road, a side street off Kingsland Road which sees an estimated 6,000 motor vehicle journeys a day.

It is used by families travelling to Hackney New Primary School and the Waterside Academy and to Canonbury.

Campaign member and parent Frances Cherry said: “We have a lot of children who come to school on bikes. A lot come from London Fields and Hoxton and there’s a need for safe cycling infrastructure.”

In 2021 residents created a parklet, or mini green space, in the street.

Residents told the council then about their concerns that some motorists speed along the road and called for measures including speed restrictions and cycle lanes.

Neighbouring Enfield Road is transformed into a Play Street once a month, with the road closed to traffic so children can play there safely.

Liam Duffy, Hackney Cycling Campaign’s secretary, said the campaign appreciates the difference low traffic neighbourhoods have made for cyclists.

However, he said they were disappointed a cycle lane was ruled out for Downham Road.

Chesca Walton, the Green Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Hackney South and Shoreditch, said steps should be taken to improve cycling safety on the road.

Hackney Council consulted residents last autumn about plans for the road.

In a recent letter, Mayor Philip Glanville told Cherry that people favoured an option without cycle lanes.

Instead, the council is proposing to extend the pavement outside the school and reduce the approach lane to a single lane at the junction with Southgate Road.

Glanville wrote: “It is the hope of the council that this change will help encourage active travel, improve children’s safety and reduce vehicle numbers in line with the council’s environmental policy.”

He added that the scheme was in response to concerns from residents, Hackney Primary School, and parents.

The council held several meetings in November 2022 with residents to hear their views.

The mayor said they “requested the provision of a wider footway outside the school, crossing facilities for school children to prevent the u-turning of vehicles in front of the school and further speed reduction measures along Downham Road”.

He said he shared the campaigners’ wish “for safer roads and less traffic”.