£500k bid to get people out and about in Kensington and Chelsea

By Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter

New bike lanes and a 20mph speed limit are part of a £500,000 package to encourage people to get out and about in Kensington and Chelsea.

It means pavements in some of the area’s most iconic shopping streets in Notting Hill Gate, High Street Kensington and King’s Road will be widened for the time being.

And there will also be a temporary bike lane at Kensington High Street and Queen’s Gate.

The council is putting in £343,000 and it got a £185,000 grant from Transport for London (TfL), with £100,000 from the Department of Transport.

It gives the green light to schemes to help people maintain social distancing and encourage them back to businesses across the borough.

It will pay for:

  • A 20mph speed limit to be introduced across the borough
  • Temporary bike lanes in Kensington High Street and Queen’s Gate
  • More cycle parking spaces
  • Upgrading Chelsea Bridge Road’s cycle lanes to light segregation
  • The council will create 10 more School Streets – with roads shut to traffic at school drop off and pick-up times
  • There will be extended road closures at Portobello and Golborne Market
  • Bute Street in South Kensington  and Pavilion Road in Chelsea are closed to traffic to encourage safe shopping and a cafe culture vibe

Tom Frost, who chairs the Kensington Business Forum, one of the groups which talked to the council about ways it could help, said: “Everything’s trial and error and everything’s temporary.”

He said a new rule book was being created to adapt to the post-lockdown rules.

He added: “There’s an excitement –  people are happy that the high street is back operating and people are able to move more freely and there’s also a need to stay safe.”

Johnny Thalassites, the politician in charge of transport, said he hoped the moves will help revitalise the borough’s economy.

He encouraged people to get out on two wheels to travel round the borough.

He said: “Cycling’s an option people might not have considered before and we are doing all we can to instil confidence in both new and experienced cyclists.

“For pedestrians, safer speed limits and trial road closures can also bring about new, local walkable neighbourhoods.”

The move has been welcomed by keen cyclist James Abbott, who chairs Better Streets 4KC.

Before lockdown it campaigned for a raft of safety measures, including speed restrictions and more bike lanes.

Mr Abbott said the 20mph limit “is transformative” and he is keen to see a protected bike lane in High Street Kensington.

In June, Extinction Rebellion Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham created a temporary pop-up bike lane at Holland Park Avenue and called for the council to create a permanent one there.

Pictured top: Portobello Road market




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