At its recent AGM, London Cycling Campaign gave Westminster Cycling Campaign
its 2015 Campaigner Award for the Best Local Group Ride or Event. The event that won the award was
our Cambridge Circus Protest Ride and Site Visit on 6th May 2015.
The context of this event was that Westminster City Council was undertaking a public consultation on 'public realm improvements' at Cambridge Circus, which the Council was trying to suggest would be part of the forthcoming Quietway 19. However, Westminster Cycling Campaign and other campaigners soon recognised that the proposals gave no thought to cyclists, and would remove one of the very few good cycling facilities in our borough - the Moor Street route from Charing Cross Road into Soho.
Our 'Circus to Circus' ride started at the Queen's Circus roundabout in Battersea, where we saw the innovative segregated cycling scheme under construction. The ride's first stop was at Lambeth Bridge north roundabout, where cyclist Moira Gemmill had been killed a few weeks previously and we discussed how the authorities continued to drag their heels on providing safe Space for Cycling here. The ride continued via Parliament Square, went north up a very congested Charing Cross Road, and ended at Cambridge Circus. More campaigners joined us at Cambridge Circus for the site visit, and in total around 15 to 20 people took part.
The event achieved media coverage outside the local cycle campaigning community: it was picked up by
Road.cc and by our local paper,
West End Extra.
Construction had been due to start in August 2015; but, as a result of the negative attention drawn to the proposals by our ride, Councillor Heather Acton has told us that the proposals had been withdrawn. She apologised to us that, as the cabinet member for cycling, she had not been shown the proposals because they had been viewed as a 'public realm scheme' and not as a 'cycling scheme'. She said that she had demanded that all similar schemes be shown to her in future. Because of the ride, the Moor Street route remains open, providing safe Space for Cycling off the busy Charing Cross Road and into the vibrant streets of Soho.