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Cycle Superhighway 1 work in Balls Pond Road finally set to begin in spring – after four-year wait

PUBLISHED: 09:05 07 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:21 07 August 2018

Cyclists on the 100-yard stretch of Balls Pond Road that connects the two segments of CS1. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

Cyclists on the 100-yard stretch of Balls Pond Road that connects the two segments of CS1. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

Archant

A four-year standoff over a 100-yard stretch of road will finally end when a missing piece of Cycle Superhighway 1 is built – in spring 2019.

The original CS1 plans that were put out to consultation in February 2015 - including two options for Balls Pond Road. Option B was favoured following the gathering of public opinion. Picture: TfLThe original CS1 plans that were put out to consultation in February 2015 - including two options for Balls Pond Road. Option B was favoured following the gathering of public opinion. Picture: TfL

Plans were drawn up in 2015 to link the two halves of CS1 with a two-way protected bike lane in Balls Pond Road between Culford Road, in Hackney, and Kingsbury Road, in Islington.

But although the rest of the route has been open for years, neither council has seemed willing or able to get work done in the short stretch along the border. All the while, cyclists have been left to navigate a pair of risky turnings in a busy A-road flanked by bus lanes.

All three of the authorities involved – Islington, Hackney and TfL – have remained frustratingly tight-lipped over the hold-up, which is partly thought to involve protecting bus lanes on the affected stretch of Balls Pond Road.

Now the Gazette can reveal work is finally set to start in the spring.

Cyclists on the 100-yard stretch of Balls Pond Road that connects the two segments of CS1. Picture: Ramzy AlwakeelCyclists on the 100-yard stretch of Balls Pond Road that connects the two segments of CS1. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

Where a street like Balls Pond Road borders two authorities, there is usually an agreement about which should take charge of it – in this case, Hackney.

Nonetheless, the delay is thought to relate in part to a problem on Islington’s side: a banned right-turn into Southgate Road from Balls Pond Road will need to be reopened so the right-turn into Culford Road can be blocked off instead.

An earlier hold-up was caused by the scheme’s contingency on a six-month road closure trial in De Beauvoir, although that will be two years old by the spring.

Hackney’s deputy mayor Cllr Feryal Demirci, who holds that council’s transport portfolio, said: “Like everyone, we want to make sure the link between Culford Road and Kingsbury Road is safe.

Cyclists on the 100-yard stretch of Balls Pond Road that connects the two segments of CS1. Picture: Ramzy AlwakeelCyclists on the 100-yard stretch of Balls Pond Road that connects the two segments of CS1. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

“TfL, Islington Council and Hackney Council are working on delivering the scheme that we consulted on, and we expect work to start in spring next year.”

A similarly opaque Nigel Hardy, TfL’s head of programme sponsorship, said: “We are working closely with Hackney and Islington councils on the proposals for Balls Pond Road so we can agree a way forward.”

The start date will be welcome news for the people who actually use the road: between 2008 and 2017, the 100 yards in question saw nine cyclists injured in collisions, three seriously.

TfL’s cycle superhighways programme is meanwhile beset by some rather larger problems – such as the judicial review set to be heard next month against CS11 at Swiss Cottage.

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