Finsbury Park bike route a waste of money, say cyclists

CYCLE campaigners are calling for the brakes to be slammed on a bike route linking Finsbury Park and Highbury Corner.

Islington Cyclists Action Group has attacked plans for the Finsbury Park section of the �600,000 lottery-funded scheme – and branded the whole project a waste of money.

The group says the design would create conflict between cyclists and pedestrians – particularly when thousands are making their way to the Emirates Stadium on match days – because they are being asked to share narrow pathways.

John Ackers, ICAG secretary, said: “The design for Finsbury Park is absolutely terrible. The narrow lanes they are proposing, to be shared by cyclists and pedestrians, are not going to have enough space.

“If they could not find a better way of spending �600,000 they should have taken the money and spent it somewhere else.”

The Finsbury Park section of the route will feature shared walking and cycling spaces between St Thomas’s Road and Seven Sisters Road, and alongside Station Place.

ICAG is also angry that cyclists will have to use four crossings between St Thomas’s Road and Stroud Green Road.

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Pedestrian safety campaigner Caroline Russell, chairwoman of Islington Living Streets, said: “The situation at Finsbury Park is a dog’s dinner at the moment. What everyone would like to see is the removal of the gyratory – but there is not enough money for that.

“We have thought long and hard about this proposal, and while it is not exactly ideal and there’s not really enough space, it will be an improvement and we support it.”

The route, part of a �50million national project called Connect2, is being developed by Islington Council along with the charity Sustrans and Transport for London. A consultation on the alterations at Finsbury Park is currently underway.

Councillor Paul Smith, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, said: “We want to make improvements that will make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to move around Islington conveniently and safely.

“This is a complicated junction with many competing demands and we believe these proposals would be an improvement on the current situation.

“We’re very interested in what residents have to say and will consider all the responses to the consultation once it’s finished on 26 April.”