Hackney Council’s decision to build a cycle route around “a random collection of trees” near Old Street has been met with incredulity by cyclists, with one branding it “the worst cycle track in the world”.
The world’s worst cycle track?
Also looks like Hackney have chosen to position the "Superhighway" so that it has trees in the middle of it pic.twitter.com/05t2BPFNIt
— Mark Treasure (@AsEasyAsRiding) March 10, 2016
The route is one of 19 sections of a “cycle superhighway” stretching from the City of London to Tottenham.
When completed, the development will allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross on to Old Street from Paul Street.
The decision to leave the trees down the middle of the route has provoked ridicule from residents and campaigners.
The ‘cycle superhighway’ with trees in the middle of it
— Nick Kocharhook (@k9) March 10, 2016
Mark Treasure, who blogs about cycling in London, told Hackney Post that the council had wasted the chance to build the route around the trees.
He claimed that they had instead created “a recipe for conflict” between cyclists and pedestrians.
“You don’t want to chop down trees unless it’s unavoidable but it seems like you could have rerouted it avoiding the trees completely.
“The original plans for this route had a fairly clear distinction between what was cycle and what was foot route [but] what has been built is something that looks like an expanded footway.
“It’s bad for pedestrians because they will be wandering around on it without realising it’s actually a cycle route and at the same time you’ll have people cycling across it thinking it’s a cycle route.
“It’s essentially a recipe for conflict.”
The trees look like they’re here to stay
— Matthew Hardy (@drmatthewhardy) March 12, 2016
A cyclist who blogs as “Hackney Cyclist” posted a photo of the almost-complete route with the caption: “The worst cycle track in the world is nearly finished.”
He told Hackney Post the trees were “totally bonkers and also quite dangerous”.
Some residents even assumed the plans were a joke, with one asking on social media: “Are they trolling us?”
In conjunction with TfL, Hackney Council held a public consultation on the superhighway between February and March of last year.
Their original plans included “logos and signs [which] would help wayfinding for cyclists” and “enlarged footways”.
They also proposed to plant 11 new trees to compensate for the removal of three existing “non-mature” trees. But these have now remained in place.
Hackney councillor welcomes the cycle track
— Jamie Maidment (@solblos) March 10, 2016
Vincent Stops, a Hackney councillor and keen cyclist, was not involved in the route’s design but welcomed the plans.
He told Hackney Post that despite their protestations, cyclists in the borough would be “fine” with the positioning of the trees.
“I am pleased they have left the trees,” Stops said. “It was disappointing that the semi-mature planes were removed as part of the scheme.
“South Shoreditch has too few trees. I hope they plant some more.”
In response to Hackney Post’s requests for comment, TfL said the design and control of the route was decided by the local council.
Hackney Council did not respond to requests for comment.
Featured image credit: Hackney Cyclist