Cycling event will lead to transport meltdown

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Cycling event will lead to transport meltdown

Thursday May 12, 2011

Council officials are warning of a ‘complete transport meltdown’ when three tube lines are closed on the same day that vast swathes of Fulham are cordoned-off for a cycling event.

Around 100 cyclists will be riding down Fulham Road on Sunday, August 14 as part of a trial race ahead of next summer’s Olympic event.

The council has been told by Transport for London (TfL) that the entire length of Fulham Road will need to be closed throughout the day to accommodate the race.

TfL have now also confirmed that three underground lines will be suspended that day as part of the Tube maintenance scheme. The Circle Line will be completely closed. The District Line will be suspended between Edgware Road and Earls Court and the Hammersmith and City line will be suspended between Baker Street and Hammersmith.

And with the new football season underway by then, there is also the worrying possibility their either Chelsea or Fulham will be playing at home on that day.

Cllr Nick Botterill, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “The closure of Fulham Road and the three tube lines that service this borough, coupled with the potential for one of our major football clubs to be playing at home on the same afternoon will lead to a complete meltdown of the transport system in Hammersmith & Fulham on August 14. It is an absolute disgrace for TfL to close three Tube lines on a day when traffic is likely to grind to a halt just so that a few cyclists can ride their bikes through Fulham.

“This council is all in favour of the Olympics but there has to be a common sense approach when it comes to balancing the needs of sports men and women with the needs of hardworking, taxpaying residents. We urge TfL to see sense, ensure all the Tube lines are fully running and tell us and residents what they are doing to minimise disruption on August 14 as a matter of urgency. The Council recently launched its ‘Get Moving’ campaign to improve the local transport network but it would appear that we are sailing against the wind on this particular weekend.”

The race, known as the London to Surrey Cycle Classic will start on the Mall in central London and travel through Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea, before the competitors ride down Fulham Road and Fulham High Street and cross over Putney Bridge. Competitors will then cycle around Surrey before returning along the same route later in the day.

TfL have said that Fulham Road will need to be closed off from 5am on the day of the event. The road will not reopen until later that evening.

Alarm bells are also ringing over TfL’s plans to close the entire length of Lillie Road for two weeks when the Olympic volleyball competition takes place at Earl’s Court next year. There will be three sessions of volleyball on most days of the Games, with up to 35,000 expected to enjoy the action each day.

The council is especially concerned that it will be impossible to travel in H&F on the weekend on July 28-29 when Fulham Road will also be closed to accommodate the actual cycling road race.

Cllr Botterill added: “We have three Premiership clubs in this borough and are more than used to managing large numbers of people travelling to and from large venues. 40,000 people attend each Chelsea home match and there is never any need to close roads on this scale. This council puts residents first but it appears that TfL puts residents last when it comes to transport arrangements for the Olympics.” 

TfL will be leaflet dropping Fulham residents about the trial race later in May.

» Send us your comments now

Having just experienced the road closure it was, as expected, a total disgrace. The staff manning the route where unprofessional, uninformed, arrogant and rude. Residents were trapped in the cars and unable to acces their own homes. Leaving road closures to unexperianced temp staff lead to total chaos. Why bother practicing closing large swathes of the city in preparation for 2012, I don't think it would take the brain of Britain to realise all that we would be doing is creating unnecessary suffering for local residents.
From John on 14/08/2011 at 17:22
The council has a strange way of approaching their strategic objectives, namely encouraging cycling. Why is the council spinning the story here painting cycling as negative when it's the council and/or TfL who seem to be incapable of making efficient arrangements? Why isn't the council promoting additional cycling activities in the borough in conjunction with the race?

Common sense does dictate closing a road would be compensated with increased tube and replacement service capacity, but blaming the "meltdown" on road closure due to a cycling event on Sunday is quite dishonest. Is that why in the comment the issue has been downgraded to "potential inconvenience" which sounds very far from "meltdown"?
From Tommi, Fulham on 30/05/2011 at 15:14
The closure of Fulham Road and the three tube lines will be for the whole day and potentially inconvenience thousands of residents unless TfL change their mind.
From H&F Council on 19/05/2011 at 09:33
Another song & dance because a road will be shut for an hour or 2 before lunch.How are we going to cope?!! A bit rich that our council is calling for a common sense approach - with their track record.If Botterill wants to see meltdown he should get himself out to Japan (I'll drive him to the airport!) God forbid we should have a bit of excitement in the borough! Personally I think my 5 & 7 year old would enjoy watching 'The Peloton' flying past the Durrell. albeit for 5mins. These guys will have passed through Zone 1 & 2 and will be heading off out of town before most of us are out of our beds. Here's an ideamake sure Fulham or Chelsea play at home on Saturday, and avoid taking the 4x4 to Starbucks before 11am on Sunday! JOB DONE. I read that this race will be organized by the Olympic committee not H&F/Balfour Beatty! So you CAN guarantee the roads will be open immediately after with no fuss or excuses!
From P Gorman (Fulham resident) on 18/05/2011 at 10:53

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