Transport for London’s aim is to establish “pop-up social distancing” cycle lanes the entire length of the A1000.
Work is to start immediately installing cycle lanes along the 3.2 km section of the A1000 between the junction with Bishops Avenue at East Finchley and Tally Ho corner in North Finchley.
Space will be made for the twin cycle lanes by reducing the A1000 to one-lane traffic flow in each direction; by suspending 120 or more parking bays; and by reducing or removing built-out footways.
Barnet Council has been awarded a grant of £318,000 to complete the installation of East Finchley to North Finchley cycle lanes by the end of September.
Funding to continue the cycle lanes north from Tally Ho corner – through to Whetstone, then up to High Barnet and on to Monken Hadley – was unexpectedly rejected by TFL and the Department for Transport.
However, plans are still under consideration and future approval is now a possibility for the second phase of the project, depending on the use and success of the first section.
Decades of hostility towards cyclists by Barnet councillors are blamed by Barnet Cycling Campaign for the council’s failure to secure the extra money immediately for the cycling lanes to continue north up the A1000, from North Finchley to Monken Hadley.
Ashley Grossman, a leading member of the 300-strong Barnet campaign, said there had been an “abject failure” borough wide by the council to introduce any significant schemes to encourage cycling or to safeguard cyclists.
“We are delighted Barnet is going to get its first meaningful, safe cycle route along one of its main thoroughfares.
“We are trying to work with the council to ensure the details in the design will make the route really succeed.
"We are also eager for the council to resubmit their bid to extend the cycle lanes all the way to Monkey Hadley."
Plans for the A1000 cycle lanes north from the boundary with Haringey, close to Bishops Avenue, show they would vary in width from a minimum of 2 metres up to 3.7 metres, depending on the available space and whether it was possible to integrate them with bus lanes.
In addition to reducing the traffic flow to one lane, the cycle lanes will displace numerous parking bays for pay and display, permit holders, motorcycles and for loading and unloading, which will all be suspended.
The cycle lanes themselves will be protected either with a raised kerb or plastic poles – known as wands – which will separate cyclists from cars, lorries, and other traffic.
In a statement on its failure to secure funding for the entire length of the A1000, Barnet Council said it was investigating why this had happened and was still “very much committed” to the over-all project.
“We hope the cycle lanes will encourage many more people to cycle to and from work and we will be monitoring its effect to gain a ‘before and after’ comparison.
“This will give us a great opportunity to boost cycling provision across the borough.”
Barnet’s “new-found” support for cyclists remained a matter of concern for the London Cycling Campaign which has condemned Barnet for having one of the worst records on cycling provision among the London boroughs.
“We must shift the balance away from cars and re-allocate space to cyclists even if that means losing traffic lanes and parking spaces.
“We will be waiting to see whether the A1000 cycle lanes are in place by the end of September given Barnet’s long-standing hostility to cyclists,” said the LCC’s Simon Munk ( www.lcc.org.uk )
Other London borough which had a good record on delivering cycling projects had obtained far more money than Barnet from the coronavirus funding for cycling and walking projects.
Enfield had been awarded £2.06 million and Haringey £1.14 million. Barnet’s funding of £341,186 was one of the sixth lowest allocations among the 32 London boroughs.
In view of its record, cycling campaigners say that Barnet is effectively on trial and that both TFL and the Department of Transport will be monitoring what happens. The challenge is for Barnet to meet TFL's target of delivering the A1000 cycline lanes by the end of September.
Mr Munk’s scepticism was shared by Derek Dishman – the Barnet blogger ‘Mr Mustard’ – who has spent lockdown cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats helping to raise money for the North London Hospice.
“Having just ridden nearly 2,000 miles and seen what other local authorities do for cyclists, I know how pathetic Barnet Council has been.
“We have a leader of the council who even likes to joke that you can’t expect High Barnet residents to cycle home from the City of London when they would be faced with having to cycle up Barnet Hill.
“But hundreds of cyclists ride up and down Barnet Hill all the time and instead of treating cycling as a joke, it is time Barnet Council got its act together, not least because it probably has more road mileage than many other boroughs because of its size.”
Mr Dishman’s strictures were shared by Ashley Grossman who rides up and down Barnet Hill several times a week and says he is never the only cyclist on the road.
Mr Grossman and his wife Jenni are at the forefront of the campaign to persuade the council to demand that the installation of new cycle lanes and safety should be a condition for granting planning permission for the Victoria Quarter housing development in New Barnet where 652 flats have been proposed.