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Horse Guards Road: Temporary Closure

Volume 576: debated on Sunday 18 February 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, in view of the closure of the Horse Guards Road, they will take steps to open a temporary cycle lane through St. James's Park, to preserve the safety of cyclists who now, when travelling north/south or south/north have to negotiate either Hyde Park Corner or Trafalgar Square.

Responsibility for the subject of this question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Colwyn from the Chief Executive, The Royal Parks, Mr. David Welch, dated 18th December 1996.

I have been asked by the Under-Secretary of State for National Heritage to reply to your parliamentary Question about opening a temporary cycle lane in St. James's Park while Horse Guards Road is closed.

I have given your suggestion careful consideration but I am afraid that it is not a practical proposition. We do not normally allow cyclists to cross St. James's Park because the paths, which are heavily used by pedestrians, are not wide enough to allow cyclists and pedestrians to mix safely. The same is true of the path parallel to Horse Guards Road, which is the main route for pedestrians while the road is closed. If cyclists wish to avoid the traffic on Whitehall, the may of course dismount and wheel their cycles across the Park or cycle via the Mall and Birdcage Walk, although that would certainly involve a long detour.

I am sorry that I cannot help further but major refurbishment of a large area like Horse Guards Parade, which involves road closures, will inevitably be disruptive. We try to keep the disruption to a minimum, but unfortunately we cannot guarantee that some park users will not be inconvenienced as a result. However, the work on Horse Guards Parade is due to finish in mid-February and the disruption will therefore be relatively short-term.