One of Islington’s busiest cycling routes is riding high after the council sealed an historic agreement to run the route through land owned by a City livery company.
Owen Street is a critical link in Islington’s cycling network, running south of Angel between Goswell Road and St John Street and providing a safe route on two wheels into the West End and beyond.
It already sees 5,000 cyclists every day pass through – and numbers are set to rise further when it becomes part of Transport for London’s Quietway 2 cycle route, due for completion in 2017.
Owen Street needed upgrading to meet the standards of the rest of the network, and eliminate clashes between cyclists and pedestrians on the footpath at busy times.
But its status as a private road called for diligent work by Islington’s legal team, who established that the land at the western end was owned by The Worshipful Company of Brewers – one of the oldest Livery Companies of the City of London.
The council’s lawyers and transport engineers then spent a significant period negotiating with The Brewers’ Company, coming to an agreement in March this year.
The final improvements and finishing touches were recently made to the cycle route along Owen Street, with signs, traffic signals and road markings now directing cyclists along the road, making it safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, executive member for environment and transport, said: “This has long been a crucial and heavily-used route for cyclists commuting to and from work, making it even more important that we ensured it was safe – not just for those on two wheels but pedestrians too.
“The fact that this is private land made it a far more complicated and difficult process, but our determined legal team put in many months of effort to thrash out the necessary details and reach an agreement.
“This is a great result, and I am pleased to see the results of such hard work and tenacity have been recognised and applauded by Cycle Islington, the local group representing the interests of cyclists using our streets.”
Cycle Islington committee member Simon Izod, who joined Cllr Webbe in Owen Street to review the project, said: "We would like to congratulate Islington Council who have worked really hard over a number of years to finally reach an agreement with the freeholder to allow people to cycle along Owen Street.
"This new infrastructure is a big improvement and will reduce the confusion experienced by those who walk and cycle here every day.
"We look forward to working with the council in the future to help them implement the significant changes required across the borough to allow people of all ages to feel safe when they walk or cycle."