Reality check: will 'Crossrail for bikes' bring gridlock to central London?
London could soon be home to the longest continuous, substantially segregated urban cycleway in Europe but lobbyists are raising concerns about the impact on congestion, pedestrians and businesses. Do they have a point?
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- Cyclists v lobbyists: the gloves are off
The cycle superhighway will be made up of two routes, one going three miles north-south from Kings Cross to Elephant and Castle and the other travelling 18 miles east-west from Barking to Acton making the biggest continuous, substantially segregated urban cycleway in Europe.
There will be a 40% increase in people working in central London Boroughs over the coming decades. Promoting cycling will not be the cause of congestion, it will be essential to keeping London moving.
Segregated cycle lanes have been proven to promote economic growth in other world cities, with retailers along their routes reporting sharp growth in customers and spending as the streets become more pleasant.
However, some sections of the route have raised a few eyebrows. In particular the Westway as a cyclist I wouldnt fancy cycling along an elevated section of what is basically motorway so we will be going back and perhaps suggesting other routes. As a driver there is nothing worse than a cycle path that runs for 50m then fades out and its the same for cyclists it creates a false sense of security.
Encouraging more people out of their cars, getting them walking, using public transport and cycling will make London a more liveable city but pedestrian safety and amenity must not be compromised.
Living Streets is concerned at plans to increase pedestrian waiting times at several crossings, including outside Blackfriars underground station where the wait will be increased to two minutes. That is a very long time to wait and could encourage people to take more risks.
Of course we support the cycle superhighways but a lot of detailed work still needs to be done to ensure their success in practice. We have now got summary data but not the detailed data which contains the local impact on surrounding streets. More thought also needs to be given to the working of the highways both in the construction and the operation stages and many local businesses would welcome clarity on issues such as deliveries, etc. These important proposals need to be got right for the benefit of London and all who use the City.
While we support moves to improve the safety of Londons cyclists, we need to see the full detail of the mayors proposals for dedicated cycle superhighways.
Almost half of Londons firms report that the capitals roads are deteriorating, so we need to have all the facts about a possible impact on further congestion and journey times before we press ahead.
Source: Guardian Transport