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Mayor unveils his 18-mile "Crossrail for the bike"

Cycle superhighway in London
Cycle superhighway in London © Harry Schiffer

Europe’s longest substantially-segregated urban cycleways were unveiled today, the centrepiece of the Mayor’s £913 million commitment to get more Londoners on their bikes.

Two continuous cycle routes almost completely separated from traffic will cross central London from east to west and north to south, opening up thousands of new journey opportunities for cyclists.

The north-south route will run for more than 3 miles from Elephant & Castle to King’s Cross. The east-west route will run from Barking to Acton, a distance of over 18 miles, including a section on the Westway flyover, where one lane will be removed to create a segregated cycle track.

Protected cycle routes will also be created through dangerous junctions, including Tower Hill, Blackfriars, Parliament Square and Lancaster Gate. Connections will be created to cycle routes servicing other parts of the City, West End and suburbs.

Subject to detailed public consultation - which begins today - work will start early next year and the routes will open in March 2016.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: "Bikes already make up 24 per cent of all rush-hour traffic in central London – hundreds of thousands of journeys every day that would otherwise be made by car or public transport. Because this isn’t just about cyclists. Getting more people on to their bikes will reduce pressure on the road, bus and rail networks, cut pollution, and improve life for everyone, whether or not they cycle themselves."

The routes have fewer of the usual features which can make installing segregated cycle lanes difficult. They have also seen a reduction of around a quarter in motor traffic in the last ten years. Only a small fraction of the east-west route is on roads served by TfL daytime buses, for instance, and there is little residential parking along most of the routes. The proposed riverside cycle track on Victoria Embankment would also mean cyclists here would not need to cross side roads. Traffic lanes on parts of the route would be used for the cycle lane.

More pedestrian space will be created on Victoria Embankment and in Parliament Square. Bus priority measures will be introduced. Coaches would also be able to load and unload passengers safely from the vehicle onto a wide new segregating island between the cycle track and the road.

High-quality materials will be used for the scheme to enhance the look of the streets and reflect their importance. On parts of the scheme, the segregation will be removable for state occasions.

East-West Cycle Superhighway

The East-West Cycle Superhighway would start at Tower Hill, where it would connect to the existing Barclays Cycle Superhighway Route 3 (CS3), which runs east to Canary Wharf and Barking. From Tower Hill, the new route would run along Lower and Upper Thames Street, Victoria Embankment, across Parliament Square, to Hyde Park Corner and through Hyde Park, across Lancaster Gate and up Westbourne Terrace.

From there, it will travel on the Westway Flyover from Westbourne Bridge to Wood Lane and would continue along the A40 Western Avenue as far as Kathleen Avenue, Acton. The design of the section from the Westway to Acton is still being finalised and will be consulted on at a later date. Apart from a short stretch in the Lancaster Gate area and a low traffic street adjacent to Upper Thames Street tunnel, the new Superhighway would be entirely physically segregated.

In central London, there will be connecting Quietway backstreet routes to other parts of the City, the West End, Paddington, Maida Vale, Notting Hill and many other places. There will also be connections to an upgraded Cycle Superhighway 2 for Mile End and Stratford. There will also be connections to the existing segregated track across Southwark Bridge, connecting to Cycle Superhighway 7 and Quietway routes in Southwark.

Connections are proposed at the western end to Shepherds Bush, Acton, Ealing and Wembley town centres and to the Park Royal trading estate. Proposals for cycling infrastructure improvements on Westminster Bridge will also be covered as part of the Better Junctions scheme at Westminster Bridge Road. Our wish is for segregation for cyclists on the bridge, subject to this being feasible.

North-South Cycle Superhighway

The North-South Cycle Superhighway would start at Elephant & Castle, where it would connect to the existing Barclays Cycle Superhighway Route 7 (CS7) at Princess Street. From Elephant & Castle the North-South Cycle Superhighway would run along St. George’s Road, through St. George's Circus, along Blackfriars Road and cross Blackfriars Bridge before connecting to the proposed East-West Cycle Superhighway on the north bank of the River Thames. It is planned to then continue to King’s Cross using New Bridge Street, Farringdon Street, Farringdon Road and quieter backstreet roads.

The southern section between Elephant & Castle and Farringdon station would be a largely continuous segregated two-way cycle track. North of Farringdon station, where Farringdon Road is not wide enough for segregation in both directions, the route will use low-traffic back streets and/or segregation in one direction, subject to further consultation with the London Borough of Camden, the highway authority.

TfL is already developing wider traffic management plans for central London to help reduce the traffic impacts of this and other schemes, including those proposed by London local authorities and developers. This includes investing in advanced traffic signal technology, which allows better management of traffic depending on differing conditions at any given time. Local engagement is also underway with businesses and freight operators along the route on the proposals.

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: "Cycling in London is becoming more popular by the day and these new Cycle Superhighways will further transform London into a continental cycle-tropolis for riders of all ages. We will be working hard in the coming months to ensure that these schemes can be delivered as quickly as possible, while balancing the needs of all road users and look forward to hearing the views from Londoners and visitors to the city about these transformational plans."

Councillor Mark Williams, Southwark Council cabinet member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport said: "This is a significant investment from Southwark Council and TfL which will transform Blackfriars Road and create a mile of high quality pedestrian and cycling facilities, which will link the river to the Elephant and Castle. The proposals connect a number of exciting developments along Blackfriars Road directly into the planned improvements at the Elephant and Castle, furthering our vision to create a vibrant mixed use destination with the highest quality of public realm."

Cllr Phil Jones, Camden Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport, and Planning: "Road safety and sustainable travel are top priorities for Camden, and we support safer and more attractive cycle routes which will help to encourage people of all ages to take up and enjoy the benefits of cycling in the capital. We look forward to hearing the views of residents and businesses about the proposals."

Councillor Heather Acton, Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Parking at Westminster City Council said: "We are fully supportive of the Mayor's vision to make cycling safer and easier in the capital and have worked closely with TfL on these proposals. However, the exact details of the routes are yet to be decided and we would encourage all residents and road users to give their views in response to this consultation."

British Cycling's Campaigns Manager, Martin Key, said: "Continuous segregated routes have proved hugely successful in Holland and are an affordable transport solution for cities. This cycle way will attract new people to cycling - young and old - because they will feel safer and more confident using a convenient route. London is leading the way on cycling and the rest of UK must follow."


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11. September 2014

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