Overwhelming support for the transformation of London into a world-class cycling city is allowing Boris Johnson to push ahead with plans for three new Cycle Superhighways before “purdah” starts on March 21st in readiness for the mayoral election on May 5th. One of the schemes to go ahead is the creation of separated cycle lanes on the A40 Westway flyover, which will have glass screens fitted to deaden noise from motor vehicles.
Views are being sought on the western extension of the East-West Cycle Superhighway, an extension of the existing North-South route that would run via Saffron Hill and Bloomsbury to King’s Cross, and the inner section of the proposed route that would run between Swiss Cottage and central London.
Last week Transport for London revealed that modelling predicts that there will soon be more cycle journeys in London than car journeys. With Boris giving the go-ahead for the new plans it’s far more likely that the new mayor – expected to be either Labour’s Sadiq Khan or Zac Goldsmith for the Tories – will have to continue with the Cycle Superhighways.
Parts of the Cycle Superhighways are already open – including between Elephant and Castle and Blackfriars, and a long stretch on the Embankment. The latest announcement will allow work to start on the East-West Cycle Superhighways.
The 2014 consultation process resulted in a document listed the support and objections for the East-West Cycle Superhighways, the edited highlights of which can be seen below (some are wonderful, some pitiful).
While some businesses, organisations and individuals stated their opposition to TfL’s plans the overwhelming majority of responses were in favour (many were prompted to do so by the CyclingWorks campaign). Of 8,847 responses 73 percent fully supported the plans, with opposition from only 20 percent. Those in support of the plans include some of the biggest names in business, including Microsoft, as well as health organisations such as the NHS and medical associations. Businesses and organisations opposed to the plans included influential ones, such as the Canary Wharf Group, and almost all of the taxi bodies in London.
Some of the businesses opposed to the plans showed their lack of understanding of how roads are funded by claiming that cyclists “make no direct contribution to financing the road network”. Others expressed concerns that cyclists would not stay confined to the Cycle Superhighways, not realising that the logical extension of this would be for motorists to only travel on motorways.
Matt Winfield, acting director for Sustrans London, welcomed today's announcement from Johnson:
“Although all of these lanes have been announced before, the detailed designs released today are hugely encouraging. The Cycle Superhighway network must be completed so that all compass points in London can enjoy the same safe routes. They will make cycling a practical option for millions of Londoners and go a long way to solving, quickly and cheaply, the transport needs of our rapidly growing city.
“Cycling in London has trebled in 15 years and it’s exciting to see the Mayor taking note and making bold decisions to accommodate this dramatic change.”
Simon Munk, London Cycling Campaign's infrastructure campaigner, said: “It’s great to see TfL and the current Mayor forging ahead with these consultations. Now we’re finally seeing some international-standard cycling infrastructure planned, as well as on the ground and working, it’s vital the next Mayor keeps up the momentum and political pressure to move from a few isolated routes to a true cycling network across London."
London Assembly Member Darren Johnson has called on his fellow AMs – and not just the Greens – to keep supporting the Cycle Superhighways programme
He said: “I’m pleased that Londoners are being asked for their views on three new sections of cycle superhighway but these bits of cycle lane will be of most benefit to people cycling in inner London.
“We must have fast, direct routes running from the suburbs into central London. The Mayor should seek powers from government to take over local roads where borough objections are scuppering these schemes. We need to cater for the huge numbers of cyclists we hope to see on the roads in the years to come.”
The number of motorists in Central London during "rush-hour" fell from 137,000 in 2000 to 64,000 in 2014. The number of cyclists in the same period trebled from 12,000 to 36,000. And that was before protected cycle infrastructure so numbers of cyclists are now projected to overtake motorists within just a few years, yet spending on cyclists is still far lower – even with the new Cycle Superhighways – than would be logical given the numbers.
“ … the Cycle Superhighways are a step toward a safer and healthier city. … more employees would cycle to work if they felt comfortable and safe on the roads … Proximity of its three central London offices to the routes will help it attract and retain staff.”
“ … growing number of staff who cycle would benefit from the proposals, which would help London to attract and retain the people the business needs.”
“ … many staff currently cycle to its London headquarters, offices and construction sites and more would do so if they felt cycling was safer.”
“Many of its employees cycle to work … London is falling behind other world cites … Proposal would increase safety and cycling accessibility, bring London up to continental standards and may have long term environmental benefits … Cycling projects can increase retail sales by 30 percent.”
Civil Aviation Authority
“As a transport regulator it understands the tradeoffs necessary in reallocating capacity. However, the proposal would have significant benefits for all of London ... More people are cycling to work for reasons of cost-effectiveness, speed, convenience and health … Cycling reduces costs to the public health system …”
“Staff who cycle to work have a better work ethic and are more punctual.”
University College London
“Reallocating road space represents a commitment to London’s sustainability. Opportunity to encourage more staff and students to cycle.”
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
“Research at the institution has found many benefits to cycling and encouraging cycling will help to improve the health of Londoners.”
“It will help it attract and retain the employees …”
“ … proposed changes could delay vehicles on some routes, but the proposal would deliver an overall benefit to London.”
“London is a world leader within the arts and creative industries and should match that status in becoming a world leader in safe metropolitan cycling.”
“Strongly supports the proposal which will allow its staff, and domestic and international audiences to visit safely by bike.”
Royal Opera House
“An increasing number of visitors cycle to performances and to the Covent Garden area and said the proposal is good for its operations and London’s creative economy, and will save lives.”
“Fully supports the proposal, as a way to encourage people to live healthier and more active lives.”
Royal College of Nursing London
“By providing improved cycling infrastructure it would encourage more people to take up cycling. By helping to reduce trips by motor vehicles it would reduce air pollution and deliver public health benefits.”
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
“Supports on the grounds the proposal would help people to develop and maintain healthy, active lifestyles. It also wants to support employees wishing to cycle safely to work.”
NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups
“Supports as the proposal will help to make cycling safer and more viable option for travel. Segregated lanes will reduce near-misses, casualties and fatalities.”
The Prince's Foundation
“This would be an important first step for London and would help people to lead healthier lives.”
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
“More staff would cycle … Proposal would make London are more attractive city … Create jobs, improve green infrastructure for wildlife, reduce air pollution and greenhouse emissions.”
Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT)
“Recognises cycling’s capacity to reduce pressure on road space, improve health and make city environments better places to live.”
Paddington Residents' Active Concern on Transport (PRACT)
“Believes the proposal will result in longer journey times and local environmental damage.”
West London Residents' Association
“The majority should not face extra costs due to delays to benefit a minority … To make it more be equitable, cyclists should pay an annual yearly fee.”
Mayfair Residents' Group
“Enforcement should ensure cyclists use the route and do not take short cuts. Cyclists in other areas should also be kept to designated paths.”
London Clubs International
“The impact on commuters greater than benefits for cyclists.”
London City Airport
“Concerned the reduction in road space could increase congestion.”
Association of Professional Tourist Guides
“ …does not take into account its affect on tourist coaches and London’s tourism industry.”
Canary Wharf Group
“Supportive of the principle of an East-West Cycle Superhighway, but expressed major concerns … Chosen route affects a “uniquely important” arterial road, on which Canary Wharf and other key central and east London businesses rely.”
Personal and RTRWorldwide
“ … benefits are far outweighed by the disruption and costs. Cyclists only use roads travelling in and out; the proposal would delay other traffic at all times. Cyclists make no direct contribution to financing the road network … In addition to delays, the proposal would increase pollution and business costs, and damage inward investment and tourism …”
“Most traffic on the route is commercial; the economy would suffer to benefit ‘summer’ cyclists.”
“ … anything that slows traffic is damaging to business and bad for London’s reputation. Improved safety could be achieved by educating cyclists on road safety.”
Motorcycle Action Group
“Inadequate consideration of the impact of a possible link between cycling and prostate cancer on the proposal’s costs and benefits.”
“ … there is insufficient evidence to form a view, but believes many road users face a substantial adverse impact.”
“Recognised the value of the proposal in encouraging cycling and making it safer but concerned at the reallocation of road space leading to longer journey times for other road users …”
Kent Frozen Foods
“Opposes as it is heavily biased in favour of cyclists.”