This morning the Transport for London board met to discuss and vote in favour on the proposed east to west and north to south cycle superhighways.
Plans were approved for the construction of four new cycle superhighways (East-West, North-South, CS1 and the inner section of CS5) and upgrades to the four existing cycle superhighway routes (CS2, CS3, CS7 and CS8).
The schemes, which will cost around £160m to deliver between now and the end of 2016.
As has been widely publicised, there are many members of the board who appear to have a strong conflict of interest, with the LTDA representive Bob Oddy not ruling out launching a judicial review. Rival taxi firm Uber has declared itself in favour of the proposals.
Chris Boardman, British Cycling’s policy advisor, said: “This is a fantastic day for Londoners, as well as the many million people who visit the capital every year.
“This vision for large-scale, properly segregated cycle ways will make cycling a more attractive transport option, creating a more pleasant, healthy and sustainable London for everyone. The move brings the capital one step closer to creating a true cycling culture to rival cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam. But most importantly of all, it will set a standard for the rest of the country.”
The key points from this morning's meeting are:
From September HGVs without cycle guarding will be banned from central London.
Howard carter asked for meeting to be adjourned so comments could be made in private. The stream from the meeting stayed live and Peter Anderson, MD of finance at Canary Wharf Group then questioned the benefit to cost ratio of the project, as well as outlining his point of view on the impact of eastbound highway. He refused to accept a trial couldn't be run, despite being told that, while it is in theory possible to simulate using traffic cones, traffic signals and junctions couldn't replicate conditions.
TfL are in discussion with the freight and logistics industries to better plan deliveries in off-peak hours.
It has now confirmed that a cyclist was hit at a Marble Arch blackspot on CS2 this morning by a National Express coach. In 2014, 14 deaths and 475 were seriously injured on London's roads, with 70 per cent happening in inner london.
Sir John Armitt, Chairman of the National Express Group, went on an unfortunately timed rant mid way through the meet saying: "The biggest danger to cyclists in London are often themselves. We're doing this for a minority in the city in the face of professional organisations on the road. It is also unrealistic to give board members papers three to four days before this meeting and expect them to have digested the information. This will only increase the scale of the challenge to manage london for the benefit of a minority.
"The opinion polls are pretty valueless quite frankly because there is no explanation of who is actually responding, continued the National Express chairman. "Without knowing where somebody is coming from when they respond to an opinion poll then it is pretty difficult to take on board the support or non-support for a scheme."
There have been over 100 stakeholder meetings and 20,000 plus responses to a consultation. The majority responded in favour.
Michael Liebreich highlighted the 11 health organisations, countless CEOs and technology companies in favour of the superhighways.
CS1 from Tottenham to the city is about to go out for consultation and the proposals will see cyclists taken away from the A10 with a 12 minute time saving.
CS2's initial design has been tweaked following concerns from traders at Whitechapel market, a diversion has been put in place that will satisfy those trading, but will take cyclists through a five metre bus lane.
CS5 will now avoid the Vauxhall gyratory.
Cyclists are now the majority road user of Blackfriars Bridge in peak times. Segregated routes are planned.
£913 million remains on the table to develop the infrastructure that will aim to add a further 4,000 daily cyclists to London's roads.
Boris openly sighed while Peter Anderson said: "I don't accept we can't trial this." and talked about a £200 million "disbenefit" that he "suspects is light".
Brendan Barber, though stating he was 'attracted by the proposals', also expressed concerns about the speed at which the board has had to make a decision.
Boris Johnson said of the plans: "It will be very sad if this is stopped going ahead via legal means. There has been overwhelming support and in many cases journey times are predicted to become more speedy. The benefits are massive from boosting health to improving air quality. Great cities have to do things that are difficult and not always instantly acclaimed. In five years time they (CS) will be loved and we'll ask how we survived without."
The build programme will be planned so as not to conflict with any other major works or events such as the London Marathon. The same techniques to ease traffic flow that were applied to the Olympics will be brought in to force and the Mayor said that constrcution would be watched carefully in order to quickly pinpoint and adapt to troubles.
Boris Johnson did at one point quip that: "This board is not made up of traffic engineers."
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, London’s Transport Commissioner, concludes: “Cycling is clearly now a major transport option in London, with over 170,000 bike journeys now made across central London every single day. These schemes will revolutionise cycling in the capital and further demonstrate how London is leading the way in making its roads safe for all road users. There will, naturally, be some disruption due to these works but we have some of the world’s leading highway and traffic engineers, traffic models and modellers working tirelessly to ensure that this is kept to a minimum.”
CTC’s campaigns and policy director Roger Geffen added:
“These are two really bold schemes that will massively enhance the opportunity for people to take up cycling in London. London’s roads and its economy will flow more smoothly, and we’ll all be able to breathe more easily in a healthier, greener city. The designs of these schemes aren’t perfect, but they absolutely deserve to go ahead without further delay.”
Below is a flythrough video of the east to west highway shown to the board. The simulation is based on a Monday rush hour and was described as "pessimistic, if anything":
The TfL Board Paper can be downloaded here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/publications-and-reports/board-papers