Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s vision of a “cycling revolution” in the capital has come a step closer today, with work starting on the capital’s first two Cycle Superhighways.
The two routes concerned, which are among 12 planned in all to make it easier for cyclists to commute between Inner and Outer London, run from Merton in Southwest London to the City via the A24, and from Barking to Tower Gateway along the A13 and Cable Street.
Transport for London (TfL) has begun resurfacing work close to Westferry Docklands Light Railway station on the Barking to Tower Gateway route, while continuous cycle lanes will be trialled through three junctions between Merton and the City.
Works scheduled for the two pilot routes ahead of their launch this summer will include upgrading new cycle lanes and providing new ones, resurfacing roads and installing advanced stop lines at key junctions. Cycle safety mirrors will also be installed to improve visibility of cyclists to drivers of large goods vehicles.
Specific issues regarding various points on the two routes will also be addressed, such as studying the effect of changing the current two northbound lanes of the A3 approaching Elephant & Castle to one to allow a new, segregated cycle lane to be installed there, and a similar lane is also planned for the junction parallel to Stockwell Terrace. The Elephant & Castle gyratory system will also see improved signage.
Four of the remaining ten routes are due to be completed by October 2012, with the other six in place by 2015. Assessment for the next two routes, from Ilford to Aldgate and Wandsworth Town to Westminster, has now begun.
Mr Johnson said: “Just as the oak springs from the acorn, so too from these first works will London's Cycle Superhighways appear - giving commuters easier, continuous and safer ways to travel to work by bike.”
He continued: "The Superhighways, alongside our cycle hire scheme and our huge cycle safety programme, will transform the experience of cycling in the Capital. This in turn will help us improve air quality, and tackle pollution and congestion on the transport network. This really is a year of cycling for London, and as we go forward Londoners will see huge improvements unfold."
David Brown, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, added: “The Cycle Superhighways will benefit the many thousands of Londoners who already choose to commute by bike. For those who want to start, we hope that the changes will give them the extra confidence they need by providing easy to recognise and follow cycle routes.
“TfL has been in close discussion with the boroughs that the pilot routes run through and other interested groups in developing the detailed designs for the first two Cycle Superhighways. The pilots will allow us to test all of the measures for their effectiveness, helping to determine the scope and detailed design of the remaining routes,” he continued.
As part of the project, 300 new bicycle parking spaces will also be installed on both routes, including all tube stations between Merton and the City, which follows the route of the Northern Line. These will be additional to extra spaces already planned by the eight boroughs that the routes pass through, financed by £1.49 million made available by TfL for cycle parking, training and maintenance sessions. TfL is also helping businesses along the routes promote cycling to their staff.
According to TflL, the number of cycle journeys in London has more than doubled in the last decade with a 9% increase in the last year alone, and it is hoped that the creation of the Cycle Superhighways will encourage still more Londoners to take to two wheels.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.