Mayor of London Boris Johnson has hinted that Greenwich and Vauxhall could become the first locations to see a ‘Go Dutch’ makeover in line with the campaign of that name launched by London Cycling Campaign. Mr Johnson made his comment in reply to a question from the Green Party’s Jenny Jones during last week’s Mayor’s Question Time.
While there’s nothing official from TfL regarding any potential trial of putting in place the key points outlined in LCC’s Love London, Go Dutch manifesto, which Mr Johnson pledged to support shortly before the mayoral elections earlier this month, the campaign group has welcomed his comments.
Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage site that draws visitors from London and overseas, lacks facilities for cyclists or pedestrians and the town centre is regularly choked with traffic as a result of the one-way system on a road layout put in place long before the motor car came into existence.
Last year, Greenwich Cyclists opposed plans by Greenwich Council to pedestrianise part of the town centre adjacent to the block that houses Greenwich Market because the plans also included the installation of a much larger gyratory system running between Greenwich and Deptford. The plans were subsequently scrapped.
Despite being a hugely popular destination for overseas and UK visitors, historic Greenwich town centre is blighted by its one-way system and lack of pedestrian or cycling facilities.
Recent plans to remove motor traffic from part of the town centre were opposed by cyclists because they would have resulted in the area being surrounded by an even larger and more uninviting one-way system.
LCC says Vauxhall is often described as “one of London's most dangerous and least people-friendly locations, with up to five lanes of motor traffic forming a noisy and polluted one-way system.”
Charlie Holland, co-ordinator for Lambeth Cyclists, commented: “Lambeth Cyclists coordinator Charlie Holland said, "We welcome Vauxhall becoming a flagship 'Go Dutch' project and can't wait to see the thousands of primary and secondary children at the schools adjacent to the current one-way system cycling in comfort and safety from their schools across Vauxhall Bridge, along Nine Elms Lane, or along the Albert Embankment."
Obviously, we are a long way from seeing any detailed plans, and those who were disappointed with the reality of the much-vaunted Barclays Cycle Superhighways following the mayor’s promises of how they would transform cycling in London might view those comments as perhaps overly optimistic.
Certainly, Mr Johnson’s commitment to Love London, Go Dutch is being watched closely by those working to make conditions better for cyclists in London, and the LCC itself plans to deliver its verdict on the first 100 days of his second term in office early in August.
Things did not get off to the best of starts in that same Mayor's Question Time last week, the first since Mr Johnson was re-elected, in which he claimed that two thirds of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the capital's roads had been breaking the law.
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.