With London’s Cycle Hire Scheme set to launch next summer the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) has proposed a Zone One ‘BikeGrid’ to make sure it is a success.
The campaigners are calling for a network of safe, unbroken, high-quality cycle routes running north-south and east-west, with one complete central ring and LCC chief executive Koy Thomson said: "To have the cycle hire experience fall so far short of expectation because of the poor quality of London’s cycling infrastructure would be a disaster."
The scheme will launch with 6,000 hire bicycles based in the nine London boroughs and several Royal Parks that make up London’s zone one travel area, and are expected to generate around 40,000 extra cycle trips a day in central London as well as helping ease congestion on the tube and buses.
LCC has welcomed the provision of a pot of money for infrastructure improvements in zone one, but is concerned it's not enough, and that the project lacks strategic direction.
Thompson said: "If you wanted to complete a central London BikeGrid would you ask nine boroughs to pitch in their unrelated priorities? No, you'd set up a strategic framework to oversee the improvements. Under the present system, we'll end up with the proverbial canal that's built from both ends but doesn't meet in the middle."
Measures demanded to make the BikeGrid work include: a 20mph speed limit in the Cycle Hire zone, wider bus lanes to aid cyclists, change one-way streets to two-way, allow cycle contraflow, create short-cuts for cyclists, fix gaps in existing cycle routes, uniform cycle signage, riverside routes, cycle-friendly central London parks, remove dangerous gyratories, improve provision for bikes at bus, train and tube stations, improve Thames bridges and their approaches, and create urban greenways.
LCC has presented a full analysis with detailed street treatments and routes to Transport for London (TfL), which includes assigning responsibility within TfL for delivery of the BikeGrid and give them a budget and building on the collaborative working between TfL, London borough councils and cycling groups to ensure a strategic and co-ordinated approach to the BikeGrid.
Thomson said: "Make this all happen and you won’t be able to keep Londoners off the hire bikes.”
The scheme will not be compatible with Oyster Cards from the start either, and Thompson added: “The Cycle Hire scheme should be fully integrated with all other public transport, giving travellers easy choice between different modes."
It is hoped the London Cycle Hire scheme will build on the 107 per cent growth in cycle journeys that London has seen since TfL was created in 2000.