Rumours that a key part of London’s Cycle Crossrail could be “scuppered” by the city’s new mayor have sparked concerns about the future of the major cycle route which could finally make West London easily accessible by bike.
Peter Murray, the chair of an influential planning forum focused on the capital, was contacted by road.cc following a tweet in which he claimed the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, could “scupper” the West London scheme, where it runs along the Westway (pictured above). The Mayor’s press office have not confirmed or denied this claim, but have said Transport for London is still analysing consultation responses.
Phase two of the East-West Cycle Superhighway, which was consulted on between 8 February-20 March, would run from Paddington to North Acton, linking up with the route from Tower Hill to Parliament Square, which Khan's predecessor, Boris Johnson, opened in his final act as Mayor. The London Cycling Campaign says although it is against total scrappage of the scheme it is open to discussions on improving the route, which it has expressed reservations about in its current form.
In a tweet yesterday Murray, who is Chairman of New London Architecture, former editor of Building Design and RIBA Journal and founder of Blueprint Magazine, expressed fears about the project's future in a tweet yesterday.
I hear @MayorofLondon is to scupper A40 Westway cycle supr highway. What was that about "making LDN a byword for cycling around the world"?
— Peter Murray (@PGSMurray) May 18, 2016
Murray confirmed the rumour to road.cc, but said he was unable to reveal his source.
The Mayor’s press office has not denied or confirmed the claim, but a spokesperson for the Mayor told road.cc Transport for London was still analysing the consultation responses.
The spokesperson said: “Sadiq wants to make London a byword for cycling around the world and is committed to making it a safer and easier choice for Londoners.
“Transport for London is still analysing the consultation responses on extending the East West Superhighway via the Westway and absolutely no decisions have been made.”
The London Cycling Campaign’s Infrastructure Campaigner, Simon Munk, told road.cc the charity hasn’t heard anything from the new Mayor on the subject. Munk said although the London Cycling Campaign supports a cycle superhighway for West London, it is not wedded to the current proposed route.
He said: “We certainly want the scheme to go ahead if that is the only scheme on the table. We have said all along we believe essentially that West London is under supplied with Cycle Superhighways; there aren’t enough all over London, but there is a real gap in the network here.
“As our consultation response said, we think the Westway is well worth doing but there are potentially alternatives that could be done better and there are things that could be done to improve the Westway, including getting on and off it, particularly in the middle.”
He added the inclusion of a shared use footpath along parts of the A40 make it unworthy of the title “Cycle Superhighway”.
He said: “If the mayor is saying we aren’t going to do it at all, we would oppose that, but if he is saying he’s going to improve the scheme, we would be all ears, and if he believes there is an alternative scheme that would fulfil the same routing, the same potential, and the same function, that is a viable route, we are all ears.
Johnson’s Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, said the Westway route was chosen partly because it is a Transport for London controlled road. Surrounding boroughs have shown reluctance to reallocate road space from motor traffic to cycles, and Quietway schemes on borough roads, have been riddled with setbacks.
Khan was among the mayoral candidates to pledge, before his election as Mayor, to triple protected infrastructure in the capital, as well as giving every London borough the opportunity to introduce a “mini Holland” scheme, and tackling dangerous HGVs.