The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has suggested London’s Cycle Superhighways, which carry thousands of people to work by bike in peak hours, be made part time at the busiest times, and the Congestion Charge reversed, in a bid to cut traffic jams.
Approximately 7,000 cyclists use the Victoria Embankment on CS3 and approximately 8,000 cyclists use Blackfriars Bridge on CS6 in peak hours, with cycles now 70 per cent of traffic over the latter at peak times. Congestion in London is rising, due to a combination of increased private hire vehicles, internet deliveries and roadworks, and the Deputy Mayor for Transport recently reiterated to road.cc a commitment to cycling to tackle congestion.
The LCCI’s ideas to keep the rapidly-growing city moving include making cycle routes part time at peak hours, devolving commuter rail to Transport for London, using the river to move goods and passengers, building more river crossings, consolidating deliveries and moving deliveries at night.
Chief Executive of LCCI, Colin Stanbridge said: "I recognise that some of these measures won't be immediately palatable to some groups.
"But we have made too many decisions because something seems like a nice idea, the easier route, or the most environmentally friendly idea without really thinking through the consequences.
"Whilst a number of initiatives, such as retiming and consolidation, have an important role to play in reducing congestion, they can only provide part of the solution.
"We need to be radical, to look at whether outdated rules still serve a purpose and to build infrastructure that isn't just a stop gap solution."
Although the LCCI represents some major businesses, it can’t be said to be the voice of all London’s businesses, with more than 180 employers publicly backing the East-West Cycle Superhighway last year
— CyclingWorks (@CyclingWorksLDN) October 13, 2016
Neither is this opinion one shared by those in charge of managing London’s roads, who see cycling as the solution to keeping a growing population moving, while reducing congestion and air pollution.
Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said: “There are a number of factors behind the levels of congestion. London’s success means that we are seeing rising levels of construction traffic, private hire vehicles and internet deliveries, alongside the essential work to improve the safety of our roads.
“We are making the most efficient use of our limited space by encouraging walking, cycling, public transport and essential traffic, and will continue to do this to ensure our roads benefit all Londoners."
Val Shawcross told road.cc there will be a new hierarchy of road user in London under the current mayor, Sadiq Khan, with pedestrians and cyclists prioritised, and space removed from private motor vehicles if necessary.
“You will find there are some areas where the road space is transferred from the private motorist to other healthier, environmentally friendlier, more efficient uses,” she said.
“You can get many more people down a narrow road on bikes than you can get in a car, so if we’re short of road space, we’re going to be making some rational decisions in the public interest.”
Earlier this week, after it emerged the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association members joined a local protest against a proposed cycle route in North London the London Cycling Campaign's infrastructure campaigner, Simon Munk, raised concerns the city’s new Cycling and Walking Commissioner isn’t in the post yet.
He said: “We have a whole bunch of people with vested interests that want to roll back the clock. There’s a massive need for City Hall and a need for the public to keep saying: ‘we want this, we demand these [protected cycle routes]; this is what’s needed’.”
“Not just that we have to keep people safe and stop dying but also to make London a better and healthier place.”