Plans to extend London’s east-west cycle superhighway by removing a lane from the A40 Westway flyover have been abandoned. Writing on his blog, the city’s former cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan predicts that the news “probably spells the death of any meaningful cycle route through the area.”
Last month Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross, told road.cc that the route of the east-west extension was likely to change and Gilligan says this was confirmed at a meeting with British Cycling’s Chris Boardman earlier this month.
The idea to remove a lane of motor traffic from the Westway to create segregated cycle lanes got 71 per cent support in a Transport for London consultation and Gilligan says it will be a challenge to find an alternative route. The surface roads are owned by Kensington and Chelsea, a borough which previously opposed proposals for a segregated cycle lane between Hounslow and Hyde Park.
“We could have had the Westway superhighway by next year,” writes Gilligan. “But a rerouting will mean perhaps two years’ delay for new designs, new traffic modelling, and a new consultation that will make the row with the local nimbies over CS11 look like a child’s tea-party.”
Shawcross was keen to emphasise that the change did not amount to a cancellation however, tweeting:
The Mayor has already announced two new CSHs and is totally committed to a new E-W route. Project is not cancelled.
— Valerie Shawcross (@ValShawcross) November 15, 2016
Green assembly member Caroline Russell told the London Evening Standard: “Taking bikes up and over the Westway isn’t necessarily the best route. If Val, who is very persuasive, has managed to get a street-level route, that is not a problem. If she hasn’t, that is very disappointing.”
Confirming changes to the plans, the mayor’s office said details would be available ‘shortly’.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said:
"Sadiq is absolutely committed to making cycling in London safer and easier – that's why he has asked TfL to increase spending on cycling compared to the previous administration in which Mr Gilligan was the Cycling Commissioner.
"The Mayor has already approved the next two cycle super-highways and is committed to delivering a new East-West route."
Shawcross previously told road.cc that the standards of cycle superhighways would be improved and in future would pay “proper attention to the needs of pedestrians in London.”
This is part of a policy shift under Sadiq Khan with priorities she described as being “walking, cycling, public transport and essential traffic.”