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TfL putting brakes on London's Cycle Superhighway programme?

Mayor of London wary of disruption and confrontation

Transport for London has expressed reservations about “the sheer scale and speed at which the current batch of Cycle Superhighways were put out there” and has pledged to learn lessons from this, reports BikeBiz. The comments come within London Stalling, a report into congestion by the London Assembly Transport Committee.

The committee found that London’s average traffic speed has fallen and the road network has to cope with more vehicles than it has space for.

One of its key recommendations is that work continue on cycle superhighways, but it cautions that more care needs to be taken to minimise disruption during their construction.

"TfL should continue to implement its Road Modernisation Plan schemes including the proposed network of safer cycling routes such as Cycle Superhighways and Quietways. It should report back to the committee by the end of April 2017 on how the construction of additional Superhighways and other major projects will be planned more effectively to minimise traffic congestion.”

TfL's Director of Road Space Management, Alan Bristow, told the committee:

“We are currently looking at extensions to the North-South Cycle Superhighway into the City and also the Cycle Superhighway 11 programme is under debate for tying down in the future. The Cycle Superhighway programme will go ahead because cycling safety demands that we keep this process going, but probably the issue was the sheer scale and speed at which the current batch of Cycle Superhighways were put out there, which we intend to learn the lessons from.”

Concern about the disruption and conflict arising from cycle superhighways’ construction phase has been a recurring theme for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Comments on the subject during an interview on the LBC radio station last week resulted in his issuing clarification after he appeared to imply there would be greater focus on Quietways over segregated cycle routes in the future.

Since then, responding to a question from Caroline Russell at Mayor’s Question Time earlier this week, Khan made reference to the previous administration’s “overly confrontational approach” to delivery of cycle lanes.

In a blog on his website, former cycling commissioner for London, Andrew Gilligan, makes his own effort to dissect the various causes of congestion within the capital and writes that it seems "unlikely that segregated cycle tracks totalling 12 miles can be causing more than a small portion of the congestion on a London main road network which totals around 1500 miles."

The London Assembly Transport Committee report points out that while private car usage has reduced, there has been an increase in the number of delivery vehicles and private hire vehicles.

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The report recommends taking steps to reduce personal deliveries to workers at their offices, including offering "click and collect" sites at stations.

Regarding private hire vehicles, TfL is said to be assessing the feasibility of removing the sector’s exemption from London’s congestion charge. However, as Gilligan points out, there is no mention of this in Sadiq Khan’s recent taxi and private hire action plan.

The report also recommended that the congestion charge be changed so that motorists would pay more to use busier roads at peak times.

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