Transport for London (TfL) and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan have today announced that design work will start immediately on six new cycle routes in the capital, some of which will provide vital links between existing or planned infrastructure.
The six routes, which will have physical segregation from traffic along much of their length, have been prioritised from a list of 25 drawn up by TfL in partnership with London boroughs as having the highest potential for encouraging more people to cycle in the city.
Khan said: “I’ve committed to invest record amounts in making cycling easier and safer for Londoners, and I’m delighted that work is now beginning on designing the next generation of high-quality cycle routes across the capital.
“Working closely with the boroughs, we’re providing new routes in both inner and outer London, including in areas that haven’t previously seen serious investment in cycling infrastructure.
“Encouraging more Londoners to cycle as part of their everyday routine is vital – providing huge benefits to people’s health, cutting congestion and air pollution for every Londoner, and improving quality of life in local neighbourhoods.”
London’s cycling and walking commissioner, Will Norman, said: “High-quality cycling infrastructure cannot simply be an option available to a minority of Londoners, and our new Strategic Cycling Analysis shows that there is huge potential for getting more people to cycle all across the city.
“Backed up by the Mayor’s record investment, we’re working in close collaboration with London boroughs to design six new cycle routes that would connect key town centres, join up existing cycle infrastructure, and start to create a genuinely pan-London network of cycle routes accessible to millions more Londoners.”
The six routes that TfL and the boroughs they run through will now start work on, plus their descriptions, are:
Lea Bridge to Dalston
This 3km route would link the City and Waltham Forest by filling the gap between Lea Bridge Road and Cycle Superhighway 1 at Dalston
Ilford to Barking Riverside
This 8km route would link two bustling outer London town centres and a major growth area with up to 10,800 new homes and a new London Overground connection – while enhancing access to the Elizabeth line and London Overground services
Hackney to the Isle of Dogs
This 8km route would stretch from Hackney to the Isle of Dogs via Canary Wharf, Mile End and Victoria Park
Rotherhithe to Peckham
This 4km route would link Peckham with key and growing destinations such as Canada Water and Surrey Quays, and connect up other cycling routes such as Quietway 1 and the proposed Cycle Superhighway 4
Tottenham Hale to Camden
This 8km route would connect major town centres and will cover seven junctions identified as being among the 73 with the worst safety records
Wembley to Willesden Junction
This 5km route would be north-west London’s first major cycle route, connecting Wembley, Stonebridge Park and Willesden Junction. Future sections will connect to planned infrastructure in west London such as CS9 and CS10.
Some of the routes will provide vital links to cycling infrastructure that already exists or which is in the pipeline.
For example, both the Hackney to the Isle of Dogs route and the one from Peckham to Rotherhithe would link with the planned cycling and walking bridge over the Thames between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf, with the full results of the consultation on that proposed river crossing due to be released in the coming months.
Each of those routes would also link with Cycle Superhighways running east to west on both sides of the river – the existing CS3, which passes just north of the Isle of Dogs, and the proposed CS4, which will run just south of Rotherhithe.
Fran Graham, campaigns co-ordinator at the London Cycling Campaign commented: “The Mayor has laudably promised to triple the amount of protected space for cycling during this mayoralty and commence work on a safe, city-wide cycling network that every Londoner can easily access.
“By enabling cycling to become the natural choice for everyday journeys, this network will play a pivotal role in achieving the Mayor’s goal of reducing the over-dependence on motor vehicles that is congesting our city, damaging public health and contributing to climate change.
“We welcome the announcement of these important new cycle routes as part of that network. Safe, high-quality conditions for cycling are vital in opening up the enjoyment, convenience and affordability of cycling to far more people. We look forward to working with TfL and the boroughs to make these routes a success.”
Sustrans has also welcomed today’s announcement with the sustainable transport charity’s London director, Matt Winfield, saying: “Last year’s figures demonstrate that investment in Dutch-style cycle routes works - with many schemes boosting cycling levels by over 50 per cent in one year alone.
“The Mayor’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner is right to focus the investment where evidence shows it will have the greatest benefits, and start working collaboratively with boroughs to deliver these routes to Dutch standards.
“With cycling and walking levels growing rapidly, the Mayor, TfL and London’s Boroughs need to act quickly make our streets to safer, healthier and better places for people.”
One thing immediately noticeable to anyone who has followed the evolution of infrastructure for people on bikes in the capital in the past decade or so is the lack of branding of the routes – that is to say, the words “Cycle Superhighway” or “Quietway” are missing.
That’s not to say that those words may not eventually appear on the designation of the routes.
But it’s fair to say that the designation “Cycle Superhighway” does seem to raise hackles of opponents of such schemes who have visions of cyclists tearing along them, and also alienates some bike riders who want them to be seen as a safe way to get around the city for daily journeys while protected from motor traffic, rather than purely being a fast commuter route.
Meanwhile, “Quietways” have been criticised for the fact that often, they are anything but “quiet,” forcing cyclists to share some roads with motor vehicles and thereby introducing conflict with motorists.
TfL has acknowledged that after analysis of the routes announced today, 75 per cent of the planned length runs along what it describes as “main roads” where it says, “we’d want them to be substantially segregated.” The other 25 per cent, it says “would be high-quality direct routes on back streets.”
So, neither a Cycle Superhighway nor a Quietway, perhaps, but some kind of hybrid of the two, without a specific name?
We’re looking forward to seeing full details of the proposed designs of the routes, and past experience shows that once they are made public, campaigners will scrutinise them closely to ensure they are fit for purpose.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.