Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has this morning launched an Action Plan to double levels of cycling in the capital over the next six years, including the introduction of a Cycling Infrastructure Database – billed as a world first – and the rebranding of Cycle Superhighways and Quietways under a single, unified name.
New design standards with six quality criteria are also being introduced next year for cycling infrastructure, which Transport for London (TfL) says will “make it clear to boroughs what we will and will not fund.”
The criteria include the volume and speed of motorised traffic, the number of lorries and the risk of collision at junctions, with TfL saying: “The aim is that, where traffic levels are high, cycle routes will either need to reduce traffic below the new acceptable threshold, or provide segregation.”
The Cycling Infrastructure Database [CID] will provide what is described as “a comprehensive digital record of all cycling facilities on the streets of the capital,” and will be made available to everyone for free through TfL’s open data platform, enabling developers to produce apps using the information.
The New Year will see TfL announce the new identity for the city’s cycle routes, with existing Cycle Superhighway and Quietway brands merged into a single network across the capital.
TfL says that the move follows “clear feedback from Londoners on the current brands, which can be misleading – especially for those new to cycling – and is in line with best practice from the world’s top cities for cycling. The identity for the new network will be revealed in early 2019.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who aims to grow the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport from the current 63 per cent to 80 per cent of journeys by 2041, said: “Getting more Londoners cycling is essential for our city’s future health and prosperity, and our new Action Plan launched today shows how we’re going to go further than ever before to make this a reality.
“The evidence is clear – where we’ve built new high-quality cycling infrastructure, the routes have been hugely successful in getting more people on their bikes. Despite this, too many Londoners still don’t have the high-quality cycle routes they need in their local neighbourhood.
“I’m delighted to be announcing some of the major new work that will start on cycle routes across London next year, and in introducing new quality standards for cycle routes, I’m determined to ensure every Londoner feels comfortable and safe getting on a bike, whatever their age, experience or background.”
Many cyclists and campaigners are frustrated by what they see as the slow rate of progress in implementing cycling infrastructure across the city or plans being watered down or even scrapped in the face of small but vociferous opposition.
Work is due to start next summer on a long-awaited route from Greenwich to Tower Bridge, but the future of the planned Cycle Superhighway 9 from Olympia to Brentford seems less clear, with TfL saying only that it “continues to work with Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow Councils” on the route.
Other proposed routes that will be consulted on and see construction commence next year include one from Camden Town to Tottenham Hale and another from Hackney to the Isle of Dogs.
Meanwhile, TfL highlighted that besides dedicated infrastructure, it is also working to improve safety at dozens of major junctions across the city with 40 schemes due to have been completed by 2020 including at Old Street and Highbury Corner.
London Cycling Campaign welcomed today’s announcement with its CEO, Dr Askok Sinha, saying: "The Mayor promised the London Cycling Campaign and our supporters he would triple high quality, protected space for cycling on London’s main roads by the end of this mayoralty. We welcome this Cycling Action Plan which sets out how this will be achieved and how the Mayor will make London a ‘byword for cycling’.
“The introduction of quality conditions for funding cycling infrastructure is particularly important in this plan.”
He added: “LCC has long campaigned for this, to help ensure that only those cycling projects that exhibit international standards of safety and comfort are funded."
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.