Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has praised south-east London boroughs that support cycling infrastructure on the same day that he published a strongly-worded letter to the leader of Kensington & Chelsea Council over its decision not to back a planned cycleway through Holland Park and Notting Hill.
The mayor confirmed that construction on Cycleway 4 will start on 5 July. The route from Tower Bridge to Greenwich will run along Tooley Street, Jamaica Road, Evelyn Street and Creek Road and will ultimately include four kilometres of segregated two-way cycle track.
The work, which initially focuses on the Tooley Street and Jamaica Road section with the remainder scheduled to be carried out next year, will also involve a redesign of the Rotherhithe roundabout as well as new pedestrian crossings along the route.
Khan said: “I’m delighted that work is about to begin on this major new cycle route in south-east London. High-quality segregated cycle routes greatly increase the numbers of people who feel confident cycling on our streets and with new pedestrian crossings along the route, road danger will be substantially reduced for thousands of pedestrians too.
“Boroughs like Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich really understand the huge benefits of investing in high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure.
“With record investment from TfL we will continue to work with boroughs who share our vision to tackle London’s inactivity crisis, reduce road danger, and get more people out of their cars and into cleaner greener forms of transport.”
All three councils are Labour controlled, in contrast to Conservative-run Kensington & Chelsea, whose leader Khan wrote a scathing letter to this morning after its withdrawal last week of support for the proposed Wood Lane to Notting Hill cycleway before the consultation had even closed.
He said: “These plans were developed to deal with, among other problems, these roads being unsafe for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.
“There have been 128 collisions over the last three years alone in the Kensington and Chelsea section of the route ... The vast majority of serious injuries have been to cyclists and pedestrians. Our plans would change this, making it easier to cross busy roads with 15 new pedestrian crossings, and a segregated space for people to cycle safely.
"Eilidh Cairns was killed at Notting Hill Gate in 2009 and a ghost bike is still on the street marking her death. Had these proposals been in place at the time, it is extremely unlikely she would have been killed.
“I would like to know how many more of your residents need to be maimed or killed by motor vehicles before you accept that this is a serious problem that requires solving. Doing nothing about the safety on your roads is not an option."
The borough's lead member for planning and transport, councillor Johnny Thalassites, said: “We will respond to the letter in due course, but our response will be to ask Sadiq Khan to listen to residents and the council, don't bully them.
"Change the approach and once the red mist has settled he might see that our door is actually open for conversations on alternative schemes that might win local support and improve the streets of Kensington for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers."
He added: "Our full statement regarding the consultation is also online."
Senior councillors from all three of the boroughs that Cycleway 4 will run through were united in highlighting the benefits of the scheme.
Councillor Richard Livingstone, Southwark’s cabinet member for environment, transport and the climate emergency, said: “In Southwark we welcome this new addition to our growing network of cycleways.
“I hope that the introduction of segregated bike lanes and improved junctions will encourage even more people to get on their bikes and help to improve their health and happiness, and all of our air quality.”
TfL and Greenwich Council ultimately plan to extend Cycleway 4 to Woolwich, including the notorious roundabout under the Blackwall Tunnel Approach Road in east Greenwich.
The council’s cabinet member for air quality, sustainability and transport, Denise Scott-McDonald, said: “If we want to get more people walking and cycling, we have to provide well-designed and safe routes. Cycleway 4 will link up with our Liveable Neighbourhood scheme in Greenwich Town Centre, a project which will remove through traffic from two main roads to create healthy streets.
“The proposals received overwhelming support, which proves that residents in Greenwich want low traffic neighbourhoods with safe spaces for walking and cycling.
“The next phase of Cycleway 4 will run right across the borough from Greenwich Town Centre to Woolwich – I will continue to work with TfL to ensure that designs are progressed and construction can start as soon as possible after phase one is complete,” she added.
Lewisham’s cabinet member for environment and transport, Councillor Brenda Dacres, said: "We’re very excited about Cycleway 4 going through our borough. It’s a fantastic scheme that will bring many benefits including encouraging more people to cycle, improving connections with central London, providing a safer travel option, improving people’s health and wellbeing, and reducing air pollution.
“Cycleway 4 will also complement Lewisham’s existing cycle routes, link in with our Liveable Neighbourhood scheme and encourage people to walk more by bringing benefits for pedestrians, such as improved paving, new pedestrian crossings and tree planting.
“These improvements will provide Deptford with world class facilities for cyclists and will make it a more a pleasant area to live, work and shop.”
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.