Boris Johnson today unveiled inspiring new plans to transform the way Londoners get around. It will see the bicycle moved from the bottom of the pecking order, to take prime position.
The full Vision for Cycling can be read here but these are the highlights:
A cycling corridor from West London all the way to Canary Wharf
“The longest substantially-segregated continuous cycle route of any city in Europe”
London’s cyclists will finally have an easy way to cross from West to East London. The route will be largely segregated, offering safety and comfort. To carve out the 15 mile, continuous route, a lane of traffic will be removed from the Westway and Victoria Embankment.
According to Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor’s cycling commissioner, the Embankment Cycle Highway will have capacity of the equivalent of four District line trains per hour.
This is a common theme of the plans, to get people out of cars and congested tubes, and on to bikes, thus easing everyone’s commute.
The plan stresses that this will be an improvement for all Londoners with a vision of creating a “village in the city” with green corridors, more trees and less traffic.
A tube network for bikes
There is a commitment to overhaul London’s existing bike route network by creating more direct, high-capacity, joined-up cycle routes. Where possible, these will follow the routes of key Underground, rail and bus routes. They will also be branded as such as with names such as “The Bakerloo Superhighway”.
These will be quality routes inspired by Dutch cycling infrastructure design. Unlike current routes, the cycle paths will not simply disappear as soon as you reach a dangerous junction. However, they will only be segregated in parts.
This will be a particularly tough commitment to stick to, as it relies on the support from London’s boroughs.
Mini-Hollands in outer London
Up to three willing outer London boroughs will be redesigned around cycling through significant investment from the Mayor. The vision is to create the kind of infrastructure that will make people feel safe enough to allow their kids to ride to school.
Reducing unnecessary cyclists deaths at dangerous junctions
The much needed Junction Review that the Mayor has committed to is also a focus of the new plans. TfL will be asked to go back to the drawing board to deliver more significant improvements.
- The not-so-super Cycle Superhighways will also be reviewed in an attempt to broaden their appeal to more cyclists by aiming for “close to international standards”.
- An increase in 20mph zones
- New design standards for transport and cycle planners
- Borough cycling funding to be conditional on ensuring best safety standards for borough HGVs
- Bikes to be allowed on off-peak DLR trains – on a trial basis.
Will this actually be delivered?
As a cyclist in London it’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement of the plans and we have to remember that London certainly won’t see an overnight transformation. However, if the plans come together, Boris Johnson will be the Mayor who dared to dream big about cycling and turn London in to a case study for other cities to follow.
After announcing such ambitious plans, it will be hard for Boris Johnson to go back on his promises. There are many road blocks on the way to achieving this, especially from local councils which are lacking in vision and planning. It will be up to London’s cyclists to hold the mayor accountable, as they have been doing already.