CS5 has been unofficially open and in use for a little while now but the segregated two-way lane across Vauxhall Bridge it had its official launch today. The Mayor came down along with many of the head cycling planning honchos from TfL.
The ultimate goal of CS5 is to link Victoria Station up to New Cross in South East London. However, at present the part built links Pimlico to the Oval. From there it meets up with CS7 currently, but at some point in the future will hopefully continue down Camberwell New Road and onwards. On the North side of the bridge it also connects with CS8 along Embankment.
Even though the route is not finished yet, it does provide safer passage around what was previously a pretty nasty junction for cyclists. It is also a nice connection between North and South London at a convenient point. I personally have always avoided this area and often cycled a greater distance just so I don’t have to go around the Vauxhall junction.
The video above is by CycleGaz on YouTube of the route thus far.
“This is probably, in a hotly contested field, one of the most difficult things we’ve had to do. It’s caused an awful lot of agro, particularly with senior colleagues in government and parliament who like to travel around in cars and I understand their concerns but we are moving as fast as we can to get it all done.” Said Boris Johnson when referring to the 2 way cycle lane along the East side of the bridge.
While talking with us, the Mayor took some flack from people in vans driving past who clearly don’t appreciate any alteration to their driving experience and the feeling from them was quite anti-cyclist. It is very clear that this has been a hard project to get in place and that the vehicular disruption has upset some. It wasn’t all abuse though, some people cycling past said thanks to him.
“I tell you, the people I met on the cycleway seem to love it.” Boris said, having cycled over the bridge to get to the gaggle of press standing at the other end. “It’s as smooth as a piece of virgin tarmac laid by TfL!” It is a pretty smooth section of road, and the markings for turnings are clear.
It certainly is well used already, standing on the path for 15 mins dozens of cyclists came past me. Other than the journalists getting in the way (and swearing at some of the cyclists who told them to get out of the cycle lane, not a great start) it seems like it works well. I have not had any experience of using the junctions later on, and it did seem that there was some issue with cyclist and pedestrian segregation in parts, but that is often true of any rush hour junction, sadly.
“It will be a wonderful thing for London. This is just the beginning, as we know, of a massive program. The East-West is on its way…and we are going to keep going” In response to being asked if this two year effort would continue, Boris told us “It is really think t’s very very important that the momentum doesn’t stall. There are a large number of cycle superhighways still in the pipeline….Theres a lot of work still to do but this is an example of the kind of transformation that can take place. Its vital if we are going to get people out of their cars, ease congestion and encourage fitness and walking and cycling.”
There are 12 routes planned in total by TfL, with 4 already open, 5 now with this official section of CS5, and another 3 planned to be in place by the spring. The big one for TfL now is the East-West route which will connect Barking to Acton eventually. This will be the longest route at 18 miles and the first section, Barking to Paddington is due for completion in May. The remaining routes will be hopefully started not too long after that.
TfL feel that the biggest dangers to cyclists on major roads are turnings, delivery lorries and bus stops. The easiest way to combat these hazards is to put in segregated lanes. Therefore on major routes, such as when the East-West route goes through Westway, the focus will be on trying to provide segregated lanes wherever feasible. Hopefully this will be something that they continue to roll out across other superhighways and infrastructure projects in the future.
Have you used CS5? Is it part of your regular commute? Does it make your cycling life easier and better?