Friday, 5 June 2009 Keith Bingham
The first of two of 12 of London’s so-called “Cycle Superhighways” were announced this morning by Mayor Boris Johnson and were greeted with scepticism by the CTC, the national cyclists organisation.
Described as Pilot corridors, the two routes of between 10 and 15 kilometres in length will run from South Wimbledon to Bank and from Barking in East London to Tower Hill. They are due to be open by May 2010 and form part of the Mayor’s £111-million investment in cycling.
Critics, including Jenny Jones of the Green Party, accuse the Mayor of slashing funding for outer London cycling development to pay for the Cycle Superhighways and the cycle hire scheme due to open next year.
The Cycle Superhighways are in fact glorified cycle lanes painted a distinctive blue in the hope that drivers will give cyclists the same priority they give pedestrians using Zebra crossings.
The Wimbledon to Bank route follows the A24 and A3, while the Barking to Tower Hill route follows the A13 and Cable Street into the City.
Transport for London (TfL) say the aim is to provide “safe and direct and continuous routes” into central London from the outer boroughs.
The Mayor said: “I’m not kidding when I say that I’m militant about cycling, and these Superhighways are central to the cycling revolution I’m determined to bring about. No longer will pedal power have to dance and dodge around petrol power – on these routes the bicycle will dominate and that will be clear to all others using them. That should transform the experience of cycling – boosting safety and confidence of everyone using the routes and reinforcing my view that the bike is the best way to travel in this wonderful city of ours.”
TfL says the routes will have consistent and easy to follow road markings and signs and road surfaces will be improved. “Safety issues will be addressed through specific measures such as the provision of advance stop boxes and providing continuous lanes through junctions as appropriate.”
Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor’s Director of Transport Policy, said: “Cycle Superhighways form a key part of the Mayor and TfL’s target to increase cycling in London by 400 per cent by 2025, compared to 2000 levels. From cycling the proposed routes myself, and speaking to a whole range of cyclists, I’m sure that these routes will prove a hugely welcome addition to London’s cycling infrastructure – giving many more people the confidence to ride”.
A CTC spokesperson commenting on the Cycle Superhighways, said: “Our concern is that super cycle highways are a painting over existing routes – what is the point? The Mayor has cancelled funding for the London Cycle Network Plus; he’s not creating new routes, not helping cyclists at problematic junctions. The Elephant and Castle (gyratory) for instance, uses existing bypasses. I live near there and I know they don’t work”.