Work to begin on controversial ‘cycle superhighways’
Work will begin later today (10th March) on the north-south route of a new cycleway across the capital. Mayor Boris Johnson will be at St George’s Circus in Southwark, south London, to officially start work on the £160m “superhighway” which will stretch for more than three miles from King’s Cross to Elephant and Castle. The planned east-west route is significantly longer, with cyclists segregated from motorists for over 18 miles from Barking to Acton.
Transport for London (TfL) have expressed hopes that the number of cyclists on the capital’s roads will treble as a result of the new routes, cutting the city’s emissions and easing the pressure on its roads and public transport systems. TfL’s public consultation on the plans received 21,500 responses, with 84% in favour, while Boris Johnson has received the written support of over 100 CEOs.
However, the new routes haven’t been free of criticism, with the plans’ detractors claiming that congestion could actually increase as a result.
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) said his organisation supported segregated cycle routes, but not as planned.
“We’re genuinely, absolutely, 100% all for segregated cycle lanes. I think it’s the only way forward. London is falling behind. But it’s all being done the wrong way.”
McNamara warned of “major chaos” on parts of the east-west route. Concerns have also been raised by London First, London Travelwatch, City of London and Canary Wharf.
“Obviously, there has been some resistance,” said Rosie Downes, campaigns manager for London Cycling Campaign.
“But the mayor has made it very clear he thinks this is something that should go ahead, and there has been a strong and very clear response from Londoners.
“There’s recognition now that trying to stop or delay the plans is not going to be a wise political move.”
Check out our article on cycling safety tips for the family.