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Cycle superhighway not so super

By Bridget Osborne

Cycle superhighway not so super 18 December 2018

The Mayor of London has launched a major Action Plan to get Londoners cycling. Confirming that CS9 will be constructed in 2019, the Mayor has also announced new routes to be built next year, including one between Tottenham Hale and Camden, and another between Hackney and the Isle of Dogs. New quality standards will be introduced which will ensure cycle routes are ‘welcoming’ for all Londoners to use and the ‘world’s first Cycling Infrastructure database’ will make more information available for people wanting to plan their bike journey across the capital using the app.

Promising the ‘largest funded investment in improved cycling infrastructure of any city in the UK’ the Cycling Action Plan sets out how TfL and the London boroughs will ‘use cycling to help address poor air quality and congestion, while improving infrastructure to make cycling even easier safer and more accessible for everyone’.

The Mayor wants to increase the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80 per cent of journeys by 2041, from 63 per cent now.  Announcing the plan, Sadiq Khan said “I’m determined to ensure every Londoner feels comfortable and safe getting on a bike, whatever their age, experience or background.”


Hammersmith hiccup

‘TfL continues to work with Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow Councils on plans for a major route between Kensington and Brentford’. The details of how those plans are to be amended following last year’s consultation and now not due to be released until January. Originally they were meant to be announced in September, then October, then November. The fly in the ointment has apparently been Hammersmith and Fulham borough, who wanted to fully pedestrianise King St with no vehicle access and no cycle lane. A spokeswoman for Tfl told me they’d now reached a compromise in which King St would be ‘more of a pedestrianised area’ and a ‘vast improvement for pedestrians’ while still permitting some vehicular access and including the cycle lane. 

The labels ‘Superhighway’ and ‘Quietway’ are being ditched, as one summons up the image of a high speed cyclists’ equivalent of a motorway, with lycra louts flashing past and the other conjures up a gentle meander peddling gently through hushed meadows, neither of which actually describe the experience of using a roadside cycle path in London. Their market research has confirmed what any fool could have told them, that the term ‘superhighway’ is ‘polarising’ so they’ve decided on something more neutral across the cycle network, such as ‘cycle way’ but the spokeswoman told me they hadn’t quite decided what to call it yet.

What a relief that after all this kerfuffle we’ll just be getting a cycle path.

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