A right royal balls-up: London Cycling Campaign is not amused by Buckingham Palace superhighway plans

Royal balls-up

Transport for London’s latest consultation on the East-West cycle superhighway show a big hole in the route - and it's been reported that officials at the Royal Parks are refusing to allow safe space for cycling outside Buckingham Palace. Under the current plans, the cycle superhighway vanishes by the Queen Victoria Memorial next to Buckingham Palace. Cyclists will be expected to use the existing shared-use area – mixing with thousands of pedestrians at one of London's most popular tourist destinations. If cyclists choose to use the carriageway instead, they will have to mix with six lanes of motor traffic on the unacceptably dangerous Spur Rd gyratory.

London Cycling Campaign is urging the Royal Parks to give permission for the East-West cycle superhighway to continue, on dedicated, segregated cycle track, in front of the Queen Victoria Memorial. Otherwise there will be high risk of collision between all road users in the area of the Memorial, including the millions of tourists who visit Green Park each year.

TfL Spur Rd

(Click on the map for a bigger version)

Rosie Downes, Campaigns Manager at London Cycling Campaign said: “This is the Mayor’s flagship East-West cycle superhighway. It's had support from thousands, and hundreds of thousands of others have been looking forward to their promised high quality, segregated route from East to West London. To now suggest that this flagship cycle superhighway should have a 300 metre gap in it directly outside the iconic location of Buckingham Palace is frankly embarrassing. When you factor in the fact that cyclists will be expected to either share space with thousands of tourists, or share road space with six lanes of motor traffic, it becomes downright dangerous.

We sincerely hope Royal Parks will give permission for the East-West cycle superhighway to continue, on dedicated, segregated cycle track, in front of the Queen Victoria Memorial. Otherwise there will be high risk of collision between all road users in the area of the Memorial, including the millions of tourists who visit Green Park each year."

Since the Evening Standard covered the story, the Royal Parks have tweeted that no final decisions have been made:

Twitter

LCC is urging people to write to Royal Parks to urge them to change their mind via bit.ly/royalballsup

Further information about the plans can be found on the Transport for London website. The consultation closes on 29th March.

 

Replies

  • By phufbl at 12:44pm 11 February 2015

I make a once weekly journey passing Buckingham Palace and it is absolutely horrendous to cycle around and clearly dangerous.

I approach travelling eastbound on the A3214 with the Palace on my left and intend to carry on down Birdcage Walk. To do so I have to go around the Spur Road gyratory. Turning left onto the gyratory I must move over to the right hand side (across four or five lanes at this point) with traffic merging from the right. Having turned right before the Victoria memorial I have to move over to the left (across 5 or 6 lanes) with traffic merging from the left and also paying attention to the pedestrian crossing halfway along the South-Easterly section of the Spur Road gyratory to be able to turn left down Birdcage Walk.

This is a horrendously dangerous approach to effectively wanting to go straight on down Birdcage Walk.

Perhaps the LCC should make an approach to HRH Prince Charles? He has a long track record of supporting ecologically sound architecture and planning and may well agree that allocating some space to cyclists rather than 6 lanes of motor traffic is a good move.

  • By SimonS at 8:35pm 12 February 2015
The criticism about this is entirely justified. Brilliantly summarised by Rosie Downes, who does truly seem to have a winning way with words. My only concern is that even with the proposed semi-segregated lanes, some rather chubby 'elephants in the room' will remain: the temporary nature of the segregation means that the thousands of people who will travel on this per hour, cleanly, safely and healthily will not be able to on a routine basis. Elephant B is Hyde Park - AFAIK there are no plans to stop closing the park at night. I recall having some truly horrible journeys home from work dicing with death on Park Lane or Knightsbodge because of this and to think it will continue even on London's flagship Superhighway is truly unacceptable - The Royal Parks seem to think that images of maimed and killed cyclists and pedestrians in front of the Palace would be in any way beneficial for anyone, they need to enlighten us urgently as it just seems f****** stupid to the rest of the world. Whilst a route through the park is obviously a good idea - as is the original plan for semi-segregation around Queen Victoria's hemline , safe, protected alternatives must be included in the plans from the outset. As a driver who gets the poop scared out of them every time he drives along the racetrack that is Park Lane, adding protected bike lanes there would be most welcome, however I travel! Not sure if shared use paths can be made part time, but that option might be worth considering at night - the paths along Park Lane would not be suitable for cyclists during the daytime with coach loads of tourists and protesters about. I do not support shared-use paths normally, but it could be a necessary evil if legally-permissible, as some of the alternatives are so dire. Not sure how to solve the other side of the park... The roads in the area have so many lanes, there must surely be space for cycling there too?!
  • By pfsc at 9:35am 13 February 2015

Justice Vos once commented on Prince Charles's readiness to circumvent the planning process, let's see if the Prince makes an unexpected and welcome intervention to block the Royal Parks objection. In the event I do get knocked off my bike turning right onto The Mall, I just hope I will not be treated with homeopathic woowoo.

I cycle down from Hyde Park Corner along the route of the proposed pathway nearly every working day and have done for the last 10 years. Maybe I'm blasé but I find it one of the more relaxed parts of my route. The worst element for me is actually the turn left into to Birdcage walk after the gyratory, where I find that you need to take a very defensive position almost a car's width away from the curb to prevent drivers dangerously cutting across you through the turn as they realise the two lanes of space going into the turn merge to only one lanes worth of space at the apex and beyond. The rest of the junction is relatively calm with several sets of lights and lots of space. Coming down the mall and turning right or the route described above are however possibly a different story. Though I would agree with the principle of the article that if you are going to have a flagship cycle route it seems a little daft to allow a small 300 m segment to be missing, I'm not so comfortable with the slightly hysterical tone of the article or the comments. It's maybe a result of the need to shout like this to achieve the great successes that LCC have, but is it really "horrendous" or "downright dangerous" (it's a missed opportunity rather than creating extra danger, no?)- I suspect it is rather a shame, but maybe I'm just too relaxed to summon the indignation necessary to be upset about sharing space with pedestrians or motor vehicles. But I worry that the cycling community needs to tone down the indignation and tone up the cooperation - which in most regards I credit the LCC with leading, the rest of us need to make sure we keep perspective to avoid being dismissed as loonies.
The RPKC views regarding Buckingham palace is justified. There really is no need for superhighway to continue in this area as it become too congested and a security risk.

Post a reply

Sign in to post a reply.