LCC hails initial proposals for new superhighways as a success

Designs for the North-South and East-West cycle superhighways, released for consultation by Transport for London today, represent a major step forward in creating streets that are safe and inviting for cycling, say the London Cycling Campaign. The plans show that the Mayor is finally delivering on the promises he made to LCC’s Love London, Go Dutch campaign and are a tribute to the efforts of LCC’s grass-roots campaigners. While LCC has concerns around some of the details which we will be addressing with Transport for London, overall we’re pleased to see that the scheme provides much more space for cycling, and also gives more space for pedestrians.

Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive of London Cycling Campaign, said:

“In 2012, 10,000 LCC supporters took to the streets to call for streets that are as safe and inviting as they are in Holland. In response, the Mayor promised them that he would deliver all new cycle superhighways to best continental standards. We congratulate the Mayor on finally taking such a big step towards delivering on this promise, and will be working with TfL to address the concerns we have about parts of the new routes.

"LCC’s main concerns are that some of the planned new junctions are not safe enough and that the width of the new cycle tracks is too narrow in places. Our local groups and activists will ensure these and othe questions are presented to TfL. Overall, though, LCC is really pleased to see commitments to substantially reallocate carriageway space to ensure protected space for cycling – particularly on the east-west superhighway, where cyclists regularly make up almost half of traffic during the morning peak.

“We’d encourage all our members and supporters who use the routes to feed back on the proposals on the TfL website.”

LCC's infrastructure review group is examining all the route details. We will be using the consultation period to ensure Transport for London has identified any problems and can deliver the high quality promised by the Mayor.

East-West Superhighway

The East-West route (coined by some as the ‘Crossrail for Bikes’) will run from Tower Hill to Westbourne Terrace via Parliament Square and Paddington. This route includes much needed reallocation of carriageway space to cyclists, with segregated two way cycle track replacing traffic lanes on Shorter St, Lower and Upper Thames Streets.

LCC welcomes the wide, protected cycle track along the river on Victoria Embankment and will be looking to ensure that segregated tracks do not go below the minimum of 4 metres elsewhere.

Blackfriars Bridge Junction

A great feature is that the slip road from the northern junction of Blackfriars Bridge onto Embankment is to be converted to a two way cycle only route. Blackfriars junction is where London Cycling Campaign organised flashride protests over the failure to provide safe space for cycling after the station's renovation. Now, as the cycle superhighway junction, it becomes the iconic location for the transformation of London into a city with real space for cycling. We will lobby TfL to make it even better with easy links to Queen Victoria Street and quiet routes through the City.

Space for Cycling

The relocation and removal of parking and loading bays on Victoria Embankment is also welcomed, as well as the much needed simplification of the Hyde Park Corner south east crossing.

Details of the North-South cycle superhighway north of Farringdon are still in consultation, but the proposals published today suggest a commitment to dealing with safety issues, with a number of banned left turns for motor vehicles and improved junctions which would allow cyclists to run with ahead traffic, with turning traffic held back.

The proposals for both routes also include much more space for pedestrians, including increased footway at the junctions of Lambeth Road and St George’s Rd and on Westminster Bridge Rd and new signalised crossings in a number of locations.

Better Junctions

There are some concerns that reliance on two-way cycle tracks on one side of main roads increases risk at junctions. LCC will be examining this very carefully. We have already identified that there is space for improvements at Tower Hill and St. George's Circus.

You can see details of the proposals, and respond to the consultation, at:

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/northsouth  

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/eastwest

Replies

We will be debating and agreeing our group's response to the East-West Superhighway proposals at our group's meeting on Monday 13 October 2014. If you cycle in City of Westminster, please come and have your say.

Dominic Fee, Secretary, Westminster Cycling Campaign
The local group of the London Cycling Campaign

  • By BigO79 at 1:49pm 3 September 2014

What's with "proposals subject to discussion withThe Royal Parks"? it's atrocious cycling round St James' park - and how come the royal parks get to hold out and put our lives in danger? who are they anyway?

Mixed bag, 'North-South' route doesn't even become such until section 2b, with a big detour instead of going straight up London road. Then another big detour at Kings Cross end, need fixing!

"No cyclepath surface colour", saves money, but means risk of cars parking in them/used as loading bays. Path disappears in some places into bus lane, eh? Too many lights. The "cyclist waiting areas" & "2-stage turns are off-putting.

 Main Urban Cycleways should be 4.5m wide, above road height, with 'soft' kerbs, 'Simultaneous Green' and 'Green Wave' signalling at tabled junctions, etc.

Suggest these routes be described as they really are:

"Cycle SubLowWays", and not call them Superhighway until they come up to CROW standard, or better! 

This post was edited by mikeybikey at 9:40pm 11 September 2014.

The routes themselves seem quite good but the junctions are a complicated mixture of segregation and existing substandard facilities. I think it would be better to redesign whole junctions according to Dutch best practice, and have the transitions to existing road designs away from the junctions. For example St George's circus could better be designed as an unsignalised Dutch-style roundabout with segregated cycle track all around. Advanced stop lines, 'early start' facilities and two stage turns are confusing and should not be used. Dutch-style all green phases for cyclists should be used more widely - they allow cyclists to cross the junction in any direction simultaneously, and are safe, efficient and easy for all road users to understand.

LCC should respond to these details in the consultation.

@mikeybikey, @anoopshah

you are right that the detail is sometimes mediocre. there have clearly been compromises to mitigate effects on traffic.

nevertheless, these proposals take a lot of space from traffic, and provide a cycling environment that, at least on the main axis of the route, is suitable for all in most places. 

as a result, they'll open these routes up to many new cyclists, regardless of the compromises. 

there will be strong opposition to these proposals, even as they stand. therefore, while being critical of the detail, we should still strongly support the routes overall. once the routes are there, and large numbers of people are using them, as they will, we will be in a stronger position to argue for further improvements. 

Who is the cyclist this is designed for?  Primary school children?  Mothers with babies on handlebars?  Older and disabled people?  Workers with wide cargo bikes, parents with shopping and kids in trailers?

Whilst I welcome this better deal for we cyclists, I remain concerned that provision of a segregated highway will do for bikers what traffic lights and pedestrian crossings have done for drivers: encouraged us to see the carriageway as our private fiefdom.     Somehow we have to find ways of recognising that all three of groups of people who use urban streets have an equall right to complete their journey safely, conveniently and on time.  Sharing is key, and so far no one - as far as I know - has articulated an overall solution which meets that test.

 

Has anyone got any ideas? I'm beginning to think that in urban areas cars are likely to find themselves at the bottom of the pecking order.

 

 

 Somehow we have to find ways of recognising that all three of groups of people who use urban streets have an equall right to complete their journey safely, conveniently and on time.  Sharing is key, and so far no one - as far as I know - has articulated an overall solution which meets that test.

Has anyone got any ideas? I'm beginning to think that in urban areas cars are likely to find themselves at the bottom of the pecking order.

 

Why? We need to discourage car use in urban areas. We need to encourage cycle use in urban areas. If cars find themselves at the bottom of the pecking order that's a GOOD thing. Most urban journeys are shorter than 5 miles, with a large minority shorter than 3 miles. It is antisocial to travel by car for journeys that can be made by less damaging modes.

Sharing only works when those with the power (in this case motor traffic) 'allows' it. Even then there's the issue of "subjective safety" - it just doesn't 'feel' safe to be riding in close proximity to fast-moving motor vehicles. In the 100+ years of motor travel in London this has not happened. Sharing the road is the status quo, and can never lead to mass cycling.

 

 

I agree with these blogs - these schemes are a significant improvement on road design in London so far, and I support them overall although design details need to be addressed.

The concept of converting motor vehicle space into cycle space should be wholeheartedly supported. Provision of quality cycle routes which are convenient, fast, pleasant and safe is essential for the future health and wealth of London. These routes should be built to a gold standard for other parts of London and other cities to copy.

  • By bowles36 at 12:00pm 11 September 2014

The proposals for the North-South route currently cover my exact commute to work (Camberwell to Kings Cross), so have drawn my particular interest.

Although there are some flaws in the current design as others have pointed out (St George's Circus etc), there are also huge improvements. St George's road is currently a deathtrap, with north-east bound cycle traffic sharing a single lane with buses, often meaning groups of cyclists are sandwiched front and behind between two high sided vehicles. Whilst Im supportive of public transport over personal cars in general, a separate lane for cyclists has been much needed here!

Blackfriars roundabout to Ludgate circus is also one of the most dangerous bridge approaches in London. Although the new proposals dont solve the left turn problem completely, a segregated line up the entire length to Ludgate Circus should prevent the current crushing of cyclists off the road completely.

As others have already stated, there will be opposition from other groups, particularly taxi firms and businesses, to even the existing plans. Whilst there are imperfections, we should ensure at the very minimum that these happen and not withdraw our support completely to the point that the status quo remains!

 

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