LCC welcomes Central London Grid but emphasises need for safe and convenient junctions and high-quality routes that cater for all cycling abilities

The London Cycling Campaign has welcomed Mayor Boris Johnson's draft proposal for a Central London Grid, but has warned that to be effective the routes must provide safe and convenient passage through junctions, along with cycling conditions throughout that are suitable for all ages and abilities.

LCC Chief Executive Ashok Sinha said, "We strongly welcome the Mayor's assertion that increasing cycling in Zone One benefits all Londoners through reduced traffic congestion, reduced crowding on public transport, and less noise and pollution.

"We're delighted the Mayor's stated aim is that the Grid will be suitable for everyone to cycle, including more women and children, who are currently massively underrepresented among London's cycling population, often because of fears over safety.

"However, we emphasise that to be effective, the Grid must provide genuinely safe and convenient conditions throughout, particularly at junctions, with routes that have either protected lanes or low motor traffic volumes and speeds."

According to the Mayor, the 60-mile Central London Grid will provide a network of safe routes throughout Greater London, in a similar fashion to a proposal LCC put forward in 2009, which we presented to senior Transport for London executives.

Grid routes will be mainly on streets controlled by nine central London authorities (seven boroughs, the City, and Royal Parks), with approximately 25% of routes having protected lanes, and 75% being streets with low-volume and speeds of motor traffic. 

The protected routes include elements of existing and proposed Superhighways, including a new east-west Superhighway along the Embankment and a north-south Superhighway from Elephant & Castle to Kings Cross. 

We'll be responding to the draft proposals before the 14 January 2014 deadline, and our network of local LCC groups will continue to work with borough transport officers and Transport for London to provide them with the views of local cyclists.

Our response will include detailed analysis of proposed routes along with general points such as the following:

  • We're calling for bold initiatives to be taken on routes such as the Theobalds Road/Old Street corridor, where through-motor-traffic should be removed to facilitate thousands of new east-west cycle journeys each day. (In the morning rush hour, over 60% of traffic on Theobalds Road is already people on bicycles, the busiest cycle route in London.)
  • We welcome the opening of the contraflow bus lane along Bloomsbury Way to cyclists as an interim solution to improving cycling safety, but are calling for the Holborn one-way system to be removed entirely.
  • We're expecting junctions to create minimal delay for cyclists by ensuring signals have the same as or higher priority than motor traffic. 
  • We welcome the proposed increase in cycling contraflows, which have been shown to be safe and effective in making bicycle journeys more direct and convenient by returning one-way streets to two-way for cycling.
  • We're concerned that the quality of the Grid might vary across boroughs, and note that there are no routes in Tower Hamlets despite the need for safe access to and from the City. Also routes are less dense in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea than in other areas such as Camden and the City of London.
  • We welcome the emphasis on on-road signage in order to make routes easy to follow.
  • We reiterate our policy, ratified at our 2013 AGM, that cyclists should not be forced to share streets when volumes or speed of motor traffic are above 2000 PCUs (passenger car units) or 20mph.
  • We reiterate our policy, also ratified at our 2013 AGM, that cycling routes should be suitable for all abilities of cycilst, including faster, fitter people and slower, more cautious cyclists.