The Mayor's Vision: what's in it for Westminster?

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In early March, the Mayor of London published his Vision for Cycling in London.

Introducing the Vision, Boris Johnson says: "In this document, I set out my plans for substantial – eventually transformative – change. Cycling will be treated not as niche, marginal, or an afterthought, but as what it is: an integral part of the transport network, with the capital spending, road space and traffic planners’ attention befitting that role."

So what's in it for Westminster? One of the main features of the Vision is the flagship route – described as 'a true Crossrail for the bicycle' – which will run for at least 15 miles, very substantially segregated, from the western suburbs, through the heart of the Capital, to the City, Canary Wharf and Barking in the east. It will use a new segregated cycle track along, among other places, the Victoria Embankment and the Westway flyover.

Although some cyclists may not find the prospect of cycling along the elevated section of Westway very apppealing, especially in wet or windy weather, the route passes through the Lancaster Gate gyratory, which we have been trying for years to make more cycle-friendly. It also passes through Parliament Square - another gyratory system on our hit list. Another thing in the route's favour is that it runs parallel with the canal, which has limited capacity and is unsuitable for fast commuters. So the Westway route is a useful alternative.

We welcomed the proposals for the Victoria Embankment, pictured on the cover of the document, when they were first announced last November. Although two-way cycle tracks may not be suitable for every road, the Victoria Embankment is a good candidate, with a long stretch uninterrupted by the side turnings that have caused trouble with other similar schemes - such as Torrington Place. The east-west segregated Superhighway will be delivered by 2016.

Other welcome proposals include:

• Direct, continuous, quieter routes on side streets, known as Quietways. These have been rather neglected in recent years, apart from the rather more limited Greenways. But they formed the backbone of Westminster's cycle network and are particularly attractive to less experienced cyclists.
• A central London ‘Bike Grid’ of high-quality, high-volume cycle routes, using a combination of segregation and quiet shared streets, along with some innovative use of existing infrastructure. This is very important, since Cycle Superhighways currently end at the edges of central London.
• A commitment to continue the Better Junctions project, with a recognition of the need to re-work proposals for some junctions, such as Westminster's Lambeth Bridge roundabout.
• Refinement of TfL's traffic modelling systems to take better account of cyclists. All too often in the past, engineers have ruled out cycle facilities on the grounds that they would 'reduce capacity', even if more cyclists were likely to be accommodated than the motor vehicle occupants they displaced.

Read the vision for yourself »

This post was edited by ColinWing at 8:53am 12 March 2013.

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