Bike hire to hit Zone One without cycle network or Oyster-compatibility

photo D1v1d-Flickr The success of the Cycle Hire Scheme depends on a BikeGrid of proper bike routes

LCC is proposing a Zone One 'BikeGrid', a completed network of central London cycle routes, to ensure the success of the mayor's Cycle Hire Scheme due in May 2010.

The Cycle Hire Scheme will see 6000 public bikes and 400 docking stations made available in central London, mirroring successful mass cycle-hire schemes in Paris and Montreal.

The proposed BikeGrid is a network of safe, continuous, high-quality cycle routes running north-south and east-west, with one complete central ring.

Chief executive Koy Thomson said, "To have the cycle hire experience fall so far short of expectation because of the poor quality of London’s cycling infrastructure would be a disaster."

"Also, having a system compatible with Oyster cards was one of the mayor's original objectives.
This has been dropped to speed up implementation.  The Cycle Hire scheme should be fully integrated with all other public transport, giving travellers easy choice between different modes."

Mayor needs a coherent network strategy
LCC has welcomed the provision of a pot of money for infrastructure improvements in zone one, but is concerned it's not enough, and the project lacks strategic direction.

"If you wanted to complete a central London BikeGrid would you ask nine boroughs to pitch in their unrelated priorities? No, you'd set up a strategic framework to oversee the improvements?" Koy Thomson said.

"Under the present system, we'll end up with the proverbial canal that's built from both ends but doesn't meet in the middle."

Measure demanded to make the BikeGrid work include:

  1. 20mph speed limit in the Cycle Hire zone
  2. Widen bus lanes to aid cyclists
  3. Introduce widespread permeability measures: make one-way streets to two-way, allow cycle contraflow, create short-cuts for cyclists
  4. Fix gaps in existing cycle routes
  5. Uniform cycle signage
  6. Riverside routes - complete routes along the Victoria and Albert Embankments
  7. Cycle-friendly central London parks - Regents Park, Kensington Gardens, Holland Park and Battersea Park)
  8. Remove dangerous gyratories
  9. Improve provision for bikes at bus, train and tube stations
  10. Improve Thames bridges and their approaches
  11. Create urban greenways - link the main parks and garden squares (Berkley, Hanover, Manchester, Russell and others) and reconnect the squares to the urban realm

Thomson said, "Many of these measures would also benefit pedestrians. LCC has presented a full analysis with detailed street treatments and routes to Transport for London.

  1. Assign responsibility within Transport for London for delivery of the BikeGrid and give them a budget
  2. Build on the collaborative working between TfL, London Councils, and cycling groups to ensure a strategic and coordinated approach to the BikeGrid

"Make this all happen and you won’t be able to keep Londoners off the hire bikes," he said.