London's Cycle Superhighway Upgrade - the first 100 metres
The desperately needed upgrade to Cycle Superhighway 2 in Whitechapel has begun to emerge. First section to open is approximately 100 metres long on the way out of town between Brick Lane and Greatorex Street.
This is a huge benefit for people who want to cycle on this route which has the worst casualty record over the past three years. It is a great success for London Cycling Campaign and Space for Cycling.
The short lane now open is at one of the difficult, narrow sections of Whitechapel Road. It demonstrates the good and not so good elements of this upgrade, promised by the Mayor at his election over 3 years ago. They have taken on many of our suggestions for improvement, such as the angled curbing to avoid strking the curb with your pedals.
The new bus stop by passes allow safe cycling, no longer will we have to mix it with buses pulling in and out at every stop. Almost all of the pedestrians and bus users have adapted quickly to the new layout. The remaining pavement is quite narrow, just under 2 metres at the tightest. The bus shelter has moved onto the 2.5 metre wide island.
Cars cutting in at the junction of Greatorex Street were taking much more care than at the wide open junctions on the Stratford High Street section built in 2013. It could have been made even tighter - it is a narrow street, any large vehicle would need to swing wide and the slower they are forced to go the better.
Just beyond Greatorex Street the Superhighway gets very narrow as it curves around a mature tree, there is no physical barrier here. It is supposed to be 1.5 metres wide, we measured it as less than 1.3 metres to the white line.
Where there is a break in the island TfL designers are insisting on placing blank bollards on wide concrete bases, here the lane shrinks to 1.6 metres. London Cycling Campaign have objected to this design feature. It would be far better to use a few wands, as shown at the temporary works at the start of this new section of Superhighway, keeping the width to 2.0 metres.
Here are TfL's plans showing more detail for this section of Whitechapel Road (click to zoom).