New London Cycling Vision Unveiled

The Mayor of London announced his new Vision for Cycling in London today. His office says:

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will create a “Crossrail for the bike” as part of his plans for a nearly £1 billion investment in London cycling. 

The route will run for more than 15 miles, very substantially segregated, from the western suburbs, through the heart of London, to Canary Wharf and Barking. It will use new Dutch-style segregated cycle tracks along, among other places, the Victoria Embankment and the Westway flyover. 

It is believed to be the longest substantially-segregated cycle route of any city in Europe. The Mayor said: “The Westway, the ultimate symbol of how the urban motorway tore up our cities, will become the ultimate symbol of how we are claiming central London for the bike.” 

The Mayor today announced that the main cross-London physical legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games will be a proper network of cycle routes across the city. As in the public transport system, London’s "bike Crossrail" will lie at the heart of a new bike "Tube network." 

Other elements in the “Mayor’s Vision for Cycling” include:

- more Dutch-style fully-segregated lanes
- more “semi-segregation” on other streets, with bikes better separated from other vehicles
- a new network of “Quietways” – direct, continuous, fully-signposted routes on peaceful side streets, running far into the suburbs, and aimed at people put off by cycling in traffic
- substantial improvements to both existing and proposed Superhighways, including some reroutings
- a new “Central London Grid” of bike routes in the City and West End, using segregation, quiet streets, and two-way cycling on one-way traffic streets, to join all the other routes together.

These measures would constitute meaningful change for London's cyclists (and prospective cyclists) and have won praise from some commentators.

The "Crossrail for the bike" scheme is basically what everyone expected in the first place, when the Mayor started talking about "superhighways". Properly segregated for much of the route, it should offer a genuinely new cycling experience in London. Like the real Crossrail, it doesn't do a great deal for South London, but it's great to see real investment being made in cycling infrastructure.

The segregated track on Victoria Embankment sounds like a sneaky way to resurrect the pedestrianisation plan that Boris killed when he came in to power.  Maybe it was his way of doing a U-turn without anyone noticing or maybe TfL knew he'd forget he used to be against the idea. Either way, it's great to see it return in this guise.

The plan also notes that:

We will take a case-by-case approach to the use of 20mph limits on the TLRN and we will reduce
the speed limit to 20mph at several locations on the TLRN where cycle improvements are
planned. For example, in Camberwell and New Cross Gate on our proposed Cycle Superhighway
5, and around Waterloo.