The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, opened London’s new “Crossrail” Cycle Superhighways last Friday, on his last day in office before the new Mayor was declared that evening.
Boris Johnson, said: “As one or two people might know, I am a passionate supporter of cycling and I have worked hard to make London a cycle-friendly city. So I think it’s fitting that the last thing I do as Mayor is to inaugurate these spectacular new routes, and a new era of cycling in London.”
The east-west superhighway, the longest substantially-segregated urban cycle route in Europe, is the centerpiece of the Mayor’s “Vision for Cycling” launched in 2013. Now, cyclists will be able to travel from Parliament Square to Barking, a distance of just under 12 miles, entirely on traffic-free segregated tracks or low-traffic streets.
Cyclists can also connect at Blackfriars to the new traffic-free north-south superhighway to Ludgate Circus, Southwark, and Elephant & Castle, which also officially opened.
With the upgraded Cycle Superhighway 2, and the new Cycle Superhighway 1, the new routes will allow Londoners to cycle on a connected network of traffic-free protected lanes or linking routes on low-traffic streets to Aldgate, Barking, Blackfriars, Bow, Canary Wharf, Canning Town, Cannon Street, the City, Dalston, De Beauvoir Town, Elephant & Castle, Embankment, Hyde Park, Hyde Park Corner, Kensington Gore, Lancaster Gate, Limehouse, Ludgate Circus, Marble Arch, the Olympic Park, Paddington, St George’s Circus, Shadwell, Shoreditch (Great Eastern Street), Southwark Bridge, Southwark, Stamford Hill, Stepney, Stoke Newington, Stratford, Temple, Tottenham, Tower Hill, Wapping, West Ham, Westminster and Whitechapel.
The east-west “Crossrail” cycle route section from Westminster to Hyde Park Corner, Lancaster Gate and Paddington is still under construction and will open later. Agreement was only reached on this section last August. The section of the north-south “Crossrail” from Farringdon to Kings Cross was consulted on before the election for building later this year, subject to the consultation result.
Central London’s first segregated superhighway, opened eight months ago at Vauxhall, has seen a 73 per cent increase in cycling during morning and evening peak periods, compared with the same road in its pre-superhighway state. Motor vehicle journey times in the area, meanwhile, have returned to what they were before the construction works, or are quicker than before, with only one exception.
Mr Johnson said: “On the north-south superhighway across Blackfriars Bridge, which has been informally open since last week, we are already seeing Amsterdam-like volumes of cyclists at peak times. The same space that was previously filled up by a dozen or so motor vehicles is now occupied by 50-60 cyclists. It already seems clear that these cycle lanes are a success.”
Early observations suggest that in the morning peak the number of bikes using the new track across Blackfriars Bridge is already greater than the number of motor vehicles using the road next to it.
The two superhighways were supported by 84 per cent of those who responded in the TfL consultation and two-thirds of Londoners in independent opinion polls.
“Even though the numbers of cyclists in London continue to go through the roof, cycling in the capital has never been safer,” Mr Johnson said. “The things we have done, including the new Safer Lorry Scheme, better police enforcement against irresponsible cycling and driving, and now the segregated superhighways, are bearing down hard on cycling casualties and I hope my successor, whoever they are, will continue the progress we have made.”
Boris Johnson also issued a formal mayoral direction to TfL to rebuild a key junction on Cycle Superhighway 1 in Shoreditch. The “Apex” junction (at Great Eastern Street and Old Street) was consulted on and design agreed by TfL but has been criticized by cyclists as not being true to the original agreed designs. Using his powers under the Greater London Authority Act, the Mayor yesterday instructed TfL to rebuild it according to the published consultation designs.