By Daniel Hunter
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 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." Over the next four years London will open a range of high-quality new cycle routes parallel to, and named after, Tube lines and bus routes, so everyone knows where they go.
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.
The Mayor added: “I want to de-Lycrafy cycling. I want to make it normal, something for everyone, something you feel comfortable doing in your ordinary clothes. Our new routes will give people the confidence to get in the saddle. I do not promise perfection, or that London will become Amsterdam any time soon. But what I do say is that this plan marks a profound shift in my ambitions and intentions for the bicycle.
“The reason I am spending almost £1 billion on this is my belief that helping cycling will not just help cyclists. It will create better places for everyone. It means less traffic, more trees, more places to sit and eat a sandwich. It means more seats on the Tube, less competition for a parking place and fewer cars in front of yours at the lights. Above all, it will fulfil my aim of making London’s air cleaner. If just 14 per cent of journeys in central London were cycled, emissions there of the greatest vehicle pollutant, NOx, would fall by almost a third and over the years literally thousands of lives could be saved.”
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