Cycling Crossrail: First of many bumps in the road

Artist's impression of dedicated cycle lane Westminster Council turned down a cycling superhighway in 2008 because of blue paint

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On Thursday we were given some details of how the future could look for cycling in London.

It received a rapturous welcome from cyclists who have fought a long campaign for these improvements.

Much of the detail had been outlined previously by Transport for London (TfL) - such as a grid of cycle routes and the junction review - although the really eye-catching addition is the east-to-west "Crossrail for bikes".

Reputed engineers have told me that scheme could cost around £15m.

Looking at what details we have, you quickly get an indication of how this is very early days in that scheme.

Below the Westway

Much has been made of a cycle way going on top of the A40 but there are actually plans for a cycleway to go below the Westway from Westbourne Park to Paddington.

Could we end up with one cycleway above the other?

You would think not, but it shows you at what stage the authorities are in talking to each other.

Also, the centre piece of the announcement was a CGI fly-through along Victoria embankment including blue, segregated cycle lanes.

But the route actually goes through a conservation area of historical importance.

Westminster Council turned down a cycling superhighway in 2008 due to the very same blue paint we see in the CGI.

It is still not keen on blue paint and already has concerns about the fly-through model put forward by TfL.

Rushed out

Critics say by putting out a rushed idea - that's already been rejected - it shows the scheme has been given little thought.

Westminster Council said the segregated lanes will have to fit in with the surroundings, so blue is probably out.

Councils are meeting TfL next week to start work on the detail and to start having an input.

Speaking to Sunday Politics London, Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan said: "We are not doing the blue.

"There's blue in that video graphic (you showed) but that's just because we didn't have time to remove it....

"It's not going to be blue. It's because we consulted with them (Westminster Council) they are remarkably signed up."

Cyclists want change quickly but this scheme will be welcomed when they are delivered.

Many experienced campaigners know this is just the beginning of a long process so patience will be required.

The hope is the central section will be finished by 2016.

For the full interview with Andrew Gilligan watch Sunday Politics London on 10 March at 11:00 GMT.

Tom Edwards Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Segregated cycle lanes are a waste of money. These lanes are used for an hour in the morning and then an hour in the evening - the rest of the time they are empty. The segregated cycle lane along Torrington Place in Camden is an expensive, unused furrow for most of the day (and night). The money would be better spent improving accident hot-spots and dangerous junctions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    OK, get the cycle lanes up and running BUT on condition that a law is passed to make cyclists have insurance, just as motorists have to, AND the law requires all cyclists to wear head safety wear AND high visibility jacket

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    I drive through central London and I am keen on segregated lanes.Cyclists should be trained/registered and display a registration number on helmets so they can be tracked and held responsible for poor cycling (ignoring red lights, cycling over crossings when in use, using headphones, cycling on pavements, going the wrong way along roads). Promoting respect means equalising responsibility.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Good more being done for cyclists but it should be compulsory to wear helmets, lighting and some form of insurance, they want to use the road like others then they should accept being responsible.

    Many times ive been cut up by cyclists on pavements, jumping red lights and crossings.

    As for the blue its garish but does match the Barclays colours, if its to help shortsighted get some glasses

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


Comments 5 of 16



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