Quietways and the long road to change for cyclists

Proposed quietway Cyclists in Camden already benefit from more attractive side streets

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So far we have not seen big changes for cyclists, but in the next few months we might start to. It is hoped that it will all begin at Vauxhall with segregated lanes and junctions.

Away from the main roads, London's Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan has also been working on "quietways", which will be on side streets with less traffic.

They usually have bollards in some sections so cyclists can go through, but cars and vans can not - planners call it "permeability".

What they are being billed as is an enhanced London Cycle Network, which incidentally the mayor once cut the funding for.

Avoiding busy traffic

I took a tour of the route from Waterloo down to Millwall and it is certainly much more appealing than the Old Kent Road.

Proposed Millwall quietway Millwall's proposed quietway will be behind the football stadium

Mr Gilligan thinks he can introduce a bike route on quieter side streets for up to £3m compared to at least £10m for a cycle superhighway.

The quietways are aimed at the less confident cyclist who wants to avoid busy traffic and the planners are looking for obstacles along these routes.

So, at Millwall they are looking to put the track along the football stadium's visitors' supporters alleyway and then onto the side of a railway track.

Councils like Camden have already started making side streets more attractive ( see main photo), the flagship being Royal College Street where they use low impact "armadillos" and planters to separate traffic and improve the feel of the place.

Interestingly, the routes of the cycle superhighways not yet built are back on the drawing board, meaning we could also see big changes to existing plans.

There are indications that the routes may be taken away from the really busy roads, which could annoy cyclists who prefer the most direct routes.

High number of consultations

What is clear is there is not much left cycling-wise from the mayor's first term that is now not being revised or redrawn. Schemes that were once cut, like the London Cycle Network, are now being revisited and in part redone.

Any further changes to cycling will come under intense scrutiny

The cycling campaigners I speak to all talk about how slow the progress is in making London's roads safer.

Mr Gilligan says he understands the frustration but the roads are for lots of groups and their suggestions have to be taken into account - hence the high number of consultations.

There are still bound to be challenges ahead and concerns from other road user groups about loss of capacity to cycling.

And these changes - if and when they happen - will come under intense scrutiny. The cycling campaigners feel they have been waiting long enough.

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

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  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Expecting cyclists to go down back streets is plain daft. The people who are getting killed aren't people on a tourist trip.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    More people are giving up their cars, or using them less, higher fuel prices are inevitable as we see more turmoil in the Middle East, and yet we're just skirting round the edges of cycling infrastructure provision, and most of it is focussed on London.

    If we want the UK to be competitive, cycling should be seen as a solution nationally, rather than a London problem to be accommodated.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Seperating "cyclists" into multiple groups of confident/less confident etc, is half the reason why Britain has such p*ss poor infrastrutcture. We should be designing infrastructure that everyone wants to use.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    "High number of consultations." That pretty much sums up what British politics is good at - talking about things and not doing much. Central government behaves like it is totally powerless in all this, when it could be setting the agenda as it does with so much else and enabling local councils with ring fenced budgets to create better cycling infrastructure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    "The quietways are aimed at the less confident cyclist who wants to avoid busy traffic and the planners are looking for obstacles along these routes."

    Um, I am a very confident experienced rider. However I get traffic fatigue. In other words I get fed up having to virtually fight with cars etc. and crave some peace and quiet.


Comments 5 of 6



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