London

East-west London cycle superhighway 'to open on 30 April'

Artist's impression of cycle superhighway along the Victoria Embankment
Image caption The new route will span about 12 miles on traffic-free segregated tracks or streets

London's new superhighway linking east and west London will open on 30 April, says the capital's mayor Boris Johnson.

The route, which links Barking, Canary Wharf and Tower Hill to Westminster, will open less than a week before his term is set to end.

Mr Johnson told drivers the "end was in sight" for construction work. He said the first route, at Vauxhall, led to a 73% increase in cycling in the area.

The Green Party warned funding for cycling would halve in the next term.

London taxi drivers lost a court appeal in January to disrupt the plan.

The increase in the number of cyclists using the superhighway at Vauxhall was compared to before the route opened in November, the mayor said.

In total, the new route will span about 12 miles on traffic-free segregated tracks or streets with low levels of traffic, said City Hall.

Links to Southwark, Elephant and Castle and Blackfriars and Whitechapel, Bow, Stepney and Stratford should open at around the same time, it said.

Mr Johnson said a "noisy minority fought hard to stop it [the route] happening" but opinion polls and consultations had shown "ordinary Londoners" wanted the route.

On the impact for motorists, Mr Johnson added: "I am immensely encouraged by the evidence from Vauxhall showing that now the scheme there is finished, the flow of traffic in the area is returning to normal."

Darren Johnson, Green Party member of the London Assembly, said it was "fantastic" so many people felt safe cycling in Vauxhall since the route's introduction.

He added: "It is therefore incredibly concerning [that] London's cycling budget is set to fall by over half over the next Mayoral term, meaning there just won't be enough money to pay for more cycle superhighways."

The Green Party member said he had questioned the mayor about what would happen to the capital's cycling budget after 2017.

He said Mr Johnson told him between 2016 and 2017, Transport for London would spend £166m on cycling - which would drop to £68m between 2020 and 2021.

In November, The London Cycling Campaign welcomed the new route but acknowledged some cyclists had been "frustrated" with the pace of progress.

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