Mayor of London announces improvements to notorious Whitechapel-Bow route as well fighting back against criticisms from businesses
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced on Tuesday that significant improvements would be made to the notorious Whitechapel to Bow Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2), which has seen six cyclist deaths in the last three years.
The improvements have been pledged to arrive by 2016, with semi-segregation between cyclists and traffic to be implemented during the £25m works.
CS2 was previously condemned by a coroner after a a man in his 60s died on the cycle path back in 2013, saying that it lulled cyclists in to false sense of security, but the blue lane will now have either kerbs or high visibility poles to mark out a segregated area.
About the improvements, Johnson said: “In East London, it feels like the bicycle is already a fifth limb for anyone under 30. But this route, and the two I announced earlier [East-West and North-South routes], will mean that everyone from children to pensioners – people of all ages and experience levels – can share the joy and freedom of cycling, in safety and with confidence.”
The announcement from the Mayor comes on the back of a wave of pressure against his recently announced East-West ‘crossrail’ cycle path as well as a new North-South route.
Business bosses in central London have claimed since early September that while they support the improvement of cycling infrastructure, the new East-West route that runs 18 miles across, including along Embankment, is being rushed through before the Mayor’s term in office comes to an end.
They are lobbying to extend the six-week consultation on the route, which would become the longest segregated bike path in Europe should it be built, with particular concerns over the lack of detail around dealing with traffic congestion that could build up because of the new route.
“Some are worried about the loss of space for cars,” Johnson wrote in an article for The Times.
“I understand those anxieties and we are confident that we can very largely (if not entirely) address them.”
Johnson, whose term as Mayor of London comes to an end in 2016, also went on to praise those companies he said were supporting his East-West highway proposal .
“I am very pleased that many businesses – Deloitte, Jones Lan la Salle, Euromoney and the Crown Estates – are actively in favour of the change,” he said.
“They can see the economic boost that goes with less traffic, less pollution and a lovelier urban realm.”
Conversely, London First, the Chamber of Commerce, the City of London Corporation are all businesses that have all expressed doubts about the plans and have even threatened legal action should the six-week consultation not be extended.
Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at Transport for London, was quick to ensure that sporting events would not be disrupted as he told The Evening Standard: “Major sporting events in the capital will not be affected by the East-West Superhighway.”
It has yet to be confirmed whether the consultation period will be extended to avoid any kind of judicial review.
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