Londoners show support for Cycle Superhighway proposals

New poll says that most Londoners are in favour of the Mayor's new Superhighway plans

A YouGov poll suggests 73% of Londoners support the Mayor’s Cycle Superhighways even if they take away lanes from motor traffic.

In the poll of 1,002 Londoners, commissioned by CyclingWorks.London, 51% said they support the segregated routes even if they delay traffic, with only 10% saying painted cycle lanes made them feel safer.

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Meanwhile, the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) says delays to traffic may be less than predicted as Transport for London’s (TfL) traffic modelling doesn’t take into account people switching to cycling.

Chris Kenyon, from the website CyclingWorks.London, where businesses have signed up to support the superhighways, said: “The overwhelming support for the new Cycle Superhighways is clear, both from businesses and the people of London.”

“A powerful company and some lobbyists have recently used back-door attempts to stop these cycling plans.  It is now clear that those lobbying against these transformative plans are out of step with both the business community and the public.”

Asked if they supported the routes even if they made motor traffic journeys longer, 51% of Londoners agreed and 26% disagreed. Similarly when asked if they back the routes if they take away traffic lanes, 27% opposed them. Of participants, 74% said a physically segregated lane would make them feel safer.

Dr Ashok Sinha, LCC’s Chief Executive, said: “We have been working with the public for some time, and it does confirm our understanding of a couple of things: that there are plenty of people who want to cycle and they tell us that on major roads like this they want protected space to cycle.

“There are also people who don’t want to cycle but see the benefits. Londoners are very good at making rational responses. With the kinds of problems we have got with air quality and public health, they recognise cycling is part of a rational response to those challenges.”

TfL’s models predict delays along the length of the East-West superhighway delays of 19 seconds on a 15 minute journey between East Smithfield and Parliament Square, an order of magnitude repeated along the proposed routes.

However delays East of Tower Hill, outside the cycle superhighway route, will be greater as traffic is ‘gated’ to reduce flow into central London, increasing journeys from Limehouse Link to Hyde Park Corner from 34 minutes and 34 seconds to 50-28.

LCC staff repeatedly cycled CS2 in East London recently, keeping pace with traffic, and said motor car journeys along that route take on average 23-24 as opposed to TfL’s 14-29, varying from 16-20 to 34.50.

Sinha said: “We have a couple of concerns about the models. We don’t think they fully take into account behaviour change, where people decide to get out of vehicles whether private cars, taxis or buses, and cycle instead, which we would expect to reduce times of motorists.

He added people may also change travel patterns and do journeys at different times of day, and pointed out TfL’s own figures have shown suppressed demand for cycling to support this idea.

He said: “In the end investing in this infrastructure is to un-suppress the demand there is for cycling.”

More than 100 businesses have signed up to support the routes, via CyclingWorks.London, many citing that they are good both for employees who cycle and for those who want to cycle. Many believe an active workforce and improved public realm are beneficial to productivity and the attractiveness of a city as a place to do business. However Canary Wharf Group is among those concerned the routes will hamper traffic and damage business.