By Laura Laker
Two new Cycle Superhighways were unveiled in London today, including an 18 mile continuous East-West cycle route, dubbed the "Crossrail for Bikes".
The routes, which will run East-West from Tower Hill to Westbourne Terrace, and North-South from Kings Cross to Elephant and Castle, will be "substantially segregated" and will see road space reallocated to those on bikes, including one lane of the Westway flyover.
The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) calls the plans "a major step forward in creating streets that are safe and inviting for cycling".
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, says: "Bikes already make up 24 per cent of all rush-hour traffic in central London – hundreds of thousands of journeys every day that would otherwise be made by car or public transport. Because this isn’t just about cyclists. Getting more people on to their bikes will reduce pressure on the road, bus and rail networks, cut pollution, and improve life for everyone, whether or not they cycle themselves."
Consultation on the two routes begins today. Transport for London (TfL) says the routes chosen, which will link up with Quietways and other Cycle Superhighways, have seen a reduction of around a quarter of motor traffic in the last ten years. On Victoria Embankment, where the East-West Superhighway will replace a traffic lane, motor traffic declined 24% between 2004-2013, while in places 15% of vehicles are bicycles.
Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive of London Cycling Campaign, said: "In 2012, 10,000 LCC supporters took to the streets to call for streets that are as safe and inviting as they are in Holland. In response, the Mayor promised them that he would deliver all new cycle superhighways to best continental standards. We congratulate the Mayor on finally taking such a big step towards delivering on this promise, and will be working with TfL to address the concerns we have about parts of the new routes."
"LCC’s main concerns are that some of the planned new junctions are not safe enough and that the width of the new cycle tacks is too narrow in places. Our local groups and activists will ensure these and other questions are presented to TfL. Overall, though, LCC is really pleased to see commitments to substantially reallocate carriageway space to ensure protected space for cycling – particularly on the east-west superhighway, where cyclists regularly make up almost half of traffic during the morning peak.
The North-South route will be largely segregated two-way cycle track, using low traffic back streets and/or segregation in one direction on smaller streets.
Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: "Cycling in London is becoming more popular by the day and these new Cycle Superhighways will further transform London into a continental cycle-tropolis for riders of all ages. We will be working hard in the coming months to ensure that these schemes can be delivered as quickly as possible, while balancing the needs of all road users and look forward to hearing the views from Londoners and visitors to the city about these transformational plans."
TfL is working with London boroughs, who manage the majority of the capital's roads, to deliver the routes. In places, including West of the Westway and through Farringdon, details are still being finalised.
The East-West route was originally announced as the centrepiece of Johnson's £913m Cycling Vision in March 2013.
20 per cent increase in cyclists in London compared to last year during four week period in July and August
Junction featuring segregated lanes for cycles and cars will be first of its kind in Britain's capital city
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