Old London underground tunnels could have new life as cycle ways

London Underline project plans to turn disused underground railway lines into a traffic-free cycle route

Disused underground tunnels in London could be made into cycle ways if award-winning plans are given the go-ahead.

Design firm Gensler has come up with the innovate idea of transforming tunnels that are no longer used on the underground network into subterranean streets.

Given the pre-planning title of the London Underline project, the London Planning Awards last month named the idea the Best Conceptual Project.

The disused Piccadilly Line branch from Holborn to Aldwych Station,that is no longer in use, would be one of the routes, as well as the former Jubilee Line tunnel which would connect Green Park and Charing Cross.

London Underline project

London Underline project

Similar tunnels in the capital could also be turned into cycle paths, including at Stockwell and Goodge Street.

Accessible by Tube stations, the tunnels would have kinetic paving which would use footfall to generate energy.

>>> Shock increase in number of cyclists killed or injured on Britain's roads

While the plans have won acclaim and would undoubtedly reduce congestion, there are concerns that the relatively short tunnels in comparison to flowing roads could prevent the project from ever beginning as its users would have to access and exit the tunnels by lifts, subsequently adding to the overall journey time.

Gensler says there is scope for shopping facilities, cafes and pedestrian paths to line the cycle paths.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.