“Crossrail For Cycling”: Major New Bike Lane Planned

Victoria Embankment, with segregated bike lane

Flanked by his new cycling czar Andrew Gilligan and Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman, the Mayor will this morning unveil the latest phase of his “cycling revolution”.

Cycling in the City has a detailed analysis of all the expected announcements. But the headline project is a huge new cycle lane, properly segregated from vehicular traffic, running from east to west via the Westway and the Victoria Embankment: a “Crossrail for cycles”, as it has been dubbed. When complete it will be 15 miles long, stretching from Shepherd’s Bush to Canary Wharf and on to Barking.

Among the other measures unveiled include:

  • A bike grid of safe routes through central London, which will involve traffic-calming measures and some segregated lanes;
  • A series of “mini-Hollands” on the city’s outskirts which, potheads will be dismayed to learn, basically means doling out significant sums of cash to outer boroughs in order to encourage and facilitate short trips on bike;
  • A study on whether it is feasible to ban lorries entering central London;
  • A trial of allowing bikes on the Docklands Light Railway;

All in, some £900m will be spent over the next ten years on trying to make cycling a major part of London’s transportation network.

This is bold, potentially city-changing stuff. The challenge will be getting it done properly. Yet in Boris Johnson we have a man with both the clout and the desire to do it, for one reason: his legacy. If (as promised) this is his last term as Mayor, then he has relatively little to show for his efforts: a new bus, a popular but flawed bike hire scheme and a cable car that nobody uses. None has really left a permanent mark on London, in the way that Ken Livingstone did with the congestion charge. In short: the mayor needs a legacy, and the measures proposed today would be a major step in reconfiguring our city as a bike-friendly place.

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  • http://twitter.com/jonnelledge Jonn Elledge

    This vision of Little Amsterdam would have made Season 3 of The Wire very, very different.

  • http://www.patrickinlondon.com/ Patrick in London

    Great news, just bought my Boris bike access key finally as well.


  • Frillyknicks

    It’s a great and long over due idea, let’s hope Boris is made to stick with it. The popular but flawed bike hire scheme was Ken’s though.

    • http://twitter.com/sparticus Mark Walley

      I know there are flaws with the Bike Hire scheme, but not fundamentally so. And it’s the sort of thing that can and should get better. And it’s made the concept of casual cycling for short journeys (as opposed to proper hardcore commuter cycling) relatively normal. If that’s his entire legacy, it’s not a terrible one.

  • Alastair Rae

    More empty promises from a lame duck mayor.

  • openg

    After getting the hang of this alternative ‘Harry Beck style cycle map’ I’m hooked http://londonist.com/2013/01/campaign-for-harry-beck-style-cycling-map.php

  • http://www.facebook.com/rob.s.smith Rob Smith

    This looks good, currently tricky to make East West journeys – either you twist and turn through Holborn or Bloomsbury, risk going through Aldwych and along Strand and Fleet St, or cycle Embankment and inhale exhaust fumes of coach in front of you.
    Victoria Embankment one of the most beautiful bits of urban riverfront in the world, but traffic makes it unpleasant to walk and cycle along at present.

  • EmsJay

    There is supposed to be segregation for pedestrians in the form of footpaths, but this is eroded daily by bicyclists riding where they shouldn’t. They are a menace.

    IF and WHEN bicyclists are severely punished (by confiscation of machine for example) for riding on footpaths anywhere in the capital (or indeed the country) I might think this segregation for them is a good idea. And these routes should be toll charged – let the riders pay not the tax payers.

    But until all bicyclists comply properly, and at all times, with the rules of the road (and the footpath) my preferred option would be to ban them completely everywhere. The invention should be un-invented as soon as possible with any and all riders sent to a lunatic asylum – supposing one could still find one!

  • http://twitter.com/johnnyfoxlondon JohnnyFox

    wonder where they’ll put the pay-as-you-go turnstiles