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.