TfL Releases Plans For Cycling Quietways

bikes_191213Transport for London has released its plans for a Central London Grid of cycling quietways and superhighways in zone 1.

Most of the document focuses on quietways, which make up 75% (60 miles) of the Grid. The superhighways section references the plans we’ve heard before, for east-west and north-south mostly segregated routes, or seem to talk about central London bits of other cycle superhighways. Clearly plans aren’t finalised because TfL promises more details in early 2014.

There’s an acknowledgement that quietways have been created to be used by more casual, or less confident, cyclists – there’s an interesting phrase in the Mayor’s introduction, describing them as cycling in “their normal clothes”, perhaps to differentiate from lycra-clad commuter types. The quietways seem to be more a case of pointing out routes that are already there, but not often used. They’ll be marked by signs painted on the road surface at junctions and for reassurance in between; there will be no blue (or any other colour) paint or segregation because, TfL argues,

because traffic is lighter and travelling more slowly, and there are fewer or no heavy goods vehicles, segregation will not usually be necessary on Quietway routes.

Cyclists will also be able to travel both ways on one-way streets, and junctions on quietways will separate cyclists from traffic physically or with traffic light phasing. There’s even a move towards closing or restricting traffic on busier streets; Camden is apparently looking into the possibility of reducing or closing Tavistock Place and Torrington Place to traffic.

Camden is also dealing with the busy and dangerous Holborn gyratory by installing traffic wands (we don’t actually know what these are – help in the comments?) in the short term. Camden, Islington and Hackney are also putting their heads together to find a solution to the heavily-cycled, but also generally busy, Holborn-Old Street route.

There’s also a fair bit that’s still up in the air. Parking is being left to the individual boroughs to take decisions on, and some sections of superhighways and quietways are still under discussion with boroughs and other authorities. We note that the map still boldly routes quietways through Hyde Park, despite the Royal Parks being adamantly opposed to superhighways through their green and pleasant, er, patch of town. And Boris’s introduction references making use of towpaths, an idea that went down like a lead balloon earlier this year.

TfL wants your comments, so email grid@tfl.gov.uk by 14 February. You can also contact the relevant borough if you know exactly which one is responsible for the bit of street you’re not happy about.

Photo by Randall Murrow from the Londonist Flickr pool

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  • LondonRemembers

    Admiralty Arch has a cycle lane, separated with things that, if they aren’t called wands, ought to be! http://goo.gl/maps/7MWbw

  • Spangebolla

    Expect they’ll get Harry Styles to help out with wand erection.

  • http://gplus.to/casalotti Andrea Casalotti

    Here is the proposal for the Clerkenwell Boulevard, the most cycled route in London:

    https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1yw9mkHhGZaVBKYJs6FxyhC1Z4nNYVl-IFH-aR1ScK9U/pub?start=false&loop=false&delayms=3000

    The plan is to remove through motor-traffic and allow only bicycles, buses and local access.

    Comments welcome

    • londona729

      I hope the idea of pedestrianising it fails as otherwise it’ll just cause peak time traffic on other East-West corridors to be even worse. Cutting transport fares would be much more effective in reducing motor traffic (if managed correctly) could be a win-win

  • Rostopher

    RE: Traffic wands. Unfortunately not a magic forcefield for bikes but basically a thin plastic bollard to give a degree of separation for the bike lane and make them more obvious to drivers. Cheap, replacable and moveable, so no problems for street maintenance etc. Similar to the armadillos used in Royal College Street.

    Best example I can find in 5 seconds is the protected lanes in Chicago, e.g. here: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-07-25/news/chi-citys-first-protected-bike-lane-completed-20110725_1_bike-lane-kinzie-street-damen-avenue

  • Erik Idol

    Quietways are a good idea but many of the ‘quiet’ roads have incredibly poor surfaces. Worth concentrating on improving them to encourage people to stay off main roads.