The 'Crossrail for bikes' segregated cycle routes, running east-west and north-south through the centre of London, have been announced for less than a month, and the arguments about them are already getting fierce.
We may have been naive in thinking that segregated cycle routes that keep vulnerable road users safe were a good thing, but City Hall's release of traffic impact timings immediately prompted an Evening Standard headline bewailing a 16 minute extra journey time for cars. This is all down to traffic queueing east of Tower Hill; Transport for London realises 16 minutes is ridiculous and is working on a solution. We repeat: it's unlikely that the actual reality come March 2016 will be an extra quarter of an hour on your morning commute.
The average peak delay is predicted to be 1 minute 26 seconds on the east-west route and 2 minutes 43 seconds on the north-south, and the traffic flow has been worked out so that if you're delayed on your journey in, you'll likely make it up on your way home. For example, Tower Hill to Parliament Square will be 19 seconds slower on a morning, but 3 minutes 52 seconds faster on the return commute. Buses also lose and gain up to 7 minutes either way.
This isn't all to do with the cycle superhighways — the traffic impact study also includes the effects of 19 other schemes, either under way or planned, that will be in place by the time the segregated tracks are due to open. It also assumes the volume of traffic won't have fallen by then, when the general trend is downwards. It's worth noting, too, that the superhighways will create new pedestrian crossings and straighten out some that are currently staggered (yes, please).
London Cycling Campaign and Cyclists in the City are noting some major opposition (including one briefing thought to be from the Canary Wharf Group, and the City of London and various business groups also voicing concerns), but there's also a phalanx of businesses ranged on the pro side.
If this weren't such a serious business we'd be making Harry Hill 'fight!' jokes. But it is, so we're not.