City Hall* has announced details of the 'Crossrail for bikes' mainly-segregated cycleways travelling east to west, and north to south, through central London.
The east-west route, which is 18km long, starts with a connection to CS3 at Tower Hill, then runs along Lower and Upper Thames Street (using Castle Baynard Street instead of the tunnel), Victoria Embankment, Parliament Square, Hyde Park Corner via Green Park and what looks like a free-for-all through St James's Park, through Hyde Park to Lancaster Gate, then up Westbourne Terrace to the Westway and A40 all the way to Acton. Apart from Castle Baynard Street and a bit around Lancaster Gate, the route will be entirely segregated.
The north-south route (or south-north route, since that's how we're describing it) is shorter, starting in Elephant and Castle and travelling up St George's Road, Lambeth Road and Blackfriars Road, over Blackfriars Bridge and up to Farringdon. This section will be mainly segregated; north of Farringdon the streets are, says City Hall, not wide enough for proper segregation so the route will divert onto quieter back streets or be segregated in one direction. Specifics are still to be agreed with Camden council.
Ashok Sinha of the London Cycling Campaign backs the plans in the main, saying
"We congratulate the Mayor on finally taking such a big step towards delivering on [his] promise, and will be working with TfL to address the concerns we have about parts of the new routes. LCC’s main concerns are that some of the planned new junctions are not safe enough and that the width of the new cycle tracks is too narrow in places... Overall, though, LCC is really pleased to see commitments to substantially reallocate carriageway space to ensure protected space for cycling — particularly on the east-west superhighway, where cyclists regularly make up almost half of traffic during the morning peak."
Motoring research charity RAC Foundation has already made its feelings known about reallocating all that road space, telling the BBC's Tom Edwards:
"Cycling in the capital needs to be put in context... The Mayor's plans will cost the equivalent of £100 per Londoner. This might be good value for money but Boris Johnson needs to demonstrate it rather than merely say it. Perhaps the cash could be better spent on other transport schemes."
The plans are open to public consultation as of today — have your say on the east-west and north-south consultations. If all goes to plan, work will start next year with the aim of opening the routes in March 2016.
*Yeah, we know, it's coming out of the Mayor's office rather than Transport for London. Says a lot for the priority this is being given.