Saturday, 20 November 2010

And lo! the cycle contraflow was approved

Sorry, corny headline for today's update. But good news from the City of London this week.

I reported back in October here that the City's Planning and Transportation Committee had approved the concept of "normalising" the implementation of two-way contraflows for cycling. What I hadn't realised at the time and subsequently posted here was the measure also needed approval by the Policy and Resources Committee as well before it could be formally adopted. That committee met on Thursday last week. And somewhat unceremoniously also approved the measure.

What that means is that we can expect more wicked one-way streets to revert to two-way contraflows for people on bikes. The reason is that the approval allows for contraflows to be implemented as a normal part of the road design process. Previously, each contraflow needed a myriad of additional levels of approval from various interested committees and a range of costly measures to ensure everyone was aware of the changes. So, for example, the City last year had to spend thousands handing out flyers to tell local residents that tiny Fann Street was now two-way for cycles. The associated costs of implementing contraflows was therefore unnecessarily high as the City had to cover its back with safety measures and work to obtain internal approvals due to the perceived risk of the schemes. And, fortunately, those risks have remained just that: perceived and not actual.

Much of the press was absolutely complicit in hyping those 'risks' as was the AA as the links here show. And nothing happened. No increase in accidents. The new contraflows have allowed people to cycle on routes they feel are safer or more convenient, exactly as was intended.

And the approval of this new measure means we can expect more contraflows. Because now they'll simply be expected to be part of any normal street planning process. No extra hoops to jump through and no unnecessary burocracy or costs. Very good news indeed and I'm looking forward to seeing some new two-way cyclable streets in the nearish future.