Boris Johnson thinks Greenways are genuinely useful cycle routes and scotches the idea of useful routes people will actually use
This one makes me so unbelievably depressed, I don't know where to start. The London Assembly has regular mayoral question time sessions. And here's one about creating segregated space for cycling asked by John Biggs, the assembly member for the City of London.
And if the mayor is to be believed, then
a) there is no room for segregated cycle tracks on London's roads b) Transport for London genuinely seem to think Greenways are viable cycle routes that will generate a culture of mass cycling
I fundamentally disagree with both these assertions.
There is plenty of room on London's roads for proper bicycle infrastructure, as I first tried to explain here. Not City of London-related but I was looking at South Lambeth Road today, between Vauxhall and Stockwell. Two lanes taken up by parked cars, two further lanes for motor vehicles and a bus lane. Simple solution. Remove one lane of parked cars and you have space for a cycle track in each direction.
South Lambeth Road - plenty of room for cycle infrastructure, just move some of the parking spaces
Or Newington Causeway below. A whole lane taken up by hatchings to keep the motor vehicles away from each other. Why not put the motor vehicles nearer each other in the middle of the road, force them to drive more carefully as a result and use the intervening space to allow proper cycle lanes?
Cycle lane? No thanks, I'll put some pointless hatchings in the middle instead and squeeze everyone else together. Great fun for cycling along when the bus lane is crammed with buses and the main lane filled with lorries.
And Greenways are fine and lovely leisure routes. You can amble along to off-road the Olympic site, giving way to every road you need to cross. But at night there's no lighting, so it's no good for commuting in the mornings or evenings. It sort of gets you places but not to the shops or to work. It's a leisure route. It's not a route for cycling to get anywhere.
So, here's the summary our mayor believes will get people cycling in London on safe routes, segregated from motor traffic:
Questions to the Mayor
Help us Get on
our Bikes Question No: 4070 / 2010 John Biggs
I have been contacted by a constituent who believes that there is a growing bodyof support amongst moderate cycle users for measures which would encourage morepeople like themselves out of their cars and on to two sedate wheels (as opposedto the more “vehicular cyclists”). He believes that this can be achieved by theprovision of well designed, off-road or at least enforced, cycle paths and saysthere is evidence from other European Cities such as Copenhagen, Frankfurt andAmsterdam that his argument is well founded. How could such a scheme be rolledout in London beyond the flagship Superhighway schemes and what are yourproposals to achieve this?
Answer from the Mayor The attractiveness of off-carriageway segregated cycle routes is widelyrecognised. Such provision is considered where possible, and in appropriatelocations, during the design of new cycle schemes. TfL has an ongoing programmeto deliver ‘Greenways’ in London. Greenways provide attractive and traffic freeenvironments for cyclists that make the most of London’s parks and open spaces.
In 2010 alone, Greenway schemes were delivered at 54 locations resulting inimprovements to 18km of existing infrastructure and the delivery of 7.5km of newinfrastructure. Safety and access to the Greenways was also improved at 10junctions and 30 access points, improving a further 5.5km of routes. Greenways will play an important role for spectators accessing the Olympic venues duringthe 2012 games with eight legacy Greenways funded by the Olympic DeliveryAuthority and delivered by boroughs and TfL, linking into the Olympic Park andRiver Zone venues. In addition, off-carriageway provision is considered on the Cycle Superhighwayroutes and Route 3 from City to Barking already has mainly segregated cycletracks. Nevertheless, road space restrictions on London’s roads preclude thepossibility of segregated provision for cyclists in many cases.