Wednesday, 2 February 2011

London Wall - an extra 25cm of bike lane

London Wall - an extra 25cm added to
the advisory bike lane
I have many many criticisms of the City of London's transport plan. That plan is still out for public consultation, by the way, and you have until 21 February to send the City your thoughts. If you're interested, you can find more background on that on this page here.

But there's one positive cycling statement that did manage to cling on to the otherwise largely cycling-hostile plan. And that statement is this one:

 The City Corporation is also anticipating a significant increase in the numbers of cyclists in the City.  Provision for them similarly needs to be planned for now or unacceptably poor conditions will result or intensify.  Standards that were possibly acceptable when cycling was a minority activity, such as narrow cycle lanes, shallow or non-existent advanced stop lines and minimal levels of employee and visitor parking provision will not be adequate.  Cycling will continue to increase in popularity and become an even more important City mode of travel. 

Can't disagree with that. The City is rammed with car-centric infrastructure. None less than London Wall, an urban motorway that cuts the Barbican off from Cheapside. There are only two points for people to cross - either end and halfway along. Two lanes in both directions. Cars travelling merrily at high speeds.

So it's delightful to see that the City has resurfaced London Wall recently. And it's stuck to its commitment to plan the sorts of adequate cycle lanes it describes above. In fact, this advisory bike lane is probably less than 1 metre wide. It's essentially pointless. But it must be, oh, at least 25cm wider than its predecessor.

There's even a right hand turn for cycles just where the car is passing in this photograph. Very soon, you'll be able to turn right at the soon-to-be installed toucan crossing here and zip down Coleman Street to the south. You'd have to be an extremely brave cyclist to attempt that particular manoeuvre.

The thing that strikes me is that I really don't know whether to trust the City of London to actually deliver cycle infrastructure that will not simply exacerbate the already poor conditions it acknowledges in the above statement.