Monday, 9 May 2011

High quality, continuous cycle route in the City? No chance. It's proposing to fill them with 24 hour loading bays for HGVs

HGVs will be permitted here 24 hours a day
You can send your thoughts via the online
Pictured left is the scene just past City Thameslink on Holborn Viaduct heading west.

The lorry in the cycle lane is delivering to Tesco.

There is a concrete strip down the centre of the road, just visible to the left of the lorry that is passing the Tesco HGV.

At exactly this point, the City of London is proposing to allow loading at any time of the day or night, bang in the middle of this advisory cycle lane.

Under the proposal, it will be possible to load or unload at any time of day along large chunks of both Cannon Street and Holborn Viaduct.

400 metres of loading restrictions will be removed on Cannon Street, allowing HGVs to park and unload at any time. Similar amounts on Holborn Viaduct.

The consultation period is open now for the next two weeks. The proposal is as follows "It is anticipated that this review will lead to a significant increase in kerbside loading space throughout the City. Loading restrictions will be removed completely in many areas."

But is this good news for HGV deliveries and dreadful news for cycling?

Cannon St: Loading will be banned in the orange bits 7-7 but
allowed elsewhere at all times
Pictured left are the proposals for Cannon Street. You can download the plans here. You can also comment on the plans via the online questionnaire here. If you have views on any of these plans, I'd urge you to spend five minutes filling in the questionnaire.

There's good and bad here. And once again it's a question of wimping out when it comes to cycling.

Good is the fact that loading restrictions near junctions will be made either permanent or 7am to 7pm, which is longer than the current arrangements.

But much much less encouraging is the fact that loading restrictions will be completely abolished along large sections of these routes.

So, you will now have the prospect of cycling along Holborn Viaduct past the Tesco lorry at rush hour. Which means an extended sprint in a fairly narrow lane with a queue of motor vehicles pushing to get past you. Not much fun on a cycle hire bike.

One of the key issues that was identified by people who objected to the City of London's planned transport plan earlier this year is that complete and utter lack of continuous, high quality cycle routes through the Square Mile. The City finally seems to be taking that point seriously and (future post coming on this) has indicated it may consider implementing two quality, continuous routes through the City of London. But just as it works in the direction of creating safer routes for cycling, it fills up those exact key cycling routes with loading bays for HGVs slapped bang in the middle of cycle lanes, usable at any time of day or night, forcing you to swerve into the path of motor vehicles.

Ironically, this comes the same week that a European Union-funded project kicks off to encourage the use of cargo bikes for city deliveries.

If you want to comment on these plans, you have until May 20th to fill in the online questionnaire here.