Friday, 25 November 2011

More streets going two-way for cycling in the City of London. Shame about the main routes, though

The City of London people confirmed today that a batch of new streets will be going two-way for cycling from late January. I've mapped them to give more of an idea where the are. You can scroll around the map above to see the locations of the new two-way streets.

Essentially, some of these will open up handy new routes to avoid a few nasty junctions.

  • Carter Lane will now be two-way for cycling along its entire length. This allows people to avoid a nasty and congested stretch along St Paul's Churchyard / Ludgate Hill and to get to and from Blackfriars Bridge avoiding Farringdon Street. 

  • Opening up Watergate means you can head towards the north west as soon as you get off the Blackfriars northern junction and slip through back roads up to Fleet Street.

  • Probably best of all is Stoney Lane near Aldgate which allows a (slightly convoluted) route through the back streets from Fenchurch Street up towards Spitalfields, avoiding Aldgate gyratory.

  • Also news (to me at least) is Bunhill Row. Not in the City of London itself but in Islington. This streets is an obvious north-south route for people coming from north of Old Street. According to people in the City, this will be going two-way for cycling some time in early 2012.

A further five City streets have been approved to become two-way, subject to funding.

That's all good news. But doesn't take away from the fact that several main routes have been made considerably worse for cycling in recent months. The newly-narrowed carriageway in Cheapside and along St Paul's Churchyard makes for fairly nasty and dangerous cycling conditions. During the day, these are rammed with motor traffic crawling along. And the only way to get through this on a bike is to either just sit there in the middle of the fumes or to overtake, essentially on the opposite side of the street.

I think Cheapside has been a disaster for cycling. It was billed as being all about improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. It has been a boon for pedestrians. It's considerably worse for cycling. More to follow.


  1. So, some good news - and these have come through faster than I had expected.

    Have to agree about Cheapside though. The City committee reports implied that improvements for cyclists were part of the plan but that is clearly baloney - the significant narrowing of the roadway has increased the conflict between cyclists and motor vehicles, with cyclists apparently being used as 'rolling speed humps'. Through motor traffic seems to have been discouraged, which is perhaps the intention, but it looks like cycle traffic has totally collapsed - they used to account for as much as 40% of traffic at some times and 25% throughout the day.

    The City has however not really managed to disguise the real purpose of the Cheapside changes - to turn the area in to a semi-pedestrianised shopping area centred on the One New Change development. Perhaps that is a worthy goal, I just wish they would be honest about it.

  2. Cheapside - how (politically) possible would it be to reinstate a cycle lane (either on the carriageway, or on the pavement?)

  3. Great news. If they're really going to do what they promised, of course. It would be priceless for me if they installed two-way on Carter Lane. I have to cross it every morning on my way to work.

    I know it's a bit of a science fiction for now, but wouldn't it be great if the city introduced separated bike lanes? I saw this system when I lived in Vancouver, and I have to tell biking in Vancouver felt incredibly safe thanks to this. You have literary nothing to be afraid of, since you're physically separated from all the traffic like that.

  4. Does anyone know how these will be marked up to say they can be used by cyclists? I do not doubt the word of this blog, but like to see with my own eyes that I am obeying the rules! Also, a lot easier if other road users can tell too. Will no entry signs be changed to no motor traffic signs? Will there be a cyclist contraflow painted on the road?

    Hannah B

  5. Anon - City website suggests 23 Jan 2012. See this link for proposed markings:

    You will see that they propose to put "except cyclists" below a no-entry, now that this has been made legal - no need to use the much-misundertood flying motorcycle any more. Also propose road markings for contraflow cycle lane and give-way.

  6. Yeahy for Bunhill. So many of us cycling the wrong way on that anyway, but glad I'll be legal next year.