Mayor opens central London's first segregated cycle superhighway

19 November 2015

Mayor opens central London's first segregated cycle superhighway

Cyclists now have a fully protected route through one of London's most frightening gyratories and across Vauxhall Bridge after the Mayor officially opened the new Oval to Pimlico cycle superhighway.

The new continuous two-way and separated cycle lane runs for 1.4 kilometres, providing a safe cycle-friendly route for all ages and abilities through Vauxhall gyratory and across Vauxhall Bridge.

In the busiest peak hour, more than 750 cyclists are already using the new dedicated segregated lane which was opened three weeks ago. This is a 29 per cent increase to the total number crossing the Vauxhall bridge in the same hour before the segregated cycle tracks were installed.

The number of extra cyclists using the segregated route is already the equivalent of taking 113 cars an hour off Vauxhall Bridge - in favour of a completely zero-pollution, zero-carbon, noise-free and space-efficient means of transport.

It links with the existing Cycle Superhighway 8 at Millbank and provides a connection with Cycle Superhighway 7 at Oval, where substantial improvements for cyclists at the junction are now nearing completion. The new route also links into existing cycle routes through Kennington Oval and along Meadow Road by the Kia Oval, as well as the extensive network of back-street "Quietway" routes which are planned for Westminster and Lambeth.

Before the improvements, cyclists accounted for almost a quarter of rush-hour traffic through Vauxhall with around 580 in the busiest peak hour. With the opening of the new route, the proportion of rush-hour traffic which is bikes has already risen to almost 40 per cent.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: "We've brought a bit of Amsterdam to the unlikely environs of Vauxhall - opening up access to huge swathes of south London for safer cycling. I've always believed that more Londoners would cycle if they felt safer, and this new route already proves it.

"The astounding rises in cycling through Vauxhall should lay gently to rest any doubts about the need for my new superhighways, the pent-up demand in London for cycling - and the part my cycle lanes can play in taking other vehicles off our crowded streets.

"With London's population growing by 10,000 a month, there are only two ways to keep traffic moving - build more roads, which is for the most part physically impossible, or encourage the use of vehicles, such as bikes, which better use the space on the roads we've already got."

As part of the wider improvements, Transport for London (TfL) will next week consult on returning the Vauxhall gyratory to two-way traffic to further improve the area and create a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

Leon Daniels, TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: "Vauxhall is an area which will see tremendous change in the next decade, with the Nine Elms development, the Northern line extension and our wider plans to transform the Vauxhall Gyratory to two-way traffic. This new dedicated route through the area is the product of many years hard work by our designers, engineers and contractors. I would also like to thank local people for having borne with us while the work has taken place. This new, direct route will make cycling through the area safer for all."

Lambeth Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, Cabinet member for the Environment said: "Anything that encourages cycling in London by making it safer is to be welcomed. It's better for our health, better for our city and better for the shared spaces in a city which, for too long, has been dominated by the car."

For more information, please visit tfl.gov.uk/cs5

Notes to editors

The route has been designed to link to as many other routes as possible, allowing cyclists to avoid the intimidating gyratories at both Vauxhall and Victoria.

For northbound cyclists going to the east of Victoria the scheme includes a segregated link to a new Quietway route to Westminster, St James's and the new East-West Cycle Superhighway due to be complete in 2016. Links can also be made both east and west (to Westminster, Sloane Square, and Kensington) via the existing Ebury Street back-street cycle track. At the southern end, the segregated section links to the existing Meadow Road back street cycle track.

TfL is also considering a new Quietway running from the Kennington Oval to Old Kent Road and Peckham via a parallel route for cyclists who do not wish to use the main road route.

In March 2015, TfL and Lambeth Council announced that 77 per cent of respondents to a consultation about initial proposals for a major overhaul of Vauxhall Cross supported the pans to improve the area, with around two thirds of responses supporting plans to return the gyratory to two-way working. The plans, which could begin in 2018, would remove the gyratory and return local streets to two-way working - improving the area for all road users. A second consultation with the final designs for the scheme, including more detail about surrounding public realm and new cycle tracks will begin later this month.

The average figure for cyclist use on Vauxhall Bridge between 08:00 and 09:00 over 2013, 2014 and 2015 is 580.