Crossrail for the bike to open next month
London’s flagship “Crossrail for the bike”, Europe’s longest substantially-segregated city cycle route, will open on 30 April, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, announced today (7 March).
Exactly three years since the Mayor launched his “cycling vision”, on March 7 2013, he also today released new figures showing that central London’s first segregated superhighway, opened six months ago at Vauxhall, has seen a 73 per cent increase in cycling, compared with the same road in its pre-superhighway state. Motor vehicle journey times in the area, meanwhile, have returned to what they were before the construction works, or are quicker than before, with only one exception.
From the end of next month, cyclists will be able to travel from Westminster to Blackfriars, the City, Tower Hill, Canary Wharf and Barking, a distance of just under 12 miles, entirely on traffic-free segregated tracks or low-traffic streets.
They will also soon be able to connect at Blackfriars to the new traffic-free north-south superhighway to Southwark and Elephant & Castle, and via quiet link roads to the substantially traffic-free, upgraded Cycle Superhighway 2 to Whitechapel, Stepney, Bow and Stratford. Both these routes are due to open at around the same time as the east-west superhighway.
The “Crossrail” cycle route section from Westminster to Hyde Park Corner, Lancaster Gate and Paddington is still under construction and will open later. Agreement was only reached on this section in August. The section of the north-south route through Ludgate Circus will open in summer.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “In 2013 I stood on this very spot on the Embankment and promised that we would soon behold a magnificent cycle superhighway. Many doubted it would ever get beyond the artist’s impression. A noisy minority fought hard to stop it happening.
“But, in opinion polls and public consultations, large majorities of ordinary Londoners, most of them not cyclists, said they wanted this project and what it represents for a cleaner, safer, greener city.
“I apologise to motorists temporarily inconvenienced by the construction works on the Embankment, and I thank them for their patience in putting up with it - but the end is now in sight. I am immensely encouraged by the evidence from Vauxhall showing that now the scheme there is finished, the flow of traffic in the area is also returning to normal.”
The Vauxhall superhighway comprises a two-way protected cycle track across Vauxhall Bridge and through Vauxhall Cross, one of the capital’s most intimidating gyratories and a major barrier to cycling in south London. It opened in November.
Last month, Transport for London counts show that 3,394 cyclists a day used Vauxhall Bridge in the morning and evening peak periods (7-10am and 4-7pm). This compares with 1,967 a day at the same time periods in February 2015, before the cycle track opened - an increase of 73 per cent. The general rise in London cycling over the same period was 10 per cent. The counts found that 2,753 of these cyclists, 81 per cent, used the cycle track, rising to 93 per cent in the evening peak.
TfL has also conducted “before and after” journey time monitoring for motor vehicles at Vauxhall. On five of the six main road approaches to Vauxhall, journey times in the morning peak are now back to what they were before the cycle superhighway works started – or are quicker than before. On the sixth road approach, journeys are still slightly slower than they were before, but are significantly quicker than during the works.
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