Agreement reached on final section of East-West Cycle Superhighway
New proposals for the last remaining central London section of the Mayor’s flagship East-West Cycle Superhighway have been published. The plans provide a trial two-way segregated cycle track on Spur Road, in front of the Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace, closing the last gap in the route and providing continuous fully-segregated and protected cycling across central London from Tower Hill, through Parliament Square to Hyde Park Corner and Lancaster Gate. They provide a safer route for cyclists through one of central London’s most intimidating gyratories, which is also one of the Mayor’s 33 “Better Junctions” where major improvements for cyclists have been pledged. The Mayor, Boris Johnson, said: “This is the final jigsaw piece in what will be one of the world’s great cycling routes. The new East West superhighway will be a treasured part of our new network, running through the heart of the capital and past the front door of some of our most loved landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. I am absolutely delighted that we and the Royal Parks have been able to reach agreement and I applaud the agency’s new chief executive, Andrew Scattergood, his staff and TfL for the immense work they have put in to make it happen.” Public consultation on the Spur Road proposals will run until 4 October. Specially-designed bollards in keeping with the road’s heritage and character would be used to segregate cyclists. Like the current traffic lights and islands, they would be removable for ceremonial occasions. Blue paint would not be used on the road surface by Buckingham Palace or throughout the park. Subject to the outcome of the public consultation, the changes would be implemented at the same time as the rest of the superhighway opens, in summer 2016. They would be trialled for a year to assess their effectiveness. The proposals also include major benefits for pedestrians and visitors to the Changing of the Guard ceremony, with better pedestrian crossings and almost 900 square metres of new footway to accommodate growing crowds. Cycle-pedestrian conflicts will be reduced by the separation of the existing cyclist and pedestrian tracks on Constitution Hill. The cycle track will also improve the experience for visitors enjoying St James’s Park and Green Park, creating a new buffer between the parks and the noise and fumes of vehicles. The proposals involve the removal of traffic lanes on Spur Road but would have little or no impact on traffic on this short stretch. Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: "Work on transforming London into a cycling city is now well and truly underway with engineers working day and night across the Capital to deliver these improvements. Once completed, the new East West Cycle Superhighway will become one of the world’s most iconic cycling routes with this proposed section in front of Buckingham Palace no doubt becoming a postcard icon of the future. We look forward to hearing people's thoughts on these proposals and, if approved, will work to deliver them as quickly as possible.” There will also be segregated cycling facilities either side of the proposed new segregated Spur Road section. Proposals for a new two-way segregated track on Birdcage Walk, also using removable bollards, were consulted on in February and March. The Birdcage Walk plans do not involve the removal of any traffic lanes; Birdcage Walk already has three lanes, of which only two are used by traffic. The consultation report on those proposals within St James’s Park was published today. It shows strong public support for the proposals, with 71 per cent of respondents to the consultation supporting or partially supporting them. TfL announces today that it will implement these proposals, including the Birdcage Walk section with a few minor changes, not affecting the segregation element. A route via Horse Guards Road and the existing off-road cycle track on The Mall to Constitution Hill was also included in the February and March consultation. There was less support for this – people preferred the more direct route via Spur Road which we announce today – but this route will still be implemented for use on the Central London Grid network of “Quietway” cycle routes. It will also serve as a superhighway diversion route on the few days – roughly once a month on average and then mainly outside of peak times - when the Spur Road area is closed for ceremonies. New traffic signals will be installed at the junction of Horse Guards Road and The Mall with a cycle early start phase to help cyclists to make the turn cross The Mall safely. The Mayor’s East-West Superhighway, Europe’s longest substantially-segregated urban cycle route, will run for 18 miles from Barking to Acton using the existing Cycle Superhighway 3 from Barking to Tower Hill, then new segregated lanes on Upper and Lower Thames Streets, the Victoria Embankment, Parliament Square, Birdcage Walk, Spur Road (subject to consultation), Constitution Hill, South Carriage Drive, West Carriage Drive, Lancaster Gate, Westbourne Terrace and the A40 Westway. The first section between Horse Guards Avenue and Derby Gate on Victoria Embankment opened to westbound cyclists earlier this week, and more sections are due to open throughout the autumn. The Tower Hill - Parliament Square section of the route is now under construction. The section between Parliament Square and Hyde Park Corner (including Spur Road, subject to this consultation) will begin construction early next year. The final plans for the Lancaster Gate and Westbourne Terrace sections will also be confirmed shortly, following consultation on revised proposals in February and March. The A40 Westway section from Westbourne Terrace to Acton is now being designed and will be consulted on in the near future.