Cycle Superhighways

MQT on 2014-11-19
Session date: 
November 19, 2014
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Please provide an update on your North-South and East-West Cycle Superhighway plans.

Supplementary Questions: 


Answer for Cycle Superhighways

Answer for Cycle Superhighways

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Thank you so much, Caroline.  With the Cycle Superhighways, basically, we have the North-South and the East-West that you want to know about.  They are both still works in progress in the sense that we have had the consultation for the big East-West concluded on 9 November.  We had 20,000 responses, including a huge amount of support and a lot of criticism, as you know.  TfL is looking at it very carefully.


What I can tell you - and I must reassure Londoners about this - is that I do understand the concerns that many people feel about aspects of these Cycle Superhighways on both sides of the ledger.  I know the cyclists have a passionate desire for thoroughgoing segregation.  Motorists’ groups are alarmed about some of the congestion issues that will arise.  I have to take a balanced view and do what is best for the city.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Thank you very much for your update.  We know these plans are hugely popular with Londoners.  There was 80% support in the response you have had.  Two-to-one in a recent poll support them, even if they result in longer journey times for motorists.  However, we know there are powerful vested interests that have been publicly and privately opposing these plans.


Peter Anderson, one of your board members at TfL, is the Finance Director of Canary Wharf Group.  Given Canary Wharf Group is still very heavily lobbying against these plans, can you give us an update on his position and whether he will be sitting on the committee that decides this on 25 November?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Peter Anderson always registers his interests and declares his interests at the start of board meetings of TfL.  We will take the decision, as far as I know, in the normal way.  I do not think there is any particular reason why he should recuse himself from that decision any more, say, than the taxi drivers or the minicab drivers should recuse themselves.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  If necessary, Mr Mayor, given that the role of the TfL board is to enable your vision and your strategy and that this is something you are really committed to and that the Assembly - certainly the Transport Committee - is very supportive of your plans, if necessary will you use your power of direction on the TfL board to make sure these segregated Cycle Superhighways go ahead?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I will make sure that we get a solution that is in the interests in London and of the London economy.  I must make it clear, though, Caroline, that I will not support measures that in my view result in excessive paralysis of the traffic.  I must be absolutely clear with you about that.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  We do not want to see these plans scaled back or watered down so much that they are just blue paint on the road as you previously had.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  That will be the dilemma.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  One of the main objections - and you have talked about this - is the claim that it will increase congestion and I assume this is more the Citi and Canary Wharf Group’s concerns about their chairs and chief execs being chauffeured around rather than ordinary staff.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  That is unfair.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  In line with your Cycle Superhighways, which actually show really great vision for this city, is it not the obvious thing to do to tackle congestion by increasing the congestion charge and maybe to use smart pricing that varies the charge depending on the time of day, as supported by London First?  Is that not the obvious thing to do to tackle this issue of congestion?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am interested that you want to increase the congestion charge.  I wonder how much you would like to put it up and I wonder how consistent that is with wanting to bear down on the costs of living for people who work very hard in this city and who maybe - I am thinking of teachers and of nurses and of people with white vans - have to drive through the centre of London and who have absolutely no choice.  I am not convinced that that is a universally progressive move.  Yes, you caricature the opponents of the Cycle Superhighways as being bosses in limos and so on.


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  You need to tackle congestion alongside your plans.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  If you just study some speeded-up images of the traffic flowing along the Embankment and see what that vehicle flow consists of, you will see many, many people driving vans who are by no means fat-cat plutocrats.  You will see buses.  You will people who absolutely depend on the traffic flowing smoothly.