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Mayor finalises city centre cycle superhighway

Words: Laura Edgar

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has set out his final revisions to plans to construct two cycle routes through the centre of London.

Subject to approval of the scheme next week - when plans go before the Transport for London (TfL) board - construction will begin in March.

Rosie Downes, campaigns manager at London Cycling Campaign, said: “This is a huge first step towards what the Mayor promised the London Cycling Campaign and our supporters at the last mayoral election. We commend him for this bold move that will help tackle congestion, reduce road danger, improve our air quality and make London an even more fantastic city for everyone.”

* The east to west route will start at Tower Hill, where it will connect to the existing Cycle Superhighway 3. From Tower Hill, it will run along Lower and Upper Thames Street, Victoria Embankment across Parliament Square to Hyde Park Corner and through the park itself. It will then run across Lancaster Gate and up Westbourne Terrace.
* The Hyde Park section will be consulted on next month.
* The north to south route will run from Elephant and Castle to King’s Cross. It will be fully segregated on St George’s Road, across St George’s Circus, Blackfriars Road, Blackfriars Bridge, New Bridge Street and Farringdon Street to Stonecutter Street. 
* The two routes will interchange at Blackfriars.
* Pedestrians will benefit from 22 new crossings, extra footway and 35 shortened crossings.

Johnson said plans include the construction of “Europe’s longest substantially segregated urban cycleways”. 

As part of a £913 million investment to get people cycling, two continuous cycle routes will be installed through Central London, from east to west and north to south.

The revised plans, said the Mayor, address concerns about potential traffic delays caused by the east to west route. Two westbound lanes on Upper and Lower Thames Street and Victoria Embankment will be retained and the kerb-segregated cycle lanes and junctions remain in the plans.

The traffic delays at the morning peak-hour will be reduced by 60 per cent compared with previous proposals - cutting the delay from 16 minutes to six between Limehouse Link and Hyde Park Corner, as well as reducing hold-ups in other journeys on the routes.

The Mayor said: “I have listened to those concerned about the east-west route’s impact on traffic. Thanks to the skill of TfL’s engineers and traffic managers, we have made changes to our original plans which keep the segregated cycle track and junctions, while taking out much less of the route’s motor traffic capacity – and so causing much shorter delays.”

TfL held a nine-week consultation on the plans - 84 per cent of 21,500 respondents were in overall support of them, including businesses along the route.

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, transport commissioner for London, said: “Our task now is to work in concert with businesses and local boroughs to ensure these plans are introduced smoothly with the minimum disruption possible. Subject to the final decision of the TfL board, we will look to work day and night to deliver them as quickly as possible while ensuring that people and goods continue to move around London easily and efficiently.”