Living along London's Cycle Superhighways: TfL masterplan aims to triple the number of people living near bike networks by 2024
This weekend 100,000 cyclists, from small children with stabilisers to professional riders, will take part in the UK’s biggest festival of cycling, the Prudential RideLondon.
On Saturday a seven-mile stretch of central London will be closed to cars allowing families to bike past the capital’s landmarks in safety. This precedes Sunday’s 100-mile race which starts at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, runs through the Surrey Hills and finishes on The Mall.
In some ways, this is a snapshot of life to come. With 140km of London cycle paths under construction or in planning, road-by-road the bike is being prioritised over the car.
Work started this month on Cycle Superhighway 4, a route for commuting cyclists that will run from Deptford in south-east London to Tower Bridge, with new pedestrian crossings and a redesign of Rotherhithe roundabout — a notorious accident blackspot.
It’s part of a Transport for London £2.3 billion project to expand the capital’s network of safe cycle routes to encourage more people to choose two wheels over four. This new infrastructure also fits with the political push to create healthier streets.
According to a Government report on Active Travel, published earlier this month, the modern urban crises of congestion, air pollution and climate change, physical inactivity, depression and stress can all be tackled by the simple act of walking and cycling to the shops or to work.Plan for new homes along the Cycle Superhighways
TfL is aiming to increase the proportion of Londoners who live within 400 metres of the cycling network from nine per cent to 28 per cent by 2024. There are new residential developments well-placed along Cycle Superhighway 4.
Homeowners at Deptford Foundry, for example, will have quick passage to the City.
Deptford Foundry is on the site of a former metalworks dating from 1831. Made up of eight buildings and one tower, it has 276 private homes with one, two or three bedrooms. Prices start from £405,000, contact JLL on 020 7526 9229.
Also close to the route is L&Q’s Thames Street on the riverside in Greenwich, with views of the Cutty Sark. Prices start from £487,500 for a one-bedroom flat. For more information visit thamesstreet.co.uk or call 0333 003 3770.The seven Cycle Superhighways up and running
Seven other Cycle Superhighways have been created and consist of either blue lanes running along the road or separate lanes with kerbs either side. CS1 runs from Tottenham to the City, with CS2 from Stratford to Aldgate and CS3 from Barking to Lancaster Gate.
CS3 runs right by Ropemakers Yard in Stepney E14, new apartment blocks set in landscaped gardens. Prices start from £410,000 for a one-bedroom home. Visit lggroup.co.uk or call 0333 2341165.
Cyclists can also use dedicated bike boulevards from Oval to Pimlico (CS5), King’s Cross to Elephant & Castle (CS6), Merton to the City (CS7) and Wandsworth to Westminster (CS8). Residents can see the Oval-to-Pimlico lane which runs over Vauxhall Bridge from the top of Sky Gardens Nine Elms.
This new tower has communal gardens on the eighth and 35th floors. From £580,000 for a one-bedroom flat. Call 020 3072 0040.
There are one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments available at Battersea Exchange by Taylor Wimpey, between Battersea Park and Queenstown Road and close to CS8. The scheme has a 24-hour concierge service, residents’ gym and cycle storage.
Prices start from £600,000. Call 020 3504 7992 or visit batterseaexchange.com.
More of these dedicated bike routes are in planning, including Cycle Superhighway 9 from Kensington Olympia to Brentford. The programme also includes a host of “quietways” — meandering leisure routes that follow leafy back streets blocked to stop cars nipping through.Residents resist 'race tracks'
The Cycle Superhighways were driven by then-Mayor and now-Prime Minister Boris Johnson. His ambition was to make cycling in London safer, faster and more appealing. In part, this has been done though authorities have fallen short of the 11 highways pledged.
“The initiative was disparate across the different boroughs with no overarching vision,” explains consultant Susan Claris of masterplanners Arup.
City Metric writer Adam Becket says: “For every well-built stretch of superhighway there is a poorly managed part,” for example where cars are parked in the blue lanes.
Some local authorities have blocked routes running through their neighbourhoods. In June Kensington and Chelsea council rejected proposals for a £42 million Cycle Superhighway between Wood Lane and Notting Hill Gate.
Small businesses said the cycle lane would damage trade and residents feared that trees would be lost.
“Local residents feel the superhighways are commuter routes bringing people from outer into central London with no benefit to the communities they are cutting through,” says Claris.
In response TfL is planning to rebrand the superhighways and quietways as cycleways in a bid to make them seem like less intrusive race tracks.
Changing the image
One million people have now used the east to west Cycle Superhighway 3. However, there is still a widespread fear of cycling in the capital.
“Cyclists are often seen as fast and intimidating,” says Claris. Lorry cabs have been redesigned for better vision and drivers are undergoing cycling proficiency tests to heighten awareness.
Improvements are under way to 32 dangerous junctions, such as Highbury Corner and Old Street Roundabout, and TfL aims to stop cycling fatalities by 2041.
“There is also a gender imbalance,” Claris adds. Of the cycling commuters, 70 per cent are men aged between 25 and 44.
A recent report by the charity Sustrans shows that women, disabled people and the elderly in UK cities did not see people like themselves cycling, or were put off by a negative experience.Linking London projects
The growing cycle network is no longer a strategy in isolation. It links to the pedestrianisation of the capital.
The City of London Corporation plans to narrow roads and widen pavements for walkers, while the West End Project is a radical overhaul of traffic and public realm. One-way systems and traffic on Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street are being removed and streets are being closed to create parks and new squares.
In March Enfield was one of the 11 boroughs to win Liveable Neighbourhoods funding to boost active travel and reduce traffic. New cycling paths will link Enfield town to nearby Trent Park, a 413-acre estate that is being converted into new homes. Residents will have a tennis club, orangery and gym and prices start from £575,000 (trent-park.co.uk).
The Ultra Low Emission Zones, due to cover the area between the South Circular and North Circular roads, are also expected to deter drivers.
These interwoven policies and projects are — like a network of cycle paths — designed to promote healthy bodies, healthy streets and a healthier planet.
Source: Evening Standard
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