Last week Transport for London (TfL) began a major public consultation on what would be Europe's largest segregated cycle superhighway through central London from the Elephant to King's Cross which will affect all traffic and pedestrians in the area. But the £48m scheme is under threat of legal action by businesses who will be affected along the route, who claim the result will be a huge increase in congestion and gridlock for drivers.
Cycling in London has doubled in a decade and is becoming more popular each year. Today there are more people on bicycles crossing London's bridges in the morning rush hour than travelling in cars or buses. But a spate of deaths in collisions with trucks has led Boris Johnson - a keen cyclist - to propose an entirely seperate cycle superhighway which motor vehicles will not be allowed to enter. The hops is that this will encourage the large number of people who would like to cycle in central London but dare not do so.
The new route would mean major changes to the road layout including a wide, two-way, kerb-segregated cycle track on the road, replacing some traffic lanes along most of the route between Elephant and Farringdon. Bus stops will be moved and junctions will be redesigned, with pavements widened and carriageway reduced, as at St George's Circus (above before and after). There will also be new street furniture, seating and planting. The proposed route along Blackfriars Rd will help the regeneration of this road claim TfL - although the evidence is that the danger is gentrification rather regeneration given the number of offices which are being proposed for swanky market flats in the area.
The proposals raise many questions: will this slow the traffic down along Blackfriars Rd? How will pedestrians cross the road or catch a bus? How will the businesses along the route service their buildings?
The consultation runs until 19 October - all documents can be found at www.tfl.gov.uk/cycle-north-south. There is also a public exhibition at Southwark tube station on 18tt Sept and 2nd Oct, and at 197 Blackfriars Rd (the large office block opposite Southwark tube station) on 22nd September and 10th October. All drop-in events will run from 4pm-8pm.
What do you think? Have your say!