Mayor of London unveils £1 billion cycling masterplan


March 8, 2013

How London's Victoria Embankment might look under the new scheme

How London's Victoria Embankment might look under the new scheme

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The Mayor of London has announced nearly £1 billion of spending intended to overhaul London's cycle routes. The plan includes the creation of a 15-mile (24-km) "Crossrail for the bike," substantially segregated from road traffic, connecting the suburbs of East and West London.

As well as fully-segregated routes, the plan will see the £913 million (US$1.36 billion) plan will create semi-segregated cycle paths along certain streets, signposted "Quietways" along back streets, and extensions and changes to London's recently-added cycling Superhighways. In London's busy City and West End districts, all such routes will be joined up to create a "Central London Grid" of cyclist-friendly routes.

The new network will see routes follow, and be named after, underground rail lines and bus routes in a bid to make routes and their eventual destinations familiar to all Londoners.

Some of London's worst junctions look set to be overhauled as part of the schemes, including those at Blackfriars, Elephant & Castle, Swiss Cottage, Tower and Vauxhall. The new policy appears to be one of "no half-measures," with a focus on bringing targeted junctions up to scratch rather than token improvements. Despite this, funding for Transport for London's "safer junction review" has been raised to £100 million ($149 million) from £19 million ($28 million).

Continuing the safety theme, part of the money will fund eight police officers dedicated to collisions involving bicycles and heavy goods vehicles. Transport for London already encourages haulage deliveries outside of rush hours in order to minimize the coincidence of lorries and bicycles on London's roads.

More than £100 million will be spent on improving cycling in outer-London, but this looks likely to be focused on between one and three boroughs to create cyclist-friendly "mini-Hollands" that, it is hoped, local authorities will seek to emulate in the rest of the capital and beyond.

The term "Crossrail for the bike" is a reference to a 73-mile (117-km) rail line connecting counties east and west of London via 13 miles (21 km) of tunnel built under Central London.

It is hoped that a safer cycling network will relieve pressure on inner-London's roads and public transport systems. Reaction to the announcement appears to have been largely positive.


About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

awful project - a disaster for London. Given that most roads & bridges are designed with 5m of headroom (so a double decker bus can get under), wouldn't it have been cheaper, and better for all road traffic flow if the middle 2 lanes are made cars only, and a cycle path built above that line floating 2.5m above the ground. Similar in concept to the way the US used overhead railways in Chicago & New York.


As usual millions spent in support of cyclists who pay no road tax, are uninsured, frequently ignore traffic signals, do not have to pass a test or be licensed! The motorist however finds the roads being narrowed or closed and Insurance and fuel costs rising. Further we now have Congestion Charging, increased parking charges and restrictions.


Sweet. Good man Boris! Now London can join more progressive and bike friendly cities on the continent and elsewhere.

GetReal - "as usual". Really? The cyclist has been largely ignored in the UK till now. Indeed, more "usually" run down and killed by motorists checking Facebook on their phones, or ignoring traffic signals.

As a long term cyclist, I do follow the road rules, but have almost had my life ended twice by the dangerous and selfish behaviours of a few motorists. Both of whom I drove commercial vans, and really needed the exercise. See you on your bike!

Martin Smith

GetReal: I agree with Mr Smith and cyclist do pay taxes but don't ruin the roads with heavy vehicles. If more motorists take up cycling there will be more room and less pollution for you to drive your car and more cyclists will be off your roads.

Glen Steen

Whole city is ideal for bicycling BUT hard to find & access for tourist use alone which can be Huge esp along Thames River area for sure. Kinda hard in Piccadilly area but ideal for Thames River jaunts alone.

Stephen Russell
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