Lonely Planet Writer

East to west London cycle superhighway to open

A new east-to-west cycle route across London is to open next month, Boris Johnson has announced.

Cycle lane on The Strand, London.
Cycle lane on The Strand, London. Image by Peter / CC BY 2.0

The city’s mayor said the cycle superhighway will be the longest substantially segregated bike route in a European city. From April 30 cyclists will be able to travel from Westminster to Blackfriars, the City, Tower Hill, Canary Wharf and Barking – a distance of just under 12 miles – on either tracks separated from vehicles or on low-traffic streets.

Mr Johnson also released figures showing a 73% increase in the number of cyclists in an area of Vauxhall, central London, since a superhighway opened there in November. He added that journey times for motor vehicles on six main roads into Vauxhall have returned to what they were before the construction work – or are quicker – with one exception.

Mr Johnson visited Victoria Embankment to view progress on the latest superhighway, which has been described as “Crossrail for Bikes”, after the under-construction rail route. He said: “In 2013 I stood on this very spot on the Embankment and promised that we would soon behold a magnificent cycle superhighway. Many doubted it would ever get beyond the artist’s impression. A noisy minority fought hard to stop it happening. But in opinion polls and public consultations, large majorities of ordinary Londoners, most of them not cyclists, said they wanted this project and what it represents for a cleaner, safer, greener city. I apologise to motorists temporarily inconvenienced by the construction works on the Embankment, and I thank them for their patience in putting up with it – but the end is now in sight. I am immensely encouraged by the evidence from Vauxhall showing that now the scheme there is finished, the flow of traffic in the area is also returning to normal.”

The Vauxhall superhighway comprises a two-way protected cycle track across Vauxhall Bridge and through Vauxhall Cross gyratory. Research by Transport for London (TfL) found that 3,394 cyclists a day are using Vauxhall Bridge in the morning and evening peak periods (7-10am and 4-7pm), compared to 1,967 in February last year. The general rise in London cycling over the same period was 10%, according to TfL.

(Press Association)