Sunday, 4 September 2011

City Cycling

I went along to the Skyride today. I approached Trafalgar Square via The Strand, which was choc-a-bloc, no doubt because Victoria Embankment was closed to traffic.

I handed out my small bundle of Embassy post-cards, and then joined the throng of cyclists alongside the river. The thing that I found particularly striking was that the noise was different. You could hear people laughing, for instance.

As I was riding around I had a quick look at Blackfriars Bridge. The case is, TfL are not making the best use of the available space. Obviously they are not thinking in terms of a network, and obviously they are not thinking about segregated cycling.

Image from Cyclists in the City

If there was to be a segregated two-way cycling track, it would make most sense to put it on the eastern side of the bridge. I imagine that most of the cycle traffic crossing the bridge from the south would either want to go straight on towards Farringdon or turn right towards the City.

For those wanting to turn left onto Victoria Embankment, I can see where I'd put the crossing and the segregated lane. Probably you can too. Under the current plans, however, look at what you'd need to do for the return journey. I think this is completely unacceptable.

Again, we need to look at the entire length of this route, that is, from St. George's Circus all the way up to York Way and beyond. We need to submit an alternative proposal for the Mayor to consider, which has been properly designed and fully costed up.

Another thing to say is that if we really do want to see 'a network of direct, well-designed, separated cycle routes', then one of the keys to success, I think, would be the City. I say this for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are the major employer in London, and therefore very influential. Secondly, given that the benefits of the bicycle are so numerous and so compelling, I believe they can be persuaded to consider the business case. Thirdly, given that most trends tend to start with the ABC1s, they can lead the way and show their fellow Londoners that the bicycle is indeed by far the best way to get around.

I have prepared a map showing the extent of the cycle network in the City (plus environs). The key is as follows: blue - segregated cycle tracks; red - shared cycling or no change; pink - local routes.