Cycling growth “could harm economy”

Transport for London are consulting on an expansion of the cycle superhighways network, which business leaders warn could have a significant economic cost.

Under the Mayor of London’s plans, Europe’s longest substantially-segregated urban cycleways would be created. Two continuous cycle routes almost completely separated from traffic would cross central London from east to west and north to south.

The north-south route would run for just 3 miles from Elephant & Castle to King’s Cross. However, the east-west route will run from Barking to Acton, a distance of over 18 miles, including a section on the Westway flyover, where one lane will be removed to create a segregated cycle track.

Regular users of the Westway will know it is not the most free flowing of roads already, so this could lead to significant extra traffic congestion, not just on the elevated section, but on surrounding roads as drivers avoid it.

Responding to TfL’s consultation on new cycling superhighways, London First Infrastructure Director David Leam said: “We welcome the Mayor’s ambition to improve London’s cycling infrastructure and get more Londoners on their bikes in a safer environment.

“However, this must not make life worse for those on London’s buses, cars, taxis, coaches and vans. As well as moving commuters, London’s roads ensure we get the goods and services we need where and when we need them.

“TfL’s own consultation acknowledges that these proposals would mean longer journey times on key cross-London routes and on the roads approaching them. This could have a significant economic cost. In the absence of complementary proposals from TfL, these plans offer the dispiriting prospect of jams today and jams tomorrow for many Londoners”.

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