Friday 23 October 2009

Cycle Superhighways to Nowhere

Twelve routes from outer London into the centre will be developed, with the first two in place by next summer.

They will be wide lanes painted blue on major roads, and at least 1.5m wide.

One point five metres wide? There’s nothing remotely super about that. As has been well-established, cycle lanes narrower than two metres increase a cyclist's exposure to risk and would be better off not existing.

And this is very revealing, from the Mayor’s latest Greater London Assembly question time:

Question No: 2713 / 2009
Valerie Shawcross
Will road space be allocated to the cyclist from motorised traffic on your planned cycling Superhighways?

Answer from the Mayor:
Cycle Superhighways will be designed to minimise impacts on other road users, while ensuring the provision of safe and continuous routes for cyclists. The aim of the scheme is to increase the number of cyclists on London’s roads without adversely affecting traffic flows or traffic and bus journey times.

In other words, no.

Which is very interesting, as the London Borough of Waltham Forest is currently proposing a massive re-allocation of footway and carriageway space from the pedestrian and cyclist to the motorist, by way of creating hundreds of new on-street parking bays.

In short, car dependency and fossil fuel addiction continues to be fed and pampered at every level. London hasn’t even begun the process of moving towards the Copenhagen/Netherlands model and shows no sign of ever doing so. Instead all we get is spin, gimmickry and transport planning which continues to prioritise private car ownership and use over walking and cycling.