Monday, February 22, 2010

A24 Cycle SuperHighway - to - be

Instead of my usual quiet back-roads commute which I've refined over many years, I decided to brave the main A24 road from Merton into The Smoke today.
The A24 will be one of the first Cycle Superhighways, so I figured I'd do a 'before and after' comparison.

First impressions:
At 8AM, it was busy, but not as busy as I'd expected. It was possible to make fairly good progress, and only a few areas where the traffic was backed up significantly. There's not much parking on the route, and there are a number of bus lanes and the occasional cycle lane.
The main problems are these:
1. My computer clocked it as being about a mile shorter than my usual route, but not much quicker. Bear in mind my usual route is slow, because being on back roads, there is a lot of stop-start due to junctions. The A24 suffers from a huge number of traffic lights (which are all red of course). Because I don't jump them, they were each costing me significant time.
2. It's not pleasant. It is a busy, urban arterial road, 4 lanes of traffic in many stretches. You really wouldn't choose to cycle on it. I can't see that changing even with lots of blue paint...


  1. Well done for making the comparison. We need before and after assessments. It sounds as if more might be achieved by investing in improving the continuity (reducing give ways) of the back street route rather than a largely cosmetic change to the A24 route.

    In theory the phasing of the lights along the A24 could be adjusted to favour cycling speeds with a 'green wave' but where traffic signals are all linked through SCOOT and Urban Traffic Control any changes would have knock-on effects elsewhere.

  2. precisely my thoughts on back-street routes. I am increasingly thinking along the lines of having quiet residential roads optimized for cycling as being politically more feasible than any other option.
    Not sure that there is a 'cycling speed' though. In my observation cycles only tend to bunch up where there's a bottleneck that limits the speed of the road-racers to the speed of the Pashleys.