Monday, November 19, 2012

Super Duper Corridor

If Boris generated as many decent cycle routes as he does headlines, we'd all be a lot happier. This blog called his cycle lanes in the sky proposal for the BS it is back in September. In that same post, I made the rather rash claim that:

"If there's one thing the Olympics has proved is that London's road network can carry essential traffic plus lots of extra Olympics cars and still be fairly empty. In other words, TfL's standard excuse for doing nothing for cyclists - that every motor journey is essential and traffic flow is paramount - has been shown to be a lie."

Keep a browser tab open on that post; I shall refer back to it in a minute. Meanwhile, the Standard reports TfL head honcho of surface transport Garrett Emerson as saying:

“Potentially there are things you can do to change the road physically and the lesson from the Olympics is you can make an appreciable difference to demand by asking people to use the network differently such as changing times they travel.” 

I wonder if Gazza has been secretly reading this blog? Well maybe so, because the Standard article also talks about creating a cycle route - sorry, "Super Corridor" - along Embankment:

 "A radical plan to create an east-to-west cycle corridor within four years — inspired by road-use innovations during the Olympics — will be included in the Mayor’s “Cycle Vision” strategy, to be published this month."

Now flip back to your browser tab with my other post in, and you'll see I asked:

" where could you put segregated lanes at street level on London's busy streets, where we are continually assured there is no space?

How about here, on Victoria Embankment?... there is a wide central reservation, whose main purpose is to enable motorists to exceed the 30MPH speed limit in safety. Reallocate that space and you have a decent cycle lane.The road also has parking for coaches, which could quite easily be reallocated to nearby streets - there are plenty that are wide enough. This embarrassment of under-used and misallocated space runs all the way from Westminster Bridge to Blackfriars Bridge and would yield plenty of room for a good segregated lane,  even without reducing the number of  general traffic lanes.  Why doesn't Boris do this? Perhaps because it's a lot more boring than putting cycle lanes in the sky?"

So this "Super Corridor"is potentially a rare piece of good news. It is also a predictable piece of deja vue...a cycle lane was recently added to the Embankment, but it is the usual intermittent, advisory crap, liberally sprinkled with parking bays and with 2 lanes of speeding HGVs in unpleasantly close proximity. When will TfL realise that it's cheaper to get it right first time? (Or is this a City Hall job creation scheme?)

The question, as with the Junction Review, is whether this new "Super Corridor" is more than a marginal improvement. To be so, it needs to be a properly segregated, Dutch-style effort. Will such a commitment be in the "Cycle Vsion"? I'll keep the champagne on ice. Meanwhile it's worth pointing out that making the Embankment safer won't solve the problem that is Westminster Council. Until they are forced by central government to take cycling seriously, anything TfL do will have decidedly limited effect.

1 comment:

  1. This is great news! As you will recall, the LCC set the mayoral candidates three tests before the elections. At the beginning of August, the LCC wrote to Boris with the following point:

    "The first of these tests is for you to implement 'flagship' redevelopments at three major streets/locations. LCC is very pleased that you have announced the sites of two of your three flagship schemes, namely the one-way systems at Vauxhall and Greenwich, and we look forward to hearing soon where the third will be situated."

    And now we know! It will be "an east-to-west cycle corridor" that will run from Blackfriars Bridge (in the east) to Westminster Bridge (in the west).

    And if this new cycle corridor doesn't join up to anything, no matter; at least there will be another little piece of infrastructure that is safe for cyclists. Reee-sult.