Three Ideas for Making London a More Cycle-Friendly City
It can be hard being a cyclist in London. If it isn't bad enough having to deal with inconsistent cycling infrastructure, we have to do it knowing that our neighbours on the continent have got it so much better than us. So the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) have come up with a plan: Love London? Go Dutch.
Described as a 'vision for a liveable city where people can walk, cycle and run without fear', the campaign is calling for 'streets as safe and inviting for cycling and walking as they are in the Netherlands, where 47% of journeys are made by bike and foot'. The LCC have put together a list of key principles for London's streets, redesigning three of the city's busiest destinations in the process.
Convincing Transport for London to redesign Blackfriars might be easier said than done. This part of London is currently being reworked as part of a major upgrade of Blackfriars Station, and provisions for cyclists and pedestrians has left many unimpressed. So much so that thousands of cyclists turned out last year to protest against the changes… with no luck. Yet the LCC remain positive, and their proposal for the site includes wider pavements, bike lanes, traffic lights exclusively for bicycles, and bus-priority lanes. If you aren't making your way to another destination, the LCC's vision includes plenty of green space for watching London whizz by (at no more than the proposed speed limit of 20mph, of course).
2. Olympic Park
All eyes will be on the Olympic Park this summer, but what about getting there by bike? A proposed cycle superhighway was cut short when the Olympic Borough of Newham refused to play ball, and the eastward extension of the city's cycle hire scheme doesn't quite make it as far as Stratford, where the Olympics are being hosted. The LCC are proposing a continuous bike lane connecting the Olympic Park with central London, and two fewer motor traffic lanes on Stratford HIgh Street. In their place are bike lanes and wider pavements, as well as trees and planters to make the street 'more people friendly and improve air quality'. If you can't quite cycle all the way to Stratford, the LCC are calling for bicycles to be allowed on the DLR – east London's Light Rail – during off-peak hours.
3. Parliament Square
Where better to have the country's best bicycle infrastructure than Parliament Square, where many of the country's political decisions are made? It's fair to say that the potential of Parliament Square is currently not being maximised. Instead of being surrounded by lanes of traffic, as it is at present, the LCC are calling for motor traffic to be removed from two sides of the square, turning it into 'a world premier destination, not just an uninviting roundabout.' Along with bike lanes on every road, the installation of a cycle hire dock on the edge of the park is proposed, as is shared walking and cycling space. They kindly point out that this shared space could be used for 'royal ceremonial processions'. What self-respecting Brit could say no to that?
Do you think these ideas are a good approach for making London more cycle-friendly? Lend your name to Love London? Go Dutch.
Images courtesy of ChrisLikeCake on flickr and the London Cycling Campaign.