If you’ve been paying attention to the twitters recently, you’ll have seen that TfL have released their plans for the Cycle Superhighway 2 extension. I think they’re rather good, and wanted to tell TfL. Here’s my response to their consultation:
Wow! I am really excited to see these plans, and hope that they are the beginning of the “step change” in planning that Boris Johnson recently promised.
I live in West London and work in Shoreditch, so these changes won’t directly affect my daily commute; however, they will make a real difference to my experience coming to Stratford, and I hope they will be a great success, and act as a blueprint for future developments.
I have visited Stratford by bike, and was struck by the lack of pleasant, convenient routes to get there, having a choice either of a circuitous waterside route (pleasant but inconvenient), or the fast traffic on the High Street (convenient but unpleasant). If this new route had been in place, it would have been an easy decision.
I am particularly excited by two elements of this proposal:
a) The segregated cycle paths. I am a man in my mid 30s, and a reasonably fast, confident cyclist. I am absolutely capable of taking primary position in traffic, and of negotiating several lanes of vehicles. However, this is not to say that I enjoy doing this, and I find it stressful to constantly have to deal with the aggressive and dangerous behaviour of some drivers; furthermore, I don’t see why I should have to put myself in the way of aggression and danger just to get across town on my bike. I believe these segregated paths are a really important element in making cycling more pleasant and less scary, which in turn will encourage more people to get on their bikes.
b) The bus-stop bypasses. It is great to see these in the plans, and I hope they prove a success. Despite the long-established habit of telling cyclists to use bus lanes, buses and bikes really don’t mix very well: playing leap-frog with a bus as it overtakes you, only to have to overtake it in turn when it stops 100m down the road is a frustrating experience, and I have had several unpleasant experiences with bus drivers cutting me up or passing too close to me. Even when the cycle path is not on the road, it often gives up at bus stops, and cyclists either have to rejoin the road at the bus stop, or enter a “shared use” path behind it. Introducing bus-stop bypasses, which I’ve seen in several European countries, seems like a bold and sensible step.
All in all, I think these are very exciting proposals, and I hope this consultation receives constructive feedback to make them even better. My great hope is that these changes will prove a great success, and will lead to this quality of road planning being introduced across London in the near future.