Transport for London’s plans for the Cycle Superhighway 2 extension are out for consultation, closing Monday.
What’s really important about this design, and in my view deserves strong support, is that TfL have created a design aimed at the majority. It doesn’t require mixing with high volumes / high speed motor traffic, and the design provides space for faster cyclists to overtake pootlers. (As the Hierarchy of Cyclists in LTN 2/08 doesn’t recognise, many of us would sometimes be fast and sometimes pootlers, depending on what we’re doing and with whom.)
Here’s the existing Superhighway through Tower Hamlets. You don’t see many pootlers here. I have been cycling in London now for ten years, and cycling along the Mile End Road has always scared me. Too many HGVs, too many lanes of speeding traffic, too many kerbside obstructions necessitating pulling out heart in mouth. (Yes, I do have my Bikeability Level 3, but I also want to cycle without discomfort and fear). The existing Superhighway 2 has meant very little change (it’s largely ‘ghost lanes’ of blue paint shared with bus or car/HGV lanes), except now TfL’s Journey Planner algorithm suggests I go out of my way to cycle on it.
The extension plans are fundamentally different. They’re not perfect; instead of the rather complicated right turn arrangements (see As Easy as Riding a Bike’s post for explanation), I’d prefer the 90 degree turn enabled by the Danish style ‘bike pockets‘ in Southampton’s plans for their new Superhighway. The design also peters out at either end. But still, this is a clear step change in provision.
TfL’s doing a thorough consultation process on current cycling schemes: this is one of the best I’ve seen, and I hope they get plenty of positive (and constructively critical) feedback. You can fill in the form here; here‘s what I wrote.