The Mayor of London has announced nearly £1 billion of spending intended to overhaul London's cycle routes. The plan includes the creation of a 15-mile (24-km) "Crossrail for the bike," substantially segregated from road traffic, connecting the suburbs of East and West London.
As well as fully-segregated routes, the plan will see the £913 million (US$1.36 billion) plan will create semi-segregated cycle paths along certain streets, signposted "Quietways" along back streets, and extensions and changes to London's recently-added cycling Superhighways. In London's busy City and West End districts, all such routes will be joined up to create a "Central London Grid" of cyclist-friendly routes.
The new network will see routes follow, and be named after, underground rail lines and bus routes in a bid to make routes and their eventual destinations familiar to all Londoners.
Some of London's worst junctions look set to be overhauled as part of the schemes, including those at Blackfriars, Elephant & Castle, Swiss Cottage, Tower and Vauxhall. The new policy appears to be one of "no half-measures," with a focus on bringing targeted junctions up to scratch rather than token improvements. Despite this, funding for Transport for London's "safer junction review" has been raised to £100 million ($149 million) from £19 million ($28 million).
Continuing the safety theme, part of the money will fund eight police officers dedicated to collisions involving bicycles and heavy goods vehicles. Transport for London already encourages haulage deliveries outside of rush hours in order to minimize the coincidence of lorries and bicycles on London's roads.
More than £100 million will be spent on improving cycling in outer-London, but this looks likely to be focused on between one and three boroughs to create cyclist-friendly "mini-Hollands" that, it is hoped, local authorities will seek to emulate in the rest of the capital and beyond.
The term "Crossrail for the bike" is a reference to a 73-mile (117-km) rail line connecting counties east and west of London via 13 miles (21 km) of tunnel built under Central London.
It is hoped that a safer cycling network will relieve pressure on inner-London's roads and public transport systems. Reaction to the announcement appears to have been largely positive.
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