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TfL cancels Cycle Superhighway extension to central Lewisham due to unspecified ‘constraints’

Pic: Jack Thurston/Flickr

Lewisham’s cyclists have expressed dismay after TfL abandoned plans to bring the Cycle Superhighway network to central Lewisham.

Cycle Superhighway 5 will now only run as far as New Cross where it will end at a busy traffic bottleneck.

Roger Stocker, Chair of Lewisham Cyclists said:

“To finish the Superhighway at New Cross Gate shows that TfL don’t know a safe way of designing cycling into the current infrastructure.”

The London Cycling Campaign also spoke out for the need to improve cycling infrastructure between Lewisham and New Cross.

A spokesperson told Eastlondonlines: “If the Mayor is serious about encouraging thousands of new cyclists in this part of London, he needs to reallocate space away from motor vehicles towards cycling, in particular discouraging short journeys by private car, which are responsible for a large amount of London’s congestion and could be walked or cycled.”

Lewisham Cyclists was told in an email on Tuesday that the route between New Cross and Lewisham could not be built due to unspecified ‘constraints’.

The news came as a surprise to the group who have not been informed of any problems during the last two years of planning.

The email reads: “It has become increasingly evident that constraints along the A20 between New Cross and Lewisham mean that the opportunities to introduce Cycle Superhighways-type infrastructure are limited.

“I hope you understand the reasons for our decision, and appreciate it is not one that we have taken lightly.”

The email does not describe the constraints but does pledge to fund cycling improvements on the A20 between Lewisham and New Cross. It does not specify how much funding is available.

Stocker believes lack of road-space means that TfL cannot adhere to its own cycle-lane standards.

Speaking to Eastlondonlines, he said: “A new one [cycle super highway] that would adhere to that principle would be to the detriment of motor capacity and therefore not acceptable to TfL or the Mayor.”

Caroline Pidgeon, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee said that the decision shows a “lack of ambition” by TfL.

She said: “This foolish decision suggests the Mayor of London is not really serious about introducing Dutch-style cycling infrastructure across London.”

A TfL spokesperson said; “Barclays Cycle Superhighway CS5 was originally planned to run from Victoria to Lewisham town centre. As design progressed, it became increasingly apparent that in order to fulfil the Mayor’s commitment to ensure the Cycle Superhighway is of sufficient high quality, physical constraints along this stretch would limit our ability to complete the route to these top standards.

“We are still very much committed to delivering significant cycling improvements on this same part of the A20, East of New Cross. Although they will not be formally branded as part of CS5, the route will still benefit from better cycling facilities, with 0.7km of new mandatory cycle lanes and substantial resurfacing of the roads.”

Cycle Superhighways were launched in 2008 by Ken Livingstone as part of London’s planned cycling revolution which aims to quadruple cycling by 2025. The first two were built in 2010 and all 12 are scheduled to be built by 2015.

Following lobbying during this year’s Mayoral election by the London Cycling Campaign, the Superhighways now have to be built to “Dutch” standards of traffic calming.

Plans released this week suggest that the hub of the network will be a “super-corridor” that runs along the Embankment in central London

You can see the current and planned Cycle Superhighway routes here:

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2 Responses to TfL cancels Cycle Superhighway extension to central Lewisham due to unspecified ‘constraints’

  1. Premierfella

    November 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Pretty embarrassing to admit defeat so far (I assume given two years of work) into the design stage. It should have been obvious at an early stage that the New Cross one way system would need a radical rethink to give cyclists “safe” passage on blue paint.

    Currently there is a route via shared pavement and pedestrian crossings opposite Goldsmiths that cyclists can use if they don’t fancy trying to cross lanes and fight with the lorries and buses, but given the lack of cycles I’ve seen using that shared pavement I suspect that most simply take the safest option of trying to avoid going anywhere near that area unless they absolutely have to (quite apart from the fact that the signage is limited and means that most of the public and, I believe, some police officers would think cyclists would be riding illegally on it – I’m sure that’s what drivers staring out of their windows would think!)

    Frankly, I think this decision suggests that TFL have taken the easiest and cheapest option – its a shame that the planned CSH5 route wasn’t longer as that would have forced TFL to soft out a safe and creative solution for New Cross cyclists.

  2. roggie

    November 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Lewisham Cyclists pestered TfL to put up more shared use signs along the pavement there – before there were 2 in the whole length so at least this is better. Still less than ideal. I just wonder what the designs were as I guess they re looked at them and realised they didn’t make it safer so rather than to redesign at this late stage (the scheme must of been ready to go for the last 9 months) they decided to ditch it. Lewisham Council would have seen the designs ages ago and have been told in advance TfL’s decision to stop this route short. Given the options at eh end of the route (carry on round the 1 way system, cycle up one of the biggest hills in the borough, head north on another route going miles out of your way) its a bit of a cul-de-sac for those new to cycling or wanting to give it ago along the famous blue routes. I think this is the most disappointing part of the decision to me.

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