Crossrail For Bikes
In what might just be the most exciting development for cycling in London ever, earlier this year Transport for London approved plans to create four new Cycle Superhighways. These include two new, completely segregated cycle lanes - dubbed ‘Crossrail for bikes’ - through central London. A further two cycle superhighways will also be built, and the four existing cycle superhighways will be upgraded.
The new routes, which in total cross nine boroughs, will help cycling become an integral part of London’s transport network so that anyone can jump on a bike to get to work, the shops or to discover London.
Dutch-Style Cycle Lanes in Cambridge
Cyclists in London who can’t wait for the new Cycle Superhighways to be built - or indeed anyone who wants a taste of Dutch-style cycling in the UK - should pack their bags and head for Cambridge, where two new segregated cycle routes will open in June this year.
The two new routes, along Hills Road and Huntingdon Road in the city, will feature cycle-friendly zebra crossings and bus stop by-passes. The latter almost caused the plans to be stopped last year, after councillors raised concerns about bus passengers being hit by ‘kamikaze cyclists’. We’re very glad they changed their mind!
Bristol to go Dutch
Britain's first Cycling City - aka Bristol - was due to get its first ever fully segregated cycle path last summer. Plans were announced in February 2014 for the £380,000 scheme, which would have created a 700 metre long, 3 metre wide cycle lane alongside the River Avon.
However, the project has been put on hold temporarily, due to unexpected high-tides and an unstable river wall which needs to be fixed before the plans can go ahead.
Segregated Cycling on Manchester’s Oxford Road
Typical. You wait ages for a decent segregated cycle lane, and then loads come along at the same time...
Plans announced last November to transform Manchester’s Oxford Road - one of the busiest streets in the city, and one of the busiest bus routes in Europe - include segregated cycle lanes, alongside a priority bus corridor and a ban on general traffic during the daytime.
There’s no timescale yet for when this will happen, as changes need to be made to other streets in the city centre first.
The London Underline
Hot on the heels of the recently-announced Crossrail for bikes comes this novel idea, proposed by design firm Gensler, to transform disused Tube lines into a network of underground paths for cyclists and pedestrians.
Though the concept has won favour in some places - it won Best Conceptual Project at the London Planning Awards at the beginning of February - it hasn’t been without its detractors. We can’t quite see how pleasant it would be riding underground when that’s what we’ve been trying to avoid the whole time…
Floating Cycleway on the Thames
...particularly when we could be riding on the Thames instead.
Though it might seem far-fetched, this is exactly what the River Cycleway Consortium is proposing. They unveiled their plans for a £600m floating cycleway in late 2014, with the first mock up showing the path winding its way up the south bank in front of City Hall and past HMS Belfast.
Users would be charged £1.50 to use the floating cycleway, which could take thousands of cyclists off London’s streets. The River Cycleway Consortium claims it will reduce the journey time from Battersea to Canary Wharf to just half an hour.
Leicester’s Ambitious Cycling Plans
Leicester doesn’t usually feature in a list of the UK’s most cycle-friendly cities - but that might be about to change.
With the aim of doubling the number of everyday cyclists in the city by 2018, Leicester City Council is pushing through plans to improve walking and cycling in the city. A trial removal of a traffic lane on a four-lane gyratory on Welford Road in the city centre is currently underway, and if successful, a two-way track could give cyclists a safe route into town from the south.
Segregated Cycling on Edinburgh’s George Street
A segregated two-way cycle lane - designed to be safe enough for an unaccompanied 12 year old to ride along - on one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious shopping streets is currently halfway through its trial.
The cycle lane, which is separated from traffic by rubberised armadillos is part of a plan by Edinburgh City Council to make the street and the surrounding area more pedestrian-friendly. As well as the cycle lane, motorised traffic is now one way, and pavements have been widened.
The trial runs until September 2015, after which the council will assess its success.
Norman Foster’s SkyCycle
Underground, overground, cycling free…
Quite possibly the most radical idea for improving cycling in London, the SkyCycle would see the creation of 136 miles of elevated cycle lanes above train tracks across the city. Users would be charged a £1 fee to use the routes, which would be up to 15 metres wide, and accessible from over 200 ramps.
If the idea of cycling through the skies gets you excited, be warned - the designers are still seeking funding for a feasibility study, and the whole project is estimated to take around 20 years to build.