Up to £150m could be spent on a network of cycle lanes – dubbed Quietways – through the back streets of London by 2016.
London’s cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, has also told representatives from the UK capital’s 32 boroughs that the Quietways project – a central pillar of mayor Boris Johnson’s £913m Vision for Cycling – will not be compromised when lanes hit obstacles such as major roads, junctions and difficulties over land ownership. “They will be built correctly or they won’t be built at all,” Gilligan told the audience at the London Transport Museum.
The uncompromising stance could mean more bridges are built over busy roads, and that junctions are redesigned to give cyclists and pedestrians parity with – or precedence over – motorists.
Many existing suburban cycleways are disrupted by complicated crossings and bad road design that fails to account for cyclists and walkers. On one route that passes the Finsbury Park Interchange in North London, riders are forced to use four toucan crossings, a section of designated cycle path less than 10m long and pavement outside a row of shops.
The Quietway locations and distances are still to be outlined, though they will be aimed at new cyclists. They will largely trace routes through residential streets and parks.
It’s now up to boroughs to submit plans to Gilligan and Transport for London for assessment. An initial map of proposed Quietways could be released by the autumn. The schedule for completion means it ties in with the projected timeline for the capital’s Cycle Superhighways, a network of 12 fast routes into London (the existing Barclays Cycle Superhighways will also be upgraded).