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Who is undermining plans to make London's streets safe for cycling, and why? Find out how to get involved...

ibikelondon - 29 September, 2014 - 08:30

London's Mayor Boris Johnson recently unveiled his proposals for two new Cycle Superhighways in London; a north / south route via Blackfriars Bridge, and an east / west 'Crossrail for Bikes' along the river Thames via the Embankment.

Plans for the east / west cycle superhighway along the Thames, on Victoria Embankment.
The proposals - though not perfect - are the boldest plans for cycling ever tabled by the Mayor and Transport for London, and will certainly lead to a large increase in the volume of cyclists along these routes, riding in a safe and inviting environment suitable for a wider range of ages and abilities.  Credit where credit is due: Johnson has not always endeared himself with the cycling community, but his plans - delivered by his cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan - are outstanding.

These incredible new bike tracks, substantially segregated from traffic, are the end result of a long and sustained campaign by the cycling community.  In 2012, grass roots protests on Blackfriars Bridge about plans to tear out cycle lanes and increase traffic speeds helped to bolster the ambition and strengthen the voice of the London Cycling Campaign.  Their 2012 Mayoral campaign, "Love London, Go Dutch" saw 40,000 Londoners sign up and over 10,000 cyclists take to the streets urging all the Mayoral candidate to create safe space for cycling on London's busiest roads.  In a huge campaign success, all of the Mayoral candidates signed up, with Boris Johnson represented at the Go Dutch Big Ride by Daniel Moylan - then Deputy Chairman of Transport for London, and still a serving member of the Board.  The proposed new superhighways is that rarest of things; a politician coming right on their election promises.

Conservative politician and TfL board member Dan Moylan pledging to "Go Dutch" on behalf of the Mayor alongside other politicians and young cyclists at the LCC's 2012 Big Ride.
The consultation on the new routes is already open, and as you can imagine they are attracting considerable attention.  With such radical plans for central London, you'd expect some concern from other road users, especially taxi drivers, as par for the course.  But there's something stranger going on here...

The Evening Standard's transport correspondent, Matthew Beard, reported that "business leaders are in revolt" over plans, but failed to name who those business leaders are.  The Standard also span a line that the new highways would delay car journeys by 16 minutes, despite Tfl's modelling showing this is the worst case scenario for just one type of journey - from Limehouse to Hyde Park - and totally ignored other journeys which would actually be quicker under the proposals.  They also failed to mention the thousands of square metres of new public space the new highway would capture for pedestrians.  As Easy as Riding a Bike blog does a good job of demolishing some of the more outlandish claims made against the proposals.  A bizarre and hole-filled statement claiming the superhighways would damage their business appeared to come from the Canary Wharf Group, whilst another press briefing revealed by Cyclists In The City purposefully distorts the facts to try and discredit the superhighway plans.

Plans to make Parliament Square - what should be the heart of London - accessible to pedestrians for the first time, under cycling plans.
There's something fishy going on here.  This is more than just the mutterings of a few taxi drivers and white van men.  Indeed, journalist Adam Bienkov revealed on Politics.co.uk that those who are briefing against Boris Johnson's cycle superhighways are actually from inside Transport for London itself.  He writes: "Senior figures at Transport for London (TfL) believe Boris Johnson is trying to rush through his plans for segregated cycle lanes in London too quickly, Politics.co.uk can reveal."  That is to say, employees of London's transport body, whose job it is to enact Mayoral transport policy, policy which is enabled by the democratic process of Londoners electing their own Mayor, are directly working against his wishes, and by default the wishes of Londoners.  How's that for democracy in action?  

If we needed any re-assurance that this dissent is coming directly from within Transport for London itself, TfL board member Michael Liebreich tellingly tweeted on September 26th "Make sure the voice of non-limo-driving Londoners is heard on cycle super-highways!"  Clearly, not everyone on Boris' board agree with Boris himself, and are out to undermine our Mayor and his cycling vision

Make sure the voice of non-limo-driving Londoners is heard on cycle super-highways! Quick yes/no questionnaire: https://t.co/9vP6SMyuiU
— Michael Liebreich (@MLiebreich) September 26, 2014
In PR they say a good story will walk around the world before the truth has had a chance to get its shoes on, and those who are briefing against the superhighways are hoping hand-picking figures and using scare tactics will have the proposals thrown out, the Mayor's cycling commissioner discredited and the kaibosh put on future cycling plans.  In other words, your help is needed now more than ever.One day soon, with your help, children will be able to ride through central London more than just once a year on a SkyRide...
The London cycling community has been incredible in their vociferous dedication to calling for better cycling facilities in the past.  You've signed petitions, attended protest rides, badgered newspapers and pestered politicians.  And you are winning, as these latest plans attest.  But we need your help again.  It is time, once again, to get involved to help create the city you'd like to ride in in the future and to drown out the spinning voices of dissent who don't want to see safe space for cycling on our roads:
  • Sign the London Cycling Campaign petition saying you back the superhighway proposals.
  • Respond directly to the consultations positively - it only take 2 minutes of your time - to drown out those who respond negatively.  Here for the north / south route and here for the east / west route.
  • Business voices count in London. Do you run a company, or work for one?  Make sure they pledge their support with Cycling Works London and join firms like The Crown Estate, Barts NHS Trust and Knight Frank in showing their support. Follow @CyclingWorksLDN on Twitter and add to their voice.
  • Stay tuned!  The consultation period has already been extended due to negative responses, so there will be lots more action to come.  Keep up to date and make sure you're involved!
PS. Sorry for the long delay since my last post.  I go on holiday for a few weeks and come back and all of London is up in arms about cycling. Honestly, I can't turn my back on you lot for more than a minute!Share 
Categories: Views

Aanleg Roosegaarde - Van Gogh fietspad dit najaar

Fietsberaad - 28 September, 2014 - 10:43

De aanleg van het Roosegaarde - Van Gogh fietspad start dit najaar. Diverse partners in de regio, waaronder de provincie Noord-Brabant en de gemeente Eindhoven, investeren € 7 ton in dit innovatieve fietspad, dat onderdeel is van de Van Gogh fietsroute.

Categories: News

Postbode gaat gestolen fietsen opsporen

Fietsberaad - 28 September, 2014 - 01:00

In België gaat de postbode  gestolen fietsen opsporen. Dat is tenminste de opzet van de nieuwe dienst CycloSafe, niet geheel toevallig opgezet door een dochterbedrijf van het postbedrijf.


Categories: News

Why is the Evening Standard’s transport correspondent presenting the Superhighway proposals in the worst possible light?

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 26 September, 2014 - 13:31

A short piece on the Evening Standard’s reporting of the Superhighway proposals.

The first article in the Standard came on the 11th September, entitled Business leaders in revolt over Boris Johnson’s cycle superhighway plans, quoting an (unnamed) business leader describing the plan as ‘an absolute mess’ that ‘will cause gridlock’, without providing any evidence to back up these claims. This ‘gridlock’ theme is one the paper returned to later, as we shall see.

The next article appeared nearly a week later, on the 18th September. This was an ‘exclusive’ which revealed, in a large headline, that

Mayor’s new £48m cycle superhighway would have to be removed after just one year to make way for supersewer construction

Really? In the article, an unnamed ‘source’ (another one) had this to say -

“The idea is that they do the cycle superhighway in 2015 and then in 2016 take it out all again for Thames Water. The concern is you are going to have to pay tens of millions of pounds and you are going to have to take it all out.”

The implication of this comment (and the article in general) is that tens of millions of pounds will be going to waste; once the Superhighway is built, TfL will ‘have to take it all out’. But the ‘tens of millions of pounds’ cost of the Superhighways is for the whole project, both E-W and N-S routes, from end-to-end. How much of the Superhighways might have to be taken out for the ‘supersewer’?

The Thames Tideway Tunnel website confirms that between Horse Guards Avenue and Northumberland Avenue along the Victoria Embankment a section of “roadway and pavement” will be required on the westbound carriageway.

How long is this section?

… Just 200 metres.

A tiny, tiny percentage of the whole Superhighways scheme. And in any case -

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL said: “We are working closely with Thames Water to ensure that there is no impact on the superhighway. It is planned that in the event of any closures, a safe, segregated and clearly signed cycle lane will be installed to get cyclists past the works.”

This silly article was followed on the 23rd September by an article that contained this bizarre passage -

… transport chiefs have pledged that all major sports will be able to take place as usual along the Victoria Embankment despite the [Superhighway] changes.

It follows concerns that there would be insufficient space to stage the BUPA 10k, British 10k, Royal Parks 10k and half marathon, London triathlon, and cycling’s Tour of Britain.

Again, unnamed, unreferenced ‘concerns’, this time about sporting events being unable to take place – ‘concerns’ that are completely unjustified. Here’s Leon Daniels again -

Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL said: “Major sporting events in the capital will not be affected by the east-west Superhighway.”

Sporting events – just like supersewers – will happily coexist with the Superhighways. But plainly they are extremely ‘concerning’ for the anonymous people being quoted in the Standard. Where next for this paper, in its trawl for negative things to write about this project?

Yesterday Transport for London published the (projected) effects of the Superhighways on journey times for motor vehicles, and the effects on pedestrian crossing times. The Standard splashed with the headline

Car journeys to take 16 minutes longer because of bike highways

Which was subsequently changed to include the crucial detail ‘up to 16 minutes longer’ (the original wording is contained in this tweet from the author, Matthew Beard).

As the article reveals, this ’16 minute’ figure is the very worst case scenario, the maximum possible delay for people driving from the Limehouse Link to Hyde Park, at peak times.

The TfL summary of effects of the E-W route is here, and the table of modelling impacts is here. The effects on motoring journey times is shown below. The right hand columns show the difference, either positive or negative, if the scheme were to be implemented, against current journey times. The ‘headline’ figure is in the top row.

Notice that for most of the other motoring journeys, the effect on journey times is negligible, or even beneficial. This hasn’t been reported by the Standard.

From the same table, here’s the potential delay to pedestrians at a variety of crossings (in seconds). The right hand columns show the difference in maximum waiting time, in the AM and PM peak, if the Superhighways were to be built.

At worst – 9 seconds, and mostly no change. This should be set in the context of a 4000 square metre gain of pedestrian space, 25 crossings being shortened, and 4 staggered crossings changed to direct crossings. The figures released by TfL confirm that the project as a whole will offer significant benefits to pedestrians.

Much the same is true of the north-south route. Again, the net gain for pedestrians will be 3000 square metres, there will be six shortened crossings, and three staggered crossings will become direct crossings.

Amazingly TfL don’t even mention new crossings, like the one on the north side of the Blackfriars Bridge junction.

No crossing here at present (top). There will be one with the Superhighway.

The modelling suggests that maximum waits for a green signal for pedestrians will increase by up to 24 seconds at some crossings, but as Cycalogical points out, this extra delay (indeed, any delay at pedestrian crossings) is purely a function of an attempt to accommodate motor traffic, rather than cycle tracks, in and of themselves. More people cycling means less motor traffic, and less delay for pedestrians, in the long term.

One final point here is that the TfL modelling (as is increasingly becoming clear) is extremely conservative, not least because these figures are based on static motor traffic. The modelling assumes no continuing decline in motor traffic in central London, and no modal shift to cycling.

From the TfL summary

The Evening Standard has chosen to focus on the very worst headline figures from the TfL modelling release, without setting them in context, or even mentioning  the positive effects of the Superhighways, either for drivers, or pedestrians, or for the functioning of London as a modern multi-modal city. Getting more people cycling – rather than causing causing gridlock – is in reality a way of avoiding it.

The Standard’s latest report fits into a pattern of negativity about the Superhighways, with worst case scenarios, and unjustified ‘concerns’ from unnamed sources, forming the basis for articles. What’s going on?

Categories: Views

Volunteers get the elderly out and about in Odense

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 26 September, 2014 - 11:31
In Odense, during the spring, a new, exciting cycling project will start called “Cycling without age”, that gives the elderly the opportunity for coming together, getting new experiences and wind in the hair in the company of committed volunteers – and there is loads of cycling! By Christina Lykke Bülow, Odense Municipality Cycling without age […]
Categories: News

The Cycle Snake

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 26 September, 2014 - 09:43
The story behind the City of Copenhagen’s new bicycle bridge, the Cycle Snake, is the story of an overpass that benefits the city space and road users. By Anna Garrett, City of Copenhagen No more carrying your bicycle Many Copenhageners know it. You cycle towards the shopping centre Fisketorvet and want to take a short […]
Categories: News

Johannesburg: On Your Bikes!

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 26 September, 2014 - 09:35
Fewer than one percent of all commuters in Johannesburg cycle. But that could soon change. Danish advisors have been to Jo’burg to get the process started. By Henrik Køster, COWI Johannesburg politicians want to research how to introduce cycling as a form of transport, thereby reducing congestion and pollution in the city. There are already […]
Categories: News

Die Fahrradschlange

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 26 September, 2014 - 09:25
Wie eine Überführung zum Gewinn für den städtischen Raum und schwächere Verkehrsteilnehmer wurde. Von Anna Garrett, Mobilität und städtischer Raum, Kommunalverwaltung Kopenhagen Nie mehr das Fahrrad tragen Viele Kopenhagener kennen es. Man fährt in Richtung Shoppingcenter Fisketorvet , um die Abkürzung über die Bryggebro nach Islands Brygge zu nehmen, um zum Beispiel das Hafenbad zu […]
Categories: News

Neues Strategiepapier zum Fahrradfahren in Dänemark

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 26 September, 2014 - 09:11
Am Freitag, dem 4. Juli, stellte der dänische Verkehrsminister ein neues Strategiepapier vor, das darauf abzielt, mehr Personen zum Fahrradfahren zu motivieren. Der Verband Dänischer Fahrradfahrer (Danish Cyclists´ Federation) hat zur Erarbeitung des Papiers beigetragen und ist mit dem Ergebnis zufrieden. Die Dänen sollen mehr Fahrrad fahren „Wir haben in Dänemark eine lange Tradition des […]
Categories: News

Johannesburg soll aufs Fahrrad umsteigen

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 26 September, 2014 - 09:05
Weniger als ein Prozent aller Pendler in Johannesburg benutzt das Fahrrad. Aber das kann sich bald ändern. Berater aus Dänemark waren in Johannesburg, um den Prozess in Gang zu bringen. Von Henrik Køster, COWI Johannesburgs Politiker wollen untersuchen, wie man das Radfahren als Transportform präsentieren und damit hohes Verkehrsaufkommen und Umweltverschmutzung in der Stadt reduzieren […]
Categories: News

Ehrenamtliche sorgen in Odense für Rückenwind für Senioren

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 26 September, 2014 - 08:57
Die Stadt Odense hat im Frühjahr ein neues interessantes Fahrradprojekt ins Leben gerufen: „Radfahren kennt kein Alter“, das älteren Mitbürgern zusammen mit engagiertenEhrenamtlichen Gemeinschaft, Erlebnisse und Wind in den Haaren verspricht – und dabei wird kräftig in die Pedale getreten! Von Christina Lykke Bülow, Kommunalverwaltung Odense   „Radfahren kennt kein Alter“ – Geselligkeit und höhere […]
Categories: News

El puente Cykelslangen

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 26 September, 2014 - 08:38
Historia de una vía elevada a favor del espacio urbano y el tráfico vulnerable De Anne Garret, Movilidad y Espacio Urbano, Municipalidad de Copenhague Nunca más con la bicicleta bajo el brazo Muchos ciudadanos de Copenhague lo conocen. Uno va en bicicleta hacia el Centro Comercial Fisketorvet y quiere tomar un atajo sobre por el […]
Categories: News

Nueva Estrategia Nacional para el ciclismo en Dinamarca

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 26 September, 2014 - 08:28
El viernes 4 de Julio, el Ministro del Transporte en Dinamarca, lanzó una nueva estrategia con el objetivo de lograr que más gente se suba a la bicicleta. La Federación Danesa de Ciclistas ha contribuido para la estrategia final y está muy conforme con el resultado. Los daneses tienen que andar más en bicicleta “Tenemos […]
Categories: News

Johannesburgo debe subirse a la bicicleta

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 26 September, 2014 - 08:19
Menos del uno por ciento de todos los transeúntes en Johannesburgo se movilizan en bicicleta. Pero eso podría cambiar pronto. Consultores daneses han estado en Jo´burg para ayudar al arranque del proceso. Por Henrik Køster, COWI Los políticos de Johannesburgo querían estudiar la manera de introducir la bicicleta como medio de transporte y con ello […]
Categories: News

Voluntarios le dan a los mayores oportunidad para despeinarse

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 26 September, 2014 - 08:14
En la ciudad de Odense ha comenzado durante la primavera un nuevo y emocionante proyecto de ciclismo “Ciclismo Sin Edad” que le permite a las personas mayores oportunidades para convivir, experimentar y despeinarse en compañía de entusiastas voluntarios – y hay que ver cómo se anda en bicicleta! Por Christina Lykke Bülow, Municipalidad de Odense […]
Categories: News

Dynamische wegwijzer toont fietser snelste route naar station

Fietsberaad - 25 September, 2014 - 01:00

In ’s-Hertogenbosch is een kruising voorzien van een dynamisch bord dat aangeeft hoe je als fiets het snelst aan de overkant komt.

Categories: News

Intersection redesign in Utrecht (2)

BicycleDutch - 24 September, 2014 - 23:04
In this post a second look at a recently reconstructed intersection in Utrecht. In the first post about this reconstruction I focused on the differences between the before and after … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Off to the Cycle Show!

Velo Vision - 24 September, 2014 - 13:48
We'll be on Stand K125 at the Cycle Show at the NEC - so the office is now closed until Monday...
Categories: News

BHPC splashes down in York

Velo Vision - 24 September, 2014 - 13:48
Photos from today's rather damp human powered vehicle racing at the new cycle racing circuit in Velo Vision's home town...
Categories: News

Velo Vision SPEZI trip 2014 - photo report!

Velo Vision - 24 September, 2014 - 13:48
Click through to see some highlights of our tour bus trip to this unique German cycle show...
Categories: News


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