Cycling Embassy response to East-West Superhighway Consultation

We support these proposals, and would like to see them go ahead.

While we have some reservations about the quality of the scheme in a number of locations, overall this a bold project that will open up cycling as a mode of transport for all potential users, as well as making the journeys of existing users safer and more pleasant. It will improve the physical environment of the streets in question, as well as increasing the capacity of these roads, measured in terms of people, rather than motor traffic. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, it will serve to demonstate how main roads can function in towns and cities across the rest of the country, with cycling treated as a serious mode of transport in its own right.


In general, we would like to see, where possible, the signalised pedestrian crossings of the Superhighway replaced with (informal) zebra crossings. This approach would reduce delay for both people walking and cycling. We would also like to see a reduction in signalisation where interactions are only occurring between  people cycling; these interactions could be managed instead by 'Give Way' markings. 

An issue is the the quality of the major junctions along the Superhighway, for those people attempting to join (or cross) the Superhighway. At many of these locations, the quality of provision falls well below that of the Superhighway itself, and that should be addressed as part of these proposals. 

While the scheme involves a number of improvements for pedestrians, including new crossings, we would also like to see the plans refined further, to reduce delay for pedestrians, and to reduce the inconvenience of a number of crossings (which remain two-stage, rather than direct). Direct crossings would also allow more space for separation of cycling from motor traffic, at a number of junctions.

We approve of the crossing points for pedestrians at bus stops; again, these could be marked with informal zebras. The humps the crossings are placed on should be sinusoidal, to minimise discomfort.

We would also like to see the effective width of these proposed tracks maximised, with the use of shallow height kerbing, the track at an intermediate level between the carriageway and the footway. The kerbing should also - ideally - have a 45° chamfer.

Finally we would like to see left turns, on and off the Superhighway, exempted from signals, where possible, as per Dutch practice. Pedestrians could again be given priority over cycling movements through the use of (informal) zebra markings. 

Section 1

While the Superhighway route here is good, it is disappointing that this large junction remains very hostile on the approaches to Tower Bridge. It is not particularly clear how the Superhighway would be joined by people cycling to it from the south, over the bridge; the approach seems to be to cycle in the middle lane of 3 lanes of motor traffic. This stands in stark contrast to the comfort and safety offered by the Superhighway itself.

 Section 2

See our general comments about reducing signalisation between pedestrians and cyclists, and managing interactions with zebras, and Give Ways. This particularly applies at the junction with Great Tower Street, where left turns by westbound cycle traffic could be exempted from signals, with a clearer separation from the footway.

Section 3

It is not clear how people will navigate from the Superhighway, onto Queen Street Place. We also feel that here - where the only movements crossing the Superhighway will be cyclists entering and exiting Queen Street - the Superhighway could potentially be run entirely outside of signal control, with 'Give Way' markings and (informal) zebras, for pedestrians. A dedicated (signalised) waiting area could be provided for people wishing to cycle south onto Queen Street Place. 

Section 4

We have no comments on Section 4.

Section 5

The interactions between people cycling at the point at which the cycle track from Blackfriars Bridge meets the Superhighway on Victoria Embankment seem to be completely signalised, which we feel is complicated for bicycle-bicycle interactions. Ideally, signalisation should be replaced with 'Give Way' markings at this junction, with the crossing of Victoria Embankment remaining signalised. A waiting area should be provided, between the cycle track and the carriageway.

As per our general comments, we feel that the pedestrian crossings of the Superhighway here could be made on  (informal) zebra crossings, rather than on signalised crossings; this would reduce delay for both people walking and cycling. 

Section 6

We have no comments on Section 6.

Section 7

We have no comments on Section 7.

Section 8

Access to Savoy Street from the Superhighway appears to be complicated. A more direct route, from the Superhighway itself, should be provided. 

Section 9

We have no comments on Section 9.

Section 10

We have no comments on Section 10.

Section 11

We would like to see the Superhighway connect up here with cycle tracks on Westminster Bridge, as desired by Transport for London. It would make sense to incorporate these cycle tracks (at least the entry and exit points) as part of these designs.

Section 12

We have concerns about the use of 'early start' facilities at the junctions in Parliament Square, not just about the potential for confusion over which signals apply to whom (as at Bow roundabout) but also because these designs are effectively an 'always stop' facility. We would prefer to see full separate signalisation of cycle and motor traffic movements. 

In general, we feel that the design for cycling around Parliament Square is needlessly complicated, and could be refined considerably, with more straightforward routes around and across the square. This could, for instance, involve removing motor traffic from one side of the square, and providing uni-directional cycle tracks on each side of the remaining roads.

Section 14

Given the high flows of pedestrians and people cycling across Hyde Park Corner, we feel that a 'shared treatment' is no longer acceptable in this area. The design should separate cycle traffic from pedestrians in general, and at the crossings in particular, to improve the comfort and safety of both these user groups. This is important given the likely substantial increase in use of this route. We would like to see clear differentiation between the cycle route, and pedestrian areas, with the use of different colour/surface treatments, and a (forgiving) height difference.

Section 16

Rather than Option 1 or Option 2, we would prefer to see the eastbound route following the same alignment as the westbound route, which is more direct. This would involve a uni-directional cycle track (as on the other side of the road), continuing down Westbourne Street, and along Bayswater Road, with separately signalised cycling movements (even 'simultaneous green') to allow safe right turns into Hyde Park. This could form part of improvements to Bayswater Road more generally. 

Section 17

In this section we are disappointed to see that motor traffic capacity has been retained at the expense of cycling safety, particularly in the retention of stacking lanes at the junctions with Cleveland Terrace and Craven Road. We would clearly prefer to see separation of movements at these junctions, rather than the awkard and potentially dangerous 'merging' of motor traffic into the cycle lanes (we are not clear as to the purpose of the kerb buildouts in the cycle tracks at these points). These junctions could be templates for 'simultaneous green' arrangements, with cycling movements in all directions run in parallel with all-green pedestrian stages.