WHY WE SHOULD SUPPORT TFL'S PROPOSED EXTENSION OF CYCLE SUPERHIGHWAY 2Just a quick post about TfL's planned proposals to extend Cycle Superhighway 2, the details of which can be viewed here.
Something has changed at TfL. They are daring to propose segregated cycle lanes/ tracks on the proposed CS2 extension which would run from the horrible Bow Interchange to Stratford Town Centre. They are also proposing to take the track behind some of the bus stops. A fair bit of the space for this is being taken away from traffic lanes (wow!).
The scheme is not perfect, but I am not going to debate that in detail here and besides, the Alternative Department for Transport's blog has plenty of detail.
There are many pundits, bloggers and activists out there who have an opinion on these issues and I really think that this scheme has got enough in it for most people. We should all be writing in support of the project and encourage people we know to do so as well. I have no problem with people making suggestions for improvements to the ideas as that is what consultation is for, but we cannot afford for dissenting voices (more on that in a bit).
Despite having an Olympic makeover, Stratford High Street is an urban motorway and in some ways worse than cycling along some of the outer London dual carriageways (not by much though!).
The reason that this scheme should be supported is that this is the first time (happy to be corrected) that such a radical scheme has been proposed for such a main artery in London and if it can be done here, just imagine how London could look and operate in the next few years.
I would love to have an account on how this scheme came into being in terms of the debate within TfL, what political buy-in there was and who is really pulling the strings.
I am also utterly convinced that many engineers working at TfL and the boroughs have it in them to pull off such radical changes to our highway network, but the thing which has stifled us is the lack of political and senior officer leadership and possibly them willing to take a risk on doing something so different from the predict and provide for the private car that the past 50 years has given us.
My three worries are:
(i) This scheme is actually on Newham's highway network and so will their politicians have the proverbials to see it through?
(ii) When this is shown to be a success, will TfL and the boroughs roll it out?
(iii) If the organised cycle lobby in-fights, then it might be another excuse not to do a proper job.
This could be the master stroke. If Newham throws the scheme out, then TfL can blame them - after all, they did their best to push a radical scheme. If the cycle lobby argues and in-fights, another excuse not to go ahead. But (and this is what is genuinely exciting), if the scheme goes in, it will give TfL and the boroughs the mandate to take this concept forward across London.
Here are two artist's impressions showing what this scheme could look like from TfL's website. I have submitted my response in support, please do the same.
London catches up with the rest and despite TfL's graphic, you don't need to be a MAMIL to use this cycle track!