As a suburbanite, I am one of those people who will say that I am going into London or I am going up town. London is a huge and diverse city, but the action is in the centre more often than not, and so being "up town" a bit more than normal over the last couple of weeks has given me a glimpse of what the future could be.
|Yes, those kerbs are still niggling me, TfL really needs to get its|
act together on this
Almost a year ago, I waxed lyrical about the consultations for TfL's proposals for the North-South and East-West cycle superhighways. Thanks to a colossal amount of campaigning by the likes of the London Cycling Campaign, CyclingWorks and many others, plus (and I have to say it) the Mayor hardening up his vertebrae to make the right decision, there are now people throwing kerbs and tarmac around on the Embankment as the East-West scheme gets underway on site.
TfL is repurposing highway space for the movement of those cycling to give them the protection they need and starting to address the traffic sewer which the Embankment is, just as Sir Joseph did with the Great Stink. We will soon have a bi-directional cycle track running along this piece of Victorian civil engineering and as well as being safe for all, there is the bonus of cracking river views to boot.
There will be wrinkles and there will be bits which don't work quite right, but we need to find our way in the UK and this will be another scheme where ideas can be tested out. My biggest fear is that it will be over-subscribed from day one!
So roll on next summer when we can look forward to pootling along next to the Thames with huge grins on our faces. I will be looking forward to seeing the grins on kid's faces too because they will be able to get to some of the great places London has to offer on their cycles, rather than waiting for once-a-year road closures.
Yes, the East-West Cycle Superhighway will not only be a new London attraction in its own right, it will give all new iconic views of London as well as fulfilling its important new transport function. Finally, cycling is coming to the City.
|An entirely new perspective on the Palace of Westminster.|
|The new track takes shape, as seen from Waterloo Bridge.|