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"Future can't be rolling back cycle routes because politicians and taxi drivers get angry": Cyclist numbers rise on one of London's most heavily-criticised pop-up bike lanes

Transport for London's figures show usage is on the rise...just as six-week consultation looms to decide infrastructure's future...

One of London's most frequently criticised pop-up cycle lanes is attracting rising numbers of cyclists, the latest Transport for London figures reveal.

However, the increase comes with the looming six-week consultation from TfL to decide if the protected infrastructure should be made permanent, modified or scrapped.

TfL's data shows the route has been used by up to 2,400 cyclists a day, with 365 an hour using the bi-directional route along the western flank of Park Lane during peak times.

The lane has received fierce criticism from some who say it has increased congestion, and is unnecessary considering it runs adjacent to the shared-use path inside Hyde Park. Although TfL's data shows the parallel route remains more popular than the pop-up infrastructure, it has cut the number of people cycling along the path shared with pedestrians.

Evening Standard health editor Ross Lydall shared the news of the increased cycle numbers after the monthly data was published in response to a freedom of information request.

Counts were carried out at three points during three different time periods, painting a picture of increased infrastructure usage.

The Park Lane lane was built in May 2020 in response to the the pandemic, as part of the Streetspace programme to encourage Londoners to opt for active travel instead of public transport during the first wave.

> London 'in real trouble' if emergency bike lanes not built soon (+ gallery of new pop-up lane on Park Lane)

The average number of users in the morning peaked at 213 an hour last September and 365 in the evening last July. Increased usage during the summer months is another noticable trend, with the lowest numbers coming with 76 an hour in the morning in February, and 146 in the evening last December.

In total, of the seven months that can be compared on a year-on-year basis, five or six show increased usage.

Simon Munk, of the London Cycling Campaign, told the Evening Standard: "The future for London can't be rolling back cycle routes because some politicians and some taxi drivers get angry with congestion in general.

"If we're serious about the climate crisis, about active travel, inactivity, pollution and road danger we need to connect this route up, we need a lot more routes like it, and we need an end to endless rounds of opposition to any and every cycling scheme by some politicians and vested interests."

Conservative member of the London Assembly, and previously vocal critic of the now-scrapped Kensington High Street cycle lane, Tony Devenish, said the lane is "still remarkably empty for much of the time".

"Bus times have got a bit better but buses are still being held up by a lot of traffic on that road. Often I feel Mr Khan is trying to push cars off the roads but all he is doing is causing more congestion."

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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