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Boris Johnson must “get on with” building Cycle Superhighways following“tidal wave of support”

80 per cent of consultation responses back plans, though coach industry joins opponents

Mayor of London Boris Johnson is being urged to "get on with" building two Cycle Superhighways that will cross the heart of the capital. That’s the message from more than 165 organisations with operations in the city that have pledged “a tidal wave of support” to the project. Among opponents of the scheme though is a body representing coach operators, who say they will lose vital parking space.

Since consultation opened in September on the two routes, one from King’s Cross to Elephant & Castle, the other from Tower Hill to the Westway, the website CyclingWorks.London has been collating responses from businesses and other organisations, and asking people to urge their employers to back the segregated infrastructure.

It says support for the routes has snowballed in recent weeks, and the list of organisations lending their support includes household names such as Microsoft, Orange and RBS, top-ranked professional services firms including consultants Deloitte and lawyers Allen & Overy, and major public sector employers, among them the Barts NHS Trust.

Yesterday, as the consultation period closed, London’s Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan confirmed on the BBC programme Sunday Politics that 14,000 responses had been received, and around 80 per cent of those were in favour of the plans.

Chris Kenyon, co-ordinator of CyclingWorks.London, said: “At the beginning of this consultation we had a trickle of businesses telling us they wanted to support the Mayor’s cycling plans. By the end of it we were overwhelmed with responses.

“From Bishops to bankers, from a sofa delivery company to some of London’s most exclusive lawyers, one CEO after another has taken the time to tell us – and the Mayor – that they want these safe cycle routes built without delay.”

Not all businesses are in favour, with property owner Canary Wharf Group leading calls for the consultation period to be extended – Transport for London did so by three weeks – and it circulated an anonymous briefing note warning that the routes would lead to traffic chaos, harm London’s economy and make roads more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.

Last week, ahead of the consultation closing, the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) told the London Evening Standard that it was worried about the impact of the Cycle Superhighways on the coach firms among its membership.

Coach operators bring 50 million visitors into London each year including for weekend performances of West End shows, when the vehicles typically park on the Embankment ahead of the return journey.

According to the newspaper, coach parking will be cut by more than 50 per cent to 227 metres once the east-west route along the Thames is open.

The organisation’s coaching executive, Andy Warrender, said:  “CPT UK is extremely concerned that TfL’s proposals for cycle superhighways on two routes through central London could see a reduction in designated parking and pick up and set down facilities for coaches.

“Parking is the number one issue for coach operators in London and TfL’s proposals could see a reduction of around half the available spaces in key areas such as the Embankment.

“CPT also has concerns about proposals for traffic signal phasing, arrangements for segregated islands at some stops, and cycle bypass facilities.

“If TfL’s proposals are implemented, congestion will be worsened and coaches will simply be unable to access some tourist facilities.

“The proposed restrictions on carriageway space may simply make it impossible for coaches to operate in London, denying the capital of the economic benefits they offer,” he added.

CyclingWorks.London’s Kenyon insisted however that opposition to the routes from the likes of Canary Wharf Group was simply a delaying tactic, and that the website demonstrated they had overwhelming support.

“Claims these plans are being rushed through are pure filibuster,” he said.  “The route was revealed in 2013, and will not be delivered until 2016 – three years from drawing board to completion. It’s worth remembering 14 cyclists were killed on London’s roads last year. Stalling for time is something London simply can’t afford to do.

“There’s been a tidal wave of support from companies in London who recognise that these bold Cycle Superhighway plans are not just a good thing for cyclists, but a good thing for the city as a place to employ the best talent and do business.

He concluded: "The Mayor now has a clear mandate to build these bike tracks, it is time for him to get on with it.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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37 comments

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Paul M replied to belgravedave | 9 years ago
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belgravedave wrote:

80%, really? That seems an incredibly high figure. Who were they polling the CTC! Would love you guys at road.cc to dig a little deeper and see how they attained such a percentage.

As others have said, this is a consultation - you have to write in to be counted, and evidently the great majority of those who wrote in are in favour.

Perhaps that includes a lot of cyclists, but it also includes at least 160 companies, public bodies etc. Many of those employ thousands of people in London - RBS, Deloitte, various NHS trusts to name but a few.

Finally, there has also been an opinion survey by Yougov - a standard statistical sample, polled according to the best and latest scientific methods, and adjusted for all demographics eg age, sex, political affiliations etc. That found that support for the proposals among Londoners exceeded 2/3rds of all respondents.

All pretty conclusive really. Apart from the taxi drivers association and coach operators and one commercial concern, doesn't seem like anyone is against. Even canary Wharf tenants have stopped tugging their forelocks, defied their landlord and written to support.

As for the local authorities, the coded opposition from the City would be more plausible if they had shown anything like the concern for pedestrians that they seem to be showing now, in the last three decades that I have been observing them.

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ironmancole | 9 years ago
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This is a democracy isn't it?

80% means the major minority 20% can do one, especially when their objection is about where they'll park their huge fume spewing coaches.

Here's an idea, drop them somewhere else and get them to use those spare fleshy growths sprouting from their hips...legs I think they're called.

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bikebot replied to ironmancole | 9 years ago
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ironmancole wrote:

This is a democracy isn't it?

80% means the major minority 20% can do one, especially when their objection is about where they'll park their huge fume spewing coaches.

Here's an idea, drop them somewhere else and get them to use those spare fleshy growths sprouting from their hips...legs I think they're called.

Or park somewhere else after they've dropped the passengers off. I've never understood why coaches are allowed to park all day along the Embankment.

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oozaveared replied to ironmancole | 9 years ago
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ironmancole wrote:

This is a democracy isn't it?

80% means the major minority 20% can do one, especially when their objection is about where they'll park their huge fume spewing coaches.

Here's an idea, drop them somewhere else and get them to use those spare fleshy growths sprouting from their hips...legs I think they're called.

Ok Sorry! I thought we were trying get cycling as a whole to become a normal means of transport over the long term. To build support for it. To make sure that we do it in a way that is sustainable and create projects that benefit all road users as far as possible so that we get momentum behind cycling infrastructure.

I must have missed the meeting where we decided that the new strategy was to just build something quick whenver we had a green light and then tell any objectors that we don't like their politics and to "do one".

Had I been at the meeting I might have pointed out the short termism of that approach and the limited progress that such an approach might engender. Infortunately I wasnt invited.

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bikebot replied to oozaveared | 9 years ago
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The projects been in development for years. Receiving 80% support in any consultation for such a major piece of transport infrastructure is frankly astonishing.

I'm calling it, you are Steve McNamara and I claim my five pounds.

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oozaveared | 9 years ago
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Ok I'm all for getting on with things but the tone of this sounds a bit deperate. Like someone's made a mistake with your bill and you want to leave the restaurant before they realise it.

I'd rather take a bit of time and build even more support for it and also deal with people's concerns about particular aspects.

Measure twice - Cut once.

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bikebot replied to oozaveared | 9 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:

Ok I'm all for getting on with things but the tone of this sounds a bit deperate. Like someone's made a mistake with your bill and you want to leave the restaurant before they realise it.

I'd rather take a bit of time and build even more support for it and also deal with people's concerns about particular aspects.

Measure twice - Cut once.

You think the 20% hardcore of UKIP voting Daily Mail readers will eventually come around eh?

And of course there's the LTDA, who are such a reasonable bunch that they've been threatening a judicial review since the consultation began.

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