The Evening Standard reports that Royal Parks is refusing to allow a segregated cycle lane to pass in front of the Queen Victoria Memorial and wants it routed along the edge of The Mall instead. Royal Parks has since said that no final decisions have been made and that it will respond soon.
A seven-week consultation has begun on proposals for the parks section of the East-West Cycle Superhighway on the route from Lancaster Gate to St James's Park. The plans include a new two-way segregated cycle track through Hyde Park along West Carriage Drive and South Carriage Drive, an improved cycle track separated from traffic along North Carriage Drive and also segregated tracks along Birdcage Walk and Constitution Hill.
However, the Evening Standard raises the possibility of a 300m gap in the superhighway between Birdcage Walk and Constitution Hill in front of Buckingham Palace. The proposed route would pass about 20m in front of the gates, but there has been no apparent objection from the Queen or members of the Royal household.
Transport for London (TfL) believes that redirecting the superhighway along The Mall would be unsatisfactory as it would put cyclists into conflict with pedestrians crossing between the palace and Green Park.
Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor’s cycling tsar, said:
“We have been working for months with the Royal Parks to resolve the problem of either a gap in the middle of the flagship route or a serious pedestrian-cyclist conflict at Constitution Hill. We very much hope we can still resolve this problem.”
On its website, the London Cycling Campaign points out that cyclists would either have to use the existing shared-use area along with thousands of pedestrians or use the main carriageway where they would have to mix with six lanes of motor traffic.
Rosie Downes, Campaigns Manager at London Cycling Campaign said:
“This is the Mayor’s flagship East-West cycle superhighway. It's had support from thousands, and hundreds of thousands of others have been looking forward to their promised high quality, segregated route from East to West London. To now suggest that this flagship cycle superhighway should have a 300 metre gap in it directly outside the iconic location of Buckingham Palace is frankly embarrassing. When you factor in the fact that cyclists will be expected to either share space with thousands of tourists, or share road space with six lanes of motor traffic, it becomes downright dangerous.
“We sincerely hope Royal Parks will give permission for the East-West cycle superhighway to continue, on dedicated, segregated cycle track, in front of the Queen Victoria Memorial. Otherwise there will be high risk of collision between all road users in the area of the Memorial, including the millions of tourists who visit Green Park each year."
The Royal Parks yesterday tweeted: “We’re reviewing the cycle superhighway plans & will respond soon, no final decisions have been made.”
Consultations have also begun on plans for improvements to Lancaster Gate Gyratory and Northumberland Avenue with revisions having been made following the initial East-West consultation.
The Lancaster Gate plans would now see cyclists on the East-West Cycle Superhighway provided with a more direct route to Hyde Park via Westbourne Street and Bayswater Road. The cycle track is now planned for the eastern side of Westbourne Street which removes conflicts with loading bays and the taxi rank.
The new Northumberland Avenue proposals involve a ban on right turns into Victoria Embankment to improve traffic flow and a new advisory cycle lane.
More details can be found on all the proposals here.