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London's first fully protected cycle route opened by Boris Johnson today

Route will be a "lifesaver" protecting bike riders from one of London's "nastiest" junctions where a cyclist died last year...

London’s first fully protected cycle superhighway was opened by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, this morning, providing a route for cyclists across one of the capital’s worst one-way systems, where a cyclist was killed last year.

 The 1.4km long Cycle Superhighway 5 (CS5),  from Oval to Pimlico, is the first of the Mayor's cycle superhighway upgrades to be completed, with more to follow in the coming months.

The two way route, which passes through Vauxhall Cross gyratory, will be a "lifesaver", according to the Mayor’s cycling commissioner, who describes the junction as “the nastiest in London”. Since completion the route is being used by more than 750 cyclists in the peak hour, a 29% increase from before construction started six months ago.

Video: First look at London's North-South Cycle Superhighway

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: "We've brought a bit of Amsterdam to the unlikely environs of Vauxhall - opening up access to huge swathes of south London for safer cycling. I've always believed that more Londoners would cycle if they felt safer, and this new route already proves it.

"The astounding rises in cycling through Vauxhall should lay gently to rest any doubts about the need for my new superhighways, the pent-up demand in London for cycling - and the part my cycle lanes can play in taking other vehicles off our crowded streets."

Improving London's cycle superhighways to Continental standards was one of Johnson's election pledges, made in response to campaigners' demands ahead of the 2012 mayoral elections, along with improving London's most dangerous junctions and building three "mini Hollands", showcases of people-friendly streets in outer London.

This morning London’s cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, told “I think [CS5] is going to be a lifesaver. This is the nastiest, I think, gyratory in London. As you know a cyclist was killed going round it last year. You just don’t have to do it any more, you can completely avoid the gyratory if you’re going on any of the main routes.”

Before the new cycle route was built, people on bikes made up almost a quarter of rush hour traffic. Since the work was completed that has risen to almost 40%.

Gilligan echoed Boris Johnson’s comments that the increased numbers prove if you build it, they will cycle.

Andrew Gilligan: detractors of cycling programme will be embarrassed once they see benefits

Gilligan said: “It’s a sign that what we’ve been saying all along is right … build it and they will come. We always knew there were thousands of people out there who wanted to cycle, if only they felt safer doing so, and this is doing that, this is proving that we can take journeys off the roads, we can take journeys off the public transport network.”

London’s population is growing by 10,000 per week and Gilligan told the only way to move everyone around is to increase cycling capacity on the roads.

He said: “If the transport system’s going to be able to cope at all, we have to do this, it’s not an option, it’s not some luxury … it’s the only way to keep the whole place moving. There’s another way, which is to build more roads, which is physically impossible in London.”

Next week Transport for London (TfL) will consult on returning Vauxhall Cross to a two-way system for traffic, with the aim of improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists alongside massive redevelopment work in the area.

Leon Daniels, TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: "Vauxhall is an area which will see tremendous change in the next decade, with the Nine Elms development, the Northern line extension and our wider plans to transform the Vauxhall Gyratory to two-way traffic. This new dedicated route through the area is the product of many years hard work by our designers, engineers and contractors. I would also like to thank local people for having borne with us while the work has taken place. This new, direct route will make cycling through the area safer for all."

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thereverent | 8 years ago
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Vauxhall bridge and Vauxhall cross use to be one of the worse places to cycle in London. I use to have to use it everyday. This has made a massive improvement (although some work for the other junctions is needed).

I've used this lane a few times and now will chose to use Vauxhall bridge on my commute rather than avoiding it as previously.

The main thing I would change is the area at the south end of the bridge which could do with a change in level (or a curb) between the pedestrian path and the cycle path. Currently pedestrians wonder across not realising it's a cycle path. But still a massive improvement.

Possibly more width at the waiting areas to cross the lights would also be good, as it's going to attract a lot of cyclists now.

bikebot | 8 years ago

LBC reporting on the route this morning, taking their lack of impartiality on cycling stories to a new level.

Airzound | 8 years ago

And how about other imfamous killer junctions in London?

OldRidgeback replied to Airzound | 8 years ago

Airzound wrote:

And how about other imfamous killer junctions in London?


Well the junction of the A3 and A23 at Kennington is a lot better than it was. Several others are being worked on.

Build it and they shall come.


Cyclists now have a fully protected route through one of London's most frightening gyratories and across Vauxhall Bridge after the Mayor officially opened the new Oval to Pimlico cycle superhighway.

The new continuous two-way and separated cycle lane runs for 1.4 kilometres, providing a safe cycle-friendly route for all ages and abilities through Vauxhall gyratory and across Vauxhall Bridge.

In the busiest peak hour, more than 750 cyclists are already using the new dedicated segregated lane which was opened three weeks ago. This is a 29 per cent increase to the total number crossing the Vauxhall bridge in the same hour before the segregated cycle tracks were installed.

...Before the improvements, cyclists accounted for almost a quarter of rush-hour traffic through Vauxhall with around 580 in the busiest peak hour. With the opening of the new route, the proportion of rush-hour traffic which is bikes has already risen to almost 40 per cent.


CXR94Di2 | 8 years ago
1 like

Why is Boris opposed to increasing/safeguarding the budget spend on cycling/walking infrastructure if it's so essential to safety of cyclists, also with all the obvious health advantages?

Mr. Sheep | 8 years ago

This intervention is a thing of absolute beauty... I've been cycling an extra 1.5 miles each way, each day, just to ride along it for the last couple of weeks.

I would never have thought that cycling through Vauxhall Cross could ever be described as "fun" but it is now!

It's taken a long, long time to start to get this stuff on the ground, but with this, east-west and north-south all now rapidly shaping up, things are finally looking better!

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