Mayor Boris Johnson has announced that the Westminster to Barking section of the new East-West cycle superhighway will open on April 30th, just days before he leaves office.
Construction on the remainder of the £47m “Crossrail for cyclists” link won’t be completed until later in the year.
Plans for the route, and a separate North-South Superhighway, were first unveiled three years ago. While both are backed by cyclists and safety campaigners, some drivers have complained about delays to journeys caused by their construction.
Speaking on Monday, Mr Johnson said: “I apologise to motorists temporarily inconvenienced by the construction works on the Embankment, and I thank them for their patience in putting up with it – but the end is now in sight.
“I am immensely encouraged by the evidence from Vauxhall showing that now the scheme there is finished, the flow of traffic in the area is also returning to normal.”
Last month the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association lost a court challenge against Transport for London’s decision to start work on the routes without seeking planning permission.
Commenting on today’s official opening, Matt Winfield, acting director of transport campaign Sustains London, said: “This safe, fast cycle route right across the heart of London will give thousands of Londoners the choice to cycle for their daily needs. All the signs show that they will be hugely popular from day one, boosting our health, freeing up space on the tube lines below and saving Londoners money on travel.
“Such a long, mostly-segregated route is a huge step forward for the capital. But there’s lots more to be done. Many areas of London are not served by such impressive Cycle Superhighways and the next Mayor of London must continue the hard work and investment needed to bring cycling to the door step of thousands more Londoners.”
With spending on cycling projected to fall in the coming years, London Assembly member Darren Johnson said: “The next Mayor must boost cycle funding in TfL’s next business plan, the money coming from its reserves, and stop underspending the cycling budget.
“Getting more people on bikes would go a long way to solving London’s congestion crisis and cleaning up our dirty air.”