The first section of Boris Johnson’s flagship segregated North-South cycleway officially opened today, just six months after work began, providing cyclists with a safe 800m route between Elephant & Castle and Blackfriars Road.
When the route is completed it will run to Kings Cross while a second east-west route will link Barking to Acton. Both are part of the Mayor’s £1bn strategy to “de-Lycrafy” cycling and increase the number of Londoners who bike around the capital.
Construction of the section has caused delays to motorists and the project is one of several identified by Transport for London as having the potential to increase journey times and disrupt the capital’s traffic flow.
TfL claims traffic levels around the newly opened section “have greatly eased since work finished” are now “back to similar levels seen before the work began”.
Mayor Johnson said: “This is another key moment in the evolution of cycling in our great city. We promised world-class facilities and that’s exactly what’s being delivered on the ground.
“We appreciate there’s disruption going on as this network of routes takes shape alongside other major development work in London, but TfL is pulling out all the stops to minimise delays.”
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, added: “It’s incredible that in just six months we have managed to transform these roads into a truly continental cycling landscape.
“A cyclist travels along the North-South corridor every two seconds in the peak, and the new protected route will provide a direct, safer journey for thousands of new and experienced cyclists.
“We will continue building these routes, both here and more widely across London, thanking local residents and businesses for their patience as we do so.”
Despite today’s opening the full route will not be completed until December 2016, six months after Mr Johnson leaves office, and of 12 planned cycle superhighways only five will be completed before next May’s mayoral election.
London Assembly member Darren Johnson welcomed completion of the new section which he said would make “a major contribution to making our streets safer”.
However he accused the Mayor of having done “very little for outer Londoners who want to cycle” and called on his successor “to make sure a truly inclusive cycling revolution can take place by delivering safe, segregated routes so that Londoners can enjoy getting around on two wheels, wherever they happen to live.”