Boris pledges £900m boost to cycle spend

BORIS Johnson yesterday pledged to invest more than £900m over the next decade in cycle schemes, including a 15-mile east-west route which the Mayor dubbed “Crossrail for the bicycle”.

The proposed network of Dutch-style routes will include a main artery running through the City of London, connecting the west of the capital to Barking, via Westminster and Canary Wharf. Due to be completed by 2016, it will involve the conversion of one lane of the already congested Westway elevated motorway for the exclusive use of cyclists.

Yesterday the Mayor said he wanted the investments to encourage more people to travel around the capital on a bicycle: “I want to de-Lycrafy cycling. I want to make it normal, something for everyone, something you feel comfortable doing in your ordinary clothes.”

Transport commentator Christian Wolmar told City A.M. that he has concerns about whether the funding is secure after 2016: “The question is whether they manage to persuade the boroughs to do the work given a lot of the [east-west] route isn’t on TfL controlled roads.”

“But it is impossible not to welcome this. They have begun to understand the need for a comprehensive look at continuous routes and building things to a better standard.”

Other measures in the plan include a new network of “quietways” on side streets to encourage more nervous cyclists to take to the roads and new routes that follow well-known tube lines.

There will also be a substantial investment in accident blackspots such as the Elephant & Castle roundabout, Blackfriars and Vauxhall.

Investments in outer boroughs and an expansion of the cycle hire scheme – popularly known as “Boris Bikes” – are also included as part of the proposals.