Well known media personality Janet Street-Porter has given her views on the Cycle Superhighways in London in the Independent. She said “Sometimes it’s time to stand up and speak out, at the risk of causing offence and attracting sneers” – and she got the predictable response from the cycling lobby. She continued: “I’ve finally had enough of Boris Johnson – the man who has brought this wonderful city to its knees in the name of cycling” and “London has been turned into a gridlocked building site as roads are dug up and rebuilt to create Boris’s follies, a network of cycling superhighways”.
She argues that the extra congestion, and hence air pollution this has created has made even walking in London an unpleasant activity and she also complains that the young, the elderly or disabled may be unable to cycle. The article which also attacks cyclists as being subject to ridiculously few rules and that they frequently ride on pavements is well worth reading on the web. She concludes with the comment “If Boris becomes Prime Minister, God help us” which this writer cannot but agree with. He’s already lost my vote.
Zac Goldsmith’s views on cycling
Now it just so happens that I was able to ask a couple of questions of the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London who may take over from Boris at a recent husting meeting – Zac Goldsmith. I asked him what he was going to do to sort out the traffic congestion that Boris had created with the Cycle Superhighways, and whether he was a keen cyclist himself. In answer to the first question he said he would look at the issue when the works had been completed, and might consider mitigation measures if necessary. He avoided answering the second question altogether. An altogether weak response. I am afraid Mr Goldsmith comes across as a glib and slick politician but one who is not likely to win the election, particularly if he goes on in this manner.
Chris Boardman’s views on cycling
Olympic champion Chris Boardman was reported as saying in the Daily Telegraph that he does not ride a bike in London because it does not feel safe. He would prefer to walk. But he did argue that the Government should spend more money supporting cycling.
Shorter Street Closed
The latest destruction of road space caused by the Cycle Superhighway is the closure of Shorter Street near Tower Hill. This is a short bit of road that enables traffic coming down Mansell Street to the east to turn right so as to go west along Tower Hill and Lower Thames Street. It also enables vehicles parked in the Minories car park at Tower Hill to go to the west. They now have no practical route to do this as they can only go straight ahead (across Tower Bridge) or turn left towards The Highway. This writer did complain to TfL that this was nonsensical in the consultation on the proposals but it seems they have taken no notice.
Traffic Congestion Increased
An article by David Williams in the London Evening Standard recently reported that traffic congestion in London has been increasing. Apparently data from TomTom reveals that congestion is 14% worse in London than it was five years ago. But it need not be so – congestion in the rest of Europe over that period is 3% down, which surely demonstrates how damaging have been the policies of Boris Johnson. TomTom even reported that the “added delay” over free flowing traffic conditions rose by 37% in 2014 alone! One of the worse routes was the Embankment to Lower Thames Street for a reason you can no doubt guess – the Cycle Superhighway of course. But the new road design at the Elephant & Castle was another hot spot.