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'I've built 140km of cycle infrastructure in London': Khan defies cycling critics

Laura Laker
21 Sep 2018

Mayor Sadiq Khan hits back at cycling infrastructure critics as he unveils new cycle superhighway extensions

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced he has completed 140 km of cycle routes during his mayoralty so far, as a further 2.5km of cycle superhighway opened this week, from Farringdon to Kings Cross.

At the opening of an extension to cycle superhighway 6, which now runs 5km south to Elephant and Castle, Khan said he’s optimistic about meeting his pledge to triple the protected cycle routes built by former mayor Boris Johnson. However, critics say he’ll have to get a move on, as much of what he’s built are largely unprotected 'quietways'.

Khan said he is working with boroughs who are willing to build decent walking and cycling infrastructure, while condemning Westminster City Council, who blocked Oxford Street pedestrianisation and cycle superhighway 11, as ‘anti-walking, anti-cycling’.

He hinted at more outer London routes, saying: “The obsession is segregated cycle superhighways in Central London. That’s important, but we need to remember there are millions of people across London who want to cycle more, so we’re working on 25 corridors, we’re making sure 73 of the most dangerous junctions are improved across our city.”

He also name-checked a permit scheme for HGVs to phase out the most dangerous vehicles from London’s roads, and tackling London’s ‘killer’ air pollution.

The London Cycling Campaign’s Simon Munk welcomed the CS6 extension but warned Khan will need to move faster if he hopes to triple the protected cycle infrastructure built by his predecessor.

He said: 'We are very excited about the mayor moving forward on delivering cycling infrastructure. There’s a lot of stuff happening now but it has taken some time to get up to speed.'

Of the 140km, around 120km are quietway routes, made of 'fairly poor stuff', says Munk.

'We are very positive about the concept of quietways. We think they are a vital part of the mix, but not in their current form.'

'On just about every single quietway we have seen has major issues,' he says. These range from excessive traffic volumes or speeds, to dangerous junctions.

He added much of Sadiq’s 140km was started by, and in some cases consulted on, under the former mayor. However, he praised Khan for taking a tougher line on borough schemes that aren’t up to scratch, by starting to defund them.

Khan was enthusiastic about the benefits of cycling for London and acknowledged progress needs to ramp up, to solve congestion and pollution in the city.

He said: 'The fastest form of transport in London is cycling. In Central London there are more than half a million kilometres cycled each day. We need to accelerate that progress,

'There’s a health case, there’s a business case, but also you know what? It’s enjoyable too.'

He called on Londoners to put pressure on underperforming boroughs to improve road safety, but in the meantime, he is working with a “coalition of the willing” boroughs.

'I’m not going to be put off by an anti-walking anti-cycling council like Westminster,' he said.

'We know the number of serious injuries and fatalities is unacceptable. That’s why we need councils to work with us.'

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