The Clapham Road superhighway

One of London’s first two ‘cycle superhighways’ is due to run along Clapham Road and should be operational along its full length from Merton to the City by the summer.  The scheme promises ‘a safe, fast, direct, continuous and comfortable way of getting from outer to central London by bike along recognised commuter routes’ according to Transport for London.

The routes promise clear blue markings for the cycle lanes themselves, together with smoother road surfaces and better safety measures.  It’s not yet clear how much practical difference this will make – the document listing the implementation works is decidedly vague for something which is already underway:  the statement that existing cycle lanes will be widened ‘where possible’ does not inspire immediate confidence, and continuous blue cycle lanes through juntions are only being trialled.  There is though some willingness, at least in principle, to think slightly more strategically about some of the bigger junctions:

A survey will be conducted to assess the impact of reducing the two lanes heading northbound towards the A3 at the Stockwell Gyratory to one lane, allowing the installation of a new segregated cycle lane at this location.

Meanwhile, of course, the existing London Cycle Network route 3 winds its way from Clapham Common to Waterloo along Aldebert Terrace and Stephen’s Terrace, dealing with busy main roads largely by avoiding them.  That’s the paler blue route on the map below – an extract from a larger map showing the whole route of the new cycle superhighway – which casually allows Meadow Road to cross South Lambeth Road to join up with Larkhall Lane, so let’s hope nobody tries to use it to find their way.

But how super will the cycle superhighway really be?  Andreas Kambanis, who blogs as the London Cyclist is not optimistic, comparing what, on past form, we are likely to get in London with the rather more ambitious plans for cycle superhighways in Copenhagen.  No prospect for us of copying the ‘green wave’ which means that cyclists travelling at a steady 20 kph will get green lights at each succeeding junction – but at least a recognition that cycling is increasingly one of London’s core modes of transport.


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