A sixth of roads in London are wide enough to accommodate protected cycle lanes and could be quickly converted to keep cyclists safe, researchers revealed today.
They found there was space for 2.2m-wide pop-up lanes in either direction on an extra 1,464 miles of road – enabling an eightfold increase in the amount of segregated space as lockdown eases and while Londoners are advised to avoid public transport .
Dr Ashley Dhanani, of The Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL, said: “Many Londoners want to cycle to avoid using public transport but are concerned about their safety when cycling on main roads. This new analysis shows there is plenty of space to create cycle lanes on key routes across the city.”
The researchers said it was important to avoid building short sections of cycle lanes in a “piecemeal” manner.
They identified five roads able to provide long, continuous routes for commuters heading into central London: the A5 from Edgware hospital to Marble Arch, the A2 from New Cross to Elephant and Castle, Camberwell Road/A2216 from East Dulwich to Elephant and Castle, the A107 from Hackney Central to the Royal London hospital, and the A503 from Manor House to Regent’s Park.
Dr Dhanani said: “Long, continuous lanes along key routes to key employment centres are essential to support the large numbers of people who are likely to want to cycle to work.”
To accommodate 2.2m cycle lanes on each side – the width recommended by Transport for London – the research found that a road would need to be at least 11m wide – allowing 3m of space in each direction for vehicles and 0.6m for low kerbs or protective barriers to enable segregation.
This would increase protected routes from two per cent to 16 per cent of all streets in London.
Researcher Nicolas Palominos said: “London has a real opportunity to create a comprehensive cycling network. This would both make cycling convenient and attractive and achieve concrete progress in promoting sustainable urban mobility.”
TfL is funding more than 500 borough schemes to encourage cycling and walking, though many of these are small scale.
Lucy Saunders, director of the charity Healthy Streets, said: “This data shows the scale of what could be achieved over the coming weeks through simply marking out safe space for cycling on our street.”