Cycling Superhighways – Plans for Extension


Currently, the East-West Cycle Superhighway runs to Tower Bridge from Parliament and features a mostly high quality wide bidirectional track. In the East, at Tower Bridge, it directly connects with CS3 running along Cable Street to Barking, and this superhighway also connects with the North-South Cycle Superhighway at Blackfriars Bridge.

Work will soon be beginning in the West on the section that passes Buckingham Palace, continuing the East-West Superhighway on to Hyde Park’s northern edge and then on to Westbourne Terrace close to Paddington.

There have been consultations carried out about extending the East-West Superhighway further onto the Westway which is elevated over the borough of Kensington & Chelsea, and then on towards Acton. Once it passes Wood Lane, the Superhighway will become “shared use”, and although the improved provision is welcome, it is not fit to be branded as a Cycle Superhighway. At the present time, a decision is awaited from Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, as to whether the extension project will go ahead, and if so whether it will retain its current route.

The North-South Superhighway

The current route of the North-South Superhighway stretches from its southern point at Elephant & Castle up to Stonecutter Street in Holborn in the North. It has a high quality bidirectional track along most of its length, however the section between Elephant & Castle and St George’s Circus is currently a problematic area that requires urgent rectification. The track to the North of St George’s Circus crossing Blackfriars Bridge where it links to the East-West Cycle Superhighway however is arguably one of the best cycling facilities in the country.

There have been recently consultations regarding an extension to Kings Cross on the North-South route. Currently, the Mayor’s approval is awaited on this project. The northbound route uses narrow, quiet back streets past Farringdon’s Greville Street until it reaches Tavistock Place and beyond that point, a modal filter is proposed at Judd Street to ensure the road remains quiet on its route up to Euston Road. Southbound, the route partially runs on Farringdon Road and partially on quieter streets using a segregated cycle track, however the quality is lower. The extension’s current design also retains a significant risk at several junctions including those at Charterhouse Street and Snow Hill.

Other London Cycle Superhighways

There are 10 other Cycle Superhighways in London – the 12th which was due to run to Angel from Finchley has now been dropped from the programme as has the 6th, which was supposed to run to the City from Penge.

Superhighway 1 – Tottenham to the City

The CS1 cannot really be termed a Superhighway, but rather a SuperQuietway. Running to Liverpool Street Station from White Hart Lane in Tottenham, this route primarily runs along side streets but retains the advantage of having fewer traffic lights. This route however requires some work as there are design flaws at Old Street and a lack of quietening at key sections of heavily trafficked routes.

Superhighway 2 – Aldgate to Stratford

Running to Stratford from Aldgate, CS2 has been beset with problems since before its construction. Concerns were expressed even before its opening regarding low levels of cyclist protection and to date, six cyclist have already died on this route. A consultation was held in 2014 about the need to urgently upgrade the section between Aldgate and Bow and as a result, 95% of those who responded wanted increased protection along this route, however the plans have still been watered down and this has led to active campaigns by the Tower Hamlets Wheelers for a reversal of the Transport for London decision on this matter. While upgrading works are complete for the present, more work is required to ensure the optimal running of this Superhighway as there remains a considerable amount of risk at many junctions including at Newham’s Warton Road and the Bow roundabout.

Superhighway 3 – Barking to Tower Gateway

The quality of Superhighway 3 is very mixed. The narrow 2-way track between Tower Bridge and Cable Street is safe yet too low in capacity for the current level of usage, while the section that goes onto the A13 towards Barking is of poor quality and too narrow. There have been recent consultations with the Tower Hamlets Council about making some of the track one way and fitting “bus gates”, modal filters and one-way systems to eliminate through traffic however the details of the proposal require tweaking before being implemented.

Superhighway 4 – London Bridge to Woolwich

Running from London Bridge to Woolwich through Greenwich and Deptford, this superhighway is not yet open but should include improvements to three of the junctions – Surrey Quays, Woolwich Road and the Rotherhithe Roundabout.

Superhighway 5 – Central London to Lewisham

This Superhighway is now partially open, with its first section running from north of the Vauxhall Bridge to the Oval. The two way track and junction treatments are high quality but very short. The extensions that will take this track towards Lewisham and Belgravia have not yet been implemented.

Superhighway 7 – Merton to the City

Launched in 2010, this Superhighway has seen a major increase in cycling volume due to the upgrades to the stretch surround the Oval, however the rest of the route now requires improvement.

Superhighway 8 – Wandsworth to Westminster

This Superhighway also requires improvements, especially in Battersea. Although there have been consultations about the design for the Queens Circle Roundabout, it is not ideal as a crossroad junction would work better with protected turns and space for cyclists.

Superhighway 9 – Hyde Park to Hounslow

Due to be opened during 2014, this Superhighway was opposed by the Kensington and Chelsea Council. The Hounslow and Hammersmith and Fulham sections are set to go ahead, however campaigning continues for the CS9 to reach the West End through Kensington & Chelsea.

Superhighway 10 – Cricklewood to Marble Arch

This Superhighway was not due to be constructed before the middle of 2016 and completion is not expected until 2021.

Superhighway 11 – West Hampstead to Hyde Park Corner

Due for completion by December 2016, this superhighway includes the removal of the Swiss Cottage gyratory which would be returned to a two-way traffic system. Currently, this scheme is being reviewed by the mayor due to opposition posed by some of the local residents and campaigns are continuing for its go-ahead, as well as for extensions to the north along the Finchley Road.