2022 New Infrastructure Review

2021 and 2022 have been the worst years for new cycle infrastructure in London for perhaps a decade. This is because between spring 2020 and summer 2022, central government refused to negotiate a long-term funding settlement with Transport for London (TfL), leading to a freeze in investment for most new cycleway schemes. This means, those listed below are either the few prioritised by TfL or those funded by either councils or S106 money.

The good news is that in September a long-term funding settlement was secured, meaning construction will soon begin on a number of schemes that have been paused since the beginning of the pandemic. Therefore, despite 2022 being a rough year, 2023 and 2024 will be transformative.

Mansell Street (C2 – C3 link)

This short cycleway was first mooted in TfL’s May 2020 Streetspace Plan. However, due to pre-arranged building works taking place, it wasn’t until late-2021 that construction could begin. This pop-up cycle track links two of London’s longest cycleways – C2 and C3 – creating a continuous safe route between Stratford and Paddington.

Cycleway 4 (Surrey Quays – Greenwich)

In 2022 a further 1.4m of Cycleway 4 was constructed, transforming a hitherto hostile main road (Creek Road and Evelyn Street) into one of the best streets for cycling in the city.

The first section of Cycleway 4 opened between 2019 and 2020, connecting Tower Bridge and Rotherhithe Roundabout. Then between 2021 and 2022, the Greenwich to Surrey Quays section was built. The last section, connecting the first two parts (along Lower Road), is now under construction. When complete, it will create a continuous cycleway between Tower Bridge and Greenwich. Looking even further ahead, Cycleway 4 will one day continue onto Woolwich, with the Tower Bridge to Greenwich section merely being the first half. 

In response to Covid-19, between 2020 and 2021, TfL and RB Greenwich constructed a pop-up version of some of the second half (Greenwich to Charlton), which was upgraded in 2022. Alongside this, in October, TfL confirmed that the Charlton to Woolwich section should start construction in 2024 and that the Greenwich Liveable Neighbourhood (which will help connect both halves) now has funding to take it through the design stage. 

Cycleway 9

After many years of working out whether they wanted to build it or not, TfL finally started constructing C9 in 2019, with a section just north of Kew Bridge. However, in 2020-2021, due to the pandemic, the following phases (Turnham Green to King Street and Hammersmith to Kensington Olympia) were built with pop-up materials. It was only in 2022 that they began constructing parts with permanent materials again. These were: Hammersmith Broadway; the Goldhawk Road to Chiswick Lane section; and Waterman’s Park. All three sections vastly improve safety along the route, with the Hammersmith Broadway section being particularly welcome due to the clear danger that the gyratory poses for cyclists. 

Recently, TfL improved the temporary section between Heathfield Terrace and Chiswick Lane, although it will not be made permanent until a consultation has taken place on the recent improvements. Alongside this, in October, TfL confirmed that the rest of the route is now funded, with construction starting on the next section (Watermans Park to Kew Bridge) in the new year.

Cycleway 18

Cycleway 18 is a proposed quietway-style route that follows the long-established National Cycle Network Route 21, along the Ravensbourne River green corridor. It has been on the cards for a number of years, but construction only started in 2021, delivering the section that lies within the London Borough of Bromley. 

As a lot of shared space paths were already in place, much of the work involved repaving and widening what was already there. The Bromley section is about 80% complete and will likely be finished in the new year. There is currently no news regarding the Lewisham and Greenwich sections, although TfL have confirmed that they are committed to delivering the route in full, so they should appear within the next few years.

Cycleway 23 (Millfields Park)

Between late-summer 2021 and early summer 2022, LB Hackney and TfL worked together to build the eastbound cycle track through Millfields Park as part of the C23 western extension to Dalston (creating a connection to Cycleway 1). This was one of the more complex parts of the scheme, which is why it has taken almost a year. In terms of quality, the track is wide and well-paved, although the section surrounding the tree in the middle could have been designed better.

Looking forward, TfL recently confirmed that funding is now secured to deliver the rest of the extension, which when complete, will create an essential link from LB Waltham Forest’s Mini Holland to the rest of London’s safe cycle network.

Cycleway 24

LB Waltham Forest began work on Bell Junction in late 2021, with works finishing in early 2022. In summer, they then started work on transforming the pop-up tracks across the Lea Valley into permanent ones, creating an attractive line of SUDS on each side of the road.

These works have created a continuous, high-quality, cycleway from Tottenham Hale Station to Waltham Forest Town Hall. Now all that needs to be done, is to introduce wayfinding along the route and improve the quality of the westward link between Tottenham Hale Station and CS1 (soon to be C1), linking it to the TfL cycle network

Cycleway 49

Cycleway 49 is perhaps the worst official TfL Cycleway in the capital. It really is hard to understand why they gave money to the London Borough of Ealing to produce such an awful route. Before getting into this, it should be said that the short sections at either end (in the London boroughs of Hounslow and Hammersmith & Fulham) are slightly better, running along filtered roads. It is indeed the middle (and far larger) section in Ealing, which is terrible.

This is the sort of guided cycle route that people would have expected to see in the 1980s or 1990s, not the 2020s! There is no new infrastructure (bar two poorly designed shared-use crossings) and no new LTNs. Worst of all, cyclists are expected to use an existing footbridge over the A40 dual-carriageway, which although has a step-free route, can only really be used if you are able to walk your bike (meaning that it is not accessible to all cyclists). 

Putting signage along routes of such poor quality really lowers the TfL Cycleway brand. This has already been damaged by C44 and parts of C27 (both in RBKC) and really needs to stop before the brand is reduced to mean as little as LCN signage.

Although it is understandable that TfL wants to deliver routes in all London boroughs, if LB Ealing is not willing to construct cycleways along its main roads or to create high-quality back-street routes, there are many other schemes in the pipeline in other boroughs that could better use that funding. And in my opinion, it seems like a mistake to divert funds away from good schemes in willing boroughs, when in Ealing, they are only a box-ticking exercise!

Cycleway 50 (LB Camden section)

The first part of Cycleway 50 was completed in mid-2022. This is one of the six cycleways committed to by Sadiq Khan in 2018, and by far the most ambitious. Starting with one of the easier-to-deliver sections, this first phase primarily follows back-streets through the new Camden Square low-traffic neighbourhood. In its current form it provides a safe link between Cycleway 6 and the new Camden Square LTN, with segregated lanes along Randolph Street and Agar Grove.

TfL have now confirmed that construction of the second section (towards Finsbury Park) will start in the new year. They’ve also confirmed that funding for the rest is now secured, although there is no start date yet for construction.

Blake Hall Road/ Centre Road/ Lake House Road/ Aldersbrook Road

In 2021, LB Redbridge held consultations for the delivery of pop-up cycle tracks along the main roads crossing Wanstead Flats; implemented across 2022. Although they are not to the highest quality in terms of lane width and consistency (giving up at junctions and bus stops), they are by far the best thing that LB Redbridge have delivered. Hopefully due to them primarily passing through green areas, there won’t be much negative feedback from the local car lobby, increasing their chances of becoming permanent. 

Haverstock Hill

The pop-up protected cycle tracks along Haverstock Hill were first announced during the Spring 2020 lockdown. The proposals however created a fierce and well-organised opposition campaign, delaying Camden’s plans. As a result, they held a consultation in 2021 and after clear public support was shown, in January 2022, they finally decided to go ahead with the scheme. At present, the final northern 50m still needs to be finished, but these works should be complete by early 2023.

This route has created a useful connection, linking Hampstead and Belsize Park, to London’s safe cycle network. Hopefully LB Camden will decide to make the tracks permanent in the near future. 

Greenford Road

Greenford Road is a scheme that emerged just before the pandemic. Construction is almost complete, with just the work around the two junctions to go. From what is visible so far, however, LB Ealing has done a good job in creating a wide and smooth cycle track along a busy and dangerous road. The only issue with it is that the street on either side is still horrible for cyclists. Hopefully the council has plans to extend the scheme (both north and south) in future.

Holborn Gyratory

Works have finally started on making Holborn gyratory safe for cyclists. This first phase of works include a segregated lane going north along Southampton Row (from Sicilian Avenue to just north of Bloomsbury Way) and early release traffic signals on all four sides of the Southampton Row/Bloomsbury Way/Theobalds Road junction. Although this is a good first step, the next phases of the project cannot come soon enough, with works on the second phase set to start in spring 2023.

Vigo Road/Glasshouse Street

In 2021 the City of Westminster installed a filter on Vigo Street between Saville Row and Sackville Street. They followed this up in late 2022, creating a contraflow immediately east, as far as Warwick Street, with new two-way traffic lights over Regent’s Street,  providing a much-needed east-west route in the area.

Looking forward, as Vigo Street appears together with Glasshouse Street and Brewers Street on the Central London Grid (2013), this route will likely continue to grow east along Brewers Street, creating a useful link from Soho to Mayfair. For the work already done to be useful, it is essential that this next stage of work goes ahead.

Uxbridge Road

LB Ealing built new cycle tracks along Uxbridge Road, between Southall and Iron Bridge – half pop-up, half permanent. The permanent section replaces a legacy bi-directional track with a wide and well-surfaced cycleway. Its only detriment is that it gives way to side streets (something which hopefully can be remedied in future). 

The pop-up additions are: a unidirectional track on the opposite side of the road which runs parallel to the permanent one; and a unidirectional eastbound track that extends out of the permanent section, almost as far as Iron Bridge. 

This scheme has made journeys much safer along an intimidating stretch of road, although as it currently stands, it isn’t long enough (especially for those heading westbound) and lacks connectivity on either side. Luckily, LB Ealing have plans to extend it east of Iron Bridge, although this currently lacks funding.

Hounslow Road

In 2020, LB Hounslow replaced the legacy protected cycle tracks along Hounslow Road (between Park Road and Saxon Avenue), with wider and safer tracks. Another part of this scheme was to extend the cycle lanes further south – under the imposing A316 junction, as far as Bear Road – however following the delivery of the first section, work stalled for two years. 

The second stretch was finally built in mid-2022, creating a vital new link between Hampton and Hanworth, with onward connections to Feltham and Whitton. Looking towards the future, what LB Hounslow and LB Richmond should do next, is continue these tracks north towards Hounslow town centre, where it can meet the future C9 western extension.

Colliers Wood to Sutton Cycleway

The London boroughs of Merton and Sutton began constructing this cycleway in 2021, with LB Sutton delivering a small section around St Helier and LB Merton widening and repaving a path through Morden Hall Park (in collaboration with the National Trust). In 2022, the next section was constructed, with a properly paved path going as far north as the crossroads with Homefield Gardens. This means that, once the section between Windsor Avenue and Merantun Way is properly paved, there will be a safe and accessible route between Colliers Wood (CS7) and Morden. Hopefully we won’t have to wait beyond 2023 for this!

Druid Street/Gedling Place

LB Southwark constructed a pop-up cycleway along Druid Street between Tanner Street (C14) and Sweeney Crescent. This route then continues south along the recently closed-to-traffic Gedling Place. This new protected route provides a safe connection for journeys from C4 and C14, towards Bermondsey Spa Gardens. Hopefully when the scheme is up for review, they’ll extend it further south to the gardens itself.

New low-traffic neighbourhoods

A number of new low-traffic neighbourhoods have been introduced in 2022, primarily in Haringey, where they’ve implemented six, covering much of the area between Tottenham and Turnpike Lane, as well as parts of Bowes Park and Bounds Green. This has transformed journeys across the borough, making not only CS1 a lot safer, but a number of legacy LCN routes too. Hopefully these will become permanent in 2023 or 2024.

Other than in Haringey, only three new LTNs have been implemented. These include one (sadly scaled back) scheme in LB Islington, between Upper Street and Essex Road and two small schemes, Ramillies Place and Strand, in the City of Westminster, as a result of newly-closed roads.

Lastly, a number of councils have announced that their pop-up LTNs will become permanent, which is great news! Moreover, with TfL’s new funding settlement, hopefully the boroughs that have confirmed this will be able to soon create permanent entry and exit treatments.

Other smaller interventions

A number of smaller interventions were implemented in 2022. These were:

  • The City of Westminster has been working on the Northbank scheme for a number of years, with construction starting in 2021, resulting in a new shared space in front of Somerset House. Although this makes journeys safer for those going east to west, access for those going west to east is poor, with no clear way for cyclists (coming from either Strand or Waterloo Bridge) to enter the space. Hopefully the new Labour administration will make some small changes in future to make it safer for cyclists;
  • In the autumn, a pathway running parallel to Tollgate Road in Beckton was repaved and turned into a shared space route. This connects to an existing shared space route to Beckton Station, providing a safe back-street alternative to Tollgate Road;
  • LB Lambeth upgraded a cycle crossing over Leigham Court Road (from Leigham Avenue to Mount Nod Road). This will one day form part of the Peckham to Streatham Healthy Route;
  • A new bridge has been constructed under the north side of Barnes Bridge, making pedestrian and cycle journeys quicker between Dan Manson Drive and The Promenade. Although construction appears complete, the bridge is not yet open;
  • The last section of Thessaly Road cycle track in Battersea was completed in early 2022. For a more detailed analysis, see 2021’s New Infrastructure Review;
  • Westminster Bridge cycle track was fully completed in early 2022. Alongside this, it became part of the new Cycleway 56, connecting CS3 (Westminster) to C5 (Lambeth). For a more detailed analysis, see 2021’s New Infrastructure Review;
  • A short unidirectional cycle track was constructed on Chamberlayne Road (between Keslake Road and the railway bridge) in Kensal Rise. This provides a safe place for cyclists to climb the bridge approach at their own speed, protected from vehicular traffic moving past at a faster pace;
  • Following the transformation of Alfred Place into a park, a narrow carriageway was left in place for access (closed for most of the day to vehicles), resulting in a new LTN/shared-space. Sadly LB Camden haven’t added a contraflow for those going south, making it officially northbound only; 
  • The City of Westminster installed a filter on Hills Place, just south of Oxford Street. This has created a new short shared space route, along with a small LTN that includes Hills Place and Ramillies Place;
  • The City of London pedestrianised part of Vine Street in Aldgate, creating a new shared space area. This route forms part of the Central London Grid, however it raison d’être has been largely superseded by the parallel Mansell Street scheme;
  • LB Waltham Forest’s pop-up cycle tracks along Woodford New Road (north of Waterworks Corner) have been turned into permanent tracks;
  • The works at Old Street Roundabout continue to progress with a few new sections of cycle track delivered this year. These works should be complete by spring 2023;
  • C5 has been extended east along filtered roads from Waterloo, to meet Cycleways 6 and 14 in Southwark;
  • TfL continues to rebrand old Cycle Superhighways and Quietways into Cycleways. Transforming CS1 into C1 (between Dalston and the City) is the most recent.

Looking forward

TfL’s recent funding settlement has already resulted in a number of schemes starting construction including: the C1-CS1 link along Bull Lane in Tottenham; C4 (Lower Road section); High Road Leytonstone; and Prince of Wales Road (pop-up to permanent). Alongside this, a number of schemes have now got official start dates for construction, with many in the first half of 2023.

What is thankfully certain now, is that next year will be great for new cycle infrastructure, with many schemes paused since the pandemic finally getting the green light. Although some of these won’t be complete until 2024, the ball is finally rolling towards London getting a cycle network fit for the 21st century.

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