The exciting part of representing a borough like Southwark is seeing how policy changes from the Mayor and City Hall benefit local people.
A recent example of this is the proposal set out in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy for a cycle superhighway from Tower Bridge to Greenwich. Such a scheme would help to make cycling easier and safer for residents.
I am a big fan of the segregated cycle lanes having spent part of my undergraduate degree living and studying in the small Dutch town of Utrecht. I fondly remember the welcome address given to all international students, in which we were told we needed to buy “a bicycle and a really good lock ASAP!” By the end of my second week I was whizzing around the streets of Utrecht like the ultimate pro.
There is high demand and interest in cycling in London. However, conversations with local people have revealed that some still view cycling as dangerous. It is a fear I completely understand, particularly having witnessed a number of incidents involving cyclists, such as a collision with a car. Sadly, several serious and fatal collisions involving cyclists have occurred on some of the busy roads and junctions in Southwark. This clearly demonstrates the case for making cycling on London’s roads safer.
If we are to really tackle the issue of cleaning up the dirty air and easing congestion on our roads, we need more people cycling and walking. This can only work if there are safe, accessible routes linking key cycling and walking routes to major transport hubs such as train, tube and bus stations.
I work in London Bridge and I cannot recall the last time I was not caught up in some form of traffic jam approaching Tooley Street. So, I greatly welcome the Mayor’s news that he will be consulting on plans for a Cycle Superhighway 4 route which will provide more than 4 kilometres of a new two-way segregated cycle lane from Tooley Street, Jamaica Road, Evelyn Street and Creek Street. This new route will help to address the congestion in the area and the growing demand for cycling in our part of South London along the busy A200 from Tower Bridge. We are also getting the added bonus of an upgrade of over 20 existing road crossings and the redesign of the Rotherhithe roundabout to giving priority to buses. I recently visited Sands Film Studio and instead of walking the short distance to the venue from Canada Water underground station, I took the C10 bus, only to get caught in the traffic leading up to the roundabout!
Transport for London (TfL) will be consulting on these plans and I would encourage all local residents, community groups and businesses to share their views on this new cycle route. The details are available on the TfL website via www.tfl.gov.uk/cs4. There will be a range of public consultation events and a hard copy of the consultation plan will be available at Canada Water Library and Blue Anchor Library.