London mayor links technology to cyling grid

(Photo: Reuters / Peter Macdiarmid)London Mayor Boris Johnson cycles from the The Electric City Conference in London Dec. 2012.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, has announced the creation of a plan fto spend nearly 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) in creating a sophisticated cycling grid for the British capital.

"Imagine if we could invent something that cut road and rail crowding, cut noise, cut pollution and ill health – something that improved life for everyone, quite quickly, without the cost and disruption of new roads and railways.

"Well, we invented it 200 years ago: the bicycle," said Johnson announcing a sophisticated 15 mile (24 kilometer) network of cycle tracks tying in with the city's underground rail system on 7 March.

When 150 years ago, London established the first underground railway, it established itself as a world leader in city transport, says the British capital's transport commissioner.

Commissioner Peter Hendy says, "In urban transport, cycling is now at the cutting edge. Across the Western world, from Paris to New York, from Edinburgh to Dublin, forward-thinking cities are investing hundreds of millions of pounds in the bicycle."

He notes that well-designed schemes can deliver benefits far greater than their relatively modest costs.

"Because transport is not just how you get around. It is part of what shapes a city, for good and for ill. Cycling shapes a city – for all its people, cyclists or not – in ways that are almost always good," noted Hendy.

Such networks may be common in Amsterdam and in Scandinavian cities, but in London over many decades the car has been king – until gridlock.

"We will open a fast, segregated cycle superhighway – a true 'Crossrail for the bike' – stretching at least 15 miles west-east through the heart of London, from the western suburbs," to the east, says Johnson.

"We believe that it will be the longest continuous largely-segregated urban cycle route in Europe."

He said fear of injury had long discouraged people from cycling in the city of 8 million people.

But now cycling in London is much safer than it was and the rate of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the capital's roads has fallen by almost a quarter in 10 years.

"We will deliver 80,000 additional cycle parking spaces in residential locations, stations, workplaces and other trip destinations by 2016. We will put them where people most need them, above all in central London," said Johnson.

"Subject to planning and land issues, we will create a Dutch-style cycle superhub in at least one
central London mainline rail terminus, with storage for thousands of bikes, good security and
very good cycle routes radiating from it."

The city will install install Dutch-style full segregation on several streets without bus routes.

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