UPDATE 26.05.20 The work to extend the cycle lane to the whole length of Park Lane and to link it with existing cycle tracks is underway. It is promising that the bus stops bypasses are built in asphalt.
It is also good to see that the speed limit has been lowered to 30kph. It now needs to be enforced.
The main point of article stands: to open a half finished cycle track next to the fastest street in Central London for publicity purposes is very foolish, against Vision Zero principles, and characteristic of our Mayor.
London is the world capital of two things: recycling dirty money and bullshit. It is a stinking place of foreign thieves and local lying politicians.
Londoners seem to be happy to pinch their nose and carry on. After eight years of the King of Bullshit, they were happy to elect an ex-lawyer, who says that building a massive tunnel under the Thames for motor traffic is carbon neutral.
Khan’s idea of planning is
- make an announcement of an ambitious scheme
- covertly encourage someone to oppose it
- blame the opponent for not allowing him to be of service to Londoners
Just look at his various steps over the saga of the Oxford Street pedestrianisation.
There, the virus has effectively done what Khan was afraid to do.
Khan is not having a good crisis:
- In early March while the virus was quickly spreading in the capital and Ireland was readying itself to lockdown, Khan announced that the St Patrick’s Parade would go ahead (he was later forced to backtrack),
- At the beginning of the lockdown, he had evidence from cities like Milan and Barcelona that the number of public transport passengers would plummet to 5% of normal. He could then forecast almost to the day when he would run out of money. On day 2 of the lockdown, he should have gone to the Chancellor and said “either you give me £x billions or I need to shut down tube and buses”. He didn’t and he ended up being humiliated by the Clown,
- Most seriously, under his watch, dozens of bus drivers and tube workers perished as they were asked to work without proper protection (follow this scandal here),
- As the media reported on myriads of interventions in all continents to make walking and cycling safer, not one word from City Hall or Palestra House. The optimists were hoping that staff were beavering away on some phantasmagorical plan.
When Schapps and Gilligan announced that the Government was providing funding for urgent interventions, a week passed and still nothing from Khan,
Then he gave the cheerleaders what they wanted. A big ambitious plan. “Wow” “amazing” “game-changer”.
These people had learned nothing in the past four years. If one counts the cycling schemes that he axed or that he manouvred to be opposed, Khan’s tally of newly designed AND built cycle tracks is negative.
To give Khan the benefit of the doubt is a losing bet. To prove his mendacity, one just has to look at the short stretch of cycle track that has been built on Park Lane.
There is a strong argument to intervene here: the N-S cycle track in Hyde Park is too busy and has been ruined with humps by the asocial sadists at the Royal Parks; Park Lane, the parallel route, is a no go Mad Max zone with drivers confident that speeds of 130km are tolerated.
So what did TfL do? they built a totally pointless track for a few hundred metres half way up Park Lane.
Why there? Because it is the only spot that they could find that met these criteria
- somewhere recognisable by the world media
- somewhere central (Khan had heard that Paris was shutting rue de Rivoli to cars)
- somewhere with no bus stops
So Khan found his stretch of few hundred meters where he could crow how much the “best big city in the world” was doing.
Did he think of linking his little track to the existing tracks? If he did, he must have been too busy designing and affixing his beautiful sign “StreetSpace for London”
Did he think that Vision Zero would suggest not to open the cycle track until it was ready, rather than opening it as the death trap it is now?
You are having a laugh. This is politics; the track’s purpose is to make Khan look good, not to help Londoners.