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Westway superhighway plan

Plans to build a cycle superhighway on the Westway flyover were today formally axed by Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The proposed extension of Boris Johnson’s flagship East-West superhighway would have used one lane of the elevated section of the A40 between Paddington and Acton to extend the so-called “Crossrail for bikes” west of Hyde Park.

Transport for London says it is now “assessing the feasibility” of an alternative route on Bayswater Road, Notting Hill Gate, Holland Park Avenue and Wood Lane.

Mr Khan’s decision to abandon the Westway was first rumoured last November but confirmed this afternoon as TfL published long-delayed results of a second public consultation.

Despite securing 69 per cent support in the 847 responses, TfL said there were difficulties accessing the route, potentially unpleasant cycling conditions and a high cost. The consultation was conducted between February and March 2016, towards the end of Mr Johnson’s second term as Mayor.

An initial TfL consultation, in January 2015, found 70 per cent support for building the superhighway on the Westway. See p163 of the PDF

TfL said any construction on the Westway would have been delayed with three years of structural repairs to the flyover that are due to start next year.

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “After careful consideration of feedback from the public and local boroughs we have decided not to pursue a cycle route over the Westway flyover. Instead we are exploring the feasibility of an alternative cycle route which would include Bayswater Road, Notting Hill Gate, Holland Park Avenue and Wood Lane.

“The Westway route fails to deliver benefits for pedestrians, it would have serious connectivity problems in terms of getting on and off the route, and the significant road refurbishment that we need to carry out along the route between 2018 and 2020 would seriously delay construction.

“The Mayor and TfL remain absolutely committed to delivering a high quality cycle route in this part of west London and making walking and cycling in London safer and easier.”

However the decision was greeted with concern by some cyclists, many of whom accuse Mr Khan of failing to build on Mr Johnson’s legacy or meet an election pledge to make London a “byword for cycling” across the world.

The Westway option was only proposed by Mr Johnson and his cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan because Kensington and Chelsea council refused to allow a superhighway on Kensington High Street. The Tory authority is responsible for much of the alternative route.

This was the reaction on Twitter:

Sean‏ @seanlondonandon: “Less direct, less road space and on RBKC roads an LA who refuse to allow protected bike lanes. This is yet more failing on cycling”

Liz Almond‏: “I don’t have any confidence that RBKC would allow TfL to build anything that would be worth the money.”

Josh Blacker‏: “Much better connectivity than Westway route – no side roads on elevated section to leave/join.”

Jon Stone‏: “Not necessarily a bad thing, because a street-level route could be more useful – but given TfL’s recent designs…”

The Westway plans involved the removal of one of the three eastbound lanes to create a bi-directional superhighway.

Motorists feared the loss of a lane would add to congestion experienced by drivers heading onto Marylebone Road. There were also concerns that cyclists would be riding alongside polluted area.

Caroline Russell, a Green Party member of the London Assembly, said: “The cancelled Westway route was a replacement for the cancelled CS10 to Park Royal. It wasn’t perfect taking people over the Westway on their bikes but would have provided  a safe east west route for people in west London. 

“TfL have put £750k into a study but it gives a project completion date of 2021. Is this simply some well-funded long grass?

“The Mayor must get on with this urgently. He must provide a decent east west route. People need properly connected networks if they are going to switch their daily journeys to bike. 

“If the Mayor is going to achieve his ambitious targets of getting people to change the way they travel he most provide people with safe, convenient and well connected networks of cycle routes that get people to work, to school to healthcare and the shops.”