Plans for 136-mile 'SkyCycle' highways above London's rail lines to be put forward for consultation

The proposed plans - designed to improve safety for cyclists - would cost over £200m

Kashmira Gander@kashmiragander
Monday 30 December 2013 23:05
Cyclists ride in central London where the proposed SkyCycle routes would be built
Cyclists ride in central London where the proposed SkyCycle routes would be built

Plans for a 136-mile (219km) elevated cycle route high above the streets of London are to be put forward for consultation.

Keeping cyclists safe from motorised traffic, the first phase of SkyCycle would offer a route from Stratford in east London to Liverpool Street Station in the centre, at a cost of over £200 million.

If the plans are put in place, it would take twenty years to build ten routes above existing rail lines.

These car-free-roads could be used by about 400,000 commuters during rush hour and would cut up to half an hour from current travelling times, according to its designers.

The plans will be shown to interested parties for feedback before a planning application is submitted.

The consultation comes after six cyclists were killed on roads in London in 13 days in 2013.

A number of these deaths have taken place on cycle superhighways: supposedly safer routes for cyclists that run alongside traffic in the capital.

Designers from Sir Norman Foster’s practice, who were behind 30 St Mary Axe in London - popularly known as the Gherkin - have been working with Exterior Architecture and Space Syntax on the concept since 2012.

“Cycling is one of my great passions — particularly with a group of friends. I believe that cities where you can walk or cycle rather than drive are more congenial places in which to live,” Sir Foster told The Sunday Times.

“To improve the quality of life for all in London and to encourage a new generation of cyclists we have to make it safe. However, the greatest barrier to segregating cars and cyclists is the physical constraint of London’s streets, where space is at a premium.

"SkyCycle is a lateral approach to finding space in a congested city,” he said.

Sam Martin, a director from Exterior Architecture, compared the importance of SkyCycle to the creation of the Underground, and said: “It is a brave leap forward — it’s not a short-term fix.”

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