Boris Johnson considers an elevated cycle line for London inspired by Manhattan's High Line
If this idea is taken seriously, it will be a groundbreaking step in city transport: to create a whole cycling network for London on the existing elevated rail tracks.
Cycling on London overground tracks would be certainly faster and safer than doing so on the roads, and the genius thing about it, it's that the lanes are already built.
That's what the mayor for London Boris Johnson is considering, a raised cycle system between the main stations in London.
"There is a proposal, which is very interesting, to hook up mainline stations in London along the side of the raised railway tracks, with a new cycle path. So from Clapham Junction to Waterloo - around town like that," Johnson told The Times.
To certain extent, the precedent seems to be the High Line in New York - a popular greenway built on a raised, disused line running one mile though Manhattan. However, cycling is not permitted there.
It's difficult to see how a comprehensive version of this line can be created in London, bearing in mind that in this case the lanes would be shared with trains that supposedly will be working. On top of that, the cycling network would need special accesses in the stations, a system to differentiate between train passengers, walkers, cyclists, cyclist who want to take the train and so on.
This range of obstacles, however, might not be a deterrent for Johnson: "The mayor is committed to leading a cycling revolution in London. The use of railway land or elevated cycleways to provide fast and direct cycling routes around the capital is an exciting idea that his team are looking into," said a spokesman for the mayor.
Cycling campaigners seem to be more pragmatic than those in charge of Transport for London and they call for an improvement in the existing routes before starting with such an ambitious plan."While we're fascinated by Boris Johnson's plan to put cycle routes along London's working railways and would love to know how far his negotiations have got with Network Rail, we'd much rather hear the Mayor saying he's prepared to build high-quality cycling facilities on the streets that Londoners use every day," said a spokesman from the London Cycling Campaign.
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