Transport for London (TfL) has today opened a major new Cycleway between Tower Bridge Road and Rotherhithe, which is set to make cycling and walking safer and easier for thousands of people in the area and beyond. The need for alternatives to cars and public transport continues to be hugely important as the pandemic continues. 

The 3.6km section of Cycleway 4 follows a key corridor along Jamaica Road and Tooley Street and connects southeast London to central London via a fully protected cycle route for the first time. As part of the work, Rotherhithe roundabout was completely overhauled, transforming one of the area’s most intimidating junctions with a new, safer layout that is much easier to navigate by bike. A number of people have been seriously injured cycling along the busy route in recent years and the new infrastructure, which separates people on bikes from motor traffic, will give people confidence that they can cycle safely without having to mix with vehicles. The scheme has also created three new pedestrian crossings on Jamaica Road at the junctions with Abbey Street, Bevington Street and outside the entrance to Southwark Park, to make journeys on foot simpler and quicker, as well as widening the pedestrian crossing outside Bermondsey station. 

Three new Santander Cycles docking stations have also opened along the route, which will boost access to bikes for people living in and visiting the area. The new docking stations at Tower Wharf, George Row and Rotherhithe roundabout are the first to open in this part of the city. Londoners can hire a bike for £2 for unlimited journeys up to 30 minutes, within a 24-hour period. New docking stations at nearby Canada Water and Bermondsey station will follow later this year.

Usage of Santander Cycles across London has broken several records this year, with over 8 million hires made by more than 750,000 different customers. The first eight months of the year saw new member sign ups increase by 173 per cent compared to last year, while the scheme has already set a record for the best ever September, beating the previous record of 1,058,684 hires in September 2014. All docking stations continue to be cleaned regularly with an anti-viral cleaning fluid that kills viruses and bacteria on application, with common touchpoints such as screens, bike handlebars and keypad numbers all treated. 

The newly opened section of Cycleway 4 is the first of a longer route towards Woolwich, which will be one of London’s longest cycle routes once complete. Work on a further section of the route between Greenwich and Charlton was brought forward and began at the start of September. Plans for the section between Greenwich and Charlton include vital changes to the Angerstein roundabout, where two people cycling were tragically killed in recent years. TfL will soon start work on a temporary extension of the route over London Bridge as part of the Streetspace programme, creating a valuable connection to TfL’s recently opened walking and cycling corridor to Liverpool Street and Shoreditch. 

The new route between Tower Bridge Road and Rotherhithe is the first permanent section of Cycleway to be completed since the coronavirus pandemic began and is complemented by hundreds of temporary Streetspace schemes across the capital, including the nearly 80km of new or upgraded cycle lanes created so far. TfL data has shown strong increases in the numbers of people cycling in London since the pandemic started, with an increase in cycling of 97 per cent seen recently on the weekend of 19-20 September, compared to the same weekend last year. The new infrastructure will play a vital role in sustaining this boom in numbers, with many people across the capital rediscovering cycling, or discovering it for the first time.   

Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “I’m really pleased that the first section of Cycleway 4 from Tower Bridge to Rotherhithe is now complete. By providing the first fully protected route from southeast London to central London at a time when many Londoners are beginning to cycle in the city or returning to it, we will enable many more journeys by bike. This is more critical than ever to prevent a spike in car use as public transport capacity remains reduced. Rotherhithe roundabout has been completely overhauled to reduce road danger, and the new Santander Cycle docking stations are the first for Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, which will enable us to further build on the momentum of our world-leading Streetspace programme.”   

Gareth Powell, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “We’ve seen thousands of extra cycling journeys every week since the pandemic began, as people across London discover the health and environmental benefits of getting around by bike. The vital new Cycleway and docking stations will be a major boost to people living in Rotherhithe, Bermondsey and beyond and I’d like to thank everybody in the area for their patience during construction work. We’ll continue to work closely with Southwark Council on our Streetspace programme and are pressing ahead with our bold plans to make streets across London safer and more attractive to people walking and cycling.”  

Cllr Catherine Rose, Southwark Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Environment and Roads, said: “We have completed a huge amount of work this summer, to make many of our streets safe for social distancing, better suited to help support local businesses and safer for cycling and walking.   

“This new stretch of segregated Cycleway is a much needed addition, that will give confidence to those who want to cycle more, especially local people living in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe; many of whom joined us in campaigning for Santander Cycles in the area as well.  

“We are therefore delighted to have supported TfL with the introduction of this stretch of Cycleway 4 and the new docking stations. We hope that they will enable more people to take up cycling and help us to clean Southwark’s air.” 

Dan Sherwood, Director of Marketing at Santander UK said: “Over the last few months Santander Cycles has continued to break records for the number of hires and we’re pleased that those benefiting from the scheme include tens of thousands of critical and key workers who can use the free codes. It’s fantastic we continue to expand the scheme, ensuring even more communities are able to access the benefits of cycling.” 

Simon Munk, Infrastructure Campaigner at the London Cycling Campaign, said: “The opening of the first section of Cycleway 4 is a vital step to enabling many more Londoners to cycle – it’s a route LCC campaigned for, and which is heavily supported by people living and working in the area. It’s also wonderful to see steps taken under the Mayor’s ‘Streetspace’ plan to connect this route on to Greenwich and Woolwich, including taming the lethal Angerstein roundabout. Schemes like these are vital to ensuring London becomes the greener, healthier city the Mayor is committed to achieving, and to create zero carbon, Climate Safe Streets by 2030.”

Amy Downes, Co-Founder at NoNo Coffee and Goods Store, said: “As a local business, based just off Jamaica Road between Cycleway 4 and the Thames Path, we are thrilled with the opening of the new route. We run a small coffee and goods shop and rely on foot and cycle traffic passing by. Jamaica Road is a vital link connecting Rotherhithe and Canada Water with London Bridge and all routes north of the river, and this Cycleway enables people to make this journey on their bikes, which is great news for our shop!

“The benefits are threefold – the main road that we’re situated nearby is less smoggy and much more vibrant; cyclists stop at the traffic lights at the Jamaica Road/Southwark Park Road junction, and can see our shop from there with plenty of them deciding to make a pit stop for fresh coffee and pastries; and many of our loyal customers are now able to visit us more frequently as the Cycleway allows them to hop on their bike and reach us more quickly. We hope more Cycleways are opened across London – it’s just what this city needs.” 

The Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and TfL’s bold Streetspace measures have delivered vital new temporary infrastructure in neighbourhoods right across the capital since the pandemic began. In addition to the almost 80km of new or upgraded temporary cycle infrastructure either complete or under construction, more than 22,500 square metres of extra pavement space has been created to allow people to maintain social distancing whilst walking. TfL has also installed a total of 1,540 extra cycle parking spaces across London, focusing on busy areas such as high streets and transport hubs.     TfL has recently launched an Active Travel Toolkit for employers who are interested in making active travel commuting options part of their recovery plans and beyond. The toolkit shows employers how they can best enable people to get to work on foot and by bike and is available on the TfL website at http://content.tfl.gov.uk/tfl-active-recovery-toolkit.pdf

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