TfL opens southeast London’s first major protected cycleway

A major new south east London cycleway is set to make cycling and walking safer and easier for thousands of people.

Transport for London (TfL) has 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 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. 

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. New docking stations at nearby Canada Water and Bermondsey station will follow later this year.

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. 

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% seen recently on the weekend of 19-20 September, compared to the same weekend last year. 

TfL say 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.”

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.”

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