Park Lane’s controversial pop-up cycle lane is getting more popular, figures reveal

·3-min read
It was introduced in May 2020 as part of the citywide Streetspace programme to encourage Londoners to walk or cycle  (Ross Lydall)
It was introduced in May 2020 as part of the citywide Streetspace programme to encourage Londoners to walk or cycle (Ross Lydall)

A pop-up cycle lane that some drivers blamed for worsening congestion on Park Lane has become more popular with cyclists, new figures reveal.

Transport for London data shows the route has been used by up to 2,400 cyclists a day, including up to 365 an hour in the evening peak.

It has also helped to reduce the number of cyclists using the adjacent shared walking and cycling path inside Hyde Park, though this parallel route — on Broad Walk — remains more popular.

Transport for London data shows the route has been used by up to 2,400 cyclists a day (Ross Lydall)
Transport for London data shows the route has been used by up to 2,400 cyclists a day (Ross Lydall)

TfL is preparing to hold a six-week consultation this summer to decide whether to modify, retain or scrap the protected bi-directional route that runs along the western edge of Park Lane.

It was introduced in May 2020 as part of the citywide “Streetspace” programme to encourage Londoners to walk or cycle while freeing-up space on public transport for key workers at the height of the first wave of the pandemic.

But it sparked controversy because it reduced the number of northbound lanes for general traffic on Park Lane to one in places.

TfL’s monthly data on the number of cyclists using the new route has been published after a freedom of information request.

Counts were carried out at Brook Gate and Stanhope Gate and on Broad Walk during the morning, lunchtime and evening periods.

Of the seven months that can be compared on a year-on-year basis, five or six show increased ridership.

The average number in the morning peaked at 213 an hour last September and at 365 an hour in the evening last July.

The lowest numbers were 76 cyclists an hour in the morning in February [2022] and 146 in the evening last December. Cycling is seasonal but TfL confirmed the trend was upward.

Simon Munk, of London Cycling Campaign, said the Park Lane cycleway was useful as the in-park route was dark at night, part-cobbled and used by many pedestrians.

He said: “The future for London can’t be rolling back cycle routes because some politicians and some taxi drivers get angry with congestion in general.

“If we’re serious about the climate crisis, about active travel, inactivity, pollution and road danger we need to connect this route up, we need a lot more routes like it, and we need an end to endless rounds of opposition to any and every cycling scheme by some politicians and vested interests.”

Tony Devenish, a Conservative member of the London Assembly, doubted whether Mayor Sadiq Khan would be prepared to axe the cycle scheme as it was popular with his “core vote”.

But he added: “Park Lane [cycleway] is still remarkably empty for much of the time.

“Bus times have got a bit better but buses are still being held up by a lot of traffic on that road.

“Often I feel Mr Khan is trying to push cars off the roads but all he is doing is causing more congestion.”

TfL, which has narrowed the bus lane to allow extra space for other vehicles, said bus journey times along Park Lane were now quicker than they were pre-pandemic.

A TfL spokesman said: “Many people have talked to us about their concerns about traffic levels in and around the Park Lane area.

“If we help those people who want to walk, cycle or use public transport more, we can keep traffic levels at manageable levels.

“If we don’t, congestion will simply get worse and buses, taxis, freight and the emergency services will suffer.”

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