The 'Quietways' Bike Network Revolution
London is approaching a September launch date for an innovative approach to bike infrastructure: "Quietways," or bike routes that exist off of main roads on back streets rarely visited by heavy vehicle traffic. "It may sound like a cop-out, but there’s some intelligent thinking to the scheme that makes it more than a ruse to tidy cyclists away under the carpet,” writes Feargus O’Sullivan. “For a start, London’s unique street design suits the idea brilliantly, which is why many London cyclists have used their own, unofficial versions of the networks for years. In the city’s core, streets are often too narrow to allow smooth flowing car traffic anyway, while London’s early love affair with streetcar suburbia means that it has nearly endless leafy streets for cyclists to weave through."
O’Sullivan notes with some trepidation that London’s recent proposals for bike improvements will also cede streets over even further to cars. "The lanes’ creators are also thinking about how bikes will interact with other traffic. To lessen the jarring screech and surge typical of city cars hitting intersection after intersection, traffic lights will be reduced in favor of raised, speed table pedestrian crossings (possibly with Belisha Beacons), which are thought to be better at slowing cars while keeping streets free flowing."