Fury as pop-up cycle lanes set up in £33m London scheme lie empty

Pop-up cycle lanes set up as part £33 million plan to get London moving again are lying empty while traffic is squeezing onto narrowed streets, bringing the capital to a halt, it can be revealed.

MailOnline visited some of the key cycle lanes at the height of the rush hour to gauge how busy they are, only to find them chronically under-used with cyclists criticising them as well as motorists.

Our research shows that on the Euston Road, just 7 cyclists used the designated lane over a 15-minute period, while 420 cars fought their way through traffic while in Park Lane, Mayfair, just 21 cyclists used the lane as 400 cars battled past.

Motorists voiced their fury at the delay to their journeys as they sat stationary next to the vacant bike lanes, whilst cyclists complained that the idling, gridlocked traffic was making air pollution worse.

Pop-up cycle lanes set up as part £33 million plan to get London moving again are lying empty while traffic is squeezing onto narrowed streets, bringing the capital to a halt, it can be revealed. Pictured: A pop up cycle lane on West Derby Road, Liverpool

Pop-up cycle lanes set up as part £33 million plan to get London moving again are lying empty while traffic is squeezing onto narrowed streets, bringing the capital to a halt, it can be revealed. Pictured: A pop up cycle lane on West Derby Road, Liverpool

MailOnline visited some of the key cycle lanes at the height of the rush hour to gauge how busy they are, only to find them chronically under-used with cyclists criticising them as well as motorists. Pictured: a pop cycle lane on Tooting High Street, London

MailOnline visited some of the key cycle lanes at the height of the rush hour to gauge how busy they are, only to find them chronically under-used with cyclists criticising them as well as motorists. Pictured: a pop cycle lane on Tooting High Street, London

Our research shows that on the Euston Road (pictured), just 7 cyclists used the designated lane over a 15-minute period, while 420 cars fought their way through traffic while in Park Lane, Mayfair, just 21 cyclists used the lane as 400 cars battled past

Our research shows that on the Euston Road (pictured), just 7 cyclists used the designated lane over a 15-minute period, while 420 cars fought their way through traffic while in Park Lane, Mayfair, just 21 cyclists used the lane as 400 cars battled past

Motorists voiced their fury at the delay to their journeys as they sat stationary next to the vacant bike lanes. Pictured: A pop-up cycle lane in Sale, Manchester

Motorists voiced their fury at the delay to their journeys as they sat stationary next to the vacant bike lanes. Pictured: A pop-up cycle lane in Sale, Manchester

Traffic was busy on Park Lane in London, while the cycle lane remained relatively empty when this photograph was taken on September 9

Traffic was busy on Park Lane in London, while the cycle lane remained relatively empty when this photograph was taken on September 9

Similarly, the pop-up cycle lane on West Derby Road, in Liverpool, was empty today while cars queued up bumper-to-bumper in traffic

Similarly, the pop-up cycle lane on West Derby Road, in Liverpool, was empty today while cars queued up bumper-to-bumper in traffic

MailOnline’s findings came as new research released today shows congestion levels in London are now higher than they were before Britain went into lockdown in March – and have risen by 25% in just a week.

Here's what MailOnline found when we visited streets with cycle lanes under the Street Smart scheme 

Wednesday, September 9

Park Lane (Hyde Park Corner to Marble Arch), London SW1X

4.45-5pm: 21 cyclists in lane

2 cyclists on pavement 4.45-5pm: 400 cars

Thursday, September 10

King Street, Hammersmith, London W6

8am-8.15am: 18 cyclists in lane 8 cyclists in road and 2 cyclists on pavement 8-8.15am: 280 cars

Uxbridge Road, Ealing, London W5

10-10.15 am: 3 cyclists in lane

1 cyclist in road

10-10.15am: 45 cars

Euston Road, London NW1

8-8.15am: 7 cyclists in lane

8-8.15am: 420 cars crawling in nose to tail traffic

Goods Way, Camden, London N1

10-10.15am: 40 cyclists in lane

10-10.15am: 360 cars

Tooting High Road, London SW17

7.30-7.45am: 100 bikes

Traffic completely gridlocked

Advertisement

The new cycle lanes form part of Transport for London’s government funded Street Space scheme, which is designed to encourage people to walk or cycle to work and school as an alternative to public transport following the easing of lockdown.

In Manchester, where a similar scheme was set up, a pop-up lane lasted just 48 hours before it was removed by the council after outrage from drivers.

In the capital, the busy Euston road - one of the main arterial routes cutting through the middle of London - has been reduced to a single lane to accommodate the cycle lane, resulting in gridlock misery.

Richie Clea, who drives around London fixing gas pipelines and was stuck in traffic along Euston Road told MailOnline: ‘Driving in London is getting worse. There are too many cycle lanes that nobody is using.

‘Since the end of the lockdown my journey times have trebled. It’s a nightmare.’

Cyclist Graham Robinson added: ‘The cycling lanes schemes has not been properly thought out. It’s led to more traffic congestion and the air quality is getting worse. It’s quite common to be cycling along and get hit by a big cloud of car or bus smoke. Cycling in London is not for the faint hearted.’

George Peach, who cycles almost 12 miles each day to his job in advertising said: ‘They need to improve the roads not narrow them. Traffic fumes are getting worse and where there are no cycle lanes, you’re fighting motorists for space. This scheme is meant to get us healthy, but my worry is that you could be causing more damage because there’s more pollution.’

During a 15-minute period at Park Lane, another of London’s major roads, 400 cars were counted compared with only 22 cyclists.

Builder Norman Adams said the designated cycle lanes being introduced by Transport for London had ‘ruined London’.

He fumed: ‘What is the point? London mayor Sadiq Khan keeps banging on about air quality, but how does that stack up when cars are sat for ages with engines idling. He just hates motorists and wants to make them pay.’

What is supposed to be one of the major cycling lane intersections at the junction of York Way and Goods Way, close to Kings Cross Station, 40 bicycles were counted over 15 minutes but that was dwarfed by 360 cars and vans that went past at the same time.

Further out from central London, things were not much better with traffic piling up alongside empty cycle lanes with some cyclists opting not to use them at all.

MailOnline¿s findings came as new research released today shows congestion levels in London are now higher than they were before Britain went into lockdown in March ¿ and have risen by 25% in just a week. Pictured: A pop-up cycle lane on Totting High Street

MailOnline’s findings came as new research released today shows congestion levels in London are now higher than they were before Britain went into lockdown in March – and have risen by 25% in just a week. Pictured: A pop-up cycle lane on Totting High Street

An ambulance rushes past traffic near to one of the new Transport for London Street Space pop-up cycle lanes in Tooting High Street

An ambulance rushes past traffic near to one of the new Transport for London Street Space pop-up cycle lanes in Tooting High Street

Similar schemes are being undertaken across the country, including in Liverpool where there is a pop-up cycle lane on West Derby Road

Similar schemes are being undertaken across the country, including in Liverpool where there is a pop-up cycle lane on West Derby Road

The road is a major arterial route to and from the city centre and is always busy with traffic, particularly around rush hours

The road is a major arterial route to and from the city centre and is always busy with traffic, particularly around rush hours

In London, the new cycle lanes (pictured here on Park Lane) form part of Transport for London¿s government funded Street Space scheme, which is designed to encourage people to walk or cycle to work and school as an alternative to public transport following the easing of lockdown

In London, the new cycle lanes (pictured here on Park Lane) form part of Transport for London’s government funded Street Space scheme, which is designed to encourage people to walk or cycle to work and school as an alternative to public transport following the easing of lockdown

During a 15-minute period at Park Lane (pictured), another of London¿s major roads, 400 cars were counted compared with only 22 cyclists

During a 15-minute period at Park Lane (pictured), another of London’s major roads, 400 cars were counted compared with only 22 cyclists

Builder Norman Adams said the designated cycle lanes (pictured: Park Lane) being introduced by Transport for London had ¿ruined London¿

Builder Norman Adams said the designated cycle lanes (pictured: Park Lane) being introduced by Transport for London had ‘ruined London’

What is supposed to be one of the major cycling lane intersections at the junction of York Way and Goods Way, close to Kings Cross Station, 40 bicycles were counted over 15 minutes but that was dwarfed by 360 cars and vans that went past at the same time. Pictured: A new pop-up cycle lane on Park Lane

What is supposed to be one of the major cycling lane intersections at the junction of York Way and Goods Way, close to Kings Cross Station, 40 bicycles were counted over 15 minutes but that was dwarfed by 360 cars and vans that went past at the same time. Pictured: A new pop-up cycle lane on Park Lane

In Hammersmith, West London, MailOnline counted 18 cyclists with more than half not even using the lane, opting for the road while two others hogged the pavement. At the same time, 280 cars were jostling for space along a busy main road.

Just past rush hour in Ealing, West London, 45 cars were counted going past in a quarter of an hour but only three cyclists using the dedicated lane and one on the road. Ironically, the local council has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Street Space funding and recently received almost £440,000 for cycling provisions.

Cyclists say they are embarrassed by ‘over the top’ lanes put in at expense of drivers in Liverpool 

By Stewart Whittingham for MailOnline

8.30-8.45am Tuebrook, Liverpool - Cyclists – 2 / Cars - 300

Frustrated drivers had to queue bumper-to-bumper during rush hour in Liverpool as a pop-up cycle lane lay empty next to them. 

The two lanes of the A5049 in Tuebrook leading into the city had been reduced to one for cars with the inside lane cordoned off for cyclists.

During the height of rush-hour at 8.30am, Mailonline saw just two cyclists using it over a 15 minute time period – compared to nearly 300 cars crawling through Rocky Lane leading to West Derby Road. 

During the height of rush-hour at 8.30am, Mailonline saw just two cyclists using it over a 15 minute time period – compared to nearly 300 cars crawling through Rocky Lane leading to West Derby Road

The traffic was travelling at around 10mph but got clogged for a few minutes as they had to wait at traffic lights. 

The roads surrounding it were also chock-a-block with cars with many exasperated drivers honking their horns. Van driver Mark Roberts, 45, said: 'This is madness - no-one's using the cycle lanes and the roads are blocked. 'This is stopping people getting to work. 'I've been stuck in a queue for half an hour before. It needs sorting.' 

Local resident Peter Williams, 54, said: 'It's chaos with everyone stuck in traffic. 'It seems so over the top to give half the road to cyclist when there's just a handful using it. 'I hate driving along it now.' Even cyclists expressed surprise at the measures. University technician Tony Lanigan, 62, was riding three miles from his home to work.

He said: 'Sometimes I'm the only one on it. I do feel a bit embarrassed with the drivers not moving. 

'I mean it's great for me, but it does seem a bit over the top to give us a full lane.'

A pop-up cycle lane was scrapped in Greater Manchester within 48 hours after huge uproar from motorists over long queues.

The lane was removed in June by Trafford Council on the A56 between Sale and Altrincham after drivers complained of being stuck in a queue for an hour to travel just two miles.

Bollards had been put down to give cyclists one lane of the road.

Businessman Mike Jones, 32, said: 'It was bonkers. Once I only saw one cyclist. 'People just weren't moving. 'Everyone was getting angry and frustrated.' Trafford Council bowed to public anger and removed it in late June.

The lane was removed in June by Trafford Council on the A56 between Sale and Altrincham after drivers complained of being stuck in a queue for an hour to travel just two miles

The lane was removed in June by Trafford Council on the A56 between Sale and Altrincham after drivers complained of being stuck in a queue for an hour to travel just two miles

Councillor Nathan Evans said: 'We certainly need safe cycle routes but at a time when we need maximum opportunity for access to work and limited use of public transport, simply halving the main route into Manchester, without proper consideration or any consultation with local residents, is the wrong decision.'

Council leader Andrew Western said: 'We had followed government advice to re-designate road space for walking and cycling and the scheme initially progressed with minimal disruption to traffic. 

'This changed so we and acted accordingly.' 

There is still a cycle lane on the rest of the A56 north going into the city centre.

Advertisement

The only location to buck the trend was Tooting in South London, where 100 bicycles were counted in the bike lane.

Unfortunately, the number of cars going past could not be calculated because they were all stuck in horrific gridlocked traffic.

Across the country, councils have started receiving funding from a total £225 million pot of money to spend on cycling, to get people fit and out of their cars as part of the war on coronavirus.

The outcome however is that it is not just drivers in London who have been suffering.

A pop-up cycle lane was scrapped in Greater Manchester within 48 hours after huge uproar from motorists over long queues.

Across the country, councils have started receiving funding from a total £225 million pot of money to spend on cycling, to get people fit and out of their cars as part of the war on coronavirus. Pictured: A new cycle lane on the A56, Sale, Manchester

Across the country, councils have started receiving funding from a total £225 million pot of money to spend on cycling, to get people fit and out of their cars as part of the war on coronavirus. Pictured: A new cycle lane on the A56, Sale, Manchester

A pop-up cycle lane was scrapped in Greater Manchester within 48 hours after huge uproar from motorists over long queues

A pop-up cycle lane was scrapped in Greater Manchester within 48 hours after huge uproar from motorists over long queues

sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more

The lane was removed in June by Trafford Council on the A56 between Sale and Altrincham after drivers complained of being stuck in a queue for an hour to travel just two miles. Bollards had been put down to give cyclists one lane of the road.

Councillor Nathan Evans said at the time: 'We certainly need safe cycle routes but at a time when we need maximum opportunity for access to work and limited use of public transport, simply halving the main route into Manchester, without proper consideration or any consultation with local residents, is the wrong

read more from dailymail.....

PREV Cash offer to convince reluctant EU members to take refugees mogaznewsen
NEXT Four Navy aircrew parachute to safety moments before E-2C Hawkeye plane crashes ...