From the London Evening Standard:-
“ONE of Europe’s largest cycle paths is set to be created between St Paul’s Cathedral and Notre Dame in Paris.
Councils are planning a 218-mile route from Britain to France in time for the London Olympics in 2012.
The multi-million pound path would be mostly free of traffic and is already backed by local authorities on both sides of the channel.
Cyclists on the proposed route will head to the coast via Wandsworth and Croydon. Using existing National Cycle Network routes they will pass through Surrey, and West and East Sussex, crossing the channel via ferry from Newhaven and Dieppe.
In France the new “Avenue Verte” will follow the route of the former Dieppe to Paris railway line.
Robin Reed, principal transport planner at East Sussex county council, told the Standard that the scheme was in its early stages but was widely supported in Britain and France.
He said: “It all started when some French officials came to Sussex to look at a cycle track we had built from Polegate to Heathfield, along the abandoned Cuckoo Line railway track. They were impressed and they went back and did the same thing in France, from Dieppe to Forge-les-Eaux. The idea was you could link the two up using the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry. Then it was decided that the whole thing could be expanded.”
Mr Reed estimates that completing the project to a high standard – including branding the track and putting in signposts in both languages – would cost up to £30 million for the British side alone. “It is very ambitious,” he admitted, “but if it happened it would be a great thing.”
Officials now need to draw up a detailed route map before seeking funding.
Mr Reed said: “Realistically none of the authorities has the money to just pay for this, but there is the potential for European Union funding.”
A spokesperson for Boris Johnson said: “The Mayor is always keen to hear ideas that might encourage more people to use two wheels or two feet. Transport for London already provides some funding for Avenue Verte.”
The scheme was also welcomed by cycle campaigners”
As someone who has cycled one of the routes from London to Paris, via Calais, I was interested to read about this. I took the longest route (75/95 miles a day) but many others took the ‘short route’ via Dieppe.
I chose the route via Calais, because it was easily accessible via public transport to London and the Eurostar and also because the Dieppe route ‘has far too much sea’ for my liking.
The route, the Evening Standard shows, doesn’t have much public transport nearby if you want to stop off and have a break or meet up with friends who may want to join you at a later point.
I would like to know more about where the route will be. After all, they say it will be ‘traffic free’ – now does that mean it will only be off road cycle paths or that it will be country roads that have a 60mph mph road (more like it) and speeding 4×4 motorists, who aren’t used to cyclists, whizzing past?
I have cycled around Forest Row and the speeding is diabolical, although there is a good off road cycle path nearby, in Hartfield.
On my London to Paris cycle ride, I would have to say that the worst bit was the London to Dover section – the British bit. As soon as we got into France, cycling was wonderful. It felt much safer.
All in all, I think the idea is good, although something HAS to be done to reduce the speed limits in the British countryside, to make it safer for us. The Campaign for Rural England are forever complaining about it.
I find, however, the idea is extraordinary, considering we haven’t even done anything about the Aldgate to Stratford ‘Cycling Superhighway’ for London 2012 – it is still one of the crapiest and dangerous routes to cycle in London, made worse by Boris, the so-called ‘Cycling Mayor’ with the added ‘bonus’ of motorcyclists in bus/cycle lanes and the mess at Aldgate, where there is little room for cyclists and no cycle path (supposedly an improvement?). Even the Standard said he hadn’t done anything about a cycle path from Brixton to Bow in the editorial comment.
It worries me that there is a big photo of Boris on his bike in the Evening Standard as he hasn’t done much to make us cyclists feel safe, in fact, quite the opposite. Cycling organisations are often not consulted, in various transport policies.
As yet another reminder of what ‘Cycling’ Boris is also doing for cyclists is cutting cycle lane funding (as mentioned in the London Cycling Campaign’s website lcc.org.uk):-
“Cycle route funding for London boroughs has been slashed in half undermining the mayor’s plans to more than treble cycling levels in the capital.
The London Cycling Campaign, representing the interests of thousands of cyclists, says hundreds of planned cycle safety improvements to junctions and local streets are now under threat.
LCC is calling on the Mayor to reverse the cuts and consult with cycling groups on completing the 500-mile London Cycle Network+ across London.
“Slashing the funding for cycle routes means they’ll be left unfinished, undermining the mayor’s flagship programmes such as the mass cycle-hire scheme because people won’t feel safe on the roads,” said Koy Thomson, LCC’s chief executive.
The cut in cycle scheme funding comes despite the largest ever transport settlement with the boroughs of more than £168 million pounds”
If Boris is involved, be VERY AFRAID!
Let the French do it and we’ll be ok.