If you would like to do an assessment of the A200 as a cycle route, please retain your impartiality by doing the assessment before reading the post or watching the video. List of 18 London cycling posts and videos.
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The A200 is the shortest route to the City of London from Blackheath (and much of SE London). It is quicker and cheaper than going by train – and on a bike you always have a seat. But after leaving Greenwich Park, the road conditions are grim. Sadiq Khan became Mayor of London in 2016 and promised to support the TfL plan for making Cycle Superhighway CS4 on the A200. This is very good news for cyclists and special attention should be given to the superhighway’s landscape planning and landscape architecture. This video is a record of what it was like to ride the A200 in 2016.
Having very bad memories of this route in the 1980s, I chose a quiet time and a sunny day in September to find out what changes there had been. It didn’t seem quite as bad as I remembered. So I tried it again in the morning rush hour on a grey day in October. The video uses clips from both rides – accelerated for much of the trip.
A curious aspect of the route is the way it’s mapped and managed.
- TfL are only responsible for the western section of the A200.
- The cycle route is classified with London Cycle Network numbers. It’s mapped as LCN2 through Greenwich Park, then as LCN18 to Deptford Church Street and as LCN183 to Bernie Spain Gardens on the South Bank.
- TfL Local Cycling Guide No. 7 does not show the route at all and nor is it used on the TfL Journey Planner for trips from Greenwich to Tower Bridge. You could be forgiven for thinking that TfL doesn’t want cyclists on the A200 but it was included in the 2015 Cycle Superhighways Scheme
Most of the maps which show the route, like the OpenCycleMap, are created with OpenStreetMap data. It’s open source and much more comprehensive than the data created by public bodies – including the TfL and Sustrans cycling maps.
CS4 may become the first cycle superhighway in South East London. No routes in this quadrant of London were included in the 2015-2016 cycle superhighway building programme launched by Mayor Boris Johnson. One of the problems with superhighways is that much of their benefit goes to commuters who ‘only’ pass through a borough. This makes spending money on them an unattractive proposition for London borough councils – especially if they are seen to take road space away from local car drivers.