Lewisham High Street
The proposal would turn the A21 into a major cycling route through Lewisham borough

Lewisham Council is proposing a cycle superhighway between Downham and Deptford, through Catford and Lewisham, as part of its new cycling strategy.

The proposed route, the Lewisham Spine, would run from the borough’s southern boundary with Bromley along the A21 to Lewisham town centre, before following Brookmill Road and Deptford Church Street to meet the proposed Cycle Superhighway 4 at Creek Road.

Cyclists would have their own segregated lane, protecting them from other road users.

Lewisham’s plans – approved by elected mayor Sir Steve Bullock on Wednesday – aim to coincide with Transport for London proposal to make the A21 through Catford and Lewisham a low emission bus zone.

However, the scheme cannot go ahead without money and backing from Transport for London, which controls much of the route.

The council says in its new cycling strategy: “These improvements are not just about movements, but also about places to linger, such as improving the piazza-type environments.

“Improvements will be for people that make being there, not just moving through there, that much more enjoyable. This will in turn create an environment that makes people want to cycle to work, shop, rest and play in Catford and Lewisham.”

The strategy commits Lewisham to lobby TfL to commit to a route. But the history of cycle superhighways in SE London has not been a happy one – original plans to create a route to Lewisham, Cycle Superhighway 5, were pegged back to New Cross, then only a short route over Vauxhall Bridge has actually been built.

Meanwhile, Southwark Council is opposing plans for Cycle Superhighway 4 from Tower Bridge to Deptford Creek – itself truncated from its original route to Woolwich. Greenwich says it will lobby to see the full route introduced.

Lewisham also says it is working with TfL to create extra “quietways” – mainly back street routes adapted to favour cyclists. One of these has already been introduced, Quietway 1, from Waterloo to Greenwich station.

It backs new quietways from Catford to Burgess Park, Southwark; Lee Green to Woolwich; Lower Sydenham to Bromley; and along the Thames Path. Another quietway is also planned along the Waterlink Way, a foot/cycle path by the River Ravensbourne.

Lewisham also says it supports plans to extend Quietway 1 across Blackheath towards Eltham and Bexleyheath, using South Row and Kidbrooke Gardens. Greenwich Council is currently consulting on part of this route through Eltham.

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