Catford cat
The southbound route will stop at the Catford Centre

Work will begin on 24 August on a new cycle route between Lewisham and Catford on the A21 – but riders will be expected to share with buses along much of the route.

The route along Molesworth Street, Lewisham High Street and Rushey Green was one of a number singled out for a cycle route under City Hall’s Streetspace programme, which is aiming to encourage more people to walk and cycle while public transport is operating at a reduced capacity.

Preliminary works have begun in Greenwich on another TfL cycle route, along the A206 Woolwich Road to Charlton and Woolwich. The route will be segregated to Charlton Church Lane, but cyclists will have to use extended bus lanes to Woolwich.

Similarly, only a short section of the A21 route – between Ladywell Road and Molesworth Street – will feature segregated cycle tracks. Extended bus and cycle lanes will be made 24/7 and four side roads will be made exit-only to protect cyclists. Similarly, left turns from Ladywell Road and right turns from Courthill Road will be banned for all traffic except buses, cycles and taxis.

A 20mph speed limit will be put in, while waiting and loading bays will be removed and relocated to side streets where possible. (Full map.)

TfL map of cycle route between Lewisham and Catford

TfL says that “around half of the journeys made along this stretch of the A21 are under 10km in length, meaning there is significant potential for switching some of these journeys by car to journeys by bike”.

Lewisham Council has long wanted a cycle route on the A21, and Sophie McGeevor, its cabinet member for transport, said: “We are pleased that TfL has recognised the huge potential for improving the safety of cyclists on the busy A21 corridor between Lewisham and Catford. Public transport capacity is limited so supporting more people cycle will improve air quality, reduce congestion, improve the environment for pedestrians, and prevent a car led recovery from COVID-19. We have asked TfL to monitor the impact of these changes closely and we will be working with them to review the scheme.”

Nigel Hardy, TfL’s head of Healthy Streets investment and delivery, said: “These improvements will make it easier to travel between Lewisham and Catford, enabling thousands of journeys each week through the area and beyond. The changes we’re putting in place will make the corridor a safer and more inclusive environment for people cycling and will improve bus journey times in the area. We’ll continue to work with Lewisham Council on other Streetspace measures in the borough.”

Asked about the relatively limited nature of the segregated space for cyclists, a TfL spokesperson told 853: “The A21 is a vital bus corridor and we need to ensure that this fast-paced response to the COVID-19 pandemic improves safety for cycling while also considering public transport, which remains a key way of travelling for those who really need it. We will continue to work with Lewisham on longer-term proposals.

“TfL and Lewisham will monitor and address the impact of the changes, including banned turns. The banned turns being introduced as part of the scheme are essential for the safety of people cycling in the area.”

Story updated at 4.30pm with more information from TfL

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