The Landscape Guide

London Cycle Network LCN - landscape architecture

The London Cycle Network (see LCN Website)) is promoted as 'a network of signed cycle routes where cyclists’ needs have priority'. Some of the routes are good. But mostly, the LCN is a waste of paint. Too much money is spent on consultancy fees for engineers, stupid signboards, maps and road paint. Too little is spent in improving conditions for cyclists. See Why is the London Cycling Network (the LCN) a Mistake (though the author is over-prejudiced against dedicated cycle paths).

Part of the problem is that the wrong profession has taken the lead in planning for cyclists. To create good cycleways, the relationship between landscape architects and engineers should equate to that between architects and engineers in building design. In Vitruvian terms, engineers should advise on Firmness. Landscape architects should undertake the design, relating the engineering advice to considerations of Commodity and Delight.

Red Buses

Another part of the problem is that far too little money is allocated to cycling. The bicycle is the Great Green Machine. London buses are bright red: they use hydrocarbon fuels and pump exhaust fumes into the faces of pedestrians and cyclists. Dedicated bus lanes are an environmentally extravagant use of road space and fresh air:

  • cycling is faster than bus transport for journeys in Central London
  • cycling helps people keep fit, thus reducing health care costs
  • cycling uses hydrocarbon fuels only in manufacturing
  • cycles emit no exhaust fumes
  • cycling is silent

The pleasure, they say, is more in the travelling than the arriving. But cyclists get on their bikes for two distinct reasons:

  • to get somewhere - work, school, university, the shops etc. Commuter cyclists require the shortest and fastest route.
  • for the pleasure of the ride. Leisure cyclists require an enjoyable experience.

London cycle planners have failed to distinguish the design objectives:

  • cycle routes in parks are too often planned as the shortest route from gate to gate. This not what leisure cyclists want.
  • commuter cyclists are usually sent on long diversions through supposedly pleasant suburban streets. This is not what commuter cyclists want.

The resulting London Cycle Network is often the worst of both worlds: the routes are not sufficiently direct for commuters and not sufficiently attractive for pleasure. So they get little use. See comments on London Greenway Planning.

See essay: Green Transport Plans

HOMEPAGE - Landscape Architecture London List

The Great Green Machine, at rest in a well-designed, but unroofed, cycle park:
Green Machine Cycle

The cyclists' dream: Eastway Cycle Circuit. A veloway like this running into London through the Lea Valley could transport more commuters/rush-hour than 90% of London's roads

Cycling on the 1.5m wide walk in Greenwich: cyclists and pedestrians co-exist, through mutual courtesy (note also the pleasure of cycling near the mean high-water level, which is below the flood-defense level).

Cyclists learn to avoid pedestrians on the cycle route through Hyde Park

One of the stupidest cycle paths ever made, on the Isle of Dogs

Do they really expect cyclists to stop here? And if so, why?

The paint mark on the road does NOTHING to help cyclists

The paint gives scant protection to cyclists and makes many motorists believe all cyclists belong in cycle lane

Yet cycling in London is ever more popular - the cycle park at Canary Wharf