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Commuters 'will use shortcut to avoid new cycle superhighway'

Most bike commuters will take a shortcut to shave 350 metres from their journeys on Transport for London's flagship £17.5 million cycle superhighway, Southwark Council has warned.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson visited St George's Circus in March to mark the start of work on the north-south cycle superhighway which will run from Farringdon Street in the north to Elephant & Castle in the south.

However, it has emerged that Southwark Council warned TfL last year that many cyclists would choose to take the most direct route between St George's Circus and Elephant & Castle, eschewing the purpose-built segregated cycle superhighway.

In a letter to TfL sent last December but only made public in recent weeks, Southwark's transport boss Cllr Mark Williams commented on the decision to route the southern end of the superhighway via Lambeth Road and St George's Road.

"Whilst we understand the reasons for doing this, due to the road widths, and the inability to deliver segregated facilities on London Road, the council considers that London Road is the desire line and most direct route which will be used by most cycle commuters," wrote Cllr Williams.

"We have agreed with TfL to a plan and a set of measures to improve the public realm and cycling facilities along London Road and our support for the implementation of the north-south route is contingent on these measures being delivered at the same time."

The route via Lambeth Road and St George's Road adds 350 metres to a cyclist's journey from St George's Circus to Elephant & Castle compared to the direct route along London Road.

TfL's Nigel Hardy replied to Cllr Williams in February. He wrote: "We are investigating proposals for improvements to London Road and hope to consult on the scheme in the near future."

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