London’s cab drivers have launched a legal challenge against the Embankment cycling superhighway currently under construction in the capital.
Citing traffic congestion caused by its construction and a lack of prior planning permission the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association has officially lodged an application for judicial review today.
Talking to the Evening Standard, Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) Chairman Richard Maffett said: “We’re in favour of safe cycling like everybody else but we can’t quite understand what the mayor and TfL are trying to do by gridlocking the roads. It could have been done in a better way and kept traffic moving.
“Roads are there to move goods and people around, and they’ve been gridlocked for the rest of London road users.”
The social media reaction has begun in earnest with a number of Twitter users already venting their frustration with the LTDA, most notably the London Cycling Campaign (@London_Cycling), who have taken a dim view of the action:
The lateness of the application will surely cause many an eyebrow to be raised in TfL and Mayoral offices across London. As Boris Johnson said in January: “We have done one of the biggest consultation exercises in TfL’s history. We have listened, and now we will act. Overwhelmingly, Londoners wanted these routes, and wanted them delivered to the high standard we promised. I intend to keep that promise.
“But I have also listened to those concerned about the east-west route’s impact on traffic. Thanks to the skill of TfL’s engineers and traffic managers, we have made changes to our original plans which keep the segregated cycle track and junctions, while taking out much less of the route’s motor traffic capacity – and so causing much shorter delays.”
That statement gave short shrift to concerns raised by the LTDA when it originally made its threat to consider a legal challenge. This latest move seems sure to frustrate those with a vested interest in seeing cycling infrastructure in the capital improve in the long term.
Quite what the LTDA’s radical long term plan to tackle increasing congestion in the capital is, I’m not sure, but I would hazard a guess it would involve a reduction in all traffic except licensed black cabs.
There is clearly no quick fix to traffic congestion in central London, but major infrastructure changes need to be made in order to tackle the issue going forward.