Before the Hyde Park Corner crossings opened in October 1999, cyclists had to navigate their way through a six-lane gyratory system and pedestrians had to use two separate subways to cross Hyde Park Corner.
The crossings provide cyclists, pedestrians and horses with a safe route between Hyde Park and Constitution Hill through the Wellington Arch (pictured right).
At the Hyde Park end, cyclists can connect with the routes around the park, though the link could be improved. There is a cycle track along the side of Green Park next to Constitution Hill, though this peters out when it reaches Buckingham Palace.
Over 250 cyclists per hour use the crossings during the morning peak.
The Park Lane crossings connect Hyde Park with Mayfair.
Before the crossings opened, pedestrians had to use subways - and so did many cyclists. The alternative was to negotiate the Marble Arch gyratory system.
Local cyclists campaigned for these crossings for over 15 years (see the Loony File for the reasons given for not building them sooner).
The eastbound crossing connects with a route through Brook Street. The crossing can also be used by westbound cyclists.
The westbound crossing connects with a route from Grosvenor Street. There is then a cycle track along the footway as far as the Brook Street crossing, where there is a gate into the park. From here, a short path leads to the cycle route around the park.
The crossings were opened in July 1999 by Glenda Jackson MP, Minister for Transport in London. They were joint winners of the LCC award for best cycle scheme in October of the same year.
Over 150 cyclists per hour use the crossings during the morning peak
This crossing of Edgware Road / Maida vale is at the canal bridge and connects Aberdeen Place with Blomfield Road.
Since Aberdeen Place is a wide one-way street, there is plenty of room for a two-way cycle track as well as two lines of parked cars - always important in Westminster!
At the far end of the cycle track, you reach a north-south cycle route running parallel with the Edgware Road.
At the nearer end, there are cycle and pedestrian crossings of Edgware Road / Maida Vale into Blomfield Road. Although it carries a reasonable amount of traffic, Blomfield Road has speed cushions to slow it down and
Until Buckingham Palace Road was widened and made two-way, Ebury Street was one-way and carried a heavy volume of traffic. This had a very detrimental effect on the local environment.
As part of the Red Route programme, Buckingham Palace Road was widened and made two-way. This allowed different lengths of Ebury Street to be made one-way in different directions, which has vastly reduced the volume of traffic.
As the photograph shows, there is a line of car-parking bays along each side of the street. (Car-parking is very important in Westminster!) A contraflow cycle lane runs outside the parked cars on the right-hand side of the road.
At the SW end, the scheme connects with the Ambassador Route to Chelsea Bridge. At the NE end, a route is still required through the Victoria area.
Cyclists are cautious of cycle lanes alongside parked cars because of the danger of opening doors. This risk is reduced by the generous width of the parking bays and the cycle lane and by the fact that, since this is a contraflow lane, a car passenger is more likely to see an approaching cyclist.
The scheme has produced a number of benefits, including:
The scheme opened in 2002 and was joint runner-up for the LCC award for best cycle scheme.