Bikes no enemy of London's night-time economy as theatres flock to support Cycle Superhighways

In a clear sign that the West End's thriving night-time economy and cycling can go hand in hand, the Mayor of London’s plans to build new Cycle Superhighways are finding support in the theatre industry.

Support grows for Space4Cycling in London

The Royal Opera House recently joined Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and the Young Vic in pledging their support for the ambitious cycling plans, which have come under attack from some corporate groups.

In addition, scenery constructors Factory Settings Ltd and theatrical lighting suppliers White Light Ltd have also backed the proposals.

The two superhighways will join up existing and planned routes to create the longest substantially-segregated urban cycleway in Europe, running 18 miles from Barking to Acton.

They will have the capacity to move 6,000 people each hour, the equivalent of 20 extra Tube trains or 82 additional London buses.

Proposals to introduce night time parking charges across the West End in 2011 caused consternation for theatres and evening entertainment venues, but the opposite seems to be the case for the Mayor's bold cycling plans.

Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, Alex Beard CBE, said in a statement:

“Like many organisations in London, a growing number of our 1,000 employees cycle to work. I am sure that an even larger proportion of our team would cycle if they felt comfortable and safe on the roads. It is also clear that cycling is used by an increasing number of visitors to the Covent Garden area and indeed our audience members

“We value employee satisfaction, health, and freedom and that’s why we endorse the plans outlined by TfL to create new segregated routes through the heart of the city. The proposed north–south and east–west routes will help us attract and retain the employees our business needs to continue to thrive. They will make London a more attractive city in which we can build and run our operations.”

Riders calling on the Mayor to build safe space for cycling pass through London's West End on a recent bicycle demonstration.

In November 2012 dancer Sofoklis Kostoulas, 31, was killed in a collision with a tipper lorry whilst cycling on the Bethnal Green Road, east London. He had recently performed in the London 2012 Olympic festival. Twenty-year-old actor and model David Poblet was killed whilst cycling on Tooley Street, south London, in March 2011 just days after completing his auditions at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art to study a BA in acting. Fourteen cyclists were killed in London in 2013, six in a two-week period last November.

CyclingWorks.London is a group coordinating business responses to the cycling proposals. Their spokesperson Chris Kenyon said:

“We’re thrilled to have the support of some of the biggest names in London’s theatre industry for these game-changing cycling proposals. If built, the Cycle Superhighways will allow many more Londoners to get to and from theatres, restaurants and the West End in a safe, sustainable and enjoyable manner

“More and more businesses recognise the importance of these plans in helping to keep their employees safe, their businesses attractive, and in helping to make London a smoothly-running global city.

“I would urge other theatres to join the Young Vic, the Globe and the Royal Opera House in supporting these plans.” 

Transport for London’s consultation on the Cycle Superhighways run until Sunday, November 9th 2014.

Business can add their support via the CyclingWorks.London website whilst individuals can join 5,000 others and sign this LCC petition.
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