Simon Parker has created an updated road map showing the underlying network of cycle routes and other roads that are represented on his London Cycle Map. If you want to see the exact roads (and parks) that are incorporated into Parker’s London Cycle Map, click on the ‘satellite’ icon at the bottom of the menu on the left of the road map.
The road map of the LCM routes is a very useful resource – both currently and potentially.
Currently, it can be used by technically-minded people – planners, campaigners, politicians, or informed laypeople – who want to find out more about the exact measures Parker is proposing (although please note that there are discrepencies between the road map and the various versions of Parker's London Cycle Map: his route choices have evolved over time).
Parker’s London Cycle Map seeks to make the best use of the capital’s existing cycle infrastructure (including Cycle Superhighways, London Cycle Network routes, National Cycle Network routes, and many more) whilst also informing decisions about future cycling investment. There are numerous places on Parker’s proposed network where investment is essential – including various new route sections and new bridges. On the road map, Parker has helpfully divided new route proposals into two categories – easy and difficult. ‘Easy’ means there will be scant physical or political obstruction; ‘difficult’ means such obstruction will, most likely, be more significant.
Nobody should be put off by Parker’s development proposals. A major question in cycle campaigning is how best to spend available funds. The centrepiece of Parker’s project is his conviction (which I explain here) that new cycling investment in London will tend to be most impactful when it contributes to a network of signed and mapped cycle routes.
Potentially, Parker’s road map (or something similar to it) could also help cyclists plan journeys. At present, the network is incomplete; so Parker’s road map should not be used as a route planner. However, on the back of sensible decisions being made about the development of Parker’s network, road markings and signs should be positioned on the streets corresponding to his London Cycle Map. The signs and markings would enable cyclists to follow the routes on Parker’s network; in turn, this would enable people to cycle from anywhere to anywhere in the capital by following (in most cases) just a few trails of colour. Obviously, this would be a huge improvement on the present situation, wherein a journey across the capital requires cyclists to remember hundreds of turn rights and turn lefts.
Perhaps you’re looking at Parker’s road map and thinking: it looks very complicated! You’d be right! The point is, London’s cycling infrastructure is extremely complicated – a vast, tangled spaghetti of routes. Parker’s road map is, in fact, an ingenious simplification of the current network (pending the addition of a few new routes), carving it up into long straight coloured routes that dissect the capital in every direction; he calls this the 'Compass Colours system'. (Incidentally, the ‘white’ layer on Parker's road map displays cycle routes that are officially recognised but do not fit readily into the Compass Colours system).
In turn, the London Cycle Map proposes a way to simplify Parker's road map. The LCM would be cycling's equivalent of the London Underground Map. When you catch the Tube, you need to know how to get onto the network to begin your journey, and how to get from the network to your final destination; but, while on the network, the signs guide you along. The same would apply to using Parker’s London Cycle Map. Cyclists would only need to consult his road map to establish how to reach the network at the start of a journey and how to reach a chosen destintion from the network. While on the network, signs would guide cyclists along. What a wonderfully efficient and user-friendly way this would be to organise the capital's unwieldy tangle of cycle routes!
In fact, often cyclists wouldn’t need to consult Parker's road map at all. Typically, they’d already know how to get onto the network, because they’d be starting from home. And venues might supply directions explaining how to get from the network to the venue, just as they typically supply directions explaining how to get to the venue from the nearest Tube station.
However, it should be repeated that, due to the current incompleteness of the network, Parker’s road map is not designed to be used as a journey planner at this stage.
Simon Parker’s road map points the way forward for cycle campaigning and cycle development in London. We already have an extensive network of cycle routes in the capital, so why not make these routes easier to find and follow? Why not spend the available cycling development funds on completing and improving the current network? Why not create a single London Cycle Map and network of signed, coloured routes, potentially enabling Londoners to cycle from anywhere to anywhere in the capital, without hassle or hindrance?
That’s what the London Cycle Map Campaign is calling for. Please support us by telling your friends about our campaign, and by signing our petition.