Andrew Gilligan: Who’s behind the bid to get London’s flagship bike lane ripped up?

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Andrew Gilligan – London’s cycling commissioner from 2013–16 – has a piece in The Guardian asking who’s behind “Unblock the Embankment,” the campaign aiming to remove much of the Embankment cycleway (unlike this Unblock the Embankment campaign which wants to get rid of all motors on the route.)

Gilligan, the man most responsible for getting the cycleway installed, says “in the rush hour, the bike track – which takes up one lane of this four-lane road – carries more traffic than the other three lanes put together.”

Who would want to mess with that sort of success? Apart from LBC shock-jock Nick Lamborghini? Canary Wharf Group, that’s who. This business organisation is helping to fund the political lobbying firm Newington Communications, run by Tony Halmos. The duff website for the anti-cyclist Unblock the Embankment campaign has been made to look like a poorly funded grassroots campaign by a bunch of black cab drivers so it’s a surprise to find it’s got the kind of cash to spend on an expensive report by the Volterra Group, which specialises in transport economics.

Halmos told Gilligan that the campaign is backed by the London Chamber of Commerce, the Road Haulage Association, the Confederation of Passenger Transport, which represents coach operators, and the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association.

Halmos was formerly head of PR for the City of London Corporation.

London’s flagship cycleway has some powerful enemies but – for the moment at least – there’s little likelihood of the freeflowing route being turned back to a gridlocked one.

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