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"An eye-opener": What people told us about cycling Quietway 1

By Becca Jones,

Becca Jones is an Engineer in the Sustrans London Design team. She’s been involved in designing some of the Quietways since 2014. 

In the month since the first Quietway opened, connecting Waterloo to Greenwich, I've been finding out how people using it feel about the route. I've met people new to cycling who told me that Q1 had encouraged them to take up riding their bike, as well as experienced cyclists who described how much better their commutes were as a result of the new Quietway. It's wonderful to hear people talk about the impact the changes have on their journeys, and reaffirms how vital it is that we continue to deliver a good network of quiet routes across the capital.

Cheryl Jimenez is a NHS Medical Secretary at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust in Eltham: “The QW1 route is very convenient for me as I live in Waterloo and work in Greenwich. I had occasionally cycled to work last year but stopped as I didn’t feel particularly safe or comfortable on busy roads such as the Old Kent Road, and in and around Lewisham. I tried Quietway 1 recently, and now I feel much more confident about getting back on the bike to commute to work as the route takes me along quieter and safer roads - quite scenic ones too - especially through the Millwall link, where there’s a fantastic view of the London skyline!”

Martin O’Gorman rides Q1 from his home in Lewisham every day, joining up with CS7 to get into the city: “It’s amazing as there’s just so little traffic, and it takes you pretty much straight into Borough. What I really like is that there are so few traffic lights, it’s not stop start like some routes. I find that you can just enjoy your cycle. It’s ingenious the way these different sections have been joined up, it’s just a lovely route. There must be other bits and pieces of street that they could equally join up to make more lovely routes.”

Jacky Jones has been using the Millwall path to get from her home in Greenwich to St Thomas’s Hospital since it opened in Spring this year: “It’s a pleasure to cycle to work. The path cuts out some dangerous junctions and means you don’t need to cycle down the main road.”

Katerina has tried using Q1 to get from Brockley to London Bridge: “I was looking for a quieter route home, and I’d heard about Q1 being launched so I tried it out. The smoothness of the route is probably the best part, and I’ll be using this route again.”

Daniel has just discovered Q1 and had been using the main road before that: “The traffic felt dangerous, and I felt I had to cycle very fast. I didn’t like that. I started using this route a couple days ago and am amazed by how calm it is, and I’m at work even faster than when I was using the main road. It’s just so much more relaxing that it used to be – I’m not feeling stressed on the bike. I would love to see more of these.”

JohnMc Grath is a new London cyclist, commuting from Beckenham to London Bridge: “I’ve only been using this route for a few days. I’d been putting off cycling for years but I’ve just last week started cycling to work and find this route quick and straightforward. I’ve been quite surprised, I’m quite enjoying it. “

Rich Barnes had been using the route to get from Peckham to Old Street for several years, but has experienced huge benefits since the Q1 improvements have been completed: “The improvements have been huge. Before the improvements, I felt exposed when crossing major roads, but now we get the green light earlier and it acknowledges the fact that cyclists are there. Right the way from Dunton Way and Willow Walk down to The Cut, I used to feel a bit intrusive. I’ve been telling people about all these little changes and what a difference they make”.

Jacqui Godfrey is a London ride leader for British Cycling’s Breeze Network, which supports women to ride bikes for fun and fitness. Breeze run a range of regular guided rides for women and children.

"I took a group of riders out on Q1 in late Spring. We were a mixed group, including an experienced cyclist and a more nervous rider but we found our way and were happy riders. It’s been amazing to see this route progress. The group was impressed by how fast the journey from Waterloo to Greenwich was, and how comfortable it felt riding in largely traffic-free streets and paths.

“Only one car passed us the whole way back”, one said. 

"It is so nice to cycle without having the cars bother you at all”.

“I could bring my children on this route. It would be a great route to build their confidence”, said another.

Everyone liked the lovely wide paths, which reminded some of them of cycling in Holland. The riders loved the Great Dover Street crossing just before Tabard Gardens, where Globe Street is closed to traffic, and the lovely planting in the middle is really special.

"This has taken me to places I have never been in London”, one rider said. “Quite an eye-opener”. 

Find out more about Quietways

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