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After many years of campaigning, a cycle route through Green Park appeared on Westminster and Transport for London's map of the proposed Central London Grid. As well as the pleasant experience of cycling through the park, such a route would allow cyclists to avoid St James's Street, which is usually congested, or a more circuitous route through the back streets of St James's.
But which path should the route take through the park? As the map below shows, there are four contenders:
The south end of Path 1
Known as Queen's Walk, this is the widest of the four paths and the one shown as a cycle route on the maps of the Central London Grid. It is also the only one not to converge on the pedestrian crossing at the Palace end of Constitution Hill. Instead, the south end is a short distance from a crossing of the Mall at the Palace end.
Vehicles, including cycles, are already allowed along the first 130 metres or so – hence the sign telling cyclists not to leave the path. The gradient is of some concern at the north end – not because northbound cyclists would find it tiring but rather because it could increase the speed of southbound cyclists, unless there were measures to limit cyclists' speed.
Unfortunately the north end is not near a crossing of Piccadilly, though it is nearly opposite Berkeley Street, which TfL's map shows continuing the route towards Berkeley Square. So a new crossing of Piccadilly would be required, adding to the cost and complexity of the project.
The north end of Path 1
The south end of Path 2
As the photo shows, this path can be heavily used by pedestrians, so it is the least feasible one to be shared with cyclists.
The north end runs into Green Park underground station, which is not very useful for cyclists.
The north end of Path 2
The south end of Path 3
This path conveniently runs between Buckingham Palace and a gate by a pedestrian crossing of Piccadilly.
Although less heavily used by pedestrians than Path 2, it attracts a number during the morning and evening peaks.
The north end is conveniently opposite Half Moon Street, which could form a cycle route into Mayfair – though some one-way streets would need to be made two-way for cycling.
The north end of Path 3
The south end of Path 4
This is the most westerly of the four paths, the one least used by pedestrians and the one with the shallowest gradient. It is probably also the narrowest – though still a useful four metres.
Although the north end is not right by a crossing of Piccadilly, it is only a short distance from the one near the gate used by Path 3. Like Path 3, it could conveniently connect with a route through Half Moon Street.
The north end of Path 4