- Fran_Graham 9:58am 14 July 2017
This is a guest blog by Tom Harrison, the Chair of LCC’s new Infrastructure Advisory Panel, which will be supporting LCC’s consultation responses . All views expressed in this blog are his own.
The last few weeks have seen two strategic documents released: the Strategic Cycling Analysis (SCA) from TfL; and the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS). They set out a clear “direction of travel” for London. The Mayor has committed to ensuring walking, cycling and public transport take clear priority over cars (including taxis and PHVs). The demand for cycling is immense, and a network of high quality routes and traffic free areas is needed to meet it. The Mayor is targeting a network where 70% of Londoners are within 400m of a cycle route. And for 80% of trips to be made by walking, cycling and public transport.
These high-level policy positions are to be welcomed and show real leadership from Mayor Khan, Val Shawcross, and Will Norman. The Mayor’s Transport Strategy is probably one of the most ambitious, sustainability-literate documents ever produced by a UK politician.
However, one big barrier remains: the confusion within TfL about which modes to prioritise when designing schemes. We’ve heard TfL say “we need to balance the needs of all road users”. If the MTS is to be followed, this sort of wording should disappear. The needs of cars are lower priority. The trickier issue is the balance between buses and cycling.
In almost all schemes of the past few years, TfL have not given a satisfactory answer. Balls Pond Road in Hackney, Brixton Hill in Lambeth, Hampstead Road in Camden have all seen cycle tracks cancelled due to TfL’s decision to prioritise buses. The latest schemes out for consultation now all include dangerous sections, with the incorrect assumption that people “from all walks of life” (“Healthy Streets” wording) will choose to cycle when forced to mix with very busy bus routes, on Nine Elms, Waterloo Road, Lambeth Palace Road and Fiveways.