Speaking to our AGM, the Deputy Mayor for Transport under new Mayor Sadiq Khan, Val Shawcross emphasised the Mayor, the London Assembly and TfL’s ongoing commitment to cycling – as well as dropping in some surprise announcements.
It is a “great joy to hear the Mayor say ‘modal shift’”, Shawcross told attendees, reiterating the Mayor’s commitment to expanding high-quality cycle schemes, and to move “past the combustion engine era”, from a car city to a people city. Shawcross said that growth in many boroughs (she namechecked Kingston specifically) had been “held back by car-dominated layout”.
Shawcross announced key extensions to the Cycle Superhighway network – not just reiterating support for CS11, the North-South extension and the East-West extension (although potentially “rerouted”) – but also revealing that the long-awaited CS4 and CS9 would be consulted on in 2017.
While Shawcross was clear on the need for new Cycle Superhighways, she was less enamoured of the actual term: “Superhighway”. And pointed out that cycling-positive schemes are also walking-positive – with the East-West Cycle Superhighway getting “loads of positive feedback” from pedestrians as well as people cycling. Shawcross also suggested that the time had come to move beyond a few disjointed high-quality schemes to a true network – with a focus on a “strategic cycle network”, showcasing a plan that matched demand, growth areas etc to enable modal shift.
Shawcross also was clear, despite recent biased media reports, that “cycling is not the cause of congestion” and suggested there was a vital role for borough cycling campaign groups to educate and support councillors and officers, overcoming the challenge of local delivery. She also suggested the new Cycling And Walking Commissioner meant a new approach – with more engagement earlier, to avoid bikelash. She thought Waltham Forest’s mini-Holland was “fabulous”, but this engagement process and the new Commissioner are needed before the next wave of mini-Hollands come to fruition.
Responding to questions from the floor, Shawcross was also positive on increasing both representation and design for inclusive cycling, saying: “I’m married to a disabled cyclist”. And she revealed two thirds of internet deliveries fail at the first attempt to deliver – reinforcing the urgent need for better consolidation and working on the growth in internet delivery vans etc.
The only sour note struck? Shawcross reiterated support for the Silvertown tunnel road crossing of the river. “We need to increase capacity to cross the river for all modes”, she said, pointing out that meant both Silvertown and the Rotherhithe-Canary Wharf cycle/walking bridge.
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