London Mayor Sadiq Khan has pledged to spend £770 million on cycling infrastructure and initiatives over the next five years.
Among the schemes set to receive funding are the completion of phase two of the North-South Cycle Superhighway from Farringdon to Kings Cross, the extension of the East-West Cycle Superhighway from Lancaster Gate, two new Cycle Superhighways (CS4 and CS9), and the building and planning of “at least twenty more Quietway routes” over the period. In addition, three Mini Hollands will be built in Enfield, Kingston and Waltham Forest.
The investment is part of Transport for London’s new Business Plan which is being published in draft form later this week.
Many of the schemes named today were drawn up during Boris Johnson’s time as Mayor. However Mr Khan’s office says he will spend 5.5 per cent of TfL’s budget spent on cycling, up from 2.4 per cent (£302m) under the previous mayor, in keeping with his election pledge to double TfL’s investment in cycling.
Announcing his new cycle budget, Mr Khan said: “Making cycling safe and easier can provide huge benefits for us all – improving our health, cleaning up our toxic air, and helping tackle congestion.
“By spending £770 million over the course of the next TfL Business Plan, we’ll now be spending the same per head as Denmark and the Netherlands – places famous around the world for their cycling.
“With record amounts of money now committed for cycling in London, we will continue to work over the coming months developing further detailed plans for making cycling a safe and obvious choice for Londoners of all ages and backgrounds.”
Transport Commissioner Mike Brown added: “Londoners are really embracing cycling and if we make it safer and easier even more people will choose to switch to a bike to get around the city.
“The benefits of this are huge, and our draft business plan sets out how over the next five years more will be invested in cycling than ever before.
“Working with London’s boroughs we will create more safe, easy and well-connected cycling routes and encourage the shift towards healthy and active travel that impacts less on the environment and makes London a more pleasant city to live in.”
City Hall says each of the new schemes will deliver improvements and benefits for all road users, including pedestrians through new crossings, and cleaner air by encouraging more Londoners to ditch their cars.
Mr Khan’s announcement has been welcomed by the London Cycling Campaign, with CEO Ashok Sinha saying: “This unprecedented investment in cycling shows the Mayor is serious about meeting his promises to triple the extent of London’s protected cycle lanes, fix the most dangerous junctions and enable boroughs to implement major walking and cycling schemes.
“It will help make London a better, greener, healthier and less congested city.”
Matt Winfield, London Director of walking and cycling charity Sustrans, has also welcomed the promised cash. He said: “The Mayor is right to secure this record investment for cycling to tackle dire air quality and improve our health, while making more efficient use of our limited road space.
“It will help more Londoners get around in a way that’s easy and affordable, while making our city an even more attractive place to live, work or do business.”
However Andrew Gilligan, who served as Boris Johnson’s cycling commissioner until May, said the promised average spend of £154m per year “is less than we spent last year” and noted that today’s announcement “contains no commitment to actually build any segregated cycle route beyond the one scheme (the North-South extension) already announced.”
He added: “The promise to consult on two cycle superhighway routes (CS4 and CS9) is welcome, though neither will reach central London.
“We need a promise that they will be segregated, and also that a consultation result which favours their building will not be ignored, as it was with the Westway.
“City Hall will be judged by what it does, not what it says. Seven months into the new mayoralty, it is time to stop issuing press releases and get started.”
Caroline Pidgeon, who represents the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly, said she welcomed today’s announcement but noted, “TfL has a record of underspending its cycling budget so bold promises need to be seen in this context”
She added: “I particularly welcome the Mayor’s commitment to a cycling bridge between Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf which I have long advocated, along with more Cycle Superhighways and Quietway routes.
“However, what is totally lacking from the Mayor’s statement is any commitment to extend the cycle hire scheme further out into new parts of London.
“Extending the cycle hire scheme into places such as Richmond and Rotherhithe should be key priorities of any Mayor who is truly serious about cutting congestion and making London a cycling city for everyone.”
Conservative Assembly transport spokesman Keith Prince said: “Whilst it’s good to see the Mayor extending Boris’ cycling legacy, I have some serious concerns over the levels of investment he is promising.
“Having already taken £640million from TfL’s budget with his fares freeze, the Mayor is now promising large-scale cycling investment without explaining where the money is coming from.
“We all want to see investment in cycling infrastructure in London. I just hope this is not yet another grand pledge on which the Mayor fails to deliver.”
Green Party AM Caroline Russell, said: “London is suffering from air pollution, congestion and transport capacity crises. Getting more people onto bikes and getting around on foot could make life so much better for all but the evidence shows that without proper segregated infrastructure, people don’t change the way they get around.
“The Mayor must clarify whether the cycle routes he builds will be segregated, cycling on busy roads is too intimidating for many people. So we need even more cycle routes than the Mayor is planning.
“I will keep making the case to the Mayor to increase funding for cycling and walking and I will keep an eye on schemes he is prioritising such as Quietways as they develop – there have been quality issues with these routes.”
In addition to today’s spending news, City Hall says a new walking and cycling commissioner, who will act as an “advocate for active travel in London”, will be appointed “very shortly”.
Many cycling campaigners have been unhappy that the role has remained vacant since the departure of Mr Gilligan at the end of Mr Johnson’s term of office.
At last month’s Mayor’s Question Time session Mr Khan told London Assembly Members that a decision had been taken to “pause” the recruitment of a new commissioner to allow his transport deputy, Val Shawcross to “clarify” how the role would operate.