The London Assembly has urged the capital’s next mayor to keep building protected cycling infrastructure to help get more Londoners on bikes.
Darren Johnson AM proposed the motion, passed 13 votes to nine, which urges the next mayor to continue the cycle superhighways programme and three Mini-Holland projects after Boris Johnson leaves the post in May.
Meanwhile Assembly Members voted against a Conservative amendment, which Johnson said could give residents power of veto over cycle schemes. During a debate on the motion Enfield Conservatives came under criticism for a lack of political leadership on the Enfield Mini Holland scheme.
Darren Johnson AM (Green) said: “We are finally seeing some world class sections of cycle lane opening in central London and that is very welcome. But the tough work has only just started. The next Mayor must capitalise on the consensus that the London Assembly and Mayor have worked hard to achieve over the past eight years on the clear need for a network of safe, direct superhighways radiating out from the city centre to the suburbs.”
Valerie Shawcross CBE AM, who seconded the motion said: "With progress now being made, we cannot afford to lose the momentum it has taken us so long to build up. With the number of cyclists likely to continue to grow in the coming years, the next Mayor, no matter what their political colour, needs to embrace, enhance and ingrain London’s cycling revolution."
During the debate Joanne McCartney AM (Labour) criticised Conservatives in Enfield for failing to show political leadership over the Mini Holland project.
She said: “When the [Mini Holland] bids were put in the local councillors, both Labour and Conservatives, signed the bid document for this.
“It was only when opposition started coming in to aspects of the scheme that they backed away and their answer now is not to work constructively, their answer is to give all the money back to TfL (Transport for London). Well I think that’s the wrong answer, I think they should be working to achieve consensus.”
“I don’t want to go back to the situation we were in under the Conservative leadership of Enfield where they kept sending money back to TfL that was due for cycling. Enfield was consistently awarded cycling money year on year on year and every year they sent a lot of it back. They’re proposing that again, I don’t think that’s acceptable either.”
Darren Johnson said an amendment to the bill, proposed by Andrew Boff AM (Conservative), which was voted against 13 to nine, would effectively give local residents power of veto over cycle schemes in a way not possible with other transport projects with “strategic importance for the whole of London”.
Andrew Boff, AM (Conservative), said it was the lack of consultation and consensus building he objected to, not the cycling infrastructure itself, and said Transport for London is “making enemies” with its cycling programme.
He said: “So many people have come to us and complained about the consultation that we will not be able to support the motion as it is, unless there is an a mention of the improvements that need to take place regarding consultation. And I do regret that. I’m a cyclist, that’s the main mode of transport I use.”
He said: “We don’t design London’s roads with the inspiration of Formula One so why do we design Cycle Superhighways with the inspiration of the Tour de France?
“In many ways they’re seen as a concession to the testosterone-driven, Lycra clad cyclist.”
Conservative London Assembly Members were criticised for walking out of two road safety debates in 2011, preventing votes from being cast.
Caroline Pidgeon AM, Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor, said cycling needs to be moved out of what she called the “bus division” within TfL, Surface Transport, and give it its own department, and said in 40 years London could be like Copenhagen.
She said: “In the 1970s Copenhagen decided to invest serious money in cycling year after year after year to make cycling the norm for everyone, and now, 40 years later they are world leaders in this field and I think London can become exactly the same in the decades to come if we continue that investment going forward.”
The full text of the motion is:
This Assembly welcomes the construction of sections of high quality cycle superhighway in central London. We also welcome the Mayor’s recent comments urging his successor to complete the three Mini Hollands currently in train.
Encouraging more journeys to be made by bicycle could help London’s transport network to cope with the pressures of a growing population. It could also help improve the health and wellbeing of Londoners and go some way to cleaning up our polluted air.
We therefore call on the Mayor to work with the Assembly to ensure his successor builds on the consensus on cycling programmes that has been achieved within the Assembly in recent years, with a view to continuing these programmes in his or her Mayoralty.
The amendment was to replace the word 'builds' in the final paragraph with: seeks genuine public support for Mini Hollands, Cycle Superhighways and Quietways so that he is able to build