Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says that over the next five years, the city will spend almost twice as much on cycling as under his predecessor Boris Johnson.
The news comes ahead of the launch, this Thursday, of the Transport for London (TfL) draft Business Plan.
City Hall says the investment, which totals £770 million from 2017/18 to 2021/22, equates to £17 per person per head, which is well above the £10 that campaigners have called for as a minimum investment in cycling.
It adds that the investment negotiated by Khan “goes well beyond his manifesto commitments to increase the proportion of TfL’s budget spent on cycling,” which it claims will rise from 2.4 per cent to 5.5 per cent.
From 2012/13 to 2015/16, TfL’s actual spend on cycling was £302 million, with a further £155 million budgeted this year. Khan says the amount spent “in the last mayoral term” was £79 million per year. For the next five years, it is budgeted at £154 million.
Some of the money will be used to complete existing projects such as the North-South Cycle Superhighway from Farringdon to King’s Cross and Cycle Superhighway 11 from Swiss Cottage to the West End.
Funding will also be confirmed for Cycle Superhighway 4 from Tower Bridge to Greenwich and Cycle Superhighway 9 from Olympia to Hounslow, with consultations for both getting under way next year.
More Quietways are planned, and research that will be published in the coming months has identified essential links that are needed such as from Tottenham to Camden or East Finchley to Hoxton.
Money will also be provided for the proposed cycling and walking bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf.
“I said in my manifesto that I’d be the most pro-cycling Mayor London has ever had,” Khan said. “Today I’m delighted to confirm that TfL will be spending twice as much on cycling over the next five years compared to the previous mayor.
“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.”
Khan and his Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross, have criticised what they see as a flawed consultation process under Johnson that led to unnecessary conflict, and he said: “Unlike the previous Mayor, we will continue to focus on how we can minimise disruption and congestion as we push ahead with the construction of new cycling infrastructure.
He added: “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.”
London Cycling Campaign CEO Ashok Sinha said: “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 national sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, added: “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.”
It’s unsurprising the news has been welcomed by campaigners. It comes just a few months after former Green Party Assembly Member Darren Johnson claimed that funding for cycling in London was due to “fall of a cliff” and drop to £31 million in 2021/22 according to TfL’s last draft plan.
But his successors at the London Assembly will be watching closely to make sure the money is in fact spent, with its Budget Monitoring Committee demanding explanations in the past from the former mayor and TfL over shortfalls such as an actual spend of £73 million in 2013/14 against a budget of £111 million.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.