The Mayor of London will triple spending on cycling infrastructure to nearly a billion pounds over the next ten years, in an attempt to make good his promise to engineer a 'cycling revolution' in the city.
The Times reports plans due to be unveiled in Transport for London’s new business plan on Tuesday and voted on on December 12th.
They include ambitious designs for an east-west cycle corridor, bike lanes, cycle parks and other facilities. The Mayor says that the improvements could put the capital on a par with Copenhagen when it comes to funding cycling.
TfL says that profits from Tube and bus fares, as well as goverment grants and cuts in other areas, all of which will be agreed, will go the first steps to doubling the spending in these areas in the current business plan (up to 2015) from £135 million to £268 million.
Isabel Dedring, Deputy Mayor for Transport, told the paper:
“If we want to deliver the aspiration we have of making cycling a mainstream mode of travel then we have got to invest accordingly and this is a big step in that direction,” she said.
“We have seen a very significant increase in cycling and a change in the types of people who are cycling. Therefore we need to see a transformation in terms of the facilities that are being provided.”
Then, the mayor hopes to increase the spending in the ten year plan by an additional £640 million, taking the total spend to £913 million.
Ms Dedring said that TfL was interested in finding corporate sponsors willing to invest in “iconic schemes in certain locations”. She said: “We are not wedded to Barclays. We are interested in whoever can give us the best deal.”
As the Times points out, it's not without justification that the spending is being mooted. The paper said:
Injuries to cyclists rose by 50 per cent from 2,958 in 2006 to 4,497 last year. While the increase can in part be explained by growth in the number of cyclists, the Assembly’s transport committee said that the rate of casualties as a proportion of distance travelled rose between 2007 and 2010.
And although the headline figures sound very impressive, the plans will see cycling take only 2 per cent of the London transport budget, the same as is currently allocated.
Commenters on the site expressed mixed reactions to the news. One said that TfL's cycling provision was too much focused on the centre of the city, writing: "Too much investment has already gone into the centre with the hire bike scheme and so-called cycle superhighways which are anything but super!"
Another wrote: "London would be a better place if this plan is successful ..."
Of course, there was some dissent, as expected. One commenter wrote: "Are the cyclists going to finance these changes or will it be left as usual for motorists to finance them?" and another replied: "Bike riders get a free ride, at the motorist’s expense – and then bite the hand that feeds them by seeking to impose restrictions on motorists."
Well, you can't win 'em all over.