By Daniel Hunter
Outer London boroughs are being invited to become 'mini-Hollands' for the bicycle in a £100 million bidding process launched by the Mayor, Boris Johnson, and TfL.
Up to four outer boroughs will be chosen for substantial investment, with very high spending concentrated on a relatively small area for a genuinely transformational impact.
The aim is that the successful boroughs will become every bit as cycle-friendly as their Dutch equivalents — places that towns and cities all over Britain will want to copy. Everyone in them will benefit from improvements in their quality of life and travel, whether they cycle or not.
City Hall and TfL have written to all 20 outer London boroughs inviting them to apply for the scheme.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This will go beyond anything seen in the UK before. It could amount to a complete transport makeover of the successful boroughs — benefiting everybody in them, not just cyclists — and we expect councils all over London will see the huge potential to make significant improvements using this funding.”
The schemes in each successful borough will include, but not necessarily be limited to:
• A substantial redesign of the main town centre to make it genuinely excellent for cyclists.
• Redesigns of some of the secondary town centres.
• New cycle and pedestrian bridges across major roads, railway lines or waterways, where necessary, to overcome physical barriers that divide the borough.
• A network of good cycle routes radiating out from the main town centre, and secondary centres, to other parts of the borough, parallelling all the main local travel routes.
• Redesigns of problem junctions where they are used by cyclists.
• A good commuter route from the borough to central London.
• Cycle superhubs, with large amounts of secure cycle parking, at local railway stations.
• Work with major retailers to promote cycling.
Boroughs are also encouraged to put forward any other ideas they may have to improve cycling.
The programme’s main aim will be to replace the thousands of short local journeys by car that could easily be cycled instead. If this is successful, the target boroughs could see dramatic reductions in traffic, air pollution and pressure on parking. At a minimum, there will be major improvements to the winning boroughs’ public spaces and town centres.
Most of London’s cycling growth in recent years has taken place in inner London, but more than half of all potentially cyclable trips are in outer London, according to TfL research. The vast majority of trips in the suburbs are less than two miles, around ten minutes by bike, but are currently mostly made by car.
“We are looking for the boroughs to tell us how they will do these things,” said Mr Johnson. “We are looking for radicalism, imagination, and political commitment to genuinely substantial change. Boroughs shouldn’t worry if they haven’t done much for cycling before. It is the future we are interested in, not the past.”
Candidate boroughs who are unsuccessful in a bid may still be eligible for funding under different programmes for aspects of their proposals which interest the Mayor’s team.
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