When the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone announced plans for 12 segregated cycling highways and borough cycling zones across the capital this week, Cycling Weekly asked how such routes could be created without taking residents parking spaces?
?We will identify much less travelled routes,? answered the Mayor. ?There are lots of them. People shouldn?t assume that this is cyclists taking something away from people with cars. This is aimed at people with cars, getting them to give up their car and actually cycle. And everybody who switches relieves road space.
?There is now such a tide of opinion, all the mayoral candidates are pro cycling, and they are all making it a central plank of their campaign. That would have been inconceivable eight years ago. There are some who thought cycling was going to die out. But now, having created a critical mass of more cyclists, it is now ready to go to the next stage.?
Jenny Jones says once this scheme is in place, people will demand more cycling routes and bigger budgets to build them. : Jones is a key figure in putting cycling at the forefront of Transport for London?s transport policy, and is herself a cyclist.
?The cycling highways will I imagine be mostly on main roads, she told CW.
? We want to make sure cyclists can be safe and move quickly to work. Or to wherever they want to go.?
Will it mean taking space from cars?
?I certainly hope so. It?s about time we reallocated road space and used it better.?
Has Cycling England?s Demonstration Towns project influenced the Mayor?
?It certainly has. And I think the government is being so very mean with Cycling England. They?ve just given them £140 million. They could have given them so much more money.
That?s £140 million over three years and for the whole of England. I think that?s puny. I think that it is fantastic that Phillip Darnton (Cycling England Chair) has managed to do what he has.
?But the funding doesn?t compare to what we?ve got here in London. And it just shows how lacking in vision the government is, lacking in courage.?
It was essential, she added, to devise other ways for people to move about, otherwise, trains, buses, cars, the increasing population ? we won?t be able to cope.?
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Keith Bingham joined the Cycling Weekly team in the summer of 1971, and retired in 2011. During his time, he covered numerous Tours de France, Milk Races and everything in-between. He was well known for his long-running 'Bikewatch' column, and played a pivotal role in fighting for the future of once at-threat cycling venues such as Hog Hill and Herne Hill Velodrome.
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