Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has admitted London's roads will become more dangerous for cyclists if road safety schemes are scrapped as a result of Transport for London's (TfL) funding crisis.
TfL's Healthy Streets budget, which focuses on cycling and walking schemes in the capital city, will suffer an enforced £473m cut, as the government fails to commit extra funding past today. Khan is concerned this could have serious implications in efforts to improve safety for all road users.
The Mayor also acknowledges TfL will be forced to adopt a policy of "managed decline", with further infrastructure not forthcoming due to the cuts.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Khan said: “The bad news is that managed decline means not only can we not make the pace of progress that cyclists want, but we won’t be able to preserve those junctions that we have [improved].
“So, we can’t make the junctions safer that are dangerous - and the neglect of the streets in our city means even more junctions, even more streets, will be dangerous going forward.”
The Department for Transport (DfT) has said previously it has "repeatedly shown its commitment" to supporting TfL by providing more than £4bn emergency funding during the pandemic.
Cuts from the Healthy Streets budget will leave a £1.5bn gap by 2024-25. Consequently, TfL revealed its emergency plan to deal with the cuts includes the neglection of road safety schemes, such as cycle lanes, and also ending its Direct Vision scheme protecting vulnerable road users from lorries.
Nick Bowes, chief executive at think tank Centre for London, claims the funding crisis is a step backwards in reducing congestion and pollution in the city, and in achieving net-zero targets.
He said: "If we're to have a shot at reaching these targets, getting more people walking and cycling for shorter journeys is crucial. But this will be all the harder if Transport for London's Healthy Streets budget is cut.
"This budget update adds yet more urgency to the government and City Hall agreeing a sustainable, long-term funding deal for Transport for London.
"Without a funding settlement, we will struggle to build safe, well-designed routes that support people to walk and cycle more."
The latest TfL data also shows the number of cyclists killed or injured in London has increased 11 per cent year-on-year, making the funding cuts even more pertinent. Funding cuts will also likely see 18 per cent fewer buses and a nine per cent cut in Tube services.
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