News from Caroline Russell: Mayor playing catch up on walking and cycling
London’s new Mayor would have taken office today, had coronavirus not delayed the election. Caroline Russell AM published today a report on what the Mayor managed to achieve for people walking and cycling in London, and how much is still left to do.
Caroline’s report, Underway but under powered: reviewing four years of walking and cycling, shows that the Mayor could have done so more to make walking and cycling safer, easier and more convenient for Londoners.
New figures from Caroline Russell show that as well as again underspending the cycling budget, the Mayor built less protected space in each year of his term, until a rush in his would-be final year of 2019-20 when delivery finally neared the levels he inherited.
Caroline Russell says:
I’ve spent four years tracking the progress of the Mayor on making walking and cycling safer. Every Mayor has talked about walking and cycling as a priority, but the problem is in getting delivery right, and getting real change happening on the ground, all across our city.
We are now facing a sea change in how we travel in London, with key workers leading a move to more walking and cycling to work. With many of us now living more local lives we need space for social distancing on our high streets.
The Mayor will have to make more space for walking and cycling at an unprecedented speed. If he had delivered all that was discussed in his original term walking, and especially cycling, would already allow more Londoners to take safe and healthy alternatives to public transport and private cars.
The Mayor has been given an extra year to make changes, I will continue to push him to make good on the promises he made more than four years ago.
Research for the report was conducted prior to the coronavirus crisis, but has important lessons for walking and cycling interventions now being considered in the Mayor’s Streetspace plan. More people than ever before are taking walks around their neighbourhoods, visiting local shops and taking their kids out on bikes as the lockdown confines people to their local areas.
And there are good examples already in London where high streets were designed to help people get to shops by bike or on foot. Waltham Forest made massive changes to their streetscape and brought down motor traffic to open up roads for people walking and cycling, this could be done elsewhere in London.