Assembly report into cycling infrastructure launches

The London Assembly’s Transport Committee report into its cycling infrastructure investigation is out. Simon Munk, our Infrastructure Campaigner, gave evidence to the inquiry as part of a panel, is quoted in the report and provided the draft of our written response too. Despite this, he’s the single guest not included in the thanks at the end!

The report called on testimony from LCC, but also Andrew Gilligan, former Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner; Dr Rachel Aldred, University of Westminster; Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester Walking & Cycling Commissioner; Dr Justin Spinney, Cardiff University; Richard Dilks, London First; Matt Winfield, London Director, Sustrans; Will Norman, the Mayor’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner; Lilli Matson, Director of Transport Strategy, TfL; Nigel Hardy, Head of Sponsorship, Road Space Management, TfL; Councillor Julian Bell, London Councils; Jeremy Vine, BBC broadcaster and Phil Jones, BBC radio editor.

The report covers a lot of ground, but we’ve summarised the key findings below…

Infrastructure

The Assembly wants more safe cycling routes and faster, specifically a timeline of milestones for the six new routes coming forward, and the other 19 highest priority routes in TfL’s Strategic Cycling Analysis as soon as possible behind. It’s very supportive of the benefits of main road cycle tracks, but does not think the “Cycle Superhighway” branding is useful any more. Accelerating the programme of cycle tracks means less “protracted” consultations and fewer delays and more political leadership.

New and existing routes also need to be better. “The jury is still out” on the Quietway programme, with quality control across boroughs being cited as a major concern. The recommendation is for the London Cycling Design Standards to be integrated into “Supplementary Planning Guidance” so it becomes mandatory for boroughs to use them. On top of that, a quality bar should be set specifically for Quietways for all boroughs to adhere to. This is because borough buy-in to cycling and performance on delivery is “patchy”.

More evidence is also needed on segregated cycle tracks as soon as possible, to bring naysayers on board.

Of course, not everyone is convinced on the Transport Committee. David Kurten, UKIP, provides the lone dissenting voice. The report says he recommends “a halt to the Cycle Superhighway building programme. They are mostly empty outside peak times. They cause congestion and increase journey times... Quietways should continue to be developed, but they should only be built where there is uninterrupted cycling for at least a mile... Liveable Neighbourhoods should… not be deliberately designed to penalise motorists. This is especially true in Outer London where car ownership is higher, and residents make more use of their own cars.”

Liveable Neighbourhoods

In transition from the existing three mini-Holland boroughs to a broader range of Liveable Neighbourhood boroughs, the Assembly pointed out how successful the first approach had already been. “Waltham Forest found the number of people cycling in the borough in 2016 had increased by 42 per cent compared to the previous year.” But recommended learning from the first through boroughs with a “framework to monitor and evaluate the programme, as well as encouraging boroughs to collect and share data; for example, through cycle counts and intercept surveys.” The report also highlighted the need for early and robust business engagement.

Cycle parking

Much more cycle parking at rail stations is highlighted as needed, with Network Rail’s performance on cycle parking to date repeatedly criticised in the report. And cycle parking should also be included in mandatory Supplementary Planning Guidance to ensure not just higher numbers, but also that cycle parking is “safe, secure and appropriately located”.

Dockless bike hire also gets a mention – with London-wide coordination of a few operators being proposed instead of allowing boroughs to make their own deals, leading to a patchwork of coverage.

To read the full report, click here.

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