Will Norman speaks, and is debated, at LCC AGM

Walking & Cycling Commissioner Will Norman spoke on the Mayor’s progress at the London Cycling Campaign AGM on 19 October. The AGM also heard a motion criticising the pace of delivery on the Mayor’s pledges to LCC during our #signforcycling campaign, calling on Norman to accelerate, as well as emergency motions on cycling design and lane widths, Westminster (again) and on cycle hire parking.

Norman talked about the progress the Mayor has made on cycling thus far with major schemes including two Cycle Superhighways, doubling the budget and delivering an ambitious Mayor’s Transport Strategy and the new Strategic Cycling Analysis on corridors of high cycling potential. He also talked up schemes on the ground and built including Archway gyratory, Westminster Bridge and Enfield’s schemes.

Norman went on to praise campaigners for helping deliver high-quality cycling routes in our capital, and agreed more were urgently needed – but warned that cycle campaigners would continue to face battles against those opposed to such schemes. Right now, Cycle Superhighways CS4 and CS9 particularly face opposition to schemes. He also praised Quietways, but suggested he wanted to see more traffic reduction on them.

The ex-Nike executive also talked about the need for more than just infrastructure to enable more people to cycle, talking up Direct Vision lorries, dockless bike hire and the role of other new and emerging technologies such as better and more open digital mapping data. Norman said TfL were currently compiling a database of all cycling infrastructure in London to enable app developers including Google to improve their cycling route mapping. Norman said he was particularly excited about the role e-bikes could play in enabling a broader range of people to cycle.

Beyond infrastructure, Norman highlighted his support and the need for a new generation of smart user road charging, taking us beyond the Congestion Charge, T-Charge and ULEZ (Ultra-Low Emission Zone). In order to deliver space for cycling, Norman said we “need to do more to take cars off our roads”.

Following his speech, Norman took questions from the floor. He started by suggesting the Mayor would meet his pledge to triple mileage of cycle tracks on main roads. Asked on removing funding for poor schemes in boroughs that did not embrace cycling, such as Westminster, Norman said cutting funding would be the “nuclear option” and that he wasn’t ready for that approach yet – saying it’s better to build something and take Westminster on a journey, than see no improvements for cycling. He believes “the relationship is beginning to change”.

Queried on outer London boroughs where the Strategic Cycling Analysis offered a view there wasn’t much potential for cycling routes, Norman pointed to the Liveable Neighbourhood funding streams also – where town centres, transport hubs, residential areas and areas around schools could be prioritised for cycling and walking schemes.

Following Norman’s departure motions on appropriate parking for cycle hire operators, on Westminster’s ongoing opposition to cycling and the Sussex Gardens Quietway scheme, and asking Norman to accelerate the pace of delivery in order to deliver the Mayor’s pledges to us were passed. Then it was time for the Campaigner’s Awards.