With the ongoing conversation about how exactly we transition out of lockdown, we sat down with our friends Dr Rachel Aldred and Mark Strong to talk about what exactly London should be doing to support walking and cycling right now and longer term.
The first of LCC’s new webinar series, we covered a huge amount of ground in just an hour.
Dr Rachel Aldred, Reader in Transport at the University of Westminster, started us off by talking about the health benefits of supporting cycling before and after the lockdown. From the link emerging links between air pollution risk of contracting Covid-19 and the dangers of the increased speeding on the quieter roads during lockdown, to the amazing results the Waltham Forest Mini-Holland programme is producing, she walked us through the need to enable more walking and cycling, demonstrating the effectiveness of enabling active travel during and after the crisis.
Simon Munk, LCC's Infrastructure Coordinator, then covered off the international response to this crisis, highlighting the steps that New York and Vilnius are taking to reallocate space to support their hospitality industries coming out of lockdown. Alongside this, Paris is trail blazing, planning to double the capacity of its tube network using cycle lane, and closing major streets to motor traffic.
Mark Strong, Managing Consultant, Transport Initiatives, then took us through the various legal reasons and traffic orders councils need to be aware of, and how to use them to create more space to widen pavements, create cycle lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods. The key take away is that there are ways to implement these measures – but that political will is the key ingredient.
Fran Graham, LCC's Campaign Coordinator, then finished off the talks looking at the longer term. Because before the covid-19 crisis, London was already dealing with an air pollution crisis and climate emergency – both of which haven’t gone away. The Mayor and London Councils need to make these temporary measures to support walking and cycle permanent, they need to look at Smart Road User Charging, and they need to look at the policy recommendations in LCC’s Climate Safe Streets report.