Transport for London (TfL) has announced £4 million of funding to create cycle hubs and cycling communities in outer London. The move follows the granting of ‘Biking Borough’ status to 13 of the capital's 32 local councils in 2010.
Each had to submit a written plan showing their intentions for raising cycling levels in their area. The 13 successful boroughs will now face a further hurdle as they must bid for a share of the £4m pot.
TfL research shows that 2.4 million trips are made every day in outer London that could be cycled – and it’s hoped the new funding will go some way to converting that two-wheeled potential into reality. The main areas that are likely to attract investment are town centre facilities, removing barriers to cycling and promotional activities.
Tom Bogdanowicz, campaigns officer for the London Cycling Campaign, told BikeRadar: "It’s great to see some cash. TfL has been talking about Biking Boroughs for a while. They're one of the Mayor’s three platforms (Superhighways and the public bike hire scheme being the other two), and thus far there's been next to no money for Biking Boroughs.’
Mr Bogdanowicz said action was needed now that the money is to be awarded. "These boroughs are expected to allocate their own transport money too, so the TfL money is really just a part of the money to make these boroughs places where people are happy cycling," he said.
"Surveys show that up to half the people in these boroughs are interested in getting out and about by cycling. However, you have to create decent conditions out there. This is doable and has already been done in other parts of London. Look at Shoreditch where a gyratory was removed and the southern part of the Elephant and Castle gyratory has gone too. This is something we simply have to do to encourage cycling like we have in inner London."
The 13 biking boroughs are: Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Haringey, Havering, Hillingdon, Kingston, Merton, Redbridge and Hounslow. Ealing council plans to create ‘cycle hubs’ in Greenford and South Acton, while Barking and Dagenham are aiming to create a network of greenways.
TfL also supports lorry driver cyclist awareness training. Bogdanowicz said boroughs such as Lambeth, Hammersmith, Hackney and Southwark were leading the way.