Outer London Is Losing Out On Cycling Funds

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 33 months ago
Outer London Is Losing Out On Cycling Funds
Photo by DAVID HOLT from the Londonist Flickr pool

Most of the money spent on cycling by Transport for London and City Hall is going to inner London, says Assembly Member Darren Johnson.

Of cycling cash spent between May 2008 and May 2016 — the length of Boris Johnson's tenure as mayor — £314m has gone to inner London and £75m to outer London. Projects like cycle hire, cycle superhighways and safer junction reviews have overwhelmingly targeted the inner boroughs, despite outer London being ripe for a cycling revolution. The Green AM points out research that shows half of all London suburban car trips could be cycled in 10 minutes, yet just 133,000 of the 2.7m outer London journeys that are cycleable are actually done by bike.

The focus on inner London is understandable from a visibility point of view, but will mostly appeal to those commuting to work in central London or tourists. It's also not going to do much to address the perception that cycling in London is for white middle-class men. But it's in outer London, where most residents have access to a car, where the real progress into making the capital a cycling city could be made.

Darren Johnson says that the £300,000 allocated to each of 13 outer boroughs for three years wasn't enough to pay for major changes — the engineers to draw up new plans, for instance. So in Brent, the money was spent on road signs and cycle training, but no new cycle lanes or redesigns of junctions. Of the 12 cycle superhighways — announced, lest we forget, under Ken Livingstone — only five are are up and running. CS1 will open later this year; CS5 currently stops at Oval when it was meant to run to Lewisham. Three outer London boroughs will have any kind of cycle superhighway by May 2016.

Johnson, Darren, has several suggestions for whoever succeeds Johnson, Boris. More funding of course, in line with share of journeys — cyclists make 2.5% of all trips in London but cycling gets 1.4% of TfL's budget. This could be because trains are more expensive to run; but many cycling improvements are initially expensive with vastly diminishing maintenance costs.

He also advises closer working between TfL and boroughs, making provisions for confident and less experienced cyclists and not being afraid to set bold targets. There are also a few ideas that will set motorists' teeth on edge (it's sad that London's road users seem to be constantly at each others' throats, but there we go), including TfL taking over borough roads if necessary.

Last Updated 09 January 2016

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