Wednesday, 26 January 2011

And now Lambeth also out-cycles the Square Mile

How interesting.

A few weeks ago, I previewed how the City of London intends to spend its transport money over the next three years. 

A quick reminder of how that breaks down

0.45% goes on the cycling revolution - In other boroughs, this would be cycle superhighways. In the City it means mainly cycle stands
0.7% goes on road safety, mostly in the form of policing
2.9% goes on streets as places. This is architecture and plant pots. No mention of cycling here at all.
25.6% goes on major schemes. These are schemes that are good for making roads more pedestrian-friendly but if you look at a representative sample of one of these, they are not designed with cycling in mind.
0.7% goes into travel behaviour. This is PR and schemes to encourage sustainable travel (electric cars, bicycles, walking)

If we're hugely generous, cycling in the City of London gets 0.45% on the ground and a smattering of money for other initiatives. But the signs are that it doens't get any of the major money.

Compare and contrast with Lambeth. Not all is perfect with the Lambeth plan. Not by any means. But if you have a read of the Lambeth transport plan here, just like the Camden and Southwark transport plans which I mention here, it is clear about the need to support improvements to the roads to make it safer and more sensible for people to cycle. Lambeth states rather boldly that: "funding will be directed at schemes that are likely to achieve a shift away from car use (as opposed to switching between other sustainable modes of transport)." Bear in mind that the funding is still tiny when compared with the money going into other transport modes. But it's the sort of noise a borough needs to make if anything is going to happen to make people feel they want to cycle on London's roads. And it's a far better statement than the City of London's assertion that "...the City Corporation concurs with the Mayor that there is a need to maintain a particular focus on improvements for this key mode of travel (cycling). Projects implemented within the cycling revolution programme will nevertheless be designed with the needs of all road users in mind".

So, let's see if Lambeth puts its money where it's mouth is. And, where the City is full of contradictions about its transport plan, Lambeth is pretty clear about where its money is going:

Neighbourhood Schemes £2.55million - These are improvements to pedestrian and cycle  environment, parking reviews. Equivalent to the City's Streets as Places scheme that fails to mention cycling at all.
Cycling - £1.4 million to improve cycle routes and movements, permeability and accessibility, local access,  greenways, on-street and estate cycle facilities. Nearly three times as much as the City of London
Road Danger Reduction - £160,000 (roughly a quarter what the City of London is spending on policing) goes on driver/HGV/cyclist awareness,  community projects
Schools programme (school travel plans) - £150,000 - intriguingly the City of London's schools don't seem to get this
Workplace travel plans  £90,000
Travel awareness schemes -£710,000 goes on cycle training, walking promotion, roughly the same amount as the City of London.

All in all, cycling, together with pedestrian initiatives get a better slice of money in Lambeth than in the City. The point is that cycling is placed together with pedestrians in Neighbourhood Schemes (vs nothing for cycling in similar spending in the City) as well as getting sizeable direct funding all of its own.

And compared to the City of London,Lambeth has tiny amounts of money to play with. A total £25 million in all of its transport plan for three years, compared to over £130million in the Square Mile. Now, much of the Square Mile money comes from its own funds and from developer funding. But that £100million+ figure is why it's such a travesty that cycling isn't seeing any significant input in the City. Just imagine £5million of that going to cycling developments in the City of London over three years and what a difference that could make.

Lambeth gets it. Camden gets it. Southwark gets it. City of London wants to get it and has the money to get it but then doesn't put the money behind it. The City, from my point of view, starts with lots of good intentions but then waters these down by insisting on equality between all road users and by refusing to give cycling any sort of space. I can't help thinking that's a wasted opportunity.