Tuesday, 31 May 2011

If you don't like TfL's plans for Blackfriars, then send them this message now

Two lanes now. Three lanes coming soon. And higher
speed limits
Over the bank holiday weekend, Local Government Minister Grant Shapps announced a welcome initiative to make it easier for local councils to to scrap by-laws without permission from Whitehall with a view to making it easier to implement quiet cycle routes in parks, on pavements etc.

The Conservative Home blog announced the decision by slightly undermining the whole initiative and almost inviting people to object to the new measure when it added this statement:

"Of course there will be lots of local controversies about just where cycling should be allowed. The point is these should be local decisions. If you don't want cycling along the promenade in Worthing then you can vote to throw out the councillors who allowed it."

I'm going to flick that idea on its head:

Transport for London is busily designing its vision of London as a haven for maximum through-put of motor vehicles. From the perspective of people who walk or cycle through London, with the notable exception of some sections of Cycle Super Highway, it seems that TfL, under the direction of our Mayor, wants to roll more and more motorway-style conditions through London.

Some of us met the TfL people responsible for designing central London's trunk road system back in February. We argued then that the scheme for Blackfriars was just one scheme that was absolutely rubbish for cycling. The TfL officials responded in a way that made me feel they simply aren't engaging with cycling as a serious option for people to get around in London.

Blackfriars Bridge is just one of several examples of how I think TfL isn't taking cycling (or walking, for that matter) seriously. I've profiled Blackfriars a lot here and there's an excellent summary on the ibikelondon blog here as well. You can look all over London for examples that directly mimic what's happening at Blackfriars, for example here or here.

So, coming back to that statement from Conservative Home: "If you don't want cycling along the promenade in Worthing then you can vote to throw out the councillors who allowed it".

Well it's time to support some councillors who want to vote for cycling and for walking. I mentioned last week that three parties in the London Assembly will be putting forward a motion to request Transport for London make Blackfriars at 20mph zone.

The London Cycling Campaign explains the motion in simple detail on its page here. The point is that the scheme is rubbish. But we can at least insist TfL make the scheme safer for pedestrians and cyclists by slowing the scheme to 20mph. And to do that, as many people as possible need to support to the London Assembly members who are pushing for this to happen. On that basis alone, I'd urge you to go to this London Cycling Campaign page and all you have to do is sign up your support of the London Assembly members who are putting this motion forward.

The Conservative Home blog seems to suggest we should all vote out councillors who support cycling. I think it's time that those of us who do cycle started voting with our feet (or pedals) as well.