Thursday, February 02, 2012

Cycling in Southwark

Over 2 months since I blogged, but a good time to talk about cycling in Southwark after the debate which we held at Council Assembly last week on the environment and transport.

Curiously the Labour Administration was accused of being anti-cyclist during the course of the debate by our Lib Dem opponents - which on the basis of the facts is simply not an accurate description. Firstly, our current target of increasing cycling from 3% of journeys to 4% across the borough is merely a continuation of the previous Administration's target. So if it wasn't good enough for the Lib Dems why didn't they do something about it during the 8 years they were in power? To my mind it is not a particularly ambitious target and I would like to see us revisit it very soon.

But I recognise that if we are going to persuade people to cycle and really increase the number of journeys made by bike, we need to make the routes for cyclists around the borough as safe as possible. That is why we met with Southwark Cyclists last week to discuss their plans for linking up parts of the borough with safe cycling routes, and why I will be meeting up with other cycling representatives in the near future to discuss their constructive proposals.

As a borough there is some good work which we are doing for cycling. As an Administration we have spent or allocated £2.677 million on cycling in the last 20 months and plan to spend nearly another £4 million on cycling infrastructure. One third of the money allocated from TfL to us gets spent on cycling and we have recently completed 100 metres more of safe cycle route on Southwark Park Road. We have installed 174 cycle lockers on housing estates and created over 1500 new spaces for on street cycle parking. A good start - but I recognise there is a lot more to do.

Cycling is a healthy and should be a safe form of transport around our capital city. My ambition is to see Southwark lead the way in delivering safe cycle routes and I look forward to working with cyclists to deliver on that ambition.

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