Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Zac & Sadiq on bikes

In the run up to the election we'll be looking at what the different candidates are saying. I'm going to start with the men regarded as the front-runners and see what we're hearing at this early stage.

I will cover the other candidates and also how their manifestos develop in the run-up to the election (some would say I'm saving the best candidates until later, you can make up your own mind on that one).

Zac on bikes

I'm starting with the easy one because there's not a lot to say so far - Apart from a few very poorly considered remarks (and here) about roads/cycling, there is very little to go on.

There is one mention of 'encouraging' safer cycling on his website, but no detail. The website seems to have very little content overall:

If you believe Zac has a credible chance of becoming our next mayor, this is quite a worry.

Sadiq on bikes

This is also easy - Sadiq's office sent me an email setting out his policies! ctrl-c, ctrl-v:

Sadiq is determined to continue the progress in making cycling safer in London. He believes making cycling safer for more Londoners will ease pressure on our public transport system, as well as it being a greener and healthier way of getting around our city.
A list of the things Sadiq wants to do include:
  • Roll out the Twenty’s Plenty initiative to reduce average speeds on the capital’s residential roads
  • Target investment on completing works to tackle the capital’s most dangerous junctions, making them safer for road vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians
  • Pedestrianise Oxford Street and part-pedestrianise Parliament Square
  • Establish a Public Realm Committee, to lead on how we can further improve public spaces across the capital, getting a better balance between all road users
  • Investigate the merits of car free weekends in central London, along the lines of that adopted successfully by Paris
  • Working with cycling groups, local authorities, TfL and businesses to identify ways of cutting the number of the most dangerous lorries from London’s roads at the busiest times
  • Continued investment in cycling provision, including the next generation of Cycle Superhighways, further investment in Quietways and town centre improvement schemes, looking at how we can expand the cycle hire scheme, and enhanced cycle storage on street in residential areas, and in new office developments
  • Further work to bust some of London’s physical barriers, such as the backing the Rotherhithe-Canary Wharf cycling and pedestrian bridge 
On top of this, Sadiq wants to tackle pollution on London’s streets, making them cleaner and safer for all users, by:
  • Widening the area covered by the Ultra Low Emission Zone and investigating bringing forward the introduction from 2020
  • Only wanting to buy electric or hydrogen buses by 2020, thus reducing diesel emissions by the TfL fleet 
  • Planting 2 million trees, centred primarily on schools and colleges
Sadiq believes this package will bring about a marked improvement on London’s roads and he looks forward to the opportunity of implementing them, and hearing more from groups like the London Road Safety Council, on what more we can do.
I think there's lot here which indicates Sadiq has ambitions to improve conditions for Londoners to cycle (my question also mentioned air pollution).

Several of these items are concerned with finishing Boris' unfinished business (safer junctions, Cycle Superhighways, Quietways) which is a very necessary and important task. On all of these programmes there have been concerns about the length of time needed to implement and, for Quietways, there are real worries about some very inadequate schemes being put forward. These are key improvements to cycling, so we will need Sadiq to set out how he can do a better job than Boris has done.

It would also be great to know who might be our next cycling commissioner(s), so I've asked that very question. I will let you know if I get an answer!

P.s. I like trees but am disappointed that in the top three items on the air pollution which affects the health of tens of thousands of Londoners, there is a measure which is literally ineffective green-washing. This is a really big issue for the health of children and the elderly and it seems Sadiq's team haven't got to grips with it yet :-(