Transport for London has announced that it will allocate additional funds in a bid to improve walking and cycling infrastructure in London as a result of the Covid induced bike boom.
Following Government advice to stay home as the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Londoners were advised to avoid public transport and use greener modes of transport such as walking and cycling to maintain social distancing measures. Soon after, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and TfL revealed its plans to fast track the transformation of London’s roads with a range of measures that could increase cycling 10-fold and walking five-fold post Covid-19, such as the Streetspace programme.
Streetspace gives space to new cycle lanes and wider pavements to enable social distancing. Landmark routes will get temporary bike routes and more space to work to alleviate the train on the Tube and buses. Clean, green and sustainable travel will be “at the heart of London’s recovery”.
Furthermore, Despite the cold weather, the rise in cyclists in the capital doesn’t seem to be slowing down as Lime data showed a 127% uptake in e-bike rides between March and October 2020. Additionally, before the festive period the UK Government announced its Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution. The ten point plan sets out the approach government will take to build back better, support green jobs, and accelerate our path to net zero.
The dramatic increase in walking and cycling is outlined in TfL’s Travel in London report which was released in December 2020. Although it typically highlights the changes in travel habits across the capital for the previous calendar year, a new section has been added which outlines the changes that have occurred since the March national lockdown.
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner said: “This new data fully encapsulates how the pandemic has transformed the way Londoners travel around our city. Many people enjoyed making the most of the quieter streets during lockdown and this change in habit has had lasting effects, with walking and cycling journeys continuing to be higher year-on-year.”
“Our world-leading Streetspace programme is helping support this shift by enabling more people to safely walk and cycle across the capital. Without the measures we have rapidly rolled out, the worrying increase in private transport, such as cars, may have been even higher which would be extremely damaging for our city.
“The second phase of our Streetspace programme will enable us to build even further on the increasing number of Londoners walking and cycling and help ensure a cleaner, greener recovery from the pandemic.”
“We have worked very hard this year to ensure that Londoners can move around the capital safely during the coronavirus pandemic and this new data shows just how important walking and cycling have been in helping Londoners stay healthy and safe,” said Helen Cansick, Head of Streetspace delivery at TfL.
“That’s why it’s crucial that we continue to invest in our Streetspace programme to support walking and cycling, ensuring that the capital can recover from the pandemic as a healthier and more sustainable place for everyone.”
Furthermore, TfL has said that it is committed to setting aside at least £75m on walking and cycling schemes across London over the next six months, with a further £20m set aside to be invested in additional London boroughs.