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TOPIC: Mayor sets out proposals for a shift towards active travel

Mayor sets out proposals for a shift towards active travel 28 Nov 2017 18:51 #3372

Basil Clarke Basil Clarke's Avatar Topic Author Offline

[Original article]

The draft London Plan, which will be released later this week, will include measures to encourage cycling and walking while discouraging driving. The proposals are aligned with the draft Mayor's Transport Strategy, which envisages increasing the proportion of trips in London made on foot, by cycle or using public transport to 80 per cent by 2041, compared to 64 per cent now, meaning an average of three million fewer car journeys in London each day.

The proposals have been welcomed by Dr Yvonne Doyle, London regional director at Public Health England, who says that "It is vital for the health and wellbeing of Londoners to increase opportunities for active travel, with many more journeys being made on foot, by cycle and using public transport."

The proposals in outline

Cycle parking

  • Safe and secure cycle parking available for every journey, across all parts of the city.
  • Cycle parking to take account of the needs of disabled people and provide for non-standard bicycles.
  • In many parts of London, the level of cycle parking required outside shops will be doubled.
  • Cycle parking requirements for new office developments will increase significantly in areas of London where demand for cycle parking is high, or which have the most potential for cycling growth.
  • Cycle parking in some parts of outer London will be doubled to match levels required in central and inner London

Safe cycling routes

  • The Mayor is working with TfL and the boroughs to deliver a London-wide network of cycle routes, with new routes and improved infrastructure to tackle barriers to cycling.
  • The Mayor’s aim is for 70 per cent of Londoners to live within 400 metres of a high quality, safe cycle route by 2041.
  • The Mayor’s recent Strategic Cycling Analysis outlined the 25 corridors in London with the greatest potential for new cycling routes. These corridors spread from Brentford to Heathrow in the west, to Dagenham Dock to Ilford in the east, Highgate to North Finchley in the north, and Streatham to Oval in the south.

Less car parking provision for new housing and office developments

  • Housing developments in the parts of London that are best connected by public transport will now be expected to be car-free, with no parking provided, other than for disabled people.
  • Residential car parking will no longer be differentiated by unit size, meaning that the amount of parking allowed will not increase as unit sizes increase
  • Office developments in central and inner London – the areas best served by public transport – will no longer provide any commuter or visitor parking, other than for disabled people and for essential delivery and servicing purposes.
  • In general, parking standards will be significantly tightened, with less provision in many areas, particularly in the most accessible parts of central and inner London and town centres.

What's behind these proposals?

Key not just to the transport strategy, but to the entire new London Plan is the concept of Healthy Streets - prioritising active travel by creating inclusive, safe and accessible streets across the capital. Doing so will enable London's future growth without undermining its health, environment and economic competitiveness.

London’s population is set to expand from 8.7 million to 10.5 million over the next 25 years, generating more than five million additional trips each day across the transport network. If no further action is taken to reduce congestion, Greater London Authority (GLA) figures show that by 2041 three days would be lost per person every year due to congestion on roads, and 50,000 hours would be lost to slower bus speeds in the morning peak every day.

healthy streets indicatorsThe new proposals are in line with the Healthy Streets Indicators

Currently, more than 40 per cent of Londoners do not achieve the recommended 150 minutes of activity a week, and 28 per cent do less than 30 minutes a week. GLA analysis shows that if every Londoner walked or cycled for 20 minutes a day, it would save the NHS £1.7bn in treatment costs over the next 25 years. An average trip in London by car includes less than a minute of active travel, compared to 8-15 minutes by public transport, 17 minutes by foot or 22 minutes by bike.

Will these measures be enough?

To my mind these proposals are steps in the right direction, but may not be adequate.  2041 is 24 years away, but there is already far more traffic than London's roads can comfortably absorb, and not just in the centre.  Even if the problems of air pollution and greenhouse gas emission were magicked away, there would still be an urgent need to cut traffic to reduce congestion (and not just in London). And we mustn't put off tackling the obesity crisis, the personal and economic costs of which will inevitably grow as the obese population ages.

We haven't yet seen the draft plan, but if the car parking reductions and extra cycle parking only apply to new developments their effectiveness will be limited and delayed.  A more radical and effective plan would be to remove much parking from main roads.  Cars manoeuvring in and out of parking spaces are one of the main causes of congestion, and you only have to travel between Wood Green and Palmers Green to notice how much slower the journey is at times when drivers are allowed to park in the bus lanes.  And instead of driving half a mile and finding nowhere to park, people would find it easier to walk.

Another problem is that the Mayor does not have the authority to put in cycle lanes along most main roads, which are managed by individual London boroughs, some of which are proving very resistant - the most notorious case is the refusal of Kensington and Chelsea to provide safe cycling along Kensington High Street.  (And this isn't a party political issue - Labour-controlled Islington is no better.)

A key consideration is public transport, as many people won't want to use a bike.  While rail and tube capacity is being increased, there is apparently no more money for more buses, without which a major shift away from cars in Zones 4, 5 and 6 won't happen.  I think the answer is to bring in road pricing on a gradually increasing basis and spend the income on more buses - but it would have to be done in the right sequence, as happened when the congestion charge was introduced: first a big boost in bus services, then make driving more expensive.

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Mayor sets out proposals for a shift towards active travel 29 Nov 2017 09:37 #3373


Note the vernacular - cycle route. As opposed to cycle infrastructure or segregated cycleways. I.e., quietways are largely useless ego/PR trips but will count as 'routes' as will the odd strip of paint here & there. None of which actually make cycling any safer or more appealing.

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Mayor sets out proposals for a shift towards active travel 29 Nov 2017 11:58 #3374


The (Draft) London Plan is hugely important. It will, for instance, encourage dense – possibly high rise -housing based around transport hubs. Is that PG?
Enfield itself is looking at 15% uplift in resident numbers between now and 2022, well within any sensible planning horizon, and increasing thereafter. London as a whole is little different. And it’s that huge forecast in new faces and their spectrum of individual wants and needs which has long said (at UK level as well as the previous London Mayor and the current Mayor) that we can’t maintain the status quo on our streets – not enough room to drive or park; many would say already never mind with a load more cars.
So locally we’ve had a few years of many commenting harshly while looking at “today” and looking at “me”, whereas the political requirement is to look broad and look ahead. So next time we can all perhaps differentiate between cyclists (aka people), cycling, cycling (transport) strategy and cycle lanes. They are very different things but all very much in line with what the data and necessary resulting strategies have consistently concluded. Any quibble needs to be in the sphere of specific implementation.

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Mayor sets out proposals for a shift towards active travel 29 Nov 2017 23:23 #3376


In different ways Basil and Karl have already made the point, but I watched the BBC London News tonight with its details of strong population growth within mainly existing borders. I'll say that again: STRONG POPULATION GROWTH WITHIN MAINLY EXISTING BORDERS. The idea that we should close our eyes and hope that most people will be able to sit behind the steering wheel of a car, small or large, and drive around London at will is fantasy, battery powered or not. Bearing in mind also that by then government will need to have tackled the issue of under-exercised and overweight population. Indeed I wouldn't be surprised if some existing carriageway space becomes building land, and tonight the Mayor was quick to say that it will be necessary to build more high-rise accommodation (as Karl has already said).

Of course people with mobility problems - and there are likely to many as the population ages - may well need door-to-door transport, so it's certainly time to starting thinking about how that will work out: ownership of a small car, or perhaps subsidised taxis, ..........or what?

And then there's the issue of vans and lorries, and whether more goods should come into London by rail as used to be the case (in my lifetime); interesting that today the government should be presenting the idea of reopening disused rail lines, but I don't think there are many of those in London. Of course goods could come in at night; I expect some already do.

For myself I ask why most people living in London need to own car. I own one - old and somewhat past its best - but it's unusual for it to do more than 2000 miles a year, mostly acting as a van and once a year getting out of London as a passenger vehicle on Christmas Day (I could avoid even that by travelling on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day).

Of course the strength of cars is their versatility (and you don't have to walk), but slowly, painfully we have to learn to use them sparingly.

Time also for an expanding role for buses, battery powered.

All of which is rather an infantile and self-evident set of thoughts. But I'll go on repeating these basic things because every now-&-then they may arrive in someones mind at a moment when their personal circumstances dictate a change.

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Mayor sets out proposals for a shift towards active travel 30 Nov 2017 11:45 #3377


"people with mobility problems - - may well need door-to-door transport"

Which is exactly what a bicycle can provide. Lots of evidence of either specific mobility bikes or even just simple e-bikes making massive differences to the mobility of the less able or even disabled.

That's what needs to be provided for, mini-hollands to be rolled out in every Borough....

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Mayor sets out proposals for a shift towards active travel 13 Jan 2018 08:58 #3531


The London Plan is an incredibly important document for us all and is now out for consultation. This is rather long in the hope of getting that message through.


Yesterday, along with about 60 others from north and north east London, I attended an open consultation session led by the Deputy Mayor, supported by about eight of his planning team and a at least one industry specialist. This is life changing stuff and I would strongly suggest people cast an eye over it, at least summary text (the body itself is 600+ pages before appendices and supporting documents) and input any thoughts - there is a link towards the top left of the PGC site.

All written comments will be available to the appointed independent Inspector who will then decide who and what will be called forward as part of the EIP (Evidence in Public – a rather serious cross examination of disputed aspects), expected Autumn this year, ultimately leading to the plans formal adoption, which is expected in Autumn 2019. In the meantime the current London Plan, with its Mini Hollands and more, will continue to stand.

There are major strands affecting pretty much all aspects of our life be they housing, transport, leisure or work. One theme ripping through its heart and affecting everything is pressure on London’s finite space: there is only so much London but forecasts are for an awful lot more Londoners and each will seek housing, education, jobs, travel options and so on. Where to put it all?

The Mayor has developed something called “Good Growth” to meet this challenge which spans sustainable, inclusive growth (think more housing and public spaces accessible to all) and a also a big slug of environmental care (think health and wellbeing, a commitment to 50% green cover to make London a national park city, and a modal shift so that 80% of all journeys are not made by car).

We heard that the Viability Assessment of all this has been passed successfully.

Transport, and specifically a cycling element, has obviously been a local hot topic for the last few years. There was not a glimmer that this is actually seen as “hot”, rather that the plan’s focus on discouraging what is highlighted as the space hungry car in a space stressed city will be a theme noticeably affecting change in Londoners lives for future decades. The local stretch of the north circular did get a mention and with some hope that there will be efforts to ease the impact on its neighbours in particular, but also that future focus for the A406 will be to prioritise freight, cycling and walking, not other.

Housing, specifically the shortage of it and what was termed the “crisis of affordability”, received much focus. (We heard that 80% of the private homes currently being built in London are affordable by only 8% of its population.) The density matrix has gone, in its place a design led approach which will look at a proposal in the wider round, eg does it fit rather than stick out like a sore thumb and does it have the wrap around infrastructure, such as schools, to be a viable addition to its local community? Individual size requirements for people to live in will remain, so perhaps think more “up” rather than out for many future developments.

The draft plan seeks 66,000 new London homes pa, although we heard of an independent report claiming this needs to be 95,000 to meet actual needs. We’re currently at about 35,000 pa. Enfield is currently targeted at 798 new homes pa, achieves 600-650, and will be called to meet roughly 1900pa under the new plan. That’s a big, big ongoing uplift.

There will be a strong presumption in favour of smaller sites (that’s 1 to 25 homes) which are expected to pick up 50% of the overall total. (Readers may recall the recent London press comment about new homes in back gardens.)

Enfield has significant issues: 50% of our land is either green belt / MOL or Strategic Industrial Land, and each is protected under the plan. Add in that Enfield is one of four boroughs being targeted to bring forward more Industrial Land (that’s different to SIL) and where will all the houses go?

Town centres and transport hubs (and PG seems to fit both) will be priority targets for new homes. Areas within 800m of both will be prioritised. For PG that would go well beyond the north circular, Broomfield Park and almost as far as Tatem Park and Barrrowell Green. Within such areas of proposed densification would be expected many more homes on small sites and perhaps higher-sites as well as multi use sites – think of homes on top of supermarkets and the like. Cars become unimportant because at these distances and concentrations, facilities are accessible via active travel means.

(Perhaps find a post of mine several years back when I said given the issues and decisions to be faced some way down the line, the then proposed cycle lanes were going to be the least contentious aspect facing PG locals. And here we now are.)

Of the 200000 new homes expected to result from Crossrail 2 (2035), a full 40000 are expected in Enfield – that’s the Lea Valley but also around the New Southgate spur, an “Opportunity Area”, one of nine in a London – think more stuff on the ground. PG is just on its border.

Providing some input, Enfield senior planners, highlighted that the borough is a low wage economy suffering a 5% wage gap with the London average. They want to close it in the same way they want to close the appalling huge gap in life expectancy between the east and west of the borough. That means more and higher value jobs, which might mean the jobs some travel too in central London become jobs people travel to in Enfield – an aspiration.

It’s easy to see as this unfolds the intense pressure being placed on space. The plan highlights that cars are very space hungry (think about looking for a parking space) as well as keeping people unnecessarily inactive with all that costs the NHS and people’s happiness and so cars become the unwelcome guest at this party.

I’ve highlighted many times over many years what is coming over the travel horizon and also how it would be more sensible and beneficial to prepare for it rather than seek to fight what is an immensely powerful, unstoppable incoming tide; well it’s just about to break. Cars – we’ll still have them, lots of them, but they will be put up with rather than lead any decisions as has been the case for decades.

The plan is there for anyone and everyone to comment on. Don’t say you weren’t warned. These are London issues, not personal, nor the result of an inadequate local council or its officers so best not mix up the agreed strategic response to facts with blaming a few local individuals; we’ve been through that loop once and it’s always worth learning from mistakes. This is everyone’s chance to add constructive comment based on best available facts and forecasts for the most serious assessment.

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Mayor sets out proposals for a shift towards active travel 13 Jan 2018 22:33 #3532


This week's session of the GLA Transport Committee was largely concerned with the practicalities of achieving the Mayor's target for a shift away from the car and towads active travel (walking, cycling, public transport). Though this particular session was primarily about cycling infrastructure, the expert witnesses (from the London Cycling Campaign, Sustrans, the Walking and Cycling Commissioner for Greater Manchester [Chris Boardman] and two academics) all approached it from the point of view of achieving "mode shift" towards all three active modes.

The entire session was videoed and can be seen at www.london.gov.uk/london-assembly-transp...committee-2018-01-10 , but you need to skip to around 14 minutes in, before that there is no recording, only a high-pitched sound.

It's a long but interesting session and the the panel members are all very impressive.

(There are a couple of references to the "MTS". This is the Mayor's Transport Strategy .

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