South London boost for pedal power

   Pic: Wei Bai

Croydon council this week unveiled a £20 million plan to get south Londoners on their bikes – and out of their cars.

Councillors voted to approve the strategy which will see three cycle highways – where cyclists are separated from other road users – radiating out from Croydon town centre.

The new plan also includes building cycle routes on less busy, residential streets, including from Thornton Heath to the town centre, bike racks, and public hire points. Councillors say the proposals will encourage more people to cycle.

Stuart King, cabinet member for transport and environment, said “the current situation in respect of cycling in the borough is less than ideal. We have a relatively low cycle ownership compared to many other boroughs.”

An analysis by Transport for London in 2016 revealed Croydon as the borough with the highest number of daily potentially trips that could be made by cycle. At present just 6,000 journeys are made by bike. TfL said that could rise to 400,000.

Croydon Cycling Campaign welcomed the plans, although they cautioned that pledges to raise the number of cycle trips made 20 years ago had not been met.

A spokesperson told ELL  they “welcome the new cycling strategy and hope that unlike the previous one published in 1998, this replacement will make a real difference.”

The campaigners said if streets and road junctions are redesigned with easier and safer cycle measures, the more people will travel by bike, reducing pollution and congestion.

The plan also sees extra £205,000 of funding to build safer environments for children’s cycling and £135,000 for cycle training.

King said the council will put in place measures to make cycling easier, safer and more affordable.

“It isn’t about making people make a choice to get rid of the car and just cycle or walk. It’s actually about using the most appropriate means to get around.”

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