Ken Livingstone has today announced a new £500m transport programme to introduce a London bike hire scheme by 2010:
With the introduction of a central London bike hire scheme with 6,000 bikes available every 300 metres, cycling will be accessible to many more Londoners and will become a fully-funded part of the public transport network for the first time. There will also be new commuter cycle routes from inner and outer London and cycle zones around urban town centres.
These radical measures, which will ensure the needs of cyclists and pedestrians are given a higher priority on the Capital’s streets will make a significant contribution to tackling climate change, aiming to have one in ten round trips in London each day made by bike, and saving some 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 (equivalent to driving round the M25 55 million times) per year as Londoners increasingly choose to walk or cycle for short trips instead of taking their car.
Based on the success of the Velib scheme, the Mayor's plans equate to a world-leading cycle programme which, coupled with an increased focus on walking and safety, should dramatically change the ability of commuters to get across central London.
However, these commendable plans need proper consultation and are a long way from implementation. The role that the London Councils play in granting planning access, and that the GLA takes in scrutinising the scheme are key to seeing both how viable and successful it might be.
Mr Livingstone's proposals, laid out in full here, are certainly worth studying. LondonUnlocked will examine the proposals further in the next couple of days.