Whilst London was preoccupied by the Marathon yesterday, the Mayor's office were in final preparations to deliver on one of Boris Johnson's key election pledges - a bike hire scheme modeled on the Parisian Velib.
Today the planning applications for the initial 400 cycle docking stations were submitted, marking the first step in the scheme's delivery. By TfL's own estimates, the £57million London Cycle Hire scheme is expected to generate an extra 40,000 cycle journeys every day in central London. It will be based in the boroughs of Camden, Hackney, Lambeth, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and City of Westminster, as well as City of London.
In The Guardian the Mayor talks of a scheme that works not unlike hailing a cab: "...people will be able to pick up one of 6,000 bikes, and zip around town to their heart's content – not only a quick, easy, and healthy option, but one that will also make London a more liveable city."
However, there are already concerns about the scope of the scheme - MayorWatch flags AM Jenny Jones' concerns regarding pick-up access near mainline stations. The Evening Standard points out that willing Londoners may have to bring their own chain and padlock to secure the bikes.
This is a good first step for the Mayor, and the scope of this plan - stretching across Zone 1- should be applauded. However, LondonUnlocked would like to see how this scheme fits with the Mayor's overall plan for decongestion. Bikes are a key part of the agenda to get London moving, but more of them on the streets could add to, rather than take away from, congestion in central London.