Sunday 22 May 2011

Crap cycling in Redbridge

REDBRIDGE Council has been awarded £385,500 to promote cycling and help people cycle safely in the borough.

The TfL money will be used to build cycle lanes, improve bicycle parking facilities and promote cycling as an environmentally friendly mode of transport.

Thousands will be spent on creating a 'cycling hub' by improving routes in the Snaresbrook and South Woodford areas, particularly in George Lane and nearby streets.

The council hope the money will help them meet their target of increasing the number of people cycling in Redbridge from its current 1 per cent level to 1.5 percent by 2013.

Does this mean that Redbridge is already scaling back its cycling targets? The 2011 Redbridge LIP commits the council to a cycling modal share of

2 per cent by 2012

3 per cent by 2013

But perhaps halving the target is sensible. There’s no point in being over-ambitious, is there?

The likelihood of Redbridge seeing a surge in cycling is underlined by this commitment:

Local Cycle and Walking Infrastructure

The Borough will provide safe and attractive walking and cycling infrastructure on its identified Corridors and Neighbourhoods to provide the facilities required at the start and end of local journeys to make these modes more attractive to use.
• We have land use policies and development control guidance within our Local Development Framework (Core Strategy) that support and encourage sustainable modes including minimum cycle parking provision at all new developments.
• The Borough regularly produces and updates walking and cycling maps to empower local people to enjoy the Borough’s abundant open spaces and parks to promote the health benefits of these travel modes. These maps are developed in different media to enable them to be used flexibly by different users in formats they can manipulate.
• The Borough will be introducing Electric Vehicle Charging points as part of the London pilot scheme in several of its car parks and high streets as well as through the planning process in new developments. If this pilot scheme is successful it may be rolled out further subject to available resources and priorities.

The provision of Electric Vehicle Charging points plays a key role in persuading more people to cycle, and it is a shame that Redbridge Council is one of the very few local authorities to realise this. Simply drive your electric car to your local shopping centre, unfold your Brompton, pedal around for eight hours while your car is recharging, and then drive home. Result: planet saved.

Redbridge was given some lovely dosh in its new incarnation as a ‘biking borough’ and

used the funding to carry out a study how best to achieve the Mayor's target of 5% mode share through behavioural change initiatives.

Exactly. Some people might be deterred to from taking up cycling when this is the kind of environment cyclists may encounter in Redbridge. This is why we need to change their behaviour and give them encouragement.

(Below) The North Circular Road as it passes through Redbridge. It is depressing to see so few cyclists taking advantage of ‘the right to ride’ on this road, which has very clear sight lines. These scaredy-cats need some cycle training to stiffen their rubbery backbones.

(Below) A Redbridge off-road cycling and walking underpass. This is a must for fans of J.G. Ballard. (A crucifix and garlic are advisable as fourteen of the sixteen lighting panels are not working and you never know what you might disturb in the darkness.)

(Below) Permeability, Redbridge-style. Unsigned routes like these are huge fun because you never know where you’ll end up – or who you might meet on the way!

(Below) A handlebar action shot. Yes, cyclists can really enjoy ‘life in the fast lane’ in Redbridge. Much more fun than Nemesis Inferno.

(Below) And please, no crazy suggestions for Dutch cycle paths in Redbridge. Because like everywhere else in London, there just isn’t the space.