Monday, 14 December 2009

Continuing to lavish money on car dependency, not cycling

Remember this?

York has been designated a Cycling City from 2008 - 2011. £3.68 million of government funds have been made available to improve facilities for cyclists in the city and get more people cycling.

Compare that figure with this one:

The Norwich Northern Distributor Road:

Norfolk County Council, which has spent around £10 million making the case for the road, is hoping that the government will approve a nine-mile scheme from the A47 at Postwick to the east of the city to the A1067 at Taverham.

Got that? While a measly £3.68 million is spent over a three year period on cycling in York (and how much of that will go on ‘marketing’ and how little on infrastructure, I wonder?), Norfolk County Council has spent £10 million just to ‘make the case’ for a new road

This proposed new nine mile road (which will probably be approved by the Brown government later this year) will make traffic levels go through the roof and will cost

£135 million [generating] high carbon emissions against the backdrop of 10pc cuts in the transport budget from 2011 condemning Norwich to a strategy based around car use.”

Norwich is a car-choked city where the car comes first. And York’s credentials as a cycling-friendly and walking-friendly city are greatly exaggerated.

York Council, lying through its teeth, says:

Ample cycle parking is provided throughout the city

Oh yeah? So why is York station surrounded by bicycles locked to railings and street furniture? Why do you find the same thing in the middle of York?

Let’s look at the bigger picture:

National Cycling Strategy

The Government is committed to encouraging more cycling in England, because cycling has the potential to contribute to the achievement of important objectives in the fields of transport, public health and liveability. Over the past few years there has been a significant increase in the levels of funding for cycling. In the current financial year, 2004/05, local authorities outside London are forecast to spend £36m on cycling measures. This compares with less than £30m in 2000/01. In London a record £13m was invested in cycling in 2004/05.

Gee whiz, £36 million nationally with £13 million in London.

But compare those figures with this on today’s news:

On the M4 motorway there is currently a £65m upgrade of junction 11

In other words, a single upgrade of one motorway junction receives more funding than the entire national cycling budget.

No surprise therefore that with car dependency continuing to be promoted and subsidised, with cycling infrastructure inadequate, unsafe, and sub-standard, and with most cycling having to be done on roads shared with massive volumes of motor traffic, cycling continues to decline:

despite this investment and increased government interventions, the number of cycling trips has not risen overall