Changing London’s infrastructure to make walking and cycling safer is the first key step in encouraging us all to walk and cycle more of our local, everyday journeys. It’s fantastic to see so much of London’s road space converted into space for those walking and cycling. Training and behaviour change programmes to inspire more of us to walk and cycle are now key in ensuring more of London’s journeys are being travelled in an active way.
Sarah MacFadyen, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the British Lung Foundation, said:
“This is a really positive step to encourage active travel across the city. Our recent statistics show that 1 in 6 (16.2%) people living with lung conditions in the UK noticed their symptoms improved as a result of the fall in air pollution levels since lockdown. Supporting Londoners to complete their journeys on a bike or on foot where possible will help keep cars off the road and reduce damaging air pollution. The pandemic has shown us the importance of keeping our lungs healthy, and by giving everyone the space and confidence to walk and cycle safely, we are taking a big step forward in ensuring Londoners have clean air to breathe.”
Earlier this week, TfL announced that work has begun to transform one of central London’s major thoroughfares into a less intimidating place which prioritises walking and cycling. The new traffic restrictions between Shoreditch and London Bridge are a key part of the Mayor of London and TfL's Streetspace plans, which will radically reduce levels of cars in central London in a bold step towards becoming one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world. The new walking, cycling and bus only corridor will connect major cultural and financial centres in the area, making it much easier for people to walk and cycle as they start to return to central London offices.
TfL is also working closely with local boroughs to rapidly create space for walking and cycling across the city. This includes building a strategic network for cycling in London, transforming town centres and reducing traffic on residential streets. Boroughs have been issued with detailed guidance on how to apply for funding for schemes that will make a real difference in local areas, and around £30m has now been awarded across all 33 boroughs for 859 schemes. Work on a number of new cycle routes is underway in Camden and Waltham Forest, with routes set to link Chalk Farm to Kings Cross and Blackhorse Road to Haringey.
London’s cycle hire scheme will celebrate its tenth anniversary next Thursday (30 July). Since its launch, the scheme has gone from strength to strength, and high demand meant it broke three records in May including the highest number of hires made in a single week. Santander Cycles have played a vital role during the coronavirus pandemic, with key workers able to access free hires until the end of this month.