photo TfL (2007)
Today’s London’s notoriously pro-cycling (but non-cyclist) Mayor has announced major investment to ensure “that by 2025 five per cent of all daily trips are made by bike – 1.7 million in total, and that 22 per cent are made on foot.”
“The aim of this programme is nothing short of a cycling and walking transformation in London. We will spend something like £500 million over the next decade on cycling – the biggest investment in cycling in London’s history, which will mean that thousands more Londoners can cycle in confidence, on routes that take them quickly and safely to where they want to go.” (Press release)
So that’s £50m a year. London’s population is about 20 times that of Edinburgh – so the equivalent would be £2 1/2m p.a. Which would be significantly more than the present Council budget allocation. The London plan includes 6,000 hire bikes “available every 300 metres.” There have been proposals for something similar in Edinburgh.
Perhaps the most important thing about the latest news is that “cycling will be accessible to many more Londoners and will become a fully-funded part of the public transport network for the first time.”
City of Edinburgh Council spends most of its transport money through arms-length-company tie (responsible for the trams and the ill-fated EARL rail link). Following the Transport for London example perhaps the Council should make tie take the lead for large scale cycle projects – including a local version of the successful Paris Vélib bike hire scheme.
If tie had this responsibility it might make the integration of cycling and Public Transport easier. However in spite of solid efforts by cycle campaigners (especially pressure from Spokes) tie is still resisting the idea of allowing bikes ON trams.