Bike scheme success proves ‘appetite for cycling'

Jonathon Harker
Bike scheme success proves ‘appetite for cycling'

Tower Hamlets project hailed for seeing cycle journeys rise five-fold

Bike riding in Tower Hamlets, London has been boosted by a new cycle way project introduced to the area.

Just under 6,000 journeys took place over a four-day period on a route through Meath Gardens, connecting to the new Meath Bridge over Regent’s Canal – a rise from 1,200 bike journeys in spring 2009.

Sustrans’ Annual Usage Estimate predicts almost 500,000 cycle journeys will be made through the Gardens, linking to Meath Bridge, with the biggest increase in those commuting to work, school and travelling to the shops.

The bridge was funded from the £50 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund as well as TfL, Tower Hamlets Borough Council, LCN+, Change 4 Life and ‘Tower Hamlets a healthy borough’.

Sustrans organised a conference at the View Tube in the Olympic Park to discuss the success of the Tower Hamlets project, and how to repeat its successes elsewhere in London.

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Sustrans’ London Greenways Manager Matt Winfield helped organise the conference:  “This was a fantastic opportunity to bring together those running transport in London to share good practice in getting people walking and cycling.

“The Olympics provide an ideal opportunity to encourage more people to walk and cycle. Sustrans is working with the Olympic Delivery Authority on eight new Olympic Greenways to help people get to the Games on foot or by bike.

“We are working with the London Boroughs to develop new infrastructure across the capital, which is making a real difference to everyday travel, as we can see from the massive increase in pedestrian and cycling journeys through Meath Gardens.”

Alison Rowe, Big Lottery Fund head of region for London, added: “The success of the Tower Hamlets scheme shows that there is a great appetite for healthier ways of travel in the capital and we are very pleased to be working with Sustrans in making every day journeys healthier, safer and much more fun. People from across the UK voted for Sustrans to be awarded the £50 million Big Lottery grant and it’s fantastic to see the real difference this funding makes locally.”

A TfL spokesperson commented: “The conference provided an opportunity for Sustrans to highlight the huge amount happening to make London a more walking and cycling friendly city with improvements to London’s streets, shared public spaces and signposting.

“TfL is championing a number of cycling initiatives including Barclays Cycle Hire and Barclays Cycle Superhighways that have given a big boost to the cycling revolution which is moving at a remarkable pace in the city.

“It goes without saying that when the world comes to London for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games next year, London’s reputation as a great city will hold true, what with a conducive environment for greener modes of transport to get to Games venues.

“TfL is looking forward to continue to work with Sustrans in promoting cycling.”

Scheme Manager in Tower Hamlets for Sustrans Michelle Quin concluded: “It’s fantastic to see the bridge being so well used, and especially that the community are using the route for those every day journeys, such as getting to work or popping to the shops.

“It’s also great to see that the split between men and women using the route is practically 50:50.  Traditionally, women are less likely to cycle than men, often citing the danger of cycling on roads.  These dedicated traffic-free links are helping more women walk or cycle for their local journeys.”

PIC CREDIT: Jon Bewley/Sustrans

Tags: london , sustrans , tfl , big lottery fund

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