With the 20 percent boost in cash from the Comprehensive Spending Review, John Prescotts Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions has ambitious plans.
Cycling features in them. Not massively, but the thoughts there and both the CTC and Sustrans have said nice things about the Plan. Sustrans have greater cause for happiness: Safe Routes to School gets extra cash.
The extra funding for Safe Routes to Schools projects and Local
Government Five Year Transport Plans - LTPs - (these are bids from
Local Authorities to central Government for funding) increase the likely
success of schemes offering people transport choices by encouraging
cycling, walking and integrated transport. Improvements in local
infrastructure would also help social inclusion by improving travel for
children and those who have no access to a car.
John Grimshaw, Sustrans Director and Chief Engineer, said: We are
pleased that the Government is giving people options other than just
using the car. The extra money for Safe Routes to Schools schemes is
very welcome, the school run adds significantly to our congestion
problems, but we have to address transport as a whole. We would like to
see some of the extra funds for rail used to address how people get to
and from a station. Sustrans is already working with Railtrack to progress
Safe Routes to Stations. Providing routes and secure storage facilities for
people who want to ride a bike to a station will be much cheaper than
putting in extra car parking spaces. Likewise anyone using a train should
have the option to take a bike with them and use it at their destination.
A recent Mori poll, conducted for the Commission for Integrated
Transport, showed that 81% of people want improvements in provision
for cycling including more cycle lanes and cycle parking.
This concurs with another Mori poll carried out to coincide with the
opening of the National Cycle Network that showed 87% of the
population would like to see the government and Local Authorities
create more safe cycle routes.
The CTC has given the Plan a guarded welcome:
CTC is pleased that a target for cycling has been retained and welcomes the extra money for road safety and for local transport. This puts us on track to increase cycle use and decrease road casualties, which is
good news, said Kevin Mayne of the CTC.
However, the Government has ignored any commitment to reducing road traffic and watered down its target of quadrupling cycling by 2012. Ministers now want to treble the number of cycle trips by 2010. This is a cop out. Rather than addressing the lack of progress in the last three years the Government has just reduced the target. CTC will be working hard to ensure this is not repeated over the life of this plan.
We do not oppose bypasses or road widening in principle but cyclists do have to use or cross these routes and will feel the impact of increased
traffic Has the effect of this been included in the final sums and will our views be heard?
Extra funding for rail is welcomed by the CTC but cyclists access to the system needs improving.
Cyclists must be able to reach stations, park bikes safely and take them on trains as much as practicable. These are points [we] will take up with the new Strategic Rail Authority, said Mayne.