The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has a new plan to make cycling an integral part of London’s transportation network by creating an unbroken network of bicycle routes. The cost of it is projected to be £913 million (approximately $1.4 billion).
This “world-class cycling city” that Boris intends to set up will include an east-west segregated highway dubbed “crossrail for the bike,” and backroad “quietways” for less confident riders.
Economic Impact (Job Creation)
The title implies that the economic impact of this would be job creation, but this is not the only impact worth considering — it is only a part of it, and there is another hidden impact which is just as important, and it is a long-term one.
Yes, the construction of bike lanes causes job creation, but there are two other huge benefits which might surpass it:
- Increased bicycle ridership: Yes, this is an economic benefit (see this, this, this, and this post). This plan is likely to increase bicycle ridership and reduce automobile usage, reducing fuel costs to the economy overall, as well as automobile emissions.
- Decreased consumer expenditure: Riding a bicycle puts a tremendous amount of money back in your hands (hundreds of pounds, or hundreds of dollars, per month) due to the lack of the fuel, maintenance, and insurance expenditure that automobiles come with (the last bit only if you sell your automobile, of course). With less of your money going to foreign fuel sources, more is freed up to spend in the local economy.
Deterrents of Cycling
Whenever I think about cycling, I primarily worry about the fact that there are no bike lanes where I am — therefore, I will be surrounded by cars that could collide with me, and the trip would be very uncomfortable just knowing that I’m surrounded by cars, and I would also have to inhale exhaust fumes.
Organization in general is a crucial thing, and it can enable cyclists to better enjoy their commutes.
Boris Johnson, in his recent announcement, noted similar ideals: “I want to make it normal, something for everyone, something you feel comfortable doing in your ordinary clothes. Our new routes will give people the confidence to get in the saddle.”
The UK’s Guardian reports that he also added that he said: “I want more women cycling, more older people cycling, more black and minority ethnic Londoners cycling, more cyclists of all social backgrounds – without which truly mass participation can never come.
“As well as the admirable Lycra-wearers, and the enviable east Londoners on their fixed-gear bikes, I want more of the kind of cyclists you see in Holland, going at a leisurely pace on often clunky steeds.”
While the mayor’s plan should help cycling to some extent, critics claim that is is nowhere near enough because the funding it provides only matches the last budget, and that funding for cycling infrastructure should be doubled.
Sound off about the economic impact of this or the plan’s level of ambition in the comment section!
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