Referred to as a “secret weapon” of the suburbs, the bicycle might energize possibilities for residents of outer London. Typically, it’s a challenge to commute from the suburbs to the urban heart of a big city, but in London, plans are in place for extensive protected bicycle lanes.
Michael Andersen, Green Lane Project staff writer quotes Transport for London Director of Surface Strategy and Planning, Ben Plowden, who believes cycling just might be a suburban secret weapon. Plowden explains that in London the problem is one of a “mathematical equation.” He also points out that bicycling is much more like traveling by automobile than transit is.
Green Lane Project has more:
“London’s streets already carry 600,000 bike trips a day, he notes, about 20 percent of the entire London Underground. This is already a mass transit mode,” said Plowden, speaking at a Transit Center-sponsored event in the Portland suburb of Beaverton. “It’s a much cheaper way of getting people around the city than rail transit, certainly, per passenger kilometer … because they bring their own equipment.”
A good number of US cities show similar ratios. Greater Denver bikes carry 22% as many commuters as the bus–rail transit system. “In greater Indianapolis, it’s 30 percent; in greater New Orleans, 31 percent; in greater Portland, 36 percent.”
The Guardian reports that London will have what will become the template for so many other cities in need. London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, announced final plans via the Greater London Authority for the segregated bike lanes to be built as the centerpiece of a wider £900 million project to boost cycling in the capital. “One will go north-south while the longer and far more contentious one snakes east to west.”
Peter Walker of the Guardian emphasizes that although this is a London story, it has far-reaching and has “significant national repercussions for those who ride a bike or want to ride a bike.”
Plowden believes there are dramatic coming changes and they will be creating “mini-Hollands.” His agency is backing this up by dedicating 10% of its $1.4 billion biking improvement budget over the next 10 years. The suburbs that will be redesigned — for biking.
According to People of Bikes, “Transport for London estimates that half of potential bike trips currently taken in cars are in outer London.”
Bicyclists improve the economy more than drivers do. Good bicycling access can also improve a person’s chance of finding work. It needs to be encouraged.