by Iain Roberts on 9 June, 2015
In places like Gatley and Cheadle, where there’s little space for more roads or wider roads, how do we reduce traffic jams and parking problems?
There are a few good options, but by far the cheapest and most cost-effective is to get more people cycling. School run jams and parking issues? Get more school kids cycling. Not enough parking at Gatley station? Get more commuters cycling. It certainly won’t solve everything, but it will make a big different.
How do we do it? Luckily, we know from evidence around the world what works. We need to create a network of traffic-free and quiet-road cycle routes so people feel safe cycling around. More parents will be happy for their kids to cycle to school if it feels safe, and we should be able to increase the percentage of journeys taken on bike from 2% to 10% if we get it right. It’s not an instant fix – even after the infrastructure is in place it takes time to persuade people to switch to bikes – but it does work.
There are other benefits too – cycling is healthy, cutting the cost to the NHS, and it cuts pollution. If we can get more people cycling, it helps everyone – whether they cycle or not.
So it’s a great disappointment that the Conservative government have decided to cut back on the investment in cycling pushed through by the Lib Dems in the Coalition. A cut of £23 million – nearly 20% – will mean we can do less to cut traffic jams and parking problems. The answers we were developing to make the school run better might now not be achievable.
The real shame is that it won’t even work as a cut. The increased costs from healthcare and road maintenance alone – though they’ll be hidden in the figures – will more than outweigh this cut to cycling investment. A short-sighted, short-term move by the Conservatives that will end up harming local people.10 Comments