New Announcements From Major Cities Lead Cycling Ambitions
ECF believes news from Europe’s great cities shows exciting breakthroughs for cycling which as a real solution to city challenges. In Paris there is an air-quality crisis, in Brussels the challenge is congestion while London knows that its transport systems cannot cope with predicted urban growth. These are just some of the most high profile recent announcements that point to a very positive outlook for cycling advocacy in coming years.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo wants non-residents’ private cars banned from central Paris. “In the four central arrondissements, apart from bikes, buses and taxis, the only vehicles allowed will be residents’ cars, delivery vehicles and emergency vehicles,” Hidalgo said in an interview. She also wants to double the number of cycle lanes and introduce e-bike hire by 2020 as part of a €100-million bike development plan. Madrid has made a similar bold step. Cars will only come into the city centre with a pre-booked parking place and plans are in place for 25% of the city to be pedestrianized. These changes will cut the cars looking for parking on the cycle friendly back streets. Cycling has been at very low levels but is growing already in the city centre, supported by the new E-bike sharing scheme.
Brussels Mobility Minister Pascal Smet has supported cycling since he was the host of Velo-city in 2009. He has just come back to the post and announced a big increase in cycling investment, including bike lanes and e-bike sharing. ECF’s Belgium advocacy members inspired newly elected Brussels ministers on a ride round the city during Mobility Week, including putting the finance minister on an E-bike which certainly helped get money released!
Finally London has just announced that in the final quarter of 2014 cycling was up another 10%, a record in recent years. The Major also announced that the long awaited cross London cycling highways will get over £900million investment, building on the momentum and creating two huge high capacity routes across the city.