Islington Council’s cycling achievements

Last night Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment & Transport Claudia Webbe responded to criticism that the council wasn’t serious about cycling by listing the council’s achievements. Let’s see what she had to say:

Very good, but why is the word here “want”? Not “we have created” or “we are working on”, just a vague “want”? Let’s hope some achievements appear in the following tweets….

“Argued”, but not achieved: There is no safe cycling on Holloway Road or Old Street. There is no 20 mph speed limit on TfL roads within the borough.

Only one of the 5 gyratories has been replaced (Archway). The cycle facilities there are discontinuous and crowbarred in to the pedestrian space yet still somehow require sharing with HGVs in a substandard lane. Very poor Space For Cycling.

Again, “campaigned”. And the result? TfL’s scheme for the extension a short section of segregation on Farringdon Road followed by a signposted route on winding backstreets shared with motor traffic. This is not Space For Cycling.

You might mistake the word “Network” here for infrastructure on the ground. You’d be wrong. These are small projects handing out tiny grants to businesses for cargo bikes and the like. Again, not Space For Cycling.

(It’s also worth flagging up the word “encourage”. That’s all well and good, but where are the results? I’ve certainly never seen a cargo bike operating around Archway, and why would anyone, with no safe infrastructure to ride one on?)

This looks like a concrete claim of an achievement. Except it refers to a future plan that I don’t think is even at the consultation stage.

This is only for new developments and only to cycle parking, so at best this is Space For Cycle Parking. The council has no policy on either removing existing car parking or creating space for using those securely parked bikes.

While excellent work by those involved, having changes to this tiny stretch of road appear on this list says more about the paucity of the council’s achievements than anything else. Remember that these tweets are summarising many years of achievements.

Unfortunately, cycle training without infrastructure is a complete waste of money:

There was, however, no evidence that delivering Bikeability in school was associated with cycling more often […]. There was likewise no evidence of an association with cycling independently. Conclusions: Offering high-quality cycle training free at the point of delivery in English schools encourages children to do cycle training, but we found no evidence of short-term effects on cycling frequency or independent cycling

Hackney recently installed its 150th Bike Hangar. Because of years of foot-dragging by the council, if you don’t live on an estate, Islington has two.

Which routes? Where? There are no safe cycle routes anywhere in the borough, nor any formally proposed. There is only one potential safe route in the pipeline (Clerkenwell Road / Old Street) and that has been in limbo for years without the council having the willpower to bring anything to consultation.

Again “want”, as if they are bystanders in the process.

It’s hard to tell exactly what routes are being referred to here, but it’s instructive that a single closure of a very minor road is worthy of a mention.

And finally:

Paris supports Car Free Day by closing every road in the city to motor traffic. Islington supports Car Free Day with a handful of stalls on Islington Green.