£2.5m more announced as part of latest Streetspace fund allocation, but city still faces £300m loss of cycling and walking funds
Transport for London has revealed the shortlist for another £2.5m for emergency cycling and walking improvements, amid warnings of a £300m “black hole” in active travel funding for the coming year.
The fourth of six tranches of Streetspace funding, the city’s emergency cycling and walking fund in response to COVID-19, represents “at best £80m” of a previous £417m investment in healthy streets, London Green Assembly Member, Caroline Russell, warns after the cash-strapped capital is forced to pare back existing schemes.
A handful of programmes have seen reductions or removal of funding altogether since the last tranche was announced, while Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Greenwich, Brent and Barnet will receive funding for the first time.
Sadiq Khan recently said just 5km of protected cycle space has been built so far as part of emergency construction. At a recent webinar, for Centre for London, Khan he wanted to avoid a car-led recovery, for a green recovery.
He said: “The London Streetspace programme is the most ambitious of any major city in the world. We already have now the biggest car-free zone of any major city in the world, we have, in a matter of weeks, managed to have more than 15,000m2 of pedestrianised spaces in London, also more than 5km of new segregated cycleways.”
However, Green London Assembly Member, Caroline Russell, points out, the pedestrianisation is not complete yet.
Russell warned there is a “looming black hole in walking and cycling funding in London”, and says action must be accelerated to match the urgency of the situation.
She said: “There was set to be £417m of investment in healthy streets this year, but Streetspace is at best £80m if you include all announced funding from the DfT. That’s a gap of over £300m that the Mayor must address when TfL update their emergency budget in July.
“The latest Streetspace allocations are worrying, only £2.5m being allocated this week seems strange when the Mayor and TfL are telling boroughs this is urgent work. The Mayor again today tried to claim Streetspace as the biggest scheme of any world city, but he’s only got 5km of temporary cycle lane in place. Park Lane was weeks ago. We need more money into councils’ hands now to deliver more change on the ground before the lockdown further eases and to stop the car led recovery the Mayor claimed he was acting against.”
Sutton got the largest sum of this tranche, £787,000 for space at town centres, school streets, a toucan crossing, a low traffic neighbourhood and three strategic cycle routes, including to St Helier hospital. Hackney was close behind with £500,000, making its total Streetspace funding just shy of £2m.
Westminster has £151,616 for a link between Savoy Street and the Strand, which will link the major east-west cycleway, C3, and Q1N, a former ‘quietway’, and Waterloo Bridge.
Several London boroughs have solely school streets funding, including Barnet, allocated £77,986 for nine school streets; Greenwich with £46,615; and Kensington and Chelsea, with £55,464. These will see closures to through traffic outside schools during drop off and pick up times.
Meanwhile schemes in Camden and Southwark have seen funding allocation reductions since last week, with Camden’s Healthy School Streets programme allocated £100,000 less than last week, down to £62,727 from £162,727 last week, and funding for Southwark’s Lower Road extension to CS4 was reduced from £750,000 to £500,000, while Richmond’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme for Burtons Road area in Hampton Hill, previously funded for £32,700 has gone from the list.
Transport for London says this is due to “reduced requirements for the scheme, which brought the overall costs down”, or TfL working with the borough to bring down costs. Richmond's funding slipped onto TfL's list, from the Department for Transport's funding list, due to human error, TfL said.
The London Cycling Campaign’s Simon Munk says there is also an ongoing “process of trying to get the quality up”, with boroughs having had bids sent back to improve the quality of what they are proposing. He said the next two and a half weeks’ funding allocations “may change the picture significantly”.
In total there is £45m Streetspace funding for boroughs, of £55m allocated to Transport for London from central Government. The Department for Transport is also allocating £25m of its £250m emergency cycling and walking fund to the capital - and some boroughs, such as Lewisham and Richmond, have applied for that funding too.