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Early indications show Kingston’s new cycling infrastructure to be effective, says London Assembly

Kingston’s cycling infrastructure programme “appears to be effective” and “it is important that lessons are learned from it”, a London Assembly report has said.

The comments, made in a report by the Assembly’s Transport Committee, entitled “London’s cycling infrastructure”, looks in part at the impact of “mini-Hollands” funding. This investment from the previous London Mayor, Boris Johnson, awarded Kingston, Waltham Forest and Enfield £30 million each to improve cycling infrastructure in 2014.

The report, published on March 23, stated: “Where investment has been delivered, the ‘mini-Hollands’ programme appears to be effective. Initiated by the previous Mayor, £100 million was committed to help outer London boroughs improve their cycling infrastructure through a wide range of interventions, including segregated cycle lanes, with a focus on shorter journeys e.g. to and from a local town centre.”

Although Transport for London has not yet published a comprehensive evaluation of the programmes, evidence provided from the boroughs indicates success.

London’s walking and cycling commissioner, Will Norman, visited Kingston in February to view the works taking place under the Go Cycle programme, which incorporates the borough’s mini-Hollands funding. He told the committee that the opening of a new two-way segregated route along Portsmouth Road last year, had resulted in a doubling of cyclists using the route during the day. He highlighted other projects including a new cycling hub and bridge, as well as other routes opening up.

The report’s authors stressed “it is important that lessons are learned from the mini-Hollands schemes to support the delivery of the Liveable Neighbourhoods programme.” This £114 million programme was set up by current London Mayor Sadiq Khan to replace Mini-Hollands and support more London boroughs to improve cycling infrastructure. The committee said a framework should be established to monitor and evaluate the programme, as well as encouraging boroughs to collect and share data; for example, through cycle counts and intercept surveys.

Getting more people cycling in outer London is crucial to “significantly” boosting the number of people cycling in London, according to the report, yet the bulk of new cycling infrastructure has been built in inner London. Difficulties cycling between outer London boroughs and safety concerns are inhibiting cycling growth in outer London. The report states that Dr Rachel Aldred, Reader in Transport at the University of Westminster, observed how some outer London boroughs have injury odds per cyclist up to seven times higher than central and inner London boroughs.

(Picture shows London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman in Kingston)