99% of £30m cycling bonanza goes elsewhere, courtesy of Barnet’s anti-cyclist councillors
Photo credit: Instagram user @cleanairdulwich
Analysis by London Liberal Democrats shows that London boroughs have applied for a total of £30.1m of funding for 'Streetspace' initiatives designed to support the transformation of our streets in favour of active transport. With social distancing here to stay, we urgently need to make the best possible use of cycling - and Lib Dem-run boroughs have been among the most proactive in applying for funding.
That can't be said of Barnet, which has put in for a deeply disappointing £342,000 of public money for cycle lanes and healthy street initiatives. That is just 1% of the total, meaning 99p in every pound spent on cycling in London is currently going outside our borough. Other boroughs have powered ahead and have installed miles of new pop-up cycle lanes since the start of lockdown in March. But Barnet - the second-biggest borough in the capital - has yet to install a single metre of new cycle track.
It's no secret that Barnet's Tory councillors hate both cycling and cyclists. Cllr Gabriel Rozenberg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats group on Barnet Council, highlighted the importance of active travel at a meeting last month of the borough's Policy and Resources Committee. In response, Cllr Dan Thomas, who as the Conservative group leader runs the borough, said: "In the last 20 years, cycling has barely grown… there are real limitations to cycling in the borough… if it was that attractive, people would be trying it en masse."
This do-nothing attitude is an insult to those Barnet residents who want to get cycling. It's precisely because of Barnet Tories' car-first policies that our roads are just too dangerous and residents too often choose to keep their bikes in the shed. Other boroughs are taking action on cycling: why can't ours?