Forum members were given a presentation on the key elements of the Mayor's Draft Transport Strategy, which included the following:
- The local context - Croydon's population is forecast to increase by 10% between 2016 and 2026
- The draft strategy's three key themes are: healthy streets and health people, a good public transport experience, and new homes and new jobs
- The aim is for 80% of all journeys to be made by cycling, walking or public transport
- Croydon is considered to have the highest potential for cycling, with 400,000 "cyclable" trips, although only 50% of journeys are currently made using sustainable forms of transport.
- Funding of up to £770,000 is available to the borough for the period 2017/18 for walking and cycling schemes
- Final Mayoral approval of the borough's LIP3 programme is scheduled for March 2019
Officers explained that Inner London was close to achieving the target for sustainable travel, having reached 78% of journeys, only 2% short of the target.
In order to boost levels of sustainable travel in the capital, the Mayor is also considering introducing parking levies and additional congestion charging zones.
As regards LIP cycle funding, Forum members were advised that it would be shared between cycle training and other cycle initiatives. In addition, £300,000 have been allocated to Croydon for quietways.
Cycle Forum members were invited to put forward their contributions to consultation on the strategy by 2 October.
Officers stated that they had invited the commissioner for walking and cycling in the capital to see proposals for Croydon, and had been told very promptly that there was no additional funding available for these proposals.
However, they highlighted the new "Liveable Neighbourhoods" funding through which they might encourage more cycling (and walking). They added that there was technically no upper limit to this funding but TfL are looking at no more than £10m for any one scheme, which constituted a real opportunity for encouraging healthier and more sustainable transport choices.
It was suggested that main roads which were red routes offered the best potential for some segregation of cycle lanes as there were no parked cars along these. Mitcham Road was also being considered as a cycling route, although this might represent a loss of parking spaces.
Forum members were invited to give their views on whether to aim for a costly "gold standard" in cycling schemes or a lower standard aiming to encourage a critical mass of people to take up cycling. It was observed that driver attitude to cyclists could change and become more considerate if a sizeable number of residents in the borough took up cycling on the borough's roads. Forum members asked "what does success look like?" and it was felt that it would be seeing a lot of cyclists on the road rather than underused "glitzy" cycling facilities. The best approach would be to implement designs which would encourage many on to their bicycles and could be upgraded at a later date when funding became available.
Officers informed Forum members about the standard to which cycling schemes would be implemented:
- Principal cycling highways have to be planned to London Cycling Design Standards
- Quietways would also have to be planned to London Cycling Design Standards, but at a lower cost
- There is a third tier of cycling routes, namely, Greenways, which link up the green spaces in the borough.
All the above will require significant levels of funding and will be implemented over a number of years.
Forum members discussed the impact of lost parking spaces on business vitality. Officers were asked to find out whether the reduced number of parking spaces on South End had had a negative impact on local businesses.
Forum members discussed areas in the borough representing a particularly high risk to cyclists, such as the "Lombard" roundabout. Officers announced that TfL representatives were due to attend the 12 September Cycle Forum meeting to present detailed designs for the Fiveways junction.
Officers highlighted joint work between Croydon and TfL on making the A23 "more cyclable", by redesigning footways so that they are shared between pedestrians and cyclists. They added that TfL were partners in Croydon's "Growth Zone".
The Chair suggested that a draft response to the TfL consultation be produced for the 12 Sept member Cycle Forum meeting. She encouraged all Cycle Forum members to send their views on the strategy to Malcolm Smith as soon as possible.