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Sustrans London Review 2017

Woman cycling

Image credit: J Bewley

Our most recent London review is a great opportunity to reflect how far we have come, working with our partners across the capital. Matt Winfield, Sustrans Director in London shares his thoughts.

Last year started with a stark reminder of why we want to make it easier for Londoners to walk and cycle. Brixton Road in Lambeth breached its annual limit for NO2 pollution within just five days of the new year. Then in October, the Mayor revealed how every corner of London breaches safe air quality levels. As the evidence increases, the need to reduce traffic becomes ever more urgent. 

Reducing air pollution is just one reason why we work tirelessly to make it easier for everyone to walk and cycle. The physical inactivity crisis - so central to the Mayor’s new Transport Strategy and Healthy Streets agenda - is having a profound impact on Londoners’ lives and our Health Service. Both challenges require a redoubling of efforts to tame our love affair with the car, reduce traffic and provide great alternatives for everyday active travel.  I’m proud of what our team achieved in 2017, working with boroughs and Transport for London (TfL) and other partners to do just that.

The results are starting to speak for themselves, with the number of people cycling in London rising 8.8% to 730,000 per day. The combined Cycle Superhighway and Quietway network is now over 100 km long, and 10% of Londoners live within at least one of these routes.

This review highlights just some of our achievements, including progress on delivering 50 km of new Quietways and laying the foundations for CS9 through industry-leading design work and community engagement. Once built, this new Cycle Superhighway will transform cycling for thousands of people in West London.

And our award-winning team have worked with communities across London to help streets work better for more people. From Marks Gate in Barking and Dagenham to Malden Manor in Kingston, we’ve worked with communities and local authorities to bring about the changes needed to make streets healthier and neighbourhoods more liveable. 

Our work with the ‘next generation’ of Londoners reached another level this year. Working with schools we have helped 66,244 pupils, 1,340 staff members and 2,640 parents to cycle, enabling more Londoners to live car-free lifestyles. 

We’ve continued to make the case to London’s leaders and policy-makers for Healthy Streets. Supporting the London Assembly’s calls for a London-wide road pricing strategy, hosting Deputy Mayor, Val Shawcross and Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman at our StreetTalks and developing a set of recommendations for the new London Plan are just some examples.

We’ve seen London Boroughs take the initiative and bring forward innovative projects to make walking and cycling easier. Camden and Hackney’s Schools Streets programmes have shown parents and pupils what a street free of traffic can do for health and happiness.

Working with schools we have helped 66,244 pupils, 1,340 staff members and 2,640 parents to cycle, enabling more Londoners to live car-free lifestyles.

And Waltham Forest’s ever impressive ‘Enjoy’ programme has gained national recognition for transforming local streets. Whilst CityMapper through its provision of an actual bus route, and the arrival of dockless hire bikes are making our streets and transport more connected than ever before.

TfL continues to transform London, with a focus on giving London healthier streets by pressing ahead with major projects including transforming Westminster Bridge Roundabout. We are delighted that our proposal for a new crossing between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf went out to consultation at the end of 2017. Sustrans first conceived the idea of a bridge at this much needed location back in 2008. We’ve worked hard to make this a reality, to unlock the huge potential in East London. None of this could be achieved without the Mayor’s continued investment in vital infrastructure.

When we look at London’s sheer pace of growth, the challenges to our environmental sustainability and the inequality that overshadows our wealthy capital, it feels as though changing the way we travel is more central than ever before to secure a healthy, prosperous and vibrant future for London.

Download the Sustrans London Annual Review 2017 report (pdf)