Promote safety benefits of low-traffic schemes, Boardman tells councils

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Councils should look down rows implicit low-traffic neighbourhoods by reframing the statement successful presumption of livable streets that children tin usage safely, the caput of England’s walking and cycling watchdog has argued arsenic it unveiled its archetypal raft of projects.

Chris Boardman, the erstwhile Olympic cyclist who heads Active Travel England (ATE), has promised his organisation volition assistance section authorities navigate civilization wars and media controversies implicit postulation schemes, on with carrying retired its halfway relation of ensuring bully design.

The organisation has unveiled 133 walking and cycling projects, covering 46 section authorities successful England, each extracurricular London. They are intended to supply astir 200 miles of rhythm lanes and pavements wrong 12 months, and modelling shows they volition make a combined 16m other walking and cycling trips a year.

Boardman, who formerly worked to boost walking and cycling crossed Greater Manchester, said that portion helium understood immoderate radical were “scared” astir change, councils should not get bogged down successful debates implicit low-traffic neighbourhoods, which usage filters to bounds car through-traffic connected smaller streets.

“We tin telephone them immoderate we want, but it’s a neighbourhood,” helium said. “We privation to springiness radical backmost what they’ve had taken away. We privation radical to consciousness OK letting their kids locomotion to school. If you inquire radical if they’d similar their kids to beryllium capable to locomotion to school, a immense percent accidental yes. We’ve been asking the incorrect questions.”

The halfway occupation of ATE, announced successful 2020 and inactive recruiting staff, is to assistance councils with due designs for walking and cycling schemes, with backing held backmost until they are up to scratch.

Boardman said the organisation’s consultants had been “injecting a batch of quality” into the projects present announced. “It is an inspectorate, but the main happening we tin bash is help. If an authorization hasn’t adjacent got an outline design, we tin assistance them with 1 – adjacent bash it for them.

“Anyone who has got the courageousness but hasn’t got the resources, we tin instantly adhd value. If a assembly says ‘we haven’t got country for a scheme’, we’ve got the country’s starring experts who tin accidental ‘you could bash it this way’. We’re coming with bags of solutions.”

ATE besides offers section authorities what Boardman calls “a taste hand-holding exercise”, with councillors encouraged to framework much walking and cycling arsenic a positive, alternatively than conscionable absorption connected perchance antagonistic coverage.

“I privation section councillors to consciousness bully astir doing harder stuff, lasting up for something,” Boardman said. “There’s a fearfulness of change, and a batch of that is astir the messaging. But what this is about, ultimately, is making nicer places to live. Everyone has mislaid show of that and conscionable thinks thing is being taken away. But we’re giving thing back.

“Also, the question that isn’t asked is: if you don’t bash this past what happens erstwhile the roads are afloat up? We’ve got an other 20bn miles being driven astir homes conscionable the past 10 years. If we don’t bash these things you deliberation are difficult, what’s your suggestion? When you bash inquire this, it stops radical successful their tracks.”

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ATE’s ambitious remit is for 50% of each journeys successful English towns and cities to beryllium cycled oregon walked by 2030, with Boardman tying this to parallel authorities targets to trim emissions.

“If you privation to code clime change, and you’ve got 8 years to bash it, past buses, bikes and walking are the lone tools you’ve practically got to marque that happen,” helium said. “That’s it. And buses don’t enactment unless you marque abstraction for them.”

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