Boris Backs Bikes with $1.4 Billion Infrastructure Plan for London

Mayor Boris Johnson has unveiled a wildly ambitious £913m 10-year plan to make cycling an integral part of London's transportation network.
March 8, 2013, 5am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Gwyn Topham describes the key elements of Johnson's plan to turn London into a world-class cycling city. These include an east-west segregated superhighway dubbed "Crossrail for the bike," up to three "mini-Hollands" to transform cycling habits in the suburbs, and a network of back-road 'quietways' for less confident riders.

The reaction from the blogosphere was cautious, but overwhelmingly positive. Writing in The Guardian, Peter Walker claimed that "Thursday's announcement has the possibility of re-shaping the way Londoners transport themselves over the coming decades. Yes, only London, but if other UK cities see the benefits of mass cycling they could follow."

He also praised as one of the best elements of the plan "the way it emphasises that more cyclists is good for everyone: less road congestion, less smog, more seats on the tube, a city tilted that bit away from motor vehicles and towards human beings, however they might be propelled."

Sounding the cautious note, Mark Ames at ibikelondon, remarked that, "the devil is in the detail  - people on bikes will be watching TfL and the Mayor's new cycling czar carefully to make sure today's proposals are delivered in a timely fashion and to the highest detail."

Johnson himself best described the transformative philosophy behind his plan:

I want cycling to be normal, a part of everyday life. I want it to be something you feel comfortable doing in your ordinary clothes, something you hardly think about. I want more women cycling, more older people cycling, more black and minority ethnic Londoners cycling, more cyclists of all social backgrounds – without which truly mass participation can never come. As well as the admirable Lycra-wearers, and the enviable east Londoners on their fixed-gear bikes, I want more of the kind of cyclists you see in Holland, going at a leisurely pace on often clunky steeds.

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Published on Thursday, March 7, 2013 in The Guardian
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