GLA calls for better cycling promotion for 2012

Most of us aren’t surprised to find that the Olympic Development Agency (ODA) has identified transport as one of London’s major areas of concern during the 2012 Games, and that serious work is being undertaken to improve and increase transport provision in London. This week the Greater London Authority has urged the ODA to increase targets for cycling and walking and offer supporting initiatives and increased publicity, to encourage these forms of transport.

Current projections say only five per cent of spectators at the Olympic Park will walk and cycle – an astonishingly low number when you consider that there are four million people living within a 40-minute cycle ride of an Olympic venue.

Sustrans have already been advising the ODA how best to go about encouraging more walking and cycling, and now the GLA’s report suggests providing incentives, such as offering priority entry or free refreshments to those who do so (a concept we endorse wholeheartedly!).

You can read the GDA’s full report, ‘Clearing the hurdles’, here. It’s surprisingly engaging for an official document, because it really brings home the sheer volume of people that will need to be able to get around the capital next summer. The ‘Olympic Route Network’ – a road-based system of designated ‘games’ lanes linking some of the major venues – is one proposed ‘solution’, but it seems to encourage car use over other modes of transport, despite concerns that Britain stands to be fined millions by the European authorities for the resulting hit on air quality.

The GLA report calls for more ‘aggressive’ promotion of cycling leading up to 2012, as well as the introduction of more cycle parking and wayfinding signage for people walking and cycling to venues. Which invites the question: if the authorities are willing to paint lines on the road to guide motor traffic across the city, then why not do the same for the network of cycle routes comprising the London Cycle Map?

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