Published this week, Sadiq Khan’s draft London Plan will aim to encourage people out of their cars and to make cycling and walking easier. New requirements will see an increase in cycle parking around new shops and homes, while developments will need to be car-free in areas that are well-connected by public transport.
The Mayor wants to increase the proportion of trips made on foot, by bike and by public transport to 80 per cent by 2041, compared to 64 per cent now – equating to around three million fewer car journeys in London each day.
Khan said: “To secure the future health and prosperity of our city, we need to be bolder in encouraging people to reduce their reliance on cars. It’s essential for dealing with congestion as London’s population grows, and crucial for reducing our toxic air pollution emissions.
“My draft London Plan will set out how I want to transform how London’s infrastructure works, making cycling and walking a safe and convenient alternative for millions more journeys every day. If you buy or rent a home in London and make regular journeys to the work or shops, I want to see safe and secure cycle parking available for every journey, across all parts of the city. For too long our housing and infrastructure has been built solely around the car.
“Currently only around a third of Londoners do enough walking and cycling each day to stay healthy. Reshaping our city around walking, cycling and public transport is essential for getting more Londoners active, but will also improve our quality of life and the environment for everyone.”
London’s population is set to expand from 8.7 million to 10.5 million over the next 25 years, generating more than five million additional trips a day across the transport network.
If no further action is taken to reduce congestion, Greater London Authority figures show that by 2041, three days would be lost per person every year due to congestion on roads, and 50,000 hours would be lost to slower bus speeds in the morning peak every day.
Last month a city planning report by think tank Centre for London said that motorists would ultimately have to give up residential car parking to tackle such problems, with greater transport emphasis instead placed on trains, buses and bikes.
The draft London Plan seems cut from similar cloth. Housing developments in the parts of London best connected by public transport will be expected to be car-free, with no parking provided other than for disabled people (and the amount of parking allowed will not increase as unit sizes increase).
Similarly, office developments in central and inner London will no longer provide commuter or visitor parking, other than for disabled people and for essential delivery and servicing purposes.
In many parts of London, the level of cycle parking required outside shops will be doubled, while cycle parking requirements for new office developments will increase significantly where demand is high or where an area has high potential for cycling growth.
The requirements for long-stay cycle parking for student accommodation will also double from one space per two bedrooms to one-to-one provision.
Roger Geffen, Policy Director at Cycling UK said: “One of the attractions of a city like London is the ability to get around without needing to own a car. However, with our population set to grow, we urgently need to make London and other cities more cycle-friendly and less car-dependent, with cleaner air, healthier streets and a thriving economy for everyone who lives, works or spends time there.”
Matt Winfield, London Director for Sustrans, said: “Cycling is already the fastest-growing choice for travel around the capital and making sure new development plays its part in making it easier, safer and more convenient is absolutely vital.
“With two in three journeys already made by foot, cycle or public transport, the Mayor’s plan should ensure that new developments reflect the way Londoners travel now and will do in the future.
“Planning more homes and offices close to stations will ensure that people moving in to London’s newest buildings can live without the need for a car. Planners and developers must make sure the streets around them are welcome places to walk or cycle, and that they connect into London’s new Superhighways and Quietways, so that more of us can safely cycle for our everyday needs.
“Cycle parking in new buildings has been woefully inadequate in meeting today’s demand let alone in the future. I welcome news that the new plan will start to address this.”