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Former London cycling commissioner accuses mayor of building "fake cycle network"

Suggests a large proportion of completed work amounts to little more than rebranding routes as Quietways

London’s former cycling commissioner has accused Sadiq Khan of presiding over the construction of a “fake cycle network”. Andrew Gilligan says that in many areas the mayor is doing little more than adding Quietway signs to roads and claiming them as new routes.

Earlier this year, London’s current cycling commissioner, Will Norman, launched the city’s new cycling action plan.

He later refuted accusations that there was no new infrastructure or funding, pointing to two major new routes – from Tottenham to Camden and Hackney to the Isle of Dogs – and emphasising the introduction of new standards to prevent construction of substandard infrastructure.

However, writing in the Guardian, Gilligan says that these standards are “only aims and aspirations.”

Gilligan says he has now ridden most of the sections of Quietway that Khan claimed to have built in a list given to the London Assembly in November.

“In a few places, I found, new Quietway signs have indeed been painted on the road, though they are often hard to see under the queues of vans and rat-running cars. The last thing many of these routes are is quiet.

“Elsewhere, I discovered that City Hall has taken decades-old traffic-free cycle routes, such as the Thames towpath and the Greenway in east London, put Quietway signs on them and claimed them as new routes. This alone accounts for 26km of the 100km that has supposedly been delivered. In other places, there were traces of work begun but not finished.

“At least a further 30km consists of little more than rebranding existing, unsegregated, noughties-era London Cycle Network (LCN) routes on sometimes busy and congested streets.”

Gilligan said that, “on very long stretches of the network claimed to be complete, and even by Khan’s minimalist definition, I found nothing: neither new signage nor any trace of work starting.”

Nor is he impressed with the 40km or so of protected cycle lanes Khan claims to have delivered, suggesting that most of what has been completed was begun before Khan took office.

“Since May 2016 the mayor has started work on only 4km of protected superhighway route (8km if you count lanes in each direction), all of them schemes consulted on and left to him by the previous administration.”

Gilligan goes on to call for the Quietway programme to be cancelled, asking that the money be redirected to superhighway routes on main roads instead.

His comments echo those of the London Cycling Campaign who in October branded Quietways a “substandard distraction”.

Simon Munk said that their quality varied considerably and often deteriorated noticeably where a route crossed from one borough into another with lesser ambitions for cycling.

Responding to Gilligan’s article, Will Norman said: “Under Sadiq, new high-quality cycle infrastructure is being delivered all across London. We've already built more than 140km of new routes, including completing the second phases of Cycle Superhighways 3 and 6 and opening the first tranche of Quietways. We’ve overhauled dangerous junctions such as Westminster Bridge south and Archway and are currently constructing schemes at Highbury Corner, Old Street Roundabout and Judd Street.

“It took Boris Johnson six years and four months to launch the public consultation on the eight miles of segregation that were finished at the end of his second term. Sadiq has almost matched this figure already, doubling the amount of protected space he inherited, and is on course to triple it by the end of his first term.

“The co-operation of local boroughs is essential to deliver high-quality cycling infrastructure. We are working well with the three mini-Holland boroughs, delivering on the plans we inherited from the previous administration. Work will start later this year on two major new cycle routes – CS4 and CS9 – in co-operation with Southwark, Greenwich, Lewisham, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow and Kensington and Chelsea. We have re-prioritised an extension of CS4 from Greenwich to Woolwich, downgraded by the previous administration, which is now funded in TfL’s new Business Plan. The actions of Westminster Council to block CS11 have been hugely frustrating but we will continue to work with those boroughs that share our ambition.

“Meanwhile through our world-leading Direct Vision Standard, the most dangerous lorries will also be removed from our streets from next year.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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16 comments

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BehindTheBikesheds | 4 years ago
3 likes

The ULEZ is a load of pony, you do know that EURO6 diesels have been allowed to spew more particulates over and above the actual level set for E6? This was actually legalised to allow these vehicles to be massively over the limits and despite being told that this is the case and would not make them (the vehicles) allowable into a ULEZ, and that independant testing has shown many E6 diesels to be in fact more polluting than E4 in real world use he's going to allow them and ignore the data/facts.

Don't even get me started on black cabs being exempt from the ULEZ charge, despite emitting a 1/4 of all central London PM10s and 16% of all NO emissions!

His reasoning, he's only giving out new licences to cabbies who have hybrid vehicles, well that doesn't stop the pollution from the existing vehicles you fucking lying charlatan! It also won't address the fact that the majority of these fuckers are labotomised knob jockeys.

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ChrisB200SX replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 4 years ago
5 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

The ULEZ ...

Don't even get me started on black cabs being exempt from the ULEZ charge, despite emitting a 1/4 of all central London PM10s and 16% of all NO emissions!

They've got a 15-year exemption, seriously, 15 years of thousands of the worst diesel-belching polluters!
If he really wanted change, he'd make all taxis and buses need to be electric. Would virtually solve London pollution rapidly... and while we're at it, HGVs could be different, given that we should be introducing HGVs where the driver can actually see what they are about to run over.

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to ChrisB200SX | 4 years ago
4 likes
ChrisB200SX wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

The ULEZ ...

Don't even get me started on black cabs being exempt from the ULEZ charge, despite emitting a 1/4 of all central London PM10s and 16% of all NO emissions!

They've got a 15-year exemption, seriously, 15 years of thousands of the worst diesel-belching polluters!
If he really wanted change, he'd make all taxis and buses need to be electric. Would virtually solve London pollution rapidly... and while we're at it, HGVs could be different, given that we should be introducing HGVs where the driver can actually see what they are about to run over.

Exactly, his words and actions are worse than empty, in any case the estimate is that a 1/4 of the 250,000 vehicles entering the ULEZ daily will be non conforming and still pay the fee. Then you have the ones on fake plates, no license no MOT, no insurance etc.

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brooksby | 4 years ago
4 likes

Responding to Gilligan’s article, Will Norman said: [all the stuff that Gilligan already said was wrong, or was an exaggeration, or was an outright lie.]

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srchar | 4 years ago
7 likes

This is because any politician with a strong opinion about something gets attacked by whatever special interest group takes the opposite view. The papers will take a few tweets and a Facebook post by someone indirectly affected by the issue, then make the unwitting pol the centre of a media shitstorm, because that's what news media does nowadays - it reports what a few people, usually dim slebs, have said on social media. I'm as pissed off with the sad state of British politics as the next man, but it's easy to see why they're all anodyne soundbite machines.

Every country has the government it deserves, to shamelessly copy a phrase.

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FluffyKittenofT... | 4 years ago
5 likes

Politicians are all strangely useless these days.  Either they are ideologically eccentric true believers and fixated on the wrong issues and prone to digging themselves into holes...or they are 'moderate' 'grown up' 'centrists' who are completely inert and don't do anything other than collect their salaries and pat themselves on the back for how moderate and centrist they are.

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Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to FluffyKittenofTindalos | 4 years ago
5 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

Politicians are all strangely useless these days.  Either they are ideologically eccentric true believers and fixated on the wrong issues and prone to digging themselves into holes...or they are 'moderate' 'grown up' 'centrists' who are completely inert and don't do anything other than collect their salaries and pat themselves on the back for how moderate and centrist they are.

That's not really surprising.  

You see, there used to be what I like to call an aristocracy of the intelligent (I didn't invent the term).  The general public is entitled to its opinion, but the general public is dumb.  People are as thick as fucking shit.  And that's fine, because people didn't need to be clever.  There were enough clever people to run the world.  
 
But then came this idea of 'democracy' where everyone got the vote, and along with it (driven principally but of course not exclusively by the feminization of the education sector, with its 'everyone gets a prize' mentality) came political correctness where it was forbidden (previously morally but of course now - criminally) to 'offend' anyone.  Now, in 2018, the Internet has made everyone a star.  Everyone can get their name published somewhere online, and with this ease of access to a small degree of noteriety comes the sincere belief that being present online is the same thing as one's opinions having some validity, and the accompanying belief that to disagree with someone is 'disrespectful' and 'shouldn't be allowed'. 
 
In the real world, this translates to absurdities like the BBC feeling the need to allow a 'denier' equal airtime with a climate scientist.  This translates to women calling the police using the 999 service, because someone called them 'fat' on Twitter.  This translates to children believing that if they don't get to sit down on public transport with their parents standing, their rights are somehow being 'abused'.  
 
And now, we have reached the extreme where no one is ashamed anymore to say aloud that they support UKIP.  Where a government minister can say 'I think the public has had enough of "experts"' because those 'experts' predict a post-Brexit Britain where almost everyone but the 1% is going to be worse off.  
 
People should have the right to express an opinion.  But they do not get the right to have that opinion translated into public policy.  What is needed is for a politician to say, 'Sit down, shut the fuck up'.  But no politician would ever say that, because to say that would make that politician unelectable. 
 
Sir Thomas More's views that society can now only be changed from the outside, never seemed more accurate. 

It's for this reason that there is what we often term a 'crisis' in the political systems in our countries.  

I can see many ways to address it, but two that are 'milder' and thus less likely to offend the tender sensibilities of the masses are: 

1.  IQ tests before being allowed to vote.  Needless to say, IQ tests are themselves biased, so standardisation is required so as not to disfavour any one colour or socio-economic class.   The old saying is that if elections did any good, they'd be banned, and there is some truth in this.  But human stupidity is so widespread and so dangerous that masses of dribbling dolts can and do impose disastrous consequences on the rest of us.  Britain since 1979 is proof of this.  It is no doubt anathema to what most people call 'democratic', but the planet needs to be protected from retards.  

2.  Criminalization of lying in the political process.  It is now generally acknowledged by all but the most rabid Brexit neo-fascist, that those in favour of leaving the European Union lied through their back fucking teeth.  Yet the result stands, and those who lied face no sanction whatsoever.  This is toxic to any reasonable man's definition of 'democracy'.  What is needed is an elected, supra-legislative body with power to dissolve Parliament if it is determined that any member of the government with ministerial powers, lied.  This body needs the legal authority to call on the police or armed forces to remove the government by force, if the latter refuses to relinquish power.   

Of course, neither of these will pass muster with the 'elected' parties we have at present, since it would in essence compel them either to tell the truth (option 2) or mean that if they enacted policies destructive to liberty, the intelligent would ensure that they lost power and never again gained it (option 1).    

'If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face.  Forever'.   (George Orwell)

And since we're doing quotes.. 

'People in power understand precisely one thing.  Violence' (Noam Chomsky)
 

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brooksby replied to Legs_Eleven_Worcester | 4 years ago
1 like
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

'If you want a vision of the future, ...

Go watch 'Idiocracy' 

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Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to brooksby | 4 years ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

'If you want a vision of the future, ...

Go watch 'Idiocracy' 

I think we have that on DVD.  Any good?  

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NPlus1Bikelights | 4 years ago
5 likes

Boris did one good thing as Mayor, selfishly maybe, but it is his only positive legacy. Sadiq isn't belligerent enough to progress this any further, and no literally concrete progress has been made.

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OldRidgeback replied to NPlus1Bikelights | 4 years ago
4 likes
NPlus1BikelightsNJerseys wrote:

Boris did one good thing as Mayor, selfishly maybe, but it is his only positive legacy. Sadiq isn't belligerent enough to progress this any further, and no literally concrete progress has been made.

 

What was that? Spend £40 million on  bridge that was never built after awarding contracts to his mates without a proper tendering process? 

Or was it the useless cable car that hardly anyone uses?

Maybe it was the buses that cost 2x what a standard bus costs, yet has AC that boils you in the summer?

Or maybe it was him cancelling the extension of the congestion charge zone?

If you refer to the cycl;e hire scheme, that was Ken Livingstone's idea.

Meanwhile, Khan is introducing the ULEZ, which will be the biggest move to reduce urban pollution in London since Battersea power station was shut down. Check the figures on how many people die of lung diseases in London or on how many children suffer from asthma. And bear in mind that 50% of asthma cases in London are attributable to vehicle pollution.

There is a strong anti-Khan sentiment being nurtured in London by that purveyor of hate, the Daily Mail. 

 

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to OldRidgeback | 4 years ago
0 likes
OldRidgeback wrote:
NPlus1BikelightsNJerseys wrote:

Boris did one good thing as Mayor, selfishly maybe, but it is his only positive legacy. Sadiq isn't belligerent enough to progress this any further, and no literally concrete progress has been made.

 

What was that? Spend £40 million on  bridge that was never built after awarding contracts to his mates without a proper tendering process? 

Or was it the useless cable car that hardly anyone uses?

Maybe it was the buses that cost 2x what a standard bus costs, yet has AC that boils you in the summer?

Or maybe it was him cancelling the extension of the congestion charge zone?

If you refer to the cycl;e hire scheme, that was Ken Livingstone's idea.

Meanwhile, Khan is introducing the ULEZ, which will be the biggest move to reduce urban pollution in London since Battersea power station was shut down. Check the figures on how many people die of lung diseases in London or on how many children suffer from asthma. And bear in mind that 50% of asthma cases in London are attributable to vehicle pollution.

There is a strong anti-Khan sentiment being nurtured in London by that purveyor of hate, the Daily Mail. 

 

 

I'm not convinced.  The ULEZ seems to be a bare minimum.  And, as the article says, all momentum (ahem) for cycle infrastructure has been lost under Khan.  He isn't exactly a political dynamo, as far as I can see.  His timidity just irritates me.  Constantly looking to see how he can position himself as 'the moderate one' rather than actually pushing a real agenda.

Johnson did put in some half-decent cycle infrastructure.  Though, yes, in every other way he was a very expensive clown act.  But, hey, you have to account for the fact that if he'd stayed as mayor he'd not have been able to do the damage he's done since as a national politician!  London maybe should have taken one for the team and restricted him to screwing things up on a purely local level!

 

And has Khan reinstated the congestion charge extension?  If not, surely he's thus not much better than Johnson on that score?  Pretty sure he could have done a lot more to forestall the Garden Bridge fiasco, instead he seemed to equivocate and flip-flop on it till it was obviously doomed.

 

It is hard to judge, it's true, because the Mayor appears to have so little real power.  E.g. knife crime isn't going well in the capital, but police funding is largely down to national politics, right?

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OldRidgeback replied to FluffyKittenofTindalos | 4 years ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
OldRidgeback wrote:
NPlus1BikelightsNJerseys wrote:

Boris did one good thing as Mayor, selfishly maybe, but it is his only positive legacy. Sadiq isn't belligerent enough to progress this any further, and no literally concrete progress has been made.

 

What was that? Spend £40 million on  bridge that was never built after awarding contracts to his mates without a proper tendering process? 

Or was it the useless cable car that hardly anyone uses?

Maybe it was the buses that cost 2x what a standard bus costs, yet has AC that boils you in the summer?

Or maybe it was him cancelling the extension of the congestion charge zone?

If you refer to the cycl;e hire scheme, that was Ken Livingstone's idea.

Meanwhile, Khan is introducing the ULEZ, which will be the biggest move to reduce urban pollution in London since Battersea power station was shut down. Check the figures on how many people die of lung diseases in London or on how many children suffer from asthma. And bear in mind that 50% of asthma cases in London are attributable to vehicle pollution.

There is a strong anti-Khan sentiment being nurtured in London by that purveyor of hate, the Daily Mail. 

 

 

I'm not convinced.  The ULEZ seems to be a bare minimum.  And, as the article says, all momentum (ahem) for cycle infrastructure has been lost under Khan.  He isn't exactly a political dynamo, as far as I can see.  His timidity just irritates me.  Constantly looking to see how he can position himself as 'the moderate one' rather than actually pushing a real agenda.

Johnson did put in some half-decent cycle infrastructure.  Though, yes, in every other way he was a very expensive clown act.  But, hey, you have to account for the fact that if he'd stayed as mayor he'd not have been able to do the damage he's done since as a national politician!  London maybe should have taken one for the team and restricted him to screwing things up on a purely local level!

 

And has Khan reinstated the congestion charge extension?  If not, surely he's thus not much better than Johnson on that score?  Pretty sure he could have done a lot more to forestall the Garden Bridge fiasco, instead he seemed to equivocate and flip-flop on it till it was obviously doomed.

 

It is hard to judge, it's true, because the Mayor appears to have so little real power.  E.g. knife crime isn't going well in the capital, but police funding is largely down to national politics, right?

 

The cycle superhighways were also planned by Ken Livingstone. Johnson again took credit for something his predecessor had put forward. All Johnson did was not to cancel the scheme.

The ULEZ in 2021 will be a major change. Khan is trying to tackle the problem of pollution in London in a  way Johnson simply ignored. The Euro 6 limits for diesel emissions aren't ideal, but at least are a straightforward way for the system to be implemented. And it will make a difference. The London taxi drivers have an exemption for now, but will be forced to go either electric or lpg very soon.

Khan waited for the results of qa report into the Garden Bridge before cancelling it. I wouldn't call that flip flopping. I'd call it making a reasoned judgementy based on sound evidence.

As for knife crime, this is a major issue right across the UK, not just in London. It's of note that it was Theresa May as Home secretary who cut police numbers. It's of note too that Johnson was the mayor closing police stations.

As I said, Khan comes in for a lot of stick. Look behind where that's coming from and you start to see a picture of right wing bias from the Daily Mail and some pretty unpleasant racism from the far right.

Avatar
burtthebike | 4 years ago
4 likes

Well, we've got a fake president, a fake government and fake news, now we have fake cycle provision from a fake mayor.

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brooksby | 4 years ago
4 likes

Could it be that Mr Khan has just been following the lead of almost every other council in the country...? ("Quietway signs have indeed been painted on the road, though they are often hard to see under the queues of vans and rat-running cars. ")

Avatar
mike the bike | 4 years ago
1 like

 

Could it be that Mr Khan is out of his depth?

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