Redbridge under pressure over shortage of cycle lanes across borough

Frustrated councillors have demanded Redbridge Council take action over the lack of cycle lanes in the borough.

In its new sustainable transport strategy, the council states it aims to see 80 per cent of all local journeys taken by foot, bicycle or public transport by 2041, in line with the Mayor of London’s policy.

At present, car use still makes up around half of the journeys within Redbridge, while car ownership is estimated to be ten percent higher than other London boroughs.

During a debate this week, the borough’s limited cycling network was compared to neighbouring Waltham Forest, which has a vast network of cycle lanes known as ‘Mini-Holland’.

Councillor Paul Donovan said: “What concerns me is we have been talking about this stuff for four years, we need delivery, not just to keep talking.

“I know funding is a problem because of the situation with TfL… but delivery is important I think. Neighbouring boroughs like Waltham Forest and Newham, we can cycle there and it’s fantastic, what’s going on in Redbridge?”

Cllr Donovan added that, last year, a group of councillors made a list of recommendations about improving highways and transport that have not yet been put into action.

Speaking at the place scrutiny committee on June 27, councillors agreed that a “culture change” will be needed among Redbridge residents, who drive more than the average Londoner.

Unlike other London boroughs, there are currently no bike-hire companies operating in the borough after operators Ofo and Urbo pulled out of London in 2018.

Cabinet member for environment and civic pride Jo Blackman said the strategy would be “underpinned by data and evidence” about how people travel to “target resources”.

She added: “That should help us try and take residents with us, we would have a mandate to actually implement a whole range of schemes rather than going from one to another.”

The council aims for the new policy to be formally adopted by Autumn this year “or later”.

Government funding will also be an issue for the council, which barely broke even on its budget last year, as well as TfL, which is surviving on a series of short-term bail-outs from the government.

In late 2020, the council U-turned on the installation of Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods, known as Quiet Streets, seven weeks into a six month trial after opposition from residents and councillors.

A map of Redbridge’s existing and proposed cycle routes can be found here: https://my.redbridge.gov.uk/map/cycle-routes

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter