Get on your bike in our borough
Merton council is spearheading a European-wide initiative to increase the number of people who are cycling - aiming to quadruple the number of cyclists in the borough.
It has become part of a new partnership of European city councils called CycleCities and recently brought together representatives from a number of countries for a special forum at the Civic Centre in Morden.
The council organised the forum and day of workshops following a successful bid for European Union funding.
The event saw council officers, politicians and academics from Greece, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland and Slovenia share their transport and planning policies with each other to develop an action plan to improve the road environment and encourage cycling to be the number one transport choice in cities.
Delegates heard how Merton Council is working to encourage people to create an environment where people would choose to walk and cycle. They heard from Transport for London (TfL) about the Mayor of London's Cycle Revolution campaign and about raising the profile of cycling through the development of practical projects to accommodate cyclists.
The workshops included a cycle ride along the local Wandle Trail with local cycle campaigners and the Sustainable Transport charity SUSTRANS. They demonstrated ideas for improvements for the Wandle Trail which follows the River Wandle through the London boroughs of Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton and Croydon.
Representatives from the different European countries came from Piraeus, Leipzig, Genoa, Lisbon, Gdansk Gorenjska and the University of Athens.
Merton Council cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration Councillor Andrew Judge said: "It was good that Merton was able to host this international cycling conference to learn from others and communicate our own experience and aspirations. As Cabinet Member with responsibility for Environmental Sustainability and Regeneration including Street Management, I am committed to the 'Go Dutch' principles that the Mayor of London and many boroughs have signed up to.
"Currently we are seeing a cycling revolution in London and Merton intends to take a lead in ensuring that cycling is safe and convenient for men, women and children in all parts of the borough. Our aim over the next few years is to quadruple the proportion of all journeys taken by bicycle. We have Biking Borough status and aspire to be an exemplar in London. This means investing in physically separate cycle paths as part of a local network that enables cyclists to make safe journeys in their own neighbourhood including trips to school and to the shops.
"It means re-designing junctions to improve cyclist safety, introducing shorter and quicker routes by bicycle as well as extending the Cycle Super Highway from Colliers Wood initially to South Wimbledon. It means investing in secure and convenient cycle parking facilities in all parts of the Borough. Cycling is good for personal health, good for the environment, good for local shopping - research shows that cyclists spend more locally - and good for pleasure.
Merton is working closely with the Wandle Valley Park Trust to improve leisure cycling along the length of the river as well as other green routes. We are supporting cycle training and cycling events. We were exhilarated by the achievements of top British cyclists in the Tour de France and the Olympics and will do what we can to ensure much wider participation in cycling at every level in Merton in future.”
More information on CycleCities will be available at www.cyclecities.eu from January.
December 22, 2012