When trying to understand what the Metro Mayor does, it’s important to understand that Transport is a key aspect of his/her responsibility. So when you think Metro Mayor, think Transport For London for the West of England.
The focus of many of the transport hustings has been on buses and trains, however I think the biggest responsibility is that the Metro Mayor also gets ownership of some roads. This ownership confers similar powers over those roads as TfL has over their road network.
This power has demonstrably shown how to transform the City of London, with people cycling now outnumbering the number of people driving.
So although all you hear about is how the mayor will improve public transport through oyster cards/new train stations etc., THE absolute KEY point that they all seem to have missed is that the mayor has an immense opportunity to redefine how we use our road space.
Taking a standard road layout with a capacity of 22,000 people per hour:
- footpath – 9000 pph
- on street parking – 0pph
- two lanes – 4000pph
- on street parking – 0pph
- footpath – 9000pph
You can increase capacity from 22,000 to 36,000 simply by replacing the on-street parking with cycle lanes. This is a 63% increase in capacity. Maximising road capacity rather than the age old maximising motorised vehicle traffic flow will deliver the solution to congestion in Bristol and Bath and the Metro Mayor has the ability to make this happen.
There are 129,000 people that commute to Bristol to work each day. Of those 25,000 drive to work within a 20 minute walking distance (2km). 57,000 drive to work within a 20 minute cycling distance (5km).
There are 28,000 people that commute to Bath to work each day. Of those 4,700 drive to work within a 20 minute walking distance (2km). 8,600 drive to work within a 20 minute cycling distance (5km).
Focusing on maximising road capacity and balancing roads to provide for all forms of travel, that is the provision of dedicated space for walking, cycling, and driving, will have a profound impact on congestion.
Implementing protected safe cycle lanes will provide people of all ages and all cycling abilities with real choice in how they get around our cities. This is a real game changer that not only tackles congestion and air pollution but also reduces the incidence of heart disease and cancer by 50%. Good, visibly safe cycle networks give children their travel indepence back. They are fantastic for businesses along the routes.
It is absolutely key that the mayor you vote for understands the role the roads have in delivering a healthier, less polluted, and less congested transport system.
To that aim, Bristol Cycle Campaign and Cycle Bath asked each candidate to sign up to three asks:
- Champion the West of England’s cycling and walking culture
By planning a high quality and coherent network of core cycle routes across the West of England for commuting and local trips that meets the needs of all levels of cyclist. Aim to double the number of trips made by cycle in the West of England area by 2025 while upholding the target of 20% of trips to made by cycle in Bristol city by 2020.
- Seek the funding to achieve your aims
Create a dedicated budget for cycling and actively seek enough funding to build your network to a high standard
- Establish MetroCycle on an equal footing with MetroRail and MetroBus
Set up and chair a steering group that brings together councils, business groups, universities, advocates and transport businesses.
Only Darren Hall (Greens), John Savage (Independent), Lesley Mansell (Labour), Stephen Williams (Liberal Democrats), and Aaron Foot (UKIP) signed up to these asks. More telling are the responses from the candidates.
If you want to see cycling supported and grow in the next 5 years, use your two votes to vote bike. (Remember your 2nd vote only counts after the top 2 candidates get through to the 2nd round.)