There’s a theory that sequels get worse and the third series of Cycle Ambition Fund feels like the end of the line. CAF1 was good(ish), giving councils a heads-up and allowing them to put together proposals. CAF2 (£114M) was sprung on councils so quickly, and only thanks to our local Cllr Nigel Roberts working with Cycle Bath, were we prepared enough to put in a £3.8M bid. However lots of councils didn’t and £21M of the allocated money was returned to the DfT.
CAF3, just announced, has an even shorter bid window, and with only a paltry pot of £6.5M to be shared across 8 cities, it will simply be hoovered up in council officer time and might result in a bit of paint.
There are only two things that should be done with this money, and two things only.
We need shovel ready proposals
Delivery of a detailed costed designs to create a city wide cycle network in consultation with the public and use of TfL’s Strategic Cycling Analysis (pdf) methodology.
Use of https://www.cyipt.bike/ & http://pct.bike/ should definitely be part of the process. CyIPT should also be funded and supported fully by the DfT. It will save councils so much money and time during the proposal development process.
Given the success of the Walthamstow Mini-Holland Scheme, which boils down to 14 road closures using modal filters, cities should only be allowed to bid IF they are going to use Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (or even regular TROs), planters, and painted concrete blocks to close roads to through traffic and create a quiet street network connecting communities to schools, shops, and places of employment.
For £200k you could buy one ETRO and 50 planters, and a bunch of dead end signs and create 10-20 through traffic free roads. You could have a serious impact on rat running in these 8 cities for very little money.
Share equally and dictate
I would split the money evenly between cities and require them to deliver a fully costed LCWIP defined cycle network and a “mini-holland” scheme using ETROs and planters to close rat runs to cars and create a quiet street network.
We need money and TIME
Council’s need money and time to be able to develop schemes to the point where they are shovel ready. CAF3 could have been an admission that there isn’t the money, but to enable those cities to deliver a vision of what cycling could be if they had the money.
THREE weeks is ridiculous
This is a real failure of Jesse Norman MP (our cycling minister) not to recognise how he is failing to deliver on his brief. He could have been a lot cleverer here and made a real difference down the line.