Budget squeeze, permeability schemes, ward improvement plans & Barclays bike hire

At the last Council/ICAG/Living Streets liaison meeting, last Thursday, council officers outlined big changes to the way cycling infrastructure was going to be funded.

First of of all, council senior management has removed £200K of funding from the current financial year’s cycling related projects.  As a result, all but 4 of the permeability schemes (council’s priorised list) have been put on held; those remaining schemes are going ahead because they are TfL (bike hire project) directly funded. Originally Cllrs Andrew Cornwell and Katie Dawson secured £500K of so for permeability schemes and it’s not at all clear whether that has been reassigned, squandered, misappropriated or what. Unfortunately neither Andrew or Katie are still elected members.

Before anyone asks, funding for road maintenance has also been ‘slashed’!

The big emphasis going forward in terms of who gets what funding is that it’s going to be ward based and local councillors are going to be much more involved in those decisions, presumably with an eye of electoral impact. Officers are packaging up enhancements ward by ward and have drawn a lot of ideas from our map, so we are told. All money coming into the council whether it be via the Local Implementation Plan funding (from TfL) or from a developers S.106 agreement will be allocated to these enhancements.  (If others know differently, please say).

On one hand, this fits in very well with the whole concept of the veloteers. On the other hand, it does mean that we will have to engage with councillors and maybe even promise to vote for them if we want to get them to do anything for an irresponsible (Gazette) minority group that terrorises the walking electorate.  Of course when cycling levels reach Copenhagen levels, and we’ve used the last drop of oil,  it will all be so different….

Phase 2 of the cycle hire scheme will extend east and Islington expects to put in 2 or 3 more docking stations which will provide 170 more docking points.  One of those docking stations might be at Islington Green, Will Umney is looking for suggestions about where to locate the others.