Merton is one of eight boroughs shortlisted by the Mayor of London for a chunk of £100m to ‘go Dutch’ and transform the borough into a cycle-friendly mini-Holland.
The short listing follows Merton Council’s exciting expression of interest for funding which would see Merton become a place where people will choose cycling as one the main ways of getting around. Success at this early stage means Merton will benefit from up to £25,000 to prepare for the final stage of bidding for a portion of the £100m on offer from the Mayor of London.
In its expression of interest, the council pledged to create more segregated cycle facilities, encourage underrepresented groups to choose pedal power, bridge cycle ways across railways, rivers and major roads, provide good cycle storage and maintain cycle paths to a high standard. Offering free cycle training to community groups and schools would also form an integral part of ensuring Merton’s transformation into a mini-Holland is a success.
As the main commercial and cultural centre of the borough, Wimbledon is the hub in the council’s cycle transformation plan. Creating a better cycle network would build on Merton’s award-winning improvements to Wimbledon town centre. Other major town centres – Mitcham, Morden, Raynes Park, Colliers Wood – would also benefit from better cycle connections to Wimbledon and between each other. Improvements to the cycling infrastructure in Merton would be done in conjunction with the town centre improvement programmes the council is currently undertaking.
Merton Council is keen to ensure that the bike can work successfully in conjunction with the car as well as public transport. It is also committed to ensuring all areas of the borough are well connected for cyclists, making cycling easy and safe for people in the East and the West of the borough and allowing people to access employment and leisure opportunities in the different areas of Merton and beyond.
The successful boroughs who will share the £100m in funding will be announced early next year.
Merton Council cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration Councillor Andrew Judge said: “Being shortlisted is very exciting and a great achievement. We are one hundred per cent focused on being one of the final selected boroughs. A multi-million pound investment in cycling will be of huge benefit to Merton and will help us not only make our road network cycle-safe, but will also go a long way to encouraging many people, who wouldn’t normally get on a bike, to do just that. Cycling is a great way to get around. It makes you fitter, is often quicker than the car and it’s environmentally friendly too.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘It’s fantastic that so many boroughs have embraced the idea of going Dutch. We’ve seen some really creative ideas – from a floating bicycle boardwalk to cycling super hubs – and they’ve all got huge potential to revolutionise how we get around on two wheels.’
TfL and the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner for London, Andrew Gilligan, will now work closely with each of the shortlisted boroughs to draw up more detailed final submissions. The plans will be assessed for their deliverability and the benefits they add for cycling. Each finalist’s political commitment and delivery capacity will also be examined.
Andrew Gilligan said: “Councils across outer London have stepped up to the plate and we are thrilled with how many want to redesign their town centres around cycling. There is enough money available to deliver dramatic change in the chosen boroughs, and make them places that suburbs and towns all over Britain will want to copy.”