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Transcript of evidence on cycling infrastructure given by Andrew Gilligan, former Cyclilng Commission to the previous Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to a meeting of the GLA Transport Committee on 6 December 2017.

Keith Prince AM (Chairman): It now gives me great pleasure to welcome Andrew [Gilligan], a man I worked with a few years ago when he was the Cycling Czar. He is not any more. His title is ‘Cycling Czar emeritus’ or something, in the Latin. We are now going to do a section on all sorts of things to do with cycling. Thank you very much for coming along.

I am going to kick off with the first question and it goes like this. You have been critical of recent delays in getting cycling infrastructure built. What do you think has gone wrong?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): It is weak political leadership. The key condition for cycling improvements to happen is strong political leadership. We have seen that in the Mini-Hollands in Waltham Forest and in Enfield, which are the only schemes to have seen anything really happening on the ground in the last 19 months. We have not seen that from City Hall. There does not seem to be any real willingness to make decisions that significantly alter the status quo on the roads.

Keith Prince AM (Chairman): Secondly, is borough capacity still a problem for delivering schemes and what are your views on plans for Cycle Superhighway (CS) 4 and CS9?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Broadly, borough capacity was always the most serious problem we faced. Not very many boroughs are both willing and capable. Some boroughs were willing but not capable. Some were capable but not willing. Only about five or six of the 33 [boroughs] were both. It is very noticeable that in the borough-led schemes, with the exception of the Mini-Holland boroughs, almost nothing has been achieved.

In the Quietways programme, for instance, Transport for London (TfL) said there were supposed to be seven routes complete by 2017. We have three weeks to go now and only one route is complete. Some routes have not even started. Most of the meaningful improvements proposed under the Quietways programme appear to have been dropped, things like the segregated lane on South Lambeth Road, a ramp being installed on a bridge that had steps in the Olympic Park, filtering in Hackney, filtering in Southwark and filtering in Lambeth. They have all been dropped. That is partly due to a lack of leadership in City Hall and it is also partly due to a lack of real political will in most boroughs.

The Quietways programme was always the one I was most worried about when I was Cycling Commissioner, but it is even more worrying now. It essentially seems to be more or less moribund. If you look at the TfL Quietway consultation website, there has not been a borough-led Quietway consultation on any scheme since February and there are no active consultations at the moment. It is difficult to know what is happening, but it does not look like very much.

Tom Copley AM: I was just going to say that you have publicly praised CS4, have you not?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): I praised CS9. That is the only proposal of the seven or eight put forward since the election that has the potential to deliver anything serious for cycling. It is a good scheme. What we have seen since the election is a number of proposals. We have seen proposals at Camberwell Green and we have seen proposals at Fiveways in Croydon that basically make no change whatever, as far as I can see, to the status quo, maybe slightly prettifying the pavement. We have seen proposals at Lambeth Bridge and Waterloo IMAX that have benefits and disbenefits for cyclists. At Lambeth Bridge the benefits slightly outweigh the disbenefits. At Waterloo, it is the other way around. We are seeing a quite significant narrowing of the road at Waterloo. We are seeing cyclists brought into pretty dangerous movements there under the new proposals. We have seen two superhighway proposals and, as I say, CS9 is the only one really that meets the standards of the previous administration and it is the only one that has not been watered down from the proposals we were working on.

Tom Copley AM: I am going to come to one of the previous administration’s ones in a minute. You are in favour of CS9. What is your position on the backlash against the proposed route through Chiswick? What is your view on that?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): My view is that a backlash is inevitable whenever a meaningful scheme is proposed. Cycling schemes nearly always have substantial majority support. We found in our schemes 60% support for the least popular, which was CS11, and 85% or 90% support for the most popular, which were the East-West and North-South. We did find that cycling schemes always create a lot of noise, but we also found that noise was not the same as numbers when the results came back of consultations and, in a few cases, independent opinion polls. We found that the opponents were in a small minority. I hope that will be the case here as well. It is interesting, the level of backlash that there has been against CS9. It is a sign that it is a good scheme because it does make a change to the status quo . The reason why --

Tom Copley AM: It is interesting that you think a good scheme has had a lot of backlash.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): That is not the definition of a good scheme but it is the nearly inevitable consequence of a good scheme.

Tom Copley AM: You seem to be saying that the definition of a good scheme is that it creates a lot of --

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): No, I just said that it is not the definition of a good scheme. It is the inevitable consequence of a good scheme. Any change to the status quo, as I said, is going to produce opposition but our experience with the East-West and North-South Superhighways and all the others was that the opposition tended to be a pretty small minority. How this administration has dealt with the likelihood of backlash is mostly by not proposing anything meaningful. That pretty much avoids it.

Tom Copley AM: You acknowledge therefore that making progress on schemes like this is difficult?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Yes, absolutely, but it is possible with political will, which is what is lacking at the moment here.

Tom Copley AM: Also it demonstrates how important it is to get things right, which brings me to CS1. Why did you sign off on CS1 when it clearly was not up to standard, particularly around Seven Sisters? You have this whole area where the Cycle Superhighway goes onto a very busy pavement.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): It was a compromise, inevitably. It was assessed as the quickest and most convenient route parallel to the A10. Cycling along the parallel streets beside the A10 was faster than any scheme we could have put in on the A10 because there were fewer traffic lights. The proposals included substantial changes, some of which have not been implemented, unfortunately, under the new administration. It is one of the schemes that has not been finished under the new administration.

Tom Copley AM: It is one where the proposals were not right in the first place. Do you think this demonstrates the importance of taking the time to listen to people and get these schemes right, rather than having to make changes later on?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): On the whole, the complaint about our schemes was not of the nature of the one you have made. The complaint about our schemes was that they were too good, in a sense, that they gave too much to cyclists and took too much road space away from motorists. Certainly there was no opposition to CS1 from the road lobby. There was substantial opposition, if you remember, to the East-West, North-South, CS11 and CS2, and those are very good schemes.

The lesson for me is that you need to consult and you need to build as much consensus as possible but you need to recognise too that for some people, for some opponents, you are never going to be able to persuade them. You cannot achieve unanimity on schemes. In the end, you have to decide. Our most sophisticated opponents were not frontal. Their main weapon was the filibuster. They would give us the impression that they might be able to be won over if we had a longer consultation or we did this, that and the other, but we learned in the end that no consultation could ever be long enough. We had very substantial periods of consultation but for a lot of people, no consultation could ever be long enough. You have to consult, you have to build as much consensus as possible, but in the end, you have to decide.

Tom Copley AM: As you have acknowledged, this is a difficult process.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Yes, but I just do not feel much progress is being made on it. We left the new administration with nine TfL-led schemes designed up and publicly consulted on, all of them approved with large majorities and public consultation. As I say, the smallest was 60%. Of those nine, all came to a halt for the first nine months. Then at the beginning of this year, one restarted. Then another one was restarted during the year and then a third one - the North-South superhighway extension, I think - has restarted about three weeks ago. The other six have either been cancelled or remain in limbo. We have not seen any progress on some major schemes. We have not yet, for instance, had a decision on CS11. It is a relatively modest scheme that involves the closure of some gates to a park but 21 months after the consultation closed the Mayor still has not made a decision on it. That is a symptom of the general lack of energy that there is in the programme now.

 Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM (Deputy Chair): It is interesting hearing your perspective that in boroughs there are still challenges. You are saying it is political leade rship but is there not a challenge that cycling still is not in TfL’s DNA? It is just something on the side, an add-on, “We ought to think about that”. How can the new Cycling and Walking Commissioner try to change that whole approach within TfL?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): To work with as a bureaucracy, TfL was a lot better than, for instance, Whitehall. They were quite responsive when they realised it was something the Mayor actually wanted to do. They produced some fantastic schemes and they did them really well. The schemes we delivered on the road are some of the best or perhaps the best in Britain. You are right that if they do not think there is much political commitment and interest then they lose interest. There has been a relaxation.

There is also always constant pressure to do things badly, constant pressure to compromise in ways that make schemes worth less than they should be or worth nothing, and part of the Cycling Commissioner’s job - part of my job when I was Cycling Commissioner - is to prevent that. Again, I was quite successful in preventing quite a lot of that. Not everything. Not everything we did was perfect. That is what needs to happen now. Ultimately, if a strong enough political steer is given from the Mayor, TfL will do it. That was my experience. They sometimes took their time to come around and you have to have arguments sometimes but on the whole they will do it. They produced some pretty good schemes.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM (Deputy Chair): They will only do it if there is a strong political steer? It is not built into how they approach everything?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): If you cut TfL open you will probably find a bus in its heart, or an Underground train possibly but I think a bus. A lot of people took the view that, for instance, a rise in the number of people using buses is automatically a good thing and a declining number of people using buses is automatically a bad thing. Of course, it is a bad thing if they are using cars instead, but it is not a bad thing if they are using bicycles instead because it is more sustainable, it is cheaper, it is better for them and all that kind of thing. That was part of the mentality we had to counter at TfL. As I say, I had my moments with them, but I was thrilled with the quality of the work they did and what they produced on the ground. It could not have happened without the vast commitment of dozens - at one point hundreds - of people in TfL who really did work hard. It is perfectly possible. TfL will do what the Mayor wants.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM (Deputy Chair): The current Mayor’s agenda is around cycling and walking, the Healthy Streets programme that he wants throughout. Do you think they are going to have an uphill challenge trying to get that throughout every aspect of TfL?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): I can see a couple of problems with Healthy Streets. It is actually cycling, walking and buses.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM (Deputy Chair): And motorcycles as well.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Yes. Buses seem to have made an entry to Healthy Streets. I am not quite sure how buses are a healthy mode of transport, really. If you look at, say, Kilburn High Road or something, which is full of not-very-full buses pumping out lots of rather nasty exhaust fumes, it does not look particularly healthy to me. Buses are in there in Healthy Streets.

I am concerned about three things. First, the potential for conflict between some of the healthy or allegedly healthy modes themselves. Certainly, in my time, regular attempts were made to stop cycling schemes on the grounds that they caused delay to bus passengers. Our approach was to try to balance that rather than to say that cycling schemes cannot happen. There is not even complete unity of interest between cycling and walking, as we have seen on Oxford Street, for instance, and my worry about Healthy Streets is that where the interests of cycling and walking are deemed to conflict then the decision will come down against cycling, as it has in Oxford Street.

Healthy Streets declared objectives are to reduce dependence on motorised transport, to clean up the environment and to increase people’s health. There is a very clearly successful policy instrument in cycling that does those things, the Cycle Superhighway. We have seen huge rises in the number of people cycling. We have seen a big modal shift in cycling. We have seen significant increases in the capacity of roads, given those cycle lanes. The overall capacity, of course, not the capacity for motor vehicles but the capacity for moving people.

We have a policy instrument in cycling with a proven record, both here and abroad, of swiftly and massively increasing the number of journeys made by healthy and sustainable modes. I cannot think of any equivalent for walking that could have the same effect so quickly. The policy instruments available - things like wider pavements, ease of pedestrian crossings and lower-traffic streets - are smaller and more incremental. They do not have the same game-changing potential that a superhighway has for cyclists. That is also a concern of mine about Healthy Streets, but perhaps that is the point. Perhaps the fact that walking infrastructure does not represent so big a change to the status quo is what makes it attractive to the Mayor.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM (Deputy Chair): Thank you.

Shaun Bailey AM: Just to expand on a point you have made there, seeking to expand walking and cycling, you seem to be suggesting that you could be expanding walking at the cost of cycling. Is that your position?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): What we tried to do was balance the interests of the two groups. There were very significant benefits for walking and pedestrians in all of our schemes. In the East-West superhighway, for instance, there were 23 new pedestrian crossings and there were improvements to dozens of others meaning you did not have to wait in the middle of the road anymore, you could cross in one go. I cannot remember the exact figure but there was a very substantial amount of new pedestrian space as well. We tried to balance improvements for walking and cycling. We did not see it as a contest between the two.

The same approach could have been adopted by the current administration in Oxford Street, for instance. Oxford Street is a wide street. There is enough room there, I think, for a cycle track as well as more than ample pedestrian space, but it has been decided not to have a cycle track. The interests of cycling have been barely considered in the consultation. They get three sentences. There is a promise of a route on parallel streets but they cannot even say which streets it is going to be on, let alone what kind of a route it is going to be. My understanding is that it is going to be the existing London Cycle Network route in New Cavendish Street, which is about half a mile north of Oxford Street and is not a realistic alternative to Oxford Street at all. That is my concern. It is possible to balance the two, which we did quite successfully, certainly with the approval of most pedestrians’ groups. I am not sure that balance is being achieved in Healthy Streets at the moment.

Shaun Bailey AM: In an earlier session I asked a question about why Oxford Street had not considered the use of pedicab and cycle routes in general. While I might agree with your position, do you think that is the case because businesses are less interested in cycle lanes? Cycling is a serious part of our infrastructure for travel but Oxford Street’s focus is business.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): In Oxford Street, the New West End Company’s vision of London is basically an outdoor shopping mall. It is basically Westfield without a roof on. I do not think that is all there is to London. It is not just a retail centre. It is a place for all sorts of people to do all sorts of things. It is interesting in terms of businesses that there is quite a lot of business opposition to Oxford Street. If you look at the business responses to the first consultation, the in-principle consultation done earlier this year or last year, the majority of businesses around Oxford Street are against pedestrianisation. That is not necessarily because they support cycling, of course, but it does show it is not quite as clear-cut as everyone thinks.

Traditionally, business has been quite hostile to cycling. We saw a lot of opposition from businesses in Waltham Forest to the Mini-Holland schemes we did there. That opposition has substantially vanished, not entirely but very substantially vanished, as they now see that what happened in Waltham Forest is what happened everywhere, that cycling infrastructure has been improved. It is dramatically good for business. We have seen, for the first time in years, there are no vacant shops on Orford Road, which was one of the first areas that we did as part of the Mini-Holland scheme in Walthamstow. We have seen the business-owner who led the opposition to the Mini-Holland scheme, whom I last saw carrying a golden coffin at the opening of the Mini-Holland in 2015, opening a pavement café because of the improved environment we have in Orford Road now. Cycling is extremely good for business. When we put schemes in, people see that.

There was another scheme in Herne Hill, not one of ours, a very controversial semi-pedestrianisation of that road in front of the station, if you know that, removing through traffic from it. There was massive controversy over that. All the businesses were up in arms against it. Now you go on the website for the Herne Hill Society and you find something saying, “We cannot imagine why we opposed it. It has transformed Herne Hill”. You have to make the case by doing and they are not doing anything. That is the problem. Once you make the case by doing, once you actually do it, people see what a good thing, what a profoundly good thing, what a wonderful thing for our city it is. You just have to do it.

Shaun Bailey AM: Just a very last question. Do you think the Mayor has the right idea around walking and cycling but is using the wrong --

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): He says the right things but I do not see any evidence at all, none, of the will to put words into action. The only test that matters is action on the ground. There have been lots of promises and statements about encouraging cycling. There has been next to no action. Healthy Streets has a couple of unresolved contradictions in it that need to be resolved and that is another thing I am concerned about.

Shaun Bailey AM: Thank you, Chair. Thank you.

Keith Prince AM (Chairman): All right, moving on to Quietways now.

Tom Copley AM: In terms of words and actions, is the Mayor not doubling the cycling budget?

Shaun Bailey AM: But has he spent it?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): If you are not putting forward any schemes to spend the money on, you are not doubling the budget at all. All you are doing is announcing that you are doubling it. So far, no schemes have been put forward to spend the money on.

Tom Copley AM: On Quietways, you did not finish a single Quietway when you were Cycling Commissioner. In fact, you described the Quietways programme on your watch as a failure. Earlier you talked about the need for strong political leadership. Where was the strong political leadership there, on your watch?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): The difficulty with the Quietways programme was that it runs almost entirely on borough roads and, as I said before, most of the boroughs lack the political leadership necessary. A handful did not. We did in fact deliver one Quietway route, Quietway 1, and we had the political leadership necessary there from the boroughs concerned, but it was quite difficult to get the boroughs to do anything serious on their roads. Even a proposal for filtering or removing a bit of parking could be derailed by a handful of objections from residents and that is what tended to happen.

Tom Copley AM: That was your role as Commissioner, to bring these actors together and get results.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): We managed that on the Mini-Hollands, we managed it on the Superhighways, we managed it on the junctions, we managed it on lorries and we managed it to a little extent on Quietways but nothing like the extent I wanted.

Tom Copley AM: How successful do you think the two Quietways that are open have been?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Quietway 1 is pretty good. It is filtered. In fact, it is one I use regularly itself. It goes to Greenwich, where I live. I came on it this morning. It seemed pretty busy. It is not perfect. There are still areas that should have been done and have not and it is still not perfectly signposted, in my view, but it works, broadly, very well and it shows what the Quietways could be.

Quietway 2 - you are referring to the one that goes from Bloomsbury to Walthamstow - is really no more than a rebranding of an existing London Cycle Network route. All they have done is taken down the London Cycle Network signs and put up Quietway signs and called it a new route. There are no significant changes, as far as I can see, and as I said, the changes that we were proposing, including filtering in Hackney, Middleton Road and around London Fields, were dropped by Hackney Council. That happened after my time but in the end, it is up to the boroughs. They are their roads. Having said that, we probably could have got a bit more done on the Quietways than has happened since.

Tom Copley AM: What about good practice from other cities, either in the UK or internationally? What can we learn when it comes to the design and operation of things like the Quietways?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): There is a lot to learn from good practice in other cities in Europe. The approach there is not really a Quietway approach. My feeling about the Quietway programme, and I came to this feeling last year, is that it should be cancelled. It is essentially a waste of money without any real political will in most of the boroughs. We should not try to do things that cannot be done. The money should instead be diverted to that handful of boroughs, those five or six, which have both the capability and the willingness to do things.

My feeling is that we should take a lesson from the best practice in continental Europe and proceed mainly with routes on main roads. We should stop trying to do routes on side streets that are never going to happen to a serious standard. We should stop trying to pretend that local councils want to do this and we should just concentrate on the main roads where we have more control. That is what I would have done if I had stayed in office. I would have cancelled the Quietways programme and reallocated the borough money to the handful of boroughs that actually want to do something serious, such as the Mini-Holland boroughs, Camden, Hackney and a few others. I would have put more effort into building further routes on main roads.

Tom Copley AM: Is this not partly as well about how the person in your role interacts with the boroughs, as in persuading and influencing people in the boroughs?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): If that is the test then clearly progress has been even more disappointing since the election than before it. Literally nothing has happened. All the proposed improvements that we were proceeding with - the segregated track on South Lambeth Road, the so-called H10 bridge at Hackney Wick and the ramping of that, the filtering in Southwark, Lambeth and Croydon - have gone. Ultimately, we did not have plenipotentiary powers over the roads of Lambeth and Croydon. We could only do as much as the councillors in Lambeth and Croydon were willing to let us do. That turned out to be almost nothing, frankly. It did not take much to spook them.

The political sensitivity should probably have lessened in the last 18 months or so. It is fairly clear that Labour is going to do fairly well in the local elections coming up. They do not really need to worry about losing control of councils, losing seats or losing votes as much as they perhaps did in our time, but I have not seen any great change in the willingness of councils to do anything serious. We have seen an awful lot of pictures of bicycles painted on roads, I am afraid.

Tom Copley AM: It is a shame we do not have London Councils here to defend themselves.

Keith Prince AM (Chairman): Thank you. Now to look at outer London, Onkar.

Dr Onkar Sahota AM: Thank you. Andrew, TfL identified that outer London had the greatest potential for growth in cycling. They published an analysis in 2016 that showed that 55% of potential cycle trips were in outer London. Only 5% of potential cycle trips are in outer London currently, compared to 9% in inner London and 14% of central London. Why did the last administration ignore outer London?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): We put a great deal of effort into outer London. The Mini-Hollands programme, as I said, has been very successful. It has delivered serious cycle infrastructure in two of the three boroughs. Kingston is not doing quite as well but it has still delivered cycle infrastructure on the Portsmouth Road, for instance. It does show what you can do when you have a genuinely committed council in Enfield and Waltham Forest with a political leader who is prepared to take the flack and ride through it to the sunlit uplands. We are pretty much there in Walthamstow Village now. We have been through the flack. Nobody now would go back on what was done. We are getting there in other parts of Waltham Forest. We are seeing a segregated track being installed on Lee Bridge Road as we speak and we are seeing segregated tracks on the A105 in Enfield, a scheme that had considerable public opposition but, as it got 60% support in the consultation, was pushed through by the determination of the Council’s political leadership there. Inasmuch as we are examining the last administration, which I do not suppose we are, we did rather a lot for south London.

Dr Onkar Sahota AM: Analysis shows that these trips have not gone up in outer London. It sounds like, listening to you, Andrew, everything that went well was due to the last administration and whatever has gone badly is due to the boroughs. That cannot be right.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Broadly, if you look at what was delivered --

Dr Onkar Sahota AM: I am asking what was delivered in outer London. It was not very good.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): I disagree strongly with that. We are seeing some spectacularly good schemes being delivered in outer London, in Waltham Forest, in Enfield and to some extent in Kingston. We had a whole series of what were called ‘better junctions’ as well, 33 of those, and several of those were in outer London although they seem to have been deleted --

Dr Onkar Sahota AM: Were there any lessons to be learnt from the Mini-Hollands?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Genuinely, the lesson I take is that any meaningful cycle scheme generates opposition. You have to take account of that opposition, you have to consult, you have to be as consensual as you can be, and you have to change schemes where reasonable objections are raised. However, in the end you have to decide that this is worth doing, that it will create a better place for everyone and the opposition will go away when people will realise that. That is, indeed, what we have seen in Walthamstow, the earliest of the schemes. The first of the Mini-Holland schemes in Walthamstow opened in 2015. We have been through that whole cycle. We have been through the cycle of big opposition, demonstrations and court action. We have been though the cycle of implementation. Now we are in the cycle of acceptance and liking of the scheme. As I say, very few people in Walthamstow Village would now want to go back to the way it was before.

Dr Onkar Sahota AM: What do you think we need to do to increase the amount of cycling journeys in outer London?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): We need to do the same things that have worked so well in inner London. We do need to build segregated routes. We need to make town centres more hospitable for cycling. There were a number of schemes which we allocated funds for. We allocated funds for Ealing town centre, Twickenham town centre and Wimbledon, not just as part of the Mini-Hollands. Again, those schemes seem to have disappeared from the radar. I am not clear what has happened to those schemes, but I hope they can be revived.

Dr Onkar Sahota AM: I do not know what has happened to them, but we certainly know there has not been any analysis done of what the impacts of these were. This is just your comments. I know TfL has not done any critique itself.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): There has been analysis of the impacts of the Mini-Holland scheme in Walthamstow on buses, which was quite small.

Dr Onkar Sahota AM: Who was it done by?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): By the council.

Dr Onkar Sahota AM: TfL has not done any investigation.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): There has been analysis of the impact on businesses in Walthamstow, which has again been very positive. There has been analysis of the schemes that we delivered in central and inner London by TfL itself, and just last week by an independent panel of experts. That is all very favourable. The result of the superhighway build, for instance, is a 55% increase in cyclists in the first six months alone. There are significantly raised levels of cycling in central London generally. Cycling in central London has grown by far more than the trend percentage. It is going to be those forms that part of this analysis.

Dr Onkar Sahota AM: I understand the focus has been on inner London, I accept that. The criticism I am making is that all the focus has been on inner London and not enough on outer London where the most potential is for cycling journeys.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): We were strongly focused on outer London. We had a whole series of programmes that I have described to you to do that. Some of those programmes have continued and have borne fruit, as I described. Others appear to have been abandoned by the new administration.

Navin Shah AM: Representing two outer London boroughs and looking across London, I, to be honest, did not see much being done to promote cycling in outer London boroughs under your watch. Mini-Hollands were largely purely dependent upon bidding rounds. If they were, as you say, the right solution for promoting cycling in outer London boroughs why were they left to bidding rounds and not really promoted. Most boroughs would welcome a proper strategic approach to cycling initiatives. Why was it not done?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): If we are examining the record of the past administration rather than the record of the current administration as I thought, all I can say is that we did allocate substantial amounts of money for any outer London borough that wanted to do anything ambitious. Large amounts of money were given to those boroughs, not just the three Mini-Holland boroughs. Those schemes seem to have vanished off the radar. The interesting question is: what is happening in outer London now? What is happening in outer London now is really on a par with what is happening in inner and central London, which is not very much.

Navin Shah AM: I disagree with your comment that monies were available. I know from my own experience boroughs have indicated they wanted Mini-Hollands, but the funds were not available. Given outer London boroughs are, and will be, facing unprecedented growth around town centre areas - where you have major opportunity areas and densification areas - and in other parts as well there will be a huge amount of housing and other regeneration growth. It is the perfect opportunity, and there is a need, to promote cycling. You heard figures from Onkar as to what the situation is. What is your message? What needs doing? It should have started long ago but that has passed. Let us look to the future. What is the right approach to promote cycling to meet growth projections?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): The Mayor needs to go ahead with the schemes we proposed in outer London centres, such as Twickenham, Ealing, Wimbledon and Romford. I hope he does. Ultimately all those schemes depend not just on the willingness of the Mayor but on the willingness of the local council to countenance significant changes for safe cycling on their roads which, bluntly, is not always there.

Joanne McCartney AM: I want to pick up on some of the comments you made earlier about boroughs not having capacity. When you were in charge, did you and TfL think about whether you could add extra capacity to boroughs, or was it something where you thought TfL should take more of a role and do more of that in- house, going into the boroughs themselves?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): By the end of the Quietway programme I concluded we need to take control of the Quietways. The boroughs have to give consent at every stage of the process to what is happening on their roads. However, I did not think a lot of them were capable of delivering it. The essential problem was not capacity. The essential problem was really will and that most of the boroughs were not willing to countenance any significant change to the status quo on their roads. Until that problem can be overcome, as I said to you before, there is not much point in proceeding with the Quietways programme.

Joanne McCartney AM: I am going to ask about Mini-Hollands. I represent Enfield and now have a ‘super- duper’ cycle highway at the end of my road. It was very painful whilst it was being built. It struck me that the length of time it took is perhaps something TfL should have more direct control of. Enfield was extremely willing and doing it very well, with lots of opposition. They are quite new for many councils. They are managing their own contractors, which is quite technical and difficult. It is that capacity in boroughs I am asking about.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Enfield has done really well on the Mini-Hollands. They probably had the slowest of the starts of the three Mini-Holland boroughs because there was more opposition in Enfield than anywhere else. However, once they decided to get the bit between their teeth they were really good and did it. We will see the fruits of that. It has not been finished entirely. Only sections of it have been opened so it is still very new and we are in an earlier stage of the controversy/construction/acceptance curve that we have seen in Waltham Forest. Once we get to the later stages I am sure we will see what we saw in Waltham Forest. I strongly praise the council leadership, particularly Daniel Anderson [Cabinet Member for Environment, Enfield Council] who had to put up with a lot more flak over that than I did over anything I was responsible for delivering directly.

Joanne McCartney AM: He has withstood it. Originally the Conservative Opposition Councillors as well signed the pact and the joint bid. Then when it started they quickly stopped.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): That is right; they backed out.

Joanne McCartney AM: Did you get the feeling that was for political reasons or for genuine concerns?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): I had a lot of conversations with the former Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Enfield Southgate, David Burrowes, who wanted to make an election issue out of this. It did not work for him and he lost his seat. That is one of the things I find. The Labour MP for Walthamstow was re-elected with 80% of the vote, the highest ever share of the vote. These things are popular, people want them. I remember the objectors to the A105 scheme saying it was only going to benefit 1% of the population and was massively unpopular. The consultation result came back 60% in favour. If it had only benefitted 1% of the population, the percentage of people in Enfield who cycled at that point, then it would not have had that level of support. People recognised what it was doing for the whole neighbourhood, how it was lifting the whole neighbourhood and how it was making the whole neighbourhood better for everyone who went there. The lesson for me, from the Mini-Holland experience in Enfield and our experience in central and inner London, is that you should not be afraid. These things are popular and you should do them.

Joanne McCartney AM: They are painful while they are happening.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): They are painful while they are happening, but they are not vote-losers.

Caroline Russell AM: For the record the spending was significantly more in inner London than outer London, but I am not going to beat you up about that. It was £74 million in inner London, £18 million on the Mini-Hollands and £9 million spent between the two.

While we are still on outer London and this issue of opposition, seeing the opposition the new Mayor is experiencing in Chiswick - people literally praying not to have a Cycle Superhighway - do you think there is something that could be done differently with the messaging about these kinds of changes to our streets that you would do differently if you were in the position you were in now?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): At the beginning the new administration did suggest there was something wrong with the messaging we had and that was why we had the opposition we did. They must have come to realise with Chiswick that the opposition is generated by meaningful change. It is ultimately what you do, not how you sell it, which creates the opposition. You could call it anything you wanted. You could sugar coat it as much as you wanted but there will always be people who will be against removing road space from cars and giving it to pedestrians and cyclists, however you dress it up. We did quite well to overcome some of the opposition we had. We had a whole series of techniques that, in retrospect, seemed to work quite well.

Caroline Russell AM: Such as?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): We enlisted lots of business, for instance, to support the East-West and North-South Superhighways. Whenever somebody produced a business to oppose it we produced three or four to support it. That was done as much by an independent group called CyclingWorks as us and the fantastic work they did. We commissioned a professional opinion poll by YouGov to show they were popular. That took a lot of wind out of the opposition sails. We did consult very extensively. We had a roughly two-year period of consultation with stakeholders, local authorities, the Royal Parks and people like that, followed by a ten-and-a-half-week public consultation. That is significantly longer - almost double - the length of the public consultation they have had on CS9, for instance. Therefore, if anything, the new administration has been less consultative than we were on controversial schemes.

After the consultation, we did take account of reasonable objections. For instance, some people objected that the delays induced by the scheme on the highway coming into Tower Hill in the morning were too great. We agreed with that and we changed the scheme to reduce those delays. In the end, the proof of the pudding is in the delivery. We did deliver quite a large number of quite good schemes. The new administration has to realise that there is no way of making meaningful change to the status quo on the roads and making that acceptable to everyone. It will nearly always, as we have found, have significant majority support, but it will never have unanimous support and it will never be unopposed. Opposition is not something to be feared; it is absolutely inevitable. There are a whole series of ways you can overcome it.

We did a couple of other things, just to recap very quickly on what we did. We looked at the schemes in a very, very granular way. For instance, when we had removed parking on the road itself we looked at whether we could re-provide it around the corner. We looked at how busses would work when there was going to be a delay for busses caused by that particular scheme. We looked at what we could do further down the route to mitigate that, put in a new bus lane or something to speed it up there, even if it slowed down where it hit the superhighway; that kind of thing. We did a huge amount of really quite granular work looking in detail at objections that were raised on every scheme. That again helped us achieve what we achieved, which was quite substantial.

Caroline Russell AM: Do you think there is anything that the current administration should be doing to get TfL moving faster, or do you think it is political delay?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Ultimately you have to have a Mayor who believes in cycling and who wants to do it. I do not see any evidence that the current Mayor really does. He wants to talk about it, but he does not want to do it. He does not want to make any decisions that might upset anybody.

We see that the CS11 is the classic case in point. That went out to consultation in February 2016 and closed on 20 March 2016, 21 months ago, nearly. It came back with 62% supporting the consultation, but it was strongly opposed by a campaign that, as the consultation shows, represented only a fairly small number of people. Since that time, for the whole of the 21 months, the Mayor has declined to make a decision on even some relatively modest things. It basically consists of a gyratory scheme, which he has approved, at Swiss Cottage, and then closing some gates into Regent’s Park to stop it being a rat-run for traffic, and a couple of bits of segregation in Portland Place. That is pretty much all, but we still have not had --

Caroline Russell AM: You are saying, “Make decisions”?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Make decisions. Just get on and do it. The slogan of the Walking and Cycling Commissioner’s previous employer was, “Just do it”. “Make the case by doing .” That is what Janette Sadik-Khan, [former] Transport Commissioner in New York, also said. “Make the case by doing.” The more you build these things the more you will show that the objections are unfounded and they are unequivocally good things for London.

Caroline Russell AM: I am going to move us on to targets because that is one way that we can drive change forward. The Mayor’s Transport Strategy is emphasising a healthy-streets approach. There is a whole checklist that they go through, and what is interesting is that there are critical issues, which are safety issues, where a street cannot pass the healthy-streets check unless they pass those critical safety issues. That seems like a positive thing. It also takes on board the needs of pedestrians as well as cyclists, whereas the previous checklists were entirely around cycling.

The Mayor has several targets. There is one where he wants 80% of journeys to be made by walking, cycling and public transport by 2041, which is pretty ambitious. There is going to have to be a lot of people getting out of their cars, a lot more people cycling, and a lot more people using public transport, and walking, and doing each of those three different activities. How helpful do you think the Mayor’s proposed target of 70% of people living within 400 metres of a safe, high-quality cycle route by 2041 is?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Almost entirely unhelpful. It is so far away he cannot be held to account for that. He is not going to be Mayor in 2041. On the whole we did not in fact set targets, but if you are going to set targets they should be crunchy targets that you can achieve and be held accountable for during your mayoralty. Actually, the Mayor did set a target in his election manifesto; he promised to treble the length of segregated lanes, that is, to 36 miles. We built 12 miles. That seems like a target that he might have some chance, or he might have had some chance of meeting, and that is what he said before the election. If you are going to set targets, set really quite specific targets that you can do in your own time. Promising something in 2041 is like Clement Attlee [former British Prime Minister] or someone turning up having won the 1945 election and saying, “I am definitely going to give you a National Health Service by 1970”. Just get on and do it.

Caroline Russell AM: What about mode-share targets? Do you think there should be targets around how many people are cycling and how many people are walking?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): On the whole, no. Again, we did not have a mode-share target because I thought it was inevitably a bit arbitrary. How do you arrive at it? 4% or 5%? Why 4%? Why not 4.5%? Why not 5%? It is also a moving target, given how the use of other modes is increasing. I would not have a mode-share target. As I said, I would have a target saying, “Build X amount by year X”. Again, we are running out of time to build anything by the end of this term, but maybe if he is re- elected, “Build X amount by 2024”.

Caroline Russell AM: That works for linear routes, and linear routes are really useful and important, in particular the ones that go right out into outer London. For something like Mini-Holland, which is absolutely transformative on an area-wide level, it does not really fit with a “build X meters of cycle lane per year” type of target.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): You can do. You could, for instance, say, “We will filter X number of roads”, or, “We will make X number of shopping areas better”, or, “We will see X new retail businesses open thanks to this”. In a much smaller area like a borough it might be possible to come up with a numerical target. “We will see X-thousand people walking and cycling. More people walking and cycling by year X”, but the years need to be soon. The years need to be within a term for which you can be held accountable. Anything with a timescale of -- what is it, 30 years nearly?

Caroline Russell AM: Twenty-something.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): 24 years, is it not? Anything with a timetable of 24 years in the future is worthless.

Caroline Russell AM: Thank you.

Joanne McCartney AM: I want to just get back to cycle parking. Under this Committee I did a report about eight years ago and I found that safety of cycling on the roads was an issue and a barrier for people, but actually having somewhere secure to park and secure your cycle was one of the major barriers as well. From your time can you say whether TfL are good or not at forecasting and addressing the need for cycle parking in London?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): We had a programme to deliver 80,000 cycle parking spaces, and we delivered about 74,000; therefore, we succeeded in that. I still had some concerns with that, whether they were being delivered in the right places. You will often see -- again, this is mostly down to the boroughs. It is their streets it has to be done on; they have to agree where to put this new parking. You do often see cycle stands put in places where nobody is using them. Anyone who cycles Quietway 1 knows there is a bit by South Bermondsey Station where three or four cycle stands have been plonked in the middle of a path, in the middle of absolutely nowhere, next to absolutely nothing. I have never seen a single bike ever attached to any of those stands any time I have cycled past. Nonetheless they no doubt fulfil some bureaucrat’s quota. They go towards our 80,000 cycle parking spaces.

There is a severe shortage of cycle-parking spaces still in the West End and at railway stations. That is something that needed to be addressed. I hope the new Crossrail stations will have adequate cycle parking. We certainly did quite a lot of work with Crossrail to make sure that is the case. I am not across where that has got to now.

Joanne McCartney AM: I do not know whether you have, but in the just recently published London Plan the Mayor set out minimum space standards for cycle parking, which look pretty ambitious.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Parking developments. No, they are pretty good. Yes. That and CS9 are roughly the only good things he has done. I just hope it is delivered. Again, it is important to have somewhere to park where you live, but having somewhere to park where you go at the other end is important as well.

Joanne McCartney AM: Yes. Looking at the London Plan, it does seem to be very specific on business or leisure use as to how many spaces you can have. Of course, the London Plan is there and local authorities will have to be in conformity with that. That is quite a step forward. Can I ask: what lessons did you learn about cycle parking in people’s homes? That is another thing that my report highlighted, actually. When we are talking about increasing density of living in London within particular local authorit ies and estates the chance that people have front or back gardens to keep cycles and cycle lockers is low. How you can purpose-build developments to cater for this?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): That is right; lots of people do not have room to keep their bikes at home anymore, because their homes are smaller and their homes are more crowded. We recognise that, and we funded councils to do cycle lockers, which you do see proliferating now on the streets, and I see them everywhere now. Again, that is part of our 80,000 spaces and that was a success of our policy. That is something that councils can actually do quite easily, although even there sometimes they are reluctant to take away even a single parking space. On the whole they can kind of scrunch up their courage to do that.

Joanne McCartney AM: The Mayor controls TfL stations; therefore, he has some direct control as to what happens in those car parks or in immediate locations. Can I ask: with National Rail did you find that they were willing to look at cycle parking or did they look at it as taking away car --

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): No, not especially. We had the common experience of everyone who has any dealings with the railways. There is something in the railway DNA that requires them to make simple things complicated. We spent literally years talking to them about using completely unused space under Waterloo Station for a massive cycle hub, which would have been brilliant. There is nothing going on under Waterloo Station. It used to be the Eurostar catering area, but it has not been the Eurostar catering area for about 20 years. I took a walk around with a helpful gentleman in a hardhat, and there are enormous amounts of space that are not being touched. We had endless meetings, and endless discussions, and never got anywhere. That was typical of our interactions with Network Rail and the railways generally.

Joanne McCartney AM: That is an area that the Mayor needs to push on. Yes.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): It could be a relatively quick win, but it involves the railways, where nothing is quick.

Joanne McCartney AM: Fine. Are you aware of any good practice from other UK or international cities about cycle parking that we should be looking at here?

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): I am doing a report for the National Infrastructure Commission on Oxford and Cambridge. Cambridge has a rather excellent cycle parking facility at its station, the largest in the UK; it is almost Dutch, and multi storeys. It is basically a multi-storey car park for bikes, and it is really good. We could probably do with a few of those here.

Again, I had a long discussion, I remember, with Network Rail and Bexley Council about creating something similar, on a slightly smaller scale but similar, at Abbey Wood to serve the Crossrail Station there and to allow people who lived in Thamesmead to cycle to the station instead of having to wait for a bus. Thamesmead actually has quite a good network of cycle paths. Paradoxically, if you go there and cycle round it is actually quite good internally. It is a bit more difficult to get across [Harrow] Manor Way to get to the station, but those things could be fixed. Again, little or no progress has been made on that, I am afraid. It came across the usual railway problems.

Keith Prince AM (Chairman): Great. Thank you very much indeed.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Thank you.

Keith Prince AM (Chairman): We appreciate your time.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): I will send you a list of the schemes that should have happened and have not, if I may.

Keith Prince AM (Chairman): Yes, that would be helpful.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Thank you.

Keith Prince AM (Chairman): Thank you very much.

Joanne McCartney AM: Your report on Oxford and Cambridge would be useful as well.

Keith Prince AM (Chairman): Yes, if we can get that.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): It will be out pretty soon. It has been done.

Keith Prince AM (Chairman): If you do not mind sharing that, we would be grateful.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): It is just being shared with all the stakeholders this week.

Keith Prince AM (Chairman): Yes. Thank you.

Andrew Gilligan (Former Cycling Commissioner): Thank you. Thank you very much.

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David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #3448 21 Dec 2017 23:57
What struck me about this is that had I understood that three Council's were successful(or perhaps tried and failed) in obtaining Mini-Holland funds: Enfield, Walthamstow and Richmond, roughly £30,000 each. I can see why I might be ignorant of events, but I was surprised nothing came up in this discussion. Presumably Richmond backed out or was kicked out, but where has the money gone. Richmond was always a surprise.

Recently I had been feeling quietly confident that times were about to change across London; the new Mayor's policy is nothing if not ambitious (if not primarily cycling based). But effectively Andrew Gilligan is saying that nothing much is happening or, presumably likely to happen.
PGC Webmaster's Avatar
PGC Webmaster posted a reply #3449 22 Dec 2017 00:35

David Hughes wrote: What struck me about this is that had I understood that three Council's were successful(or perhaps tried and failed) in obtaining Mini-Holland funds: Enfield, Walthamstow and Richmond, roughly £30,000 each. I can see why I might be ignorant of events, but I was surprised nothing came up in this discussion. Presumably Richmond backed out or was kicked out, but where has the money gone. Richmond was always a surprise.

The third borough was Kingston, not Richmond. Andrew Gilligan comments:

The Mini-Hollands programme, as I said, has been very successful. It has delivered serious cycle infrastructure in two of the three boroughs. Kingston is not doing quite as well but it has still delivered cycle infrastructure on the Portsmouth Road, for instance.

It looks as if the Kingston scheme is continuing - see

Anti-cycle lane opponents in Kingston excelled themselves in hyperbole:

Terrorist attacks, undiscovered unexploded bombs and a potential to poison the London water supply have all been listed as reasons against a proposed cycle path between New Malden and Raynes Park.

To discover what the fuss was about visit
Colin Younger posted a reply #3451 22 Dec 2017 12:25
£30 million each surely, not £30 thousand?
David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #3452 22 Dec 2017 23:12
Sorry that I referred to the wrong borough - I'm afraid I didn't read the notes of the meeting closely enough. I'm prone to that.

I still think Richmond was party to the issue in some way - perhaps submitting inadequate bid or campaigning against the whole thing. I had a friend who lived in that general area of London, though not in Richmond, so I take a little interest in what's going on there.

I certainly wasn't in form that evening: £30 thousand indeed. I normally write £30 million like this £30M in informal text.

My apologies on both counts.
Darren Edgar posted a reply #3455 27 Dec 2017 11:35
Have read chunks of this on Twitter. All very interesting, like Gilligan a lot. Will Norman is his replacement I guess but hasn't done much so far (though seems a decent enough bloke with his heart in the right place).

Soundbite Khan as ever is wonderful hot air but light on action. Closing gates to Regent's Park was one of his 'quick wins' and has never happened. Khan is still too much of a patsy to trade unions and lobbyists like the LTDA.

I suspect come the next Mayorals, little will have changed to improve cycling that can be put down to the Mayor, not predecessors or the wonderful working of local active travel campaign groups.