Friday, 7 March 2014

No, protected cycling infrastructure is probably not too expensive for your city to build....

Here in Greater Manchester, the successful "Vélocity 2025 : A cycling plan for 2025 and beyond" bid for Cycling City Ambition Grant (CCAG) funding committed the conurbation to providing total funding over a 12 year period that would see "between £150 and £200 million invested on a range of cycling infrastructure, interventions and culture shift of which £20 million will be from the Cycle City Ambition Grant, £20 million from the LSTF and the remainder from a range of local and national, public and private sources through to 2025."

The current CCAG funding runs until March 2015 and as yet, neither the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) or Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) have publicly identified where the next 10 years of funding will come from, or how much funding will be provided.  

The current CCAG funding level is £10 per person but only covers 1 million people - so on a GM wide basis this translates as £3.70 per person.  The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group report "Get Britain Cycling" recommended that national / local government should support cycling with funding levels of £10 per person - across the whole of Greater Manchester this would work out at £27 million per year.  

One of the many argument(s) that will no doubt be made against providing funding for cycle infrastructure will be "but it will cost too much".  To put these arguments into context it is worth taking a look at a recent report by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition which is a "brief exploration" of what they called the "myth" that "there's no way we can keep spending so much on bike lanes with so many other pressing needs in San Francisco."

To make their point that dramatically improving biking and walking in a city costs almost nothing compared to many other transportation projects — in San Francisco, one of the bike-friendliest cities in the country, bike projects take up less than 1 percent of the municipal transportation budget — they listed some typical cost figures.  The lovely people at the Green Lane Project  created the chart below from those figures.

Future blog posts will return to this theme and explore the arguments and evidence of the economic benefits of increasing cycling levels - as well as the lobbying arguments that will be needed throughout the coming year(s) to secure the funding needed to build a safe, convenient and coherent cycle network across Greater Manchester. (Note: the budget discussions for 2015-16 will start in October this year)

Meanwhile, enjoy the graphic. Click here for the original graphic.


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