A while ago Copenhagen began spending serious money on making itself a nicer city. The outcome seems about as positive as you could possibly hope:
“Investing in cycling lanes not only cuts CO2 emissions and improves citizens’ health and quality of life, but improves the bottom line of the city. Cleaning the water in the harbor not only improves the environment, but increases real estate values, local business life and tourism. Investing in an integrated public transport system not only reduces traffic congestion, but saves billions of dollars and keeps the city efficient and competitive. Homegrown energy not only produces electricity, but allows local businesses to become strong and competitive.” (Quoted here.)
Given such strong evidence, it’s very hard to understand why evidence like this and this is ignored. Even if we set aside any considerations about climate change, the arguments for investing in high quality cycling and walking infrastructure seem obvious, and yet no-one in Government in Richmond, or indeed London seems to want to make the case. A review of any of the Smarter Travel documentation shows just how accomplished the council’s writers are with fine words which translate into zero action.
This weekend is the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain ‘policy bash‘, and I can only hope it’ll be a first step to trying to redress this.