Making Hackney’s roads safer for all road users is one of the key priorities set out in the council’s Sustainable Community Strategy and this continued priority is reflected in the new Transport Strategy. 5 The City is also committed to promoting active travel.

Cycling

Hackney has invested heavily in cycling and is renowned for being a cycle-friendly borough. Below are three examples of schemes designed to get more people on their bikes.

Box 6: Case study – Cycle Loan Scheme

Hackney Council is committed to increasing the percentage of all resident journeys made by bicycle to 15% by 2031 and the percentage of residents cycling to work to 22% by 2031. Within Hackney, low levels of cycling and low bike ownership are found in areas with higher concentrations of social housing.

The Cycle Loan Scheme aims to overcome some of the barriers to cycling by allowing residents on a restricted income, or facing cultural barriers, to try out cycling before they purchase a bicycle. The one month trial costs £10 and participants have the option of purchasing the bike after the trial period and spreading the cost over three months. All eligible Hackney residents can access this scheme, although those living on social housing estates are prioritised.

The scheme launched in August 2014 and in the first year 452 residents were registered, with one third (35%) living on a social housing estate. The first year was deemed a success, with one fifth (19%) of participants purchasing a bike through the scheme and almost all participants (93%) saying they were likely to continue cycling.

Box 7: Case study – Estate cycle parking

As noted in Section 8.5.5 and in the previous case study, levels of cycling on social housing estates are significantly lower than in other areas of Hackney. Hackney’s Cycle Segmentation study found that one of the major barriers to cycling among estate residents is lack of secure bike storage. 6

Hackney’s estate cycle parking programme was one of the first to be established in London. The aim was to provide safe and secure cycle storage for people living on social housing estates across the borough to encourage the uptake of cycling among residents. A significant proportion of the residential dwellings in Hackney are formed of housing estates containing flats. For flat dwellers, it can be difficult to store a bike even if the block has a lift, as corridors can be narrow.

The ultimate objective of this programme is to provide enough secure cycle parking for 25% of the properties on Hackney managed estates. This equates to around 7,500 secure cycle parking opportunities across the borough. As of February 2016, the number of available bike lockers had increased to 588 in 129 locations on Hackney Housing estates, in addition to 29 cycle hangers. In total, 762 secure cycle parking spaces are currently provided on Hackney Housing estates.

Box 8: Case study – School cycling

Bike Around the Borough (BATB) is a unique mass participation bike ride for Hackney school children. It is the UK’s largest mass student ride, and the world’s largest ‘bike bus’ with 1005 cyclists cycling nine miles around Hackney in 2016, incorporating our main roads, green spaces and canals. Organised in partnership with the Metropolitan Police, the event was first launched in 2011 to celebrate the opening of the 2012 walking and cycling route to the Olympic Park, and put into practice the skills learnt earlier in the year through cycle training. Now a permanent event in the school calendar, the event has grown and engaged with increasing numbers of schools, with over two thirds of the borough’s local authority maintained schools taking to the roads in 2016.

BATB is part of the school sustainable transport programme, which aims to encourage more children to cycle to school and lead an active healthy life. The programme has been in place since 2005 and by 2007/08 100% of local authority maintained schools in the borough had a school travel plan in place for increasing active travel. Between 2013 and 2016, the programme was boosted with funding and expertise via the STARS Europe EU-funded project – 33 participating schools more than doubled the level of cycling to school (+153%), compared to a less than 5% increase in non-participating schools over the project period. 7

By encouraging local children to experience cycling, they are provided with the skills and information to continue to cycle and benefit from lower transport costs to access secondary schools, college and employment.

The City of London currently provides public cycle parking facilities for 2,187 bikes on-street and 341 spaces in public car parks. In addition, there are an estimated 4,663 cycle parking spaces within buildings in the City. This total provision is well under the estimated demand of 37,000 spaces.

Under London’s bike hire scheme there are 36 bike docking stations in the City, accommodating approximately 900 bikes.

The City of London Corporation also offers cycle training for both residents and City workers to improve their cycling skills and increase their confidence. Cycle training is also provided to all schools in the Square Mile. The Corporation runs ‘Dr Bike’ sessions twice a month on major City thoroughfares, providing minor bike repairs and offering tips on bike maintenance.

In September 2015, the Corporation hosted a ‘Women’s Safer Cycling Day’ to engage with female cyclists, promote road safety and raise awareness of the health benefits of cycling.

Box 9: Case study – Partnership working with the City of London Police to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety

The City of London Police play a significant role in increasing the safety of cyclists and pedestrians in the City. Their activities include:

  • responding to cycle crime and cycle enabled crime (phone snatches committed by persons on a pedal cycle) – as a result pedal cycle theft has reduced by 27% (85 offences) since 2014/15
  • issuing penalties to cyclists who commit offences (such as running a red light, cycling on the footway and ignoring road signs), which are rescinded if they attend a road safety workshop
  • crime prevention and cycle safety engagement with businesses
  • Cycle Secure Week – an annual week of action against cycle crime, including bike marking, distribution of free cycle locks and promotional messages about cycle security
  • enforcement and education around the new East-West Cycle Superhighway route (which will be complete by winter 2016) by community team cycle officers.

Walking

Hackney’s Walking Plan, a sub-plan of the Transport Strategy, aims to support greater numbers of trips on foot over the next 10 years. Walking is considered to be the most accessible and cost effective mode of travel and the vast majority of trips involve some degree of walking. Walking in Hackney will be promoted as the first choice for short local trips and part of linked trips with public transport for longer journeys.  The council’s Walking Plan proposes a number of specific improvements to encourage walking, including: 8

  • an annual pedestrian accessibility improvement programme
  • upgrading sub-standard pedestrian crossings
  • England’s first on-street ‘parklet’, to provide publicly accessible street seating and cycle parking in local neighbourhood centres
  • phasing out footway parking
  • pedestrian countdown rollout at problematic junctions.[notes]Pedestrian countdown at traffic signals tells pedestrians how long they have to cross the road[/notes]

There are a number of redevelopment programmes underway in the City to improve the environment for walking as well as cycling, including the Aldgate redevelopment (which will enhance safety for road users, improve cycling routes as well as pedestrian routes and connections, and introduce more greenery), Bank junction and the area around the Museum of London.

The City Air appB is designed to aid pedestrians in finding low pollution routes for walking. Living Streets provides ‘Walk Doctor’ surgeries free of charge to City companies, to help employees incorporate walking into their daily journeys.

 

Notes

  1. http://cityairapp.com/
  2. http://cityairapp.com/

References

  1. Hackney Council, “Hackney’s Sustainable Community Strategy 2008-2018,” 2009.
  2. Steer Davies Gleave, “Hackney Cycle Segmentation Study,” 2013.
  3. London Borough of Hackney, “Streetscene internal report,” 2016.
  4. London Borough of Hackney, “Hackney Transport Strategy 2015-2025: Walking Plan,” 2016.
  5. Hackney Council, “Hackney’s Sustainable Community Strategy 2008-2018,” 2009.
  6. Steer Davies Gleave, “Hackney Cycle Segmentation Study,” 2013.
  7. London Borough of Hackney, “Streetscene internal report,” 2016.
  8. London Borough of Hackney, “Hackney Transport Strategy 2015-2025: Walking Plan,” 2016.