|Central London - cycle highway on Saturday. Under threat?|
Photo via @Boxbikelondon
Goldsmith promises to "continue to support the Cycle Superhighways and the Quietways programme".
Khan promises to "Continue the Cycle Superhighway Programme...and prioritise Quietways".
Both, however, hint that there's something they don't like about the Cycle Superhighways.
Khan says London must "learn the lessons from earlier [cycle superhighway] schemes", which seems to suggest he thinks something's not quite right, but he at least acknowledges in his manifesto that he will "focus on segregated provision".
|Zac Goldsmith's cycle highway 'commitment'|
So, on the one hand, Goldsmith is happy to bulldoze massive chunks of south east London for the Silvertown road tunnel, something which all but one local authority opposes and will blight residents with more traffic in those areas for ever. On the other, a cycle highway? Oh no, can't have that if people think it might not 'work for everyone'.
While on paper, then, both candidates initially look quite similar, the differences really start to emerge when you look at the detail. Perhaps, of course, because there isn't much detail from Khan.
|The new London. Blackfriars Road, brand new|
cycle superhighway. Under threat?
Photo via +Carlton Reid
He attended a meeting on Thursday last week specifically to discuss the plans for Cycle Superhighway 11 through Regents Park. I'd argue this is an extremely local issue. And here's the possible future Mayor of London deliberately sticking his neck out to talk to local voters about a cycle highway. What he promised during that meeting is that, if elected, he "will require TfL to adapt their plans to the community, in such a way that they meet the overwhelming support of the community" and he will re-run the consultation on cycle superhighway 11. That consultation, by the way, had over 6,000 responses, of which 2/3 supported the cycle superhighway.
I think there are two problems with Goldsmith's approach. Firstly, when is a consultation not a consultation? By promising to re-run the consultation, he gives the impression that he's the sort of person who will keep re-running consultations until he gets what he wants. Not great. There's clearly a large community of people who support the cycle highway plans and some vocal locals who don't. Which community has the most 'rights' here? Only the people who live on these particular streets, or the people who make use of them?
|Leader of Camden Conservatives|
tweeting about Cycle Highway 11
The result of this sort of flip-flopping, is that people who are watching Zac Goldsmith are getting more and more shrill in their opinions. On the one hand, some local residents are talking on twitter about waging a 'war' against cycle highways. On the other, it's quite easy for cycling campaigners to really rage against Goldsmith about all of this (and many are).
The noises being made on both sides are getting increasingly ugly.
I think, in large part, because Goldsmith is trying to please everyone on the way and giving both 'sides' fuel to their fire.
I'm trying to give the man a fair reading but his approach feels really unhealthy. I think it shows poor judgment and poor leadership. And that's very worrying for a potential Mayor.
Do people think I'm being reasonable and reading this right?