Exactly three years ago, I unveiled my vision to make cycling in London safer, more popular and more normal. My single biggest regret as Mayor is that I did not do it sooner. Our original painted lanes were revolutionary at the time. But knowing what I do now, we would have blasted ahead with our new segregated cycle lanes from the beginning.
This is from Boris Johnson, who, in 2011, famously said that “If you keep your wits about you, Elephant & Castle is perfectly negotiable.”
The quote at the top is from HUMAN STREETS: THE MAYOR’S VISION FOR CYCLING THREE YEARS ON, published just before the weekend. I think it’s worth a read by everyone with an interest in the upcoming London Mayoral & Assembly Elections. Boris says a number of interesting things like this:
“getting people out of cars is in fact the only way to keep London moving for essential business and commercial vehicles. Doing nothing with the roads would not return us to some never-existent ‘50s Elysium of free-flowing traffic. Doing nothing would mean that congestion gets worse than it is now.”
The reason this is interesting is not because this is a radical or innovative idea, it’s interesting because this is the same man that came into City Hall talking about smoothing traffic flow, rephasing traffic lights and describing the Low Emissions Zone as ‘the most punitive, draconian fining regime in the whole of Europe’.
I don’t like the man, I dislike the bluster, and the way the way that he has talked to London Assembly Members, particularly the female members, when they have tried to hold him to account, I dislike the whole concept of a celebrity politician, which is what he is, I dislike the way that he seems to have used the Mayoralty as stepping stone to greater things, and all of the rest of the reasons that there are to dislike Boris – but I give him massive credit for changing his mind completely, and starting work on a proper network of cycle lanes.