Green transportation is about much more than just electric cars.
As Lloyd reported yesterday, everybody in London is breathing toxic levels of PM2.5 particles. And the fact that the largest sources of PM2.5 particles are tires and brake dust suggests that electrification is at best only a partial answer.
We also have to drive a whole lot less.
Fortunately, London appears to be pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy when it comes to greener transportation, including electric buses to a massive investment in cycle infrastructure. The goal really does appear to be easing gridlock and rethinking how we get from one place to another.
London's cycle superhighways have already shown they can deliver 70% increases in cycling, and now Mayor Sadiq Kahn has announced an entirely new, fourth superhighway bringing segregated lanes to Southeast London for the first time. Here's how the Mayor announced the new route:
“I’m delighted to be able to announce plans to bring more than 4km of segregated cycle lanes to south-east London. We need more Londoners to cycle and walk for the good of their health and our air quality, and that’s why we’re working so hard to make cycling safer and easier right across the capital. By bringing this route to an area of such high demand, this superhighway really will open up cycling to thousands more Londoners.”
The announcement surrounding the new route also contains this gem: "The proposed route for Cycle Superhighway 4 is in the top five per cent of London for cycle demand and as well as having a high potential for people to switch from motor vehicle to bicycle."
It's good to see city planners thinking of cycling not just in terms of meeting demand, but creating it too. Of course, there will be the naysayers who decry "social engineering" by "elitist liberals," but it's important to nip that nonsense in the bud. Cycling is among the most democratic forms of transportation providing young and old, rich and poor with a viable, safe transportation option that actually improves public health and decreases the pollution burden on inner city communities. And with electric bikes now firmly in the mainstream, this democratization also includes many citizens with mobility challenges too.
It's really exciting to see a city like London get firmly behind a bike-friendly future. I look forward to checking it out when it comes to fruition.