WALTHAM FOREST: Mayor Ken says 'get on your bike'
A CYCLE "superhighway" connecting Waltham Forest with central London will be created under plans unveiled by London Mayor Ken Livingstone.
But local authorities have reacted angrily to a raft of measures aimed at boosting walking and cycling in the capital, saying the lack of consultation on the proposals shows Mr Livingstone's contempt for councils.
The £500 million programme will see about a dozen large cycling corridors created, including one reportedly from Leytonstone to Holborn, by 2010 and a cycle hire scheme with 6,000 bikes parked in docking stations.
Extra bike parking provision at stations and a series of "bike zones" in suburban town centres, which include streets where cars give way to bikes, 20 mph zones and clear cycling routes, are also proposed.
Mr Livingstone said: "By ensuring that Londoners have easy access to bikes in the centre of the capital, as well as making our city a safer and more enjoyable place to cycle, we will build upon London's leading position as the only major world city to have achieved a switch from private car use to public transport, cycling and walking.
London Councils, the body which represents the capital's 33 local authorities, says it was informed of the plans three day before they were made public and some aspects of the Mayor's strategy are not practical.
Daniel Moylan, chairman of London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee, called for the proposals to be suspended so the proposals can be developed through consultation.
He said: "The capital's boroughs are responsible for 95 per cent of London's roads, so it is frankly appalling that they are not consulted on this new strategy.
"Once again we are deeply frustrated with Mr Livingstone's disregard for the boroughs - just because he presides over a personal fiefdom' doesn't mean that he should act like a despot."
"I don't think much of (the strategy) will happen. Why should the boroughs listen to Mr Livingstone when he has long since stopped talking or listening to them?"
A spokesman for Ken Livingstone said the Mayor is fully committed to consulting councils on the plans.
"The Mayor's officials and Transport for London will now be meeting the various boroughs to discuss the whole range of proposals contained in his strategy," he added.