Barnet's Labour councillors have announced their package of election pledges on transport this week.
Roads and Pavements
The transport pledges address the poor state of roads and pavements in Barnet which is the number 1 concern for local people according to the council's latest Residents' Perception Survey. Poorly maintained roads and pavements affect motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike, and the latest council data shows only 59% of unsafe or 'intervention level' potholes are made safe within 48 hours of being reported by members of the public - that's against a target of 100%. Labour would use the £7m sitting in council coffers specifically for road and pavement improvement to better effect, and would hold contractors to account for poor performance.
Safer crossings and 20mph limits
Labour would also introduce safer crossings and 20mph limits where residents support them - not just around schools - in order to protect children, older people and those with disabilities. There is a direct link between reducing speed and reducing injury and fatalities on our roads. There were 1,262 casualties from road traffic accidents in Barnet in 2012. That’s the 2nd highest number of casualties in London, and the highest number of all outer-London Boroughs.
Labour councillors have been campaigning for and supporting residents in various road safety campaigns for many years, including the Walksafe N2, N10 and N14 and Victoria Road (New Barnet) campaigns and other petitions for safer crossings and road safety measures.
Keeping cyclists safe
Although there was a 9% reduction in the number of casualties in Barnet in 2012 compared to 2011, there has been a 15% increase in the number of casualties amongst cyclists with 82 in total in the last reported year. Barnet Cyclists have identified a number of roads in the Borough where they feel there is a safety problem, or where improvements could be made to help cyclists. A Labour council would ask officers to look at these suggested improvements to identify which could be implemented.
Of course, all of this costs money, and the Barnet Tories have missed out on millions of pounds from the Mayor of London over successive years by not pressing Barnet's case strongly enough. A Labour council would maximise the uptake of any available investment to implement schemes, provide cycling training in schools and to ensure cycling is encouraged, supported and safe in Barnet.
Better public transport
Other pledges include continuing our campaign to get a fair deal on fares from the Mayor of London. Public transport fares in London are now the most expensive in the world and this affects outer-London Boroughs like Barnet even more. A zone 1-6 travelcard is now £536 more than when Boris Johnson first became Mayor of London, and a single bus journey has gone up by 61%!
A Labour council would also make the case for better public transport links across the Borough, including suburban rail services and bus services to local hospitals to help reduce congestion and pollution.
The transport pledges that Labour have announced are:
Labour will improve the state of our roads and pavements.
Our roads are covered with potholes and our pavements are unsafe due to neglect. We will fix potholes and pavements to improve travel and keep people safe.
Labour will introduce safer crossings and 20mph limits where residents support them.
Road safety in Barnet will be community-led, based on local need and sound evidence. We will work on School Travel Plans with residents and parents to ensure our children are safe.
Labour will use available funds to make cycling safe.
The Barnet Conservatives have missed out on millions of pounds of investment from City Hall. We will maximise any available investment.
Labour will campaign for a fair deal on fares.
We will be a champion for Barnet residents to get the best deal from whatever Mayor is in City Hall.
Labour will fight for better public transport for a cleaner, greener Barnet.
We will make the case for better public transport links across the borough, including suburban rail services, support the use of local car clubs and continue our campaign for better bus access to local hospitals.
Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Alison Moore said:
"Keeping our streets safe is a clear priority for us, and many residents tell us it's important to them too. We will exert strong leadership to ensure we get the best deal for Barnet on public transport, to improve safety, reduce congestion and pollution, and fight for a fair deal on fares, especially at a time when hard pressed residents are facing a continuing cost of living crisis."
Labour's Transport Spokesperson, Cllr Geof Cooke said:
"People in Barnet rely on knowing that their children can get to school safely, that they can cycle to work easily, and depend on reliable public transport and roads to get them from A to B. They need a Labour council to focus on these issues, because currently under the Tories not enough is being done."