U.K. transport secretary Grant Shapps could announce emergency funding to enable local authorities to pay for “pop-up” cycling and walking infrastructure to enable physical distancing during lockdown.
A “keyworker corridor” cycleway was created overnight in Leicester last week, inspired by similar “tactical urbanism” in cities such as Berlin, Paris, and Milan.
The U.K.’s Department for Transport has been coming under increasing pressure to create a national funding package for pop-up infrastructure similar to the one introduced by New Zealand last month.
And the Scottish government unveiled a £10-million program to enable the creation of pop-up cycleways and widened sidewalks on April 28.
Shapps is believed to be making an announcement on emergency funding support for active travel modes on May 4.
His enthusiasm for backing what he called “own-steam” travel was apparent when he was interviewed on two of Sunday’s flagship TV politics programs on May 3.
He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that the government was looking to encourage cycling and walking after what he described as a “massive expansion” in interest in active travel. Shapps made similar points to Sky TV’ss Sophy Ridge.
“Active transport, keeping people off the public transport and getting to work under own steam, could be a very important part of [lockdown] recovery,” he said.
On both shows, he also mentioned—unbidden—the longstanding government Cycle to Work scheme, a salary sacrifice program that enables many taxpayers to buy bicycles at deep discounts.
It’s therefore possible he will also make an announcement about beefing up this scheme, or he could be about to introduce a subsidy for getting broken bicycles back on the road. In France, a €20 million scheme was introduced on April 29 to offer citizens €50 to take their bicycles to registered mechanics to be made roadworthy. French ecology minister Elisabeth Borne said the scheme was aimed at reducing motoring.