If you have been following my work in the City of Sydney for a little while, or my campaign for re-election last year, you would know that I’m really supportive of alternative government models and policies. More specifically, I have campaigned for the introduction of specific roles that sit outside of government to deal with certain issues. For example, I have been outspoken on the possibility of introducing a “night mayor” for the City of Sydney, as seen successfully carried out in Amsterdam.
Just recently, the City of London has announced its first full time Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman. He will be working with the Mayor of London to make cycling and walking safer and easier in the capital. The budget the Mayor has put behind the project is not unsubstantial, investing a record budget of £770 million on infrastructure and initiatives to promote cycling until 2021/2022 as part of a broader “Healthy Streets” program.
The focus is to get people moving, and make walking and cycling safer and easier for all Londoners. There is little information on what that will look like as yet, however it will be interesting to watch how the policies develop over the coming months.
Shared spaces are always going to be an issue for global cities. I’ve been known to voice my concerns over the combination of cars, cyclists and pedestrians accessing the City of Sydney safely. This issue will also be compounded when light rail is finalised and you throw light rail trams into the equation.
I’ll be watching the way the London’s new commissioner plays out to see whether there are realistic and measured improvements that could be applied to our own local environment.