Town Hall urges government to ‘properly fund Transport for London’ as it reveals wishlist of cycling improvements

Regent’s Canal is one area where the council would like to make improvements for cyclists. Photograph: Wikicommons

Improvements to cycling between the Regent’s Canal and Highgate and along the historic Bunhill Row could be on track if Islington wins funding.

The Town Hall is looking at a bike route running parallel to Holloway Road, with links to Essex, Canonbury and Hornsey roads, as part of an effort to link the Regents Canal and Highgate.

The council also wants to make the temporary C38 South Cycleway from Pentonville Road to Holloway Road permanent. However, the scheme would need funding from Transport for London (TfL).

It is also looking at a permanent route at the busy York Way in a joint scheme with Camden Council. This has already won £15,000 in TfL funding but will need more to design and make it.

Other transport schemes include £120,000 between 2022 and 2024 for the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) at Barnsbury and St Mary’s – for designing the scheme, monitoring it and consulting people about its future.

There are plans to bring in roadside restrictions to improve the reliability of the 271 bus route, which runs between South Grove and Finsbury Square.

The council also wants to look at new bus on Rosebery Avenue, bus priority corridors for Canonbury Road and St Paul’s Road and crossings to improve bus reliability on New North Road.

These are on Islington’s wishlist for the next stage of greening up the borough.

However the executive member for the environment Rowena Champion said they could be affected by TfL’s funding crisis.

The transport body has been hard hit by Covid as lockdowns saw a dramatic drop in passenger numbers, which have not recovered to pre-pandemic figures.

Half of TfL’s income comes from fares, and it also gets grant funding from the government.

It has negotiated a series of government bailouts but warned that cuts – including to Tube lines – could be on the way.

Cllr Champion told the executive that TfL “has taken the unusual step” of asking councils to prioritise their lists of transport projects because of its financial woes.

She said: “The government is playing political games both with the Mayor [of London] and TfL, simply in a way they are not doing elsewhere in the country.”

The Labour politician said the government needed to “properly fund TfL”, giving it more money to help cut carbon and encourage more sustainable travel.

“It’s scandalous and has a potential impact on the health and wellbeing of people in Islington and Londoners,” she said.

“TfL, unless it gets a proper settlement, won’t be able to run the public transport schemes that it is at the moment and we all know what that will mean.”

She predicted it will lead to “more traffic on  the streets and less ability for Londoners to move around safely in a healthy and active way”.