Can Cardiff become Britain's answer to Amsterdam?
In recent months, Cardiff has been praised for its efforts in many different aspects of its lifestyle. While the city itself was named one of the most affordable places to rent in Britain, one of its major higher education establishments, Cardiff University, recently celebrated a double success both in its rise in the 2014 QS World University Rankings as well as its being awarded a perfect score for its efforts in equality and diversity. Seeking to further Cardiff’s achievements, the grassroots organisation Cardiff Cycle City has now set its sights on another accolade for the capital in becoming 'Britain’s Amsterdam', and the UK's best city for cycling.
Ambitions for a greener, safer city
As Cardiff becomes increasingly popular among students and professionals alike, the number of people living and working in the city has understandably grown and now over 77,000 people commute to Cardiff daily, 80% of which travel by car. Cardiff Cycle City aims to encourage more local residents to cycle to work by asking businesses and other groups to sign up to their Cardiff City Cycling Manifesto, which was launched last week on 29th January.
Between 2001 and 2011 the number of people who chose to cycle to work increased by 65%, and the council currently plots over 50 miles of recommended cycling routes in their cycling map. However, to make Cardiff safer and more friendly for cyclists, campaigners have outlined eight ‘asks’ in their Manifesto, drawing inspiration from other city bike schemes, such as London’s Boris Bikes. Some suggestions for improvement include enforcing a 20mph speed limit in the city centre and building two new cycle ‘superhighways’, including a new city centre bike hub with at least 1,000 new bike parking spaces to be made available across Cardiff.
The UK’s answer to Amsterdam
The driving motivation behind the campaign is the belief that cycle facilities in Cardiff are just simply not good enough. According to the owner of Cardiff Cycle Tours, Pol van Steelant, only 3% of journeys in the city are made by bike, but we should be aiming to increase that number to at least one in five. The Netherlands is widely-recognised as the world’s most cycle-friendly country, including by the European Cyclists’ Federation, and Amsterdam in particular has set the precedent for cycle-friendly cities worldwide.
A spokeswoman for Cardiff Cycle City has stated that Cardiff’s ambitions to become Britain’s answer to Amsterdam are realistic, but would involve investing a substantial amount of money in the scheme initially. Currently, the group is recommending that a minimum of £15 per head is spent on the cycling infrastructure in Cardiff each year. This is almost 5 times the current expenditure on cycling in Wales today, but looking forward, this would pay off in the long term as physical activity levels would be increased, thus helping to battle the rise of obesity levels.
Cardiff is a fantastic city, and improving the city’s cycle route is an excellent opportunity to highlight Cardiff’s growing reputation as the best city to live in the UK. There has never been a better time to move to Cardiff, and whether you’re a student, a professional or a family moving into the area, the team at Capital Properties can help you find your ideal rental property. Simply contact us today, or pop into our Cathays office, and a member of our experienced and friendly team will be happy to help.