East London borough grabs yellow jersey in race to win top transport gong

Barking and Dagenham won a prestigious London Transport Award yesterday for its work to encourage more residents to take up cycling and walking.

The Marks Gate DIY streets project – which involved around 800 adults and children taking part in a range of cycling activities and introduced traffic calming measures – won the Excellence in Cycling and Walking category at an awards ceremony at the Park Plaza Riverbank.

Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Councillor Darren Rodwell, said the award showed the council was on track in helping to make the borough – which has over half of its adult population classed as obese or over weight – a fitter, healthier place: “This award is great news and reflects the hard work we’ve put into helping residents get fitter and healthier.

“We have some of the most modern and popular public leisure centres in London, but we are now working with our partners in health and education to promote cycling and walking initiatives, such as at Marks Gate and through street tag, to embed exercise much more firmly in people’s everyday life.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration company, which runs cycling projects in the borough, said: “This is brilliant news. I am particularly pleased to see Barking and Dagenham leading the way. It helps bust the myth that cycling is a middle-class pastime as, for many working people, the bike is a cheap and easy way to travel.”

Be First said it will continue to expand its cycling courses for adults and children as part of the wider drive to make a healthier Barking and Dagenham.

Pat said:

“We are going move up another gear in our drive to get more people into cycling with some great new schemes coming up this year.”

New cycling schemes for 2018/19 include:

  • Gale Street Corridor scheme improving walking cycling routes and accessibility to local schools, shops and transport hubs.
  • New Quietway cycle routes linking Barking Town Centre and Barking Riverside.