Crossrail Plans – Forest Gate

The proposed plans for the Crossrail complementary measures are attached.  As with Manor Park, these are proposals only and comments are invited.  We have invited the Forest Gate councillors as well as Murray Woodbury to our monthly meeting on the 26th January, so please have a look ahead of the meeting and bring your comments along to the meeting!

FG Public Realm masterplan FG Photographic record Overview ML Public Realm Masterplan Maryland artist impressions ML Traffic modelling ML Furniture Strategy ML Spatial Strategy FG artists impressions FG – Traffic modelling FG Furniture Strategy FG Spatial Strategy

Crossrail plans – Manor Park

The proposed plans for the Crossrail Complementary schemes for Manor Park are attached.  This is what was submitted by Newham to Crossrail to get the funding secured but the plans are not final, hence our planned meetings with councillors and council staff to give our input.  Please peruse and let us have your comments!

MP Traffic modelling MP Artists Impressions MP Furniture Strategy MP Public Realm Masterplan MP Spatial Strategy MP Visual Analyis MP Photograhic record

New Manhattan?

Prior to the Olympics Stratford High Street was being touted as a potential Manhattan style area, with its wide carriageway and tall buildings.  But of course whereas Newham Council blocked segregated cycle lanes,  New York City has been busy installing segregated cycle lanes and to very beneficial effect:

  • Injuries to pedestians down by over one fifth.
  • Cycle volumes rise but with a slight decrease in cycle injuries.
  • Greater increase in retail sales compared with streets with no cycle lanes.
  • IN many streets journey times actually decreased.

For a full report and some pictures of what can be done:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/2014-09-03-bicycle-path-data-analysis.pdf

 

 

Newham Council mislead over CS2

Newham Council have now belatedly provided information about the removal of CS2 at Tramway Avenue.  The documents provided confirm the story of TfL that the changes were driven by Newham Council because of “confusion” and “driver misbehaviour” and also reveal that the cycle lane was removed in the face of a safety audit pointing out the reduction in the protection for cyclists.

Nevertheless the Council’s subsequent conduct can only be described as grossly misleading.  Here is the statement made to the Newham Recorder published on  3 December.  :

“CS2 route was removed by TfL, not the council, who only closed the risky sliproad.”

In fact Newham Council was the driving force behind the removal the protected cycle lane.  If it was just a case of closing the sliproad there would have been no need at all to remove CS2.   Newham Cyclists would welcome the closing of Tramway Avenue.  It is one of our long term aims.

Following concerns raised by the police and cyclists and a number of serious near misses on this route, a decision to close the Tramway Avenue sliproad was taken in September”

In fact the documents provided by both TfL and Newham Council do not reveal any concerns by cyclists, particularly in its latest – “wands” version. We shall be following this up. The police did raise concerns at an early stage but participated in the safety audit that took place.  The “risky” sliproad remains open.

“We value the views of Newham’s cycling community and are committed to ensuring that there are safe cycling routes in the borough”

Why  not, then, consult on this high profile action to revert back to a dangerous junction layout for cyclists?  The Council have resisted since 2009 our suggestion for a cycling liaison group and consistently resist our suggestions for greater safety such as 20mph. The Council’s values and the level of their commitment can be judged by their actions rather than their words.

 

 

Inactive Newham

Indeed, Newham, an Olympic Borough, is the least active local authority in England!   How has this happened?

One clue may be found in Newham Council’s historic antipathy at the political level to promoting cycle provision, even when this would not have cost it anything extra.  A prime example is Stratford High St.  Several million pounds were made available to the Council  to improve this stretch of road in the run up to the Olympics.  No cycling facilities were installed,  but the money was used  for multi-coloured vanity balls.  Then  the Council blocked the early development of  Cycle Superhighway 2 in the borough.    Since the Olympics, an extension to Cycle Superhighway  has had to be retrofitted to the recently regenerated Stratford High St,  and despite the Council later reversing  its opposition to extending  CS2 to Ilford,  the legacy is that TfL no longer seem interested.    Another serious example is The Council’s diversion of earlier TFL  funding intended primarily for transport schemes to other purposes.  Furthermore Newham Councillors on the Olympic Planning Committee supported the minimalist approach to cycling mentioned earlier.

There is some good work being done at official level in the Council, such as  putting together an excellent mini-Holland bid and the very thorough ward audit exercise of cycle permeability.  At the political level the Council does at least professes support for cycling in its public statements.  However a series of recent examples looks like a disturbing  trend of  casual negligence (at best) at the political level:

  • Protection for cyclists has been actively removed by Newham Council  intervention  by  the removal of  Cycle Superhighway 2 at the junction of Tramway Avenue.  See this website for the full story.
  • Our proposal for a 20mph limit on Upper Street, a residential rat run was refused, on the grounds that this was a bus route.  Putting to one side the question why buses would want to travel at more than 20 mph along this road, it is notable that our neighbouring borough  Tower Hamlets Council is now consulting on making virtually the whole borough 20mph.  This is just the latest in the series of local authorities  (even stretching to New York) looking to reduce speed limits.  Newham Council, however, remains behind the times.
  • Cycle permeability on yet another one way street in “urban Newham” ,  Cramner  Rd,  was blocked on the grounds of lack of width of the carriageway , despite this road being no narrower that the adjacent  two way streets. Cycle contra flows on one way streets  are now  encouraged by new Department for Transport rules.  Again Newham Council is behind the times.
  • The apparent  inadvertent removal of cycle parking at various locations, without any effort to put this right.

Promoting cycling is a well recognised  easy winner for increasing regular exercise, and terrific value for money.  Hackney, another neighbouring borough, has achieved one of the highest cycling rates in the country.  Newham is recognised as having very great untapped potential for everyday cycling with sources of funding available.  What appears lacking is the political will to even match the examples set by our neighbours

 

Readout from meeting on 25 November 2014

Mostly a social meeting with excellent cheese and beer.  Nevertheless some business transacted as there is still a lot going on.

  • Crossrail funding had come through for environmental improvements around Maryland, Forest Gate and Manor Park Stations.  Forest Gate Councillors have been invited to attend our next meeting to discuss the plans for Forest Gate  which will take place on 26 January.  Councillor Patel of Manor Park had agreed to pre-consultation on those for Manor Park which is planned for mid January.  If you are interested in attending the Manor Park meeting please contact us through the details provided on this site.
  • We are now in possession of an excellent A3 map of Newham streets showing all of the 495 small improvements to improve cycle permeability.  It will be available for close inspection at our next meeting at the end of January.
  • Discussions are continuing between TfL and Newham Council on the Aldgate to Hainault Quietway on which we have provided input.  There is emerging recognition from both bodies of the potential for a network of quietways, as per our vision.
  • Arnold will be visiting the Outdoors in the City Project on 29 November to explore the possibilities of co-ordination with  Community Links, who run a cycle club there.  If anyone is interested in coming along get in touch with Arnold through the contact details on this site.
  • There was an update on the sorry saga of CS2 at Tramway Avenue.
  • The meeting was keen for the group to run a variety of rides next year- including some  Newham based  ones providing variations on the traditional Newham Ride,  some slightly longer rides and a call for the popular summer evening series of rides.  We will be putting together a programme shortly so volunteer leaders very welcome.
  • Stratford Gyratory is moving up the agenda of TFL junction improvements and the Committee will work out some thoughts for presentation at the January meeting.

Cycle Superhighway 2 at Tramway Avenue: a sorry tale

An earlier post gives a short film clip of the evolution of the evolution of CS2 at this junction.  First TfL installed CS2, then an island was put in to protect cyclists and then this as relaced with “wands” and finally this section of CS2 was removed altogether.  All in the space of a few weeks.

On the front page of the Newham Recorder on 17 September indicated:

Cllr Ian Corbett, mayoral adviser for environment and infrastructure, said concerns about CS2 had been raised following “a number of serious near misses”.

The Council has made clear to TfL the urgent need to fully address all safety issues at this location and review the design proposals,” he said. “This should be done in conjunction with key stakeholders such as the council, police, emergency services and cycling groups.

Newham Council were formally asked for information concerning the evidence for this change.  Despite a legal obligation to answer and giving themselves more time to do so they have not, and having received a reminder (copied to Councillor Corbett) nothing has been forthcoming at the time of this post.

TfLhowever have, belatedly, responded to a request for information.  I you would like to see the actual response please e-mail at newham@lcc.org

Whilst the response takes some untangling, it is clear that:

(1) TfL did not construct CS2 here as originally planned due to adjacent building work.   It will be completed according to the original plan when that work is completed.

(2) Newham Council then  agreed to the wand solution, but when they raised concerns it was considered by a safety auditor.

(3) The safety auditor is reported as noting “that the risk of collision with left-turning vehicles pre-dates the scheme and that the wands are having the effect of reducing the speed of turning vehicles, and therefore reducing the likelihood and severity of any collision when compared to the pre-construction layout. It was also recognised that until the final scheme can be delivered, options are limited. Removing the Cycle Superhighway from this section of Broadway altogether would not be recommended as the risk would remain, along with any new potential risks by removing the dedicated space for cyclists and conspicuous road surface.”

(3) TfL ‘s response and the supporting document indicate that the priniciple concern with the wands was confusion “poor driver behaviour” for example instances of drivers missing the turn into Tramway Avenue and backing up.

Newham Cyclists’ view is that the wands were the best of the options used from the perspective of cycle safety, but believed it was not properly signed, nor given sufficient time to bed in.

From the above it is reasonable to draw the following conclusions:

(a) Councillor Corbett has been less than forthcoming about Newham Council’s role, which has resulted in the waste of over £3000 of precious public funding for cycling facilities.

(b) The Council is not willing to substantiate his allegation of “a number of serious near misses” which is far different to confusion and poor driver behaviour.

(c) Newham Council has actively sacrificed cyclists protection in the face of a safety audit to accommodate driver misbehaviour and for the sake of a few signs.

At no time before or since have Newham Cyclists or LCC been consulted over these changes despite the Council’s apparent conversion to consultation.

End of year social

Our last meeting of the year will be a social event – with a few bits of business thrown in!  We will be holding it at the Wanstead Tap and Dan will be laying on some bread and cheese to go with the beer.

Tuesday 25th November 7pm

So that we can cater accordingly, can you please let us know if you are coming along – just drop an email to kerena@newhamcyclists.org.uk

Thanks!