We have had a couple of fruitful meetings with Newham Officers recently.
The first was with the sustainable Transport Officer and which we surveyed recent developments. The second was with the officer responsible for putting together the design for Stratford Gyratory. These and other sources of information have informed the ongoing record of local cycling issues – for those who would like to drill down into the detail. Anyone looking at this who needs further information or explanation is welcome to contact me direct; or indeed if you think there is something not covered which should be.
The headlines in respect of big ticket and imminent issues are:
- Stratford Gyratory plans evolving in a positive fashion. They need some more traffic modelling and once that has been done are likely to be put out to extensive consultation in the autumn. We are likely to recommend support and ask for individual responses.
- Some elements of Quietway 6 across the north of the borough linking us with Victoria Park in the west and Fairlop Water in the East are in place or have received approval. The key main junctions are yet to be built but greatly improved designs are in the gestation stage.
- The Greenway Quietway 2.1 involves improved lighting and opening hours and, ultimately some more ramps. This is another positive story at the moment as the tortuous process of getting good design and the funding is coming together.
- Whilst sounding rather boring the Newham Cycle Strategy is very important as it it help to ensure that cycling issues are taken into account in other transport and development policies by identifying in a very concrete fashion deficiencies in cycle provision and what remedial action is needed. this is at its final stages of preparation and is likely to be subject to consultation in the autumn.
Newham Cyclists led a feeder ride of 71 from Stratford (Meridian Square) down Cycle Superhighway 2 to Leadenhall to join the excellent 8 mile FreeCycle route of closed roads in central London. Our group comprised a whole range of different cyclists, from a small child in a trailer and a complete newcomer to cycling, to regular commuters and some warming up for the Surrey Hills ride the following day.
Here is a picture of our excellent ride leader Steve giving the briefing at the start…
And one of the team of trained marshalls…
And this is proof that we made it happily to the Walkie Talkie in Leadenhall St….
A smaller band gathered for the return journey, and were safely guided back to Stratford, subject only to one puncture at the beginning which Dr Bike in Leadenhall swiftly fixed.
A joyous day of cycling.
From Rachel Collinson of the Newham Green Party:
“On a leaflet distributed to every resident in Forest Gate North ward in Newham, in advance of the local by-election, the Green Party mentioned that our candidate Elisabeth Whitebread was endorsed by Kerena Fussell of Newham Cyclists. While Kerena does endorse our candidate in a personal capacity, Newham Cyclists are in no way affiliated with the Green Party and remain neutral in this election, as they do in all elections. This was a mistake on the part of Newham Green Party.”
River ride report 10th July
Although only 7 came on this ride, one member had travelled across London from Ealing to join us. The weather was warm and humid with some fine rain, but still comfortable riding conditions. We followed the rive Lea down as far as the Limehouse Cut at Bow Docks, where we did the usual loop back to the east bank of the Lea, and Cody Dock. A lovely ride along the Thames down to the Greenwich foot tunnel, where the lift was not working and we had to carry our bikes. Then east along the south bank of the thames to the cafe at the cable car stop by the O2. At Woolwich we took the ferry across and rode past the Tate and Lyle refinery, crossing the vast docks, where next week the Great London Swim takes place. Through to Beckton Alps, where the cycle path is in sore need of repair, across the A13 we picked up the Greenway, one of the best cycling highways in London, back to Stratford where the ride finished and this photo was taken
Epping to Hatfield Broad Oak 26 June
Eight of us met at Leytonstone station and rendezvous with three others, who had cycled from Walthamstow, at Epping. The weather started rather uncertainly but gradually improved throughout the ride and we enjoyed spinning through the lovely Essex countryside in the midsummer.
We faced the undulating terrain of Toot Hill before crossing the A414 and the quieter and flatter lanes beyond. Avoiding the flooded road we passed through Matching Green where Bill had to leave us. Onward we went up the stunning Sparrows Lane to the village of Hatfield Broad Oak, the most northerly point on the journey. We joined faster roads to Hatfield Heath and Sheering before diverting to Matching Tye and the Fox pub, our lunch stop, where they had some fascinating geese
After lunch we followed Faggotters lane through the ford to Magdalen Laver and the through North Weald back to Epping.
A great ride with few mechanical problems, I had my chain break and was rescued by Martyn having a magic link at the start of the ride. Bikes should be in good working order before coming on rides and I will endeavour to follow this advice in future. We had two punctures on the ride and Mick decided to walk back to the station after sustaining the second of these.
The meeting focused on infrastructure as Richard, Newham Council’s Sustainable Transport Officer kindly provided an update. The key features are:
- Richard explained how “LIP” funding provided to local authorities by TfL for relatively minor transport improvements work. We are currently in the final year of a three year phase which has seen a number of improvements, not least based on the 2014 “Ward audit” Newham cyclists undertook with Richard. Richard explained how a series of contraflows, drop kerbs and point closures were being brought forward in a coherent way to promote permeability in urban Newham. Soft measures such as cycle training and work with schools had been more successful than might have been anticipated. The current funding may be rolled out for a further year before the next three year cycle.
- Newham Councillors have rejected a plan for Forest Gate which (in response to strong calls from consultation) included some segregated cycle lane. Whilst we were critical of the details of the plan this is a disappointing affirmation of how far behind Newham Councillors are in promoting cycling. Improvements are funded by Crossrail so will go ahead, but their nature is not now known. We will continue to keep an eye and press for improvements that benefit cyclists.
- The Maryland Crossrail improvement plans have yet to be put out for consultation. It is important that these are coherent with the Stratford Gyratory .
- Improvements to the Greenway are progressing, including lighting and some extra ramps (e.g. to Memorial Park and Newham Hospital ). One new ramp has passed the design stage which will promote useful connectivity with the Channelsea Path (although a vital toucan crossing of Rick Roberts Way is not yet funded).
- Redbridge Council are pressing hard for a Roding Crossing to Ilford north of the Romford Rd. This would increase the importance of utilising the current pathway between the City of London Cemetery and the railway line which is currently unusable for cycling.
- A cycle lane is being put into Jenkins Lane as part of CS3 improvements.
- Implementing the Silvertown Way planned improvements are partly funded and therefore likely to start (with the active support of the local councillors). This is important as cycle facilities need to be put in place before the Silvertown Tunnel attracts more traffic into this part of Newham.
- The scrapyard blocking the completion of the Leaway between Cody Dock and Canning Town is reported to have found an alternative site. The timing of any move is not known.
- On street cycle parking shelters are now being installed and well used. Request from groups of neighbours would be welcome.
We will have a stall at the Forest Gate Festival on 16 July, but more volunteers to do a shift would be welcome. We will also try to promote cycling at a St Paul’s (East Ham) Street Party on 13 August. if you can help and have not already volunteered for either of these events please contact me.
The Essex Lanes ride of the previous day was proclaimed a great success.
Next meeting 25 July – probably linked to an evening ride.
Under the intrepid leadership of Bill the hardy crew of Newham set out in poor looking weather for the third Newham Ride of the 2016 calendar. Taking in the Lea Valley and the Isle of Dogs we crossed into Greenwich and followed the river round to the cable car. As this photo shows the weather did not improve south of the river.
A return to Newham via the cable car did at least see the rain stop and we made it back to Stratford via the (now open to Stratford High St) Greenway.
The next ride is Essex Lanes on 26 June and our last scheduled Newham ride is 10 July.
Important: Please respond to the consultation on extending the lighting of the Greenway as a move towards creating a proper Quietway along its length.
The closing date is 17 June.
May 23 saw us start out from Forest Gate to look at progress on Waltham Forest’s mini-Holland project. It was a real revelation.
We met Paul Gasson at Leyton for his expert guidance. There we saw the first manifestation – the Brompton hire box opposite the secure cycle parting at Leyton :
He explained that most of the project had now been designed and consultation was in play. About one-quarter had been put in place. TfL had provided £37m but the Council had found a further £17m much of it from developers (in contrast Newham Council seems to have a self- denying ordinance against seeking money for cycle infrastructre from developers); and had backed this by strong political impetus and some expert engineers/designers who were keen to get the infrastuctre in place and prepared to change it if it did not work.
We went from Leyton to Ruckholt Rd and made our way up the Lea Valley where there is planned to be a segregated track/quietway route building on existing infrastructure:
A key element of the project is a Superhighway along Lea Bridge Rd. A small part is in place near the Ice Skating centre and foreshadows something of high quality which will take about a year to put into place.
Here we also got our first glimpse of the new Lea Bridge station and its recently installed secure cycle parking:
Another key element of the project is “villagisation” i.e. creating four areas without through traffic. This is key to promoting the project as being as much a public realm benefit as a cycling benefit. The first such area put in place was Walthamstow village; but we passed through first the recently installed point closures in Blackhorse “village”. The “villages” are to be complemented by safe routes across heavily trafficked routes along their borders, such as this tiger crossing (of the sort we should see along our Quietway 6):
We ended up at Walthamstow Village, where point closures had been used to create mini squares:
Time prevented us seeing Walthamstow town centre (for which a cycle hub is planned) and routes to Chingford. But what we saw was impressive and a testimony of what can be done with some political will.
Thanks to Bill for the photos
We have been asked to participate in trials of a new system allowing cyclists to ride through these two tunnels.
Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels go smart
Cyclists using the foot tunnels in Greenwich and Woolwich should check the overhead sign to see when they should walk their bikes. A new computer vision based system can now identify the numbers of walkers, and cyclists in the tunnel, and display messages to ask cyclists to dismount only when pedestrian levels are high.
An initial trial period is currently underway and messaging will be adjusted over the coming weeks. Please support this trial by walking your bike when the sign says to, and help demonstrate that the tunnels can permanently operate as a shared space.
Please also download and use the BetterPoints app to track your journeys through the tunnel. You will be rewarded with BetterPoints for all of your walking and cycling trips, with bonus points when you walk your bike through the tunnel. Points are redeemed for high street vouchers or charity donations. We will also be running a prize draw every month, and you will earn a prize entry for every recorded trip.
Visit techtunnels.betterpoints.uk for more information and look out for us at events we will be running at the tunnel throughout the summer.
Download the free app and get started.
As mentioned at the AGM, there is going to be a cycling ‘networking’ event at the Gate in Forest Gate later this month. The details are below. If you are interested in helping out, please let us know – and please spread the word to your non-cycling friends!
On your bike
A drop-in evening to find out more about how you can get cycling
Do you have a bike you never use? Thinking of getting one? Keen to try cycling but don’t know where to start? Come to our drop-in event to find out more and to get you started.
At the Gate Community Centre on Woodgrange Road we will have people to advise on cycle confidence training, cycle maintenance, some bicycle accessories for sale, the police who will security mark your bike if you bring it, information on local cycle routes and more.
Brought to you by Newham Cyclists and Newham Council