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
After a false start our annual meeting was held last Tuesday at the Wanstead Tap. There was an excellent turnout including three local councillors who have been supportive of cycling initiatives (John Gray, Terence Paul and Rachel Tripp). We were assisted by some excellent cheese and beer.
As for the formalities :
- We approved the minutes from last year .
- We agreed a new constitution to update our organisation in line with LCC requirements.
- We agreed the annual report and accounts for 2015/16 .
- We agreed a budget for 2016/17.
- Kerena Fussell and Arnold Ridout were elected as joint co-ordinators, Bill Bremner as Treasurer, Olawale Ajibola was elected Local Schemes Lead and Steve Smith as Ride Co-ordinator.
We decided to produce for sale a group T -shirt.
Less formally, we had wide ranging discussions on the following topics
- Stratford Gyratory – proposal now reasonable in principle but details of the junctions will need further work.
- Other infrastructure developments – key funding available from TfL, Newham LIP allocation, and from developments such as Crossrail for some potentially significant improvements. More information is available from the current list of issues.
- LCC Sign for Cycling campaign – last push before the election.
- Our contribution to the Forest Gate Cycle network Evening 26 May.
We ended with a discussion as to our future focus. As a result we will consider how the group can focus on schools, as some money is available for promoting cycling in schools and our efforts could pay dividends in terms of increased cycling by both children and their parents.
We had a very productive discussion with Richard Wadey, sustainable Transport Officer for Newham Council, based around a PASTA presentatation (an EU funded project promoting physical activity through sustainable transport approaches) in which a number of towns and cities are participating. For London this is Newham, Tower hamlets and Waltham Forest. He also provided a general update of cycling in Newham showing an increase in the modal share of cycling .
Richard shared the information on the Cycle Level Of Service studies of routes in Newham,and projects, particularly Quietway 6, the Greenway, Stratford gyratory and the Leaway. These will form part of the Cycle Strategy of the Borough and inform future decision making, hopefully by integrating cycle considerations into all transport schemes. He showed a Cycle Strategy map showing the potential in the Borough for a dense network of routes with a high level of service (i.e. over 80%).
He also introduced the possibility of secure on street parking hangers and the tool library at Stratford Mobile Garden.
As part of Newham “New Deal” was a new deal for roads involving investing over £100m over the next ten years. There was potential to ensure cycling was adequately integrated into this vision.
Slides and on-line maps available from me.
- noted the acquisition of a cargo trailer that can be made available to anyone who would like to borrow it;
- discussed the LCC Sign for cycling Campaign;
- confirmed our Annual meeting for 11 April at Eat 16 cafe, at which light refreshments will be served; and
- decided that the first in the summer series of evening rides will take place on 23 May and will visit Walthamstow Village improvements.
Valentine’s day ride around the Hundred of Hoo
With Gravesend only 17 minutes by train from Stratford the Hoo peninsular was a convenient destination. Ten of us, with our bikes, took this train and met two more, Nick and Nigel, at Gravesend station.
The weather was cold but bright with a north easterly breeze providing a slight headwind as we set off towards the medway and the infamous Kingsnorth power station. We were soon out of Gravesend and riding through the bleak and open farmland which makes up much of the peninsular. As we passed Hoo St Werburgh the route provided us with some great views of the river Medway and Kingsnorth, the pretty village of Stoke gave us a convenient comfort break and we were then approaching Allhallows, the most easterly point of the ride. This was significant as the wind should have been behind us for the rest of the ride. In the 1930’s All Hallows was planned to be a major resort, to rival Southend, which can be seen across the Thames, but WW2 intervened and the Pilot pub and a large estate of mobile homes is all that remains of this dream. However the views from the beach were impressive as a huge container ship sailed up the estuary confirming that the river must be deep despite the tide being so far out.
We stopped for a good lunch at the Fenn Bell Inn in St Mary Hoo, where we had a group photo with the pet shark:
After lunch we had a couple of navigational challenges and went off piste before regaining our route and finding the delightful village of Cooling, with its fascinating church and castle. The 13th century church provided Dickens with the inspiration for the opening chapter of Great Expectations, where Pip meets the convict Magwitch, and more recently where Jools Holland married Christabel McEwan and they now live, happily ever after, in the castle.
Another detour saw the group split, although we both followed basically the same route. This led us along the Thames and Medway canal and alongside the Eurostar rail track and into the industrial side of Gravesend. Although a designated cycle route, we had to negotiate flood water, glass and fires to complete our intrepid adventure into this wild and desolate corner of Kent.
The group were reunited at Gravesend station for the short ride back to Stratford
If you are interested in the ride statistics here they are:
Please see Arnold’s latest list of cycling issues and actions around the borough here: Outstanding stuff 7 Feb version
Another healthily attended and lively meeting at Coffee E7:
- Following the meeting with Councillors Gray and Paul before Christmas concerning the various issues surrounding Stratford High Street and gyratory we submitted a briefing note on which we are waiting a response.
- There was a very open catch up meeting meeting with the Newham Council Sustainable Transport officer. Headlines are:
Designs have been submitted to TfL for the junctions of the northern Quietway. Our view was that these were disappointing , and we indicated that we could not support a Quietway which had substandard junctions. Better progress on upgrading the Greenway. A small pilot lighting project will shortly be put in place. Limited improvements are in prospect around Westfield (Stratford Place) as changes are made for taxis and coaches. There are good designs on the shelf for the wider area waiting for the opportunity to be implemented.
An cycle assessment of the main roads (but not junctions) has been undertaken which will form part of a proposed cycle strategy from the Borough along with an audit of cycle parking.
There are further delays in establishing the Leaway between Cody Dock and Canning town.
All current issues have been recorded for monitoring and it was decided to publish this on this website (to follow). By way of general follow up we have been told that Newham’s cycling mode share has increased again,according to the London Travel Demand Survey (Travel in London report 8), up from approx. 1.3% to 2.3% in 2012/13-2014/15.
- A Greenway users group is planned.
- We noted that the work undertaken so far on the northern Quietway was heavily engineered and that there was still an issue of parking in Cemetery Rd.
- We will be actively participating in stakeholder consultation on the plans for Stratford gyratory, a meeting taking place on 8 March.
- We discussed our ride programme and in particular the forthcoming, and much anticipated, Hoo Ride on 14 February. To ensure smooth practical arrangements (not least securing the cheapest train ticket to Gravesend), it would be helpful if anyone intending to come on this ride gave advanced notice (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We will be coordinating rides with a new Community group in Stratford City and we may also be joining in with a CTC ride around Witham in April.
- We agreed to buy a further banner , some equipment for rides (tools/first aid) and some T shirts for ride leaders.
- The current exhibition at the Design Museum was warmly recommended and there are still tickets for the talk by Emily Chappel at the Wanstead Tap on 15 February.
- Richard Wadey will be talking at our next meeting on 29 February and then our AGM will be 11 April.
- Funds are available from the Council for high quality on street parking bays. Please let us know of good sites.
- We decided to support, with a stall, an indoor car boot sale on 20 February at the Field Community Centre, Station Rd. If you are able to provide some time to man the store please let us know and we will be putting together a rota.
By Steve Smith
Forest Gate to Greensted Church 10th January 2016
We were 13 at Coffee7 at 9am on Sunday morning which was an excellent turnout for the first ride of the year. Perhaps the New year resolutions were applying some leverage. The weather was sunny and dry but after so much rain had fallen over the previous days the roads were still wet. The route followed suburban roads through Woodford, along the Roding Valley to Loughton and then out to Theydon Bois. We then found a few undulating and invigorating hills as we followed country lanes through Toot Hill to Greensted in the bright winter sunshine.
The church, claimed as the oldest wooden church in the world is charming, and includes the grave of a crusader and a lepers view hole. All these elements give the church a fantastic opportunity for imaginative stories about their origins and those visitors who were here long before us.
After restarting the ride we followed small lanes toward Navestock and Stapleford Abbots. The lunch stop was at the two Brewers Chigwell Row was a busy pub/restaurant, this meant lunch consisted more of a refreshment stop with a drink and a few crisps and nuts for most. It may be a good idea to let the lunch venue know of our arrival on future rides, if we can estimate the number of riders
On the way back we followed the newly emerging quiet way from Fairlop to Wanstead and finished the ride where we started, outside a coffee7 under a darkening sky.
We had a few punctures which slowed our pace, however the group was well equipped and we were easily able to fix them.
More photos (taken by Robin Stephenson) can be found on Flickr
We will be meeting with Terry Paul & John Gray on Monday morning (14th December) at 8am at ‘The Rhubarb’ to discuss the various issues around Stratford, including plans for the gyratory, Warton Road and the changes at Sugar House Lane. Please join us if you can.