Some Infrastructure News

We held a general catch up meeting with Richard Wadey, the Sustainable Transport Officer of Newham Council on 8 September.  The summary  outcome is available by clicking on this link:

Newham Cyclists Issues of Interest Aug 2017.

The headlines are:

  • The long awaited Cycle Strategy is being updated in the light of TfL’s recent analyses of strategic cycling routes which include a number going through Newham.  It will start to go through the process for formal approval.
  • There was unlikely to be a large bid for Liveable Neighbourhood funding  as the assessment is that TfL will consider that Newham has already had a large slice of the cake.

As for Stratford Gyratory the responses to the Freedom of Information Act requests concerning the dropping of proposal for 20 mph are below. 20 mph was identified in the consultation by the Council as a “key improvement”, supported by 92% of respondents to that consultation; but mysteriously disappearing without a trace in the scheme as approved by the Cabinet in May.  The Council now claim that there was “no decision” to drop this aspect of the proposal.

FOI RESPONSE E29406

FOI RESPONSE E29407

Arnold

Women Who Ride

Following on from our borough insert feature, Anita tells us what cycling means to her.

I have been cycling since I was seven, using my bike to get to school both at primary and secondary.  I have been a London cyclist off and on for the last 25 years.  When my son Merlin was born I was keen to be able to cycle with him as soon as possible.  He was on the back of the bike in a child seat as a baby and used to love the cycle rides for sleeping.  He started with a balance bike and has been on his own bike since he was 4, sometimes with a tow bar in the early days and now cycles to secondary school as well as weekend and evening rides with me.  It is important to me that he is a confident cyclist and feels safe as well as being active and in the outdoors.  We have been on cycling expeditions up the Lee Valley and to Debden House for camping on our own and with Newham Woodcraft Folk.

When I took on my current job it involved a lot of changes and one of those was committing to becoming a daily cyclist as it was the only way I could fit everything in with both work and childcare and also saved me the cost of the annual travel card I used to need before.  I work as a Baby Feeding Specialist for Barts Health in Tower Hamlets, cycling for work involves more than just commuting as I am not only cycling to work but around during the day to visit clients, move between work places, attend meetings and trainings.  Cycling is the most efficient way to get around, when I work with students who are not cyclists I usually give them a 15 minute head start on public transport and usually still arrive ahead of them.  I use the Cycle Super Highways but also the canal and riverside paths.

I cycle in all weathers.  Wearing specialist cycling clothing and shoes isn’t really an option as I can’t change easily every time I visit clients in their own homes so I have had to come up with a work wardrobe for cycling which can take me from my bike to a hospital ward, meeting or client’s home.  I’m not cycling fast aiming to get a best time on the commute but aiming to arrive in good time without breaking out in a sweat!  Knee length skirts and dresses that are not too wide nor too narrow are great as they keep clear of the chain and wheels and dry quickly if caught in the rain!  Long leather boots are good in winter and can be wiped down after a muddy cycle along Limehouse Cut!

I am a keen Geocacher (www.geocaching.com) and go out on cycle rides after work seeking out hidden containers around London or attending events.  This has taken me further afield by bike than ever before and using google maps to find cycling routes to geocaches has expanded my cycling knowledge, fitness and confidence in London taking me on routes I never knew about.  I also combine train and bike for longer journeys.

I am now trained as a Ride Marshal and Ride Leader with London Cycling Campaign and hope to be able to encourage more women to gain confidence in cycling.

Brewery Ride

We had asked riders to book into this ride as it has been very popular in the past. However, several booking were either cancelled or were simply ‘no shows and we numbered just 9 riders, including two who had not booked. This was however a good number for the ride as we had two marshals, Ken and Robin, and were able maintain a tight group for the ride.

The weather was cool by dry and despite some traffic around Blackhorse Road and Hackney Central we were able to make good use of the Waltham Forest cycling infrastructure, the river Lea towpath and the Hackney Parks.

We managed three stops, namely, Wild Card, People’s tavern (Laines) and Truman’s, taking the traditional route in reverse. We had planned to stop at Redchurch, but the shutters were down and there was no sign of life. Other notable changes, Pressure Drop are moving from their current location in Hackney Central, to the same industrial estate as Beavertown currently occupies. Forest Road had a lively taproom, worth a stop on a future ride. Three Sods and the Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club were also not open.

The ride continues to evolve and there are still more brewery’s to visit than we have time available on an afternoon ride, but it is fun to try, and also to experiment with different stops

Click on the photo below to be taken to Robin’s pictures of the day – & the link to see the ‘live’ route.  Thank you Robin!

https://www.relive.cc/view/1186780708

Readout from 31 July Meeting

Our July meeting started with an well attended ride from Forest Gate around the Olympic Park.  We were please to welcome Fran from LCC. More joined us for the business end, which took place at The Neighbourhood in Stratford Village.

  • We elected Olawale as our Infrastructure Rep. This is effectively a change in name (from Local Scheme Lead) to fall in line with the LCC organisation of its Infrastructure Review Group.  It was noted how active we had been in responding to consultation and how thorough the responses, prepared by Olawale, were.
  • We discussed the Stratford Gyratory proposals where Newham Council, contrary to their consultation and the overwhelming response to it, were dropping the proposal for 20mph limit.  We have been liaising with “20’s Plenty” and considered further how we could campaign for the restoration of a 20 mph limit.
  • The lack of coherence of the Council’s approach was only reinforced by its recent Traffic Order for a 20 mph limit at neighbouring Maryland (but not Windmill Lane -the cycle route connecting to Westfield and roads to Stratford and Leyton) nor Forest Lane, a rat run which already has speed cushions.
  • Forthcoming consultation responses were in preparation for Gallions Roundabout and High St North.
  • Bill, who sent his apologies, reported (vicariously) that we had received our portion of membership fees from LCC and our grant from Newham Council for “Fix My Ride”.
  • Our feeder ride 9 July successfully brought over 50 riders to the Freecycle event, and about 30 returned with us.  We decided to hold a debriefing session.
  • Fix Your Ride will next appear at Forest Gate Market on 12 August and the following week at the Arc Saturday Cycle Club  in Canning Town (run by the charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve).  Upcoming rides are a family ride with AAA on 2 September, a brewery ride on 16 September and a Bike from Boleyn ride on 30 September.
  • We had a first discussion on the Mayor of London’s draft Transport Strategy, and recent TfL transport analyses.  LCC are preparing a central response- for which we emphasized the need for hard targets with strong interim targets, consequences for not meeting them, and proper TfL control over how their money was spent by local councils.  A zero accident target for 2041 may already be changing the approach to the quality of cycle projects (which can be very poor, as TfL’s for Nine Elms demonstrates).
  • We considered the practicality of applying for a London Cycle Grant, for which applications are open to 18 September.  We recognised the practical difficulties and the size of the commitment and did not want to make up a project simply to get the grant.   However Bike from Boleyn was interested in a partnership with us and it was worth considering a scheme for taking elderly people out cycling or in a rickshaw.
  • The LCC will be running a feature of women and cycling and Kerena provided  an update on our activity – promoting women’s rides and encouraging cycle leader training.

Arnold

 

Steve riding RideLondon 100

As some of you know, our ride leader Steve is riding the RideLondon 100 this year for AAA.  Please sponsor him if you can.  We are building a relationship with AAA, supporting their weekend cycle club, so this is a cause that we are very happy to promote!

From Steve:

I’m am riding 100 miles for a very worthy local cause; to help young people in need and promote cycling.
Can you help us raise money for the Ambition, Aspire, Achieve Cycling Hub for disadvantaged and disabled children and young people?
Please donate to their JustGiving Crowdfunding Page:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/AAALondon100?utm_id=1&utm_term=AKXN9byDN

Thanks for your support

No lycra required!

With our first official ‘Women’s Ride’ coming up, we’ve been chatting about the things that put women off getting on their bikes.  There are many things – and the next issue of London Cyclist magazine will have a feature on this.

It’s pretty obvious that infrastructure – or lack of it – is a huge factor, but it’s more than that.  Some women feel threatened by having to share a cycle lane with more confident, faster cyclists, others are concerned about the safety aspect of using quieter routes through parks and along towpaths.

Some are just put off by the clothing!!

The infrastructure and safety aspects are harder to tackle quickly – but the clothing one is not.  It is perfectly possibly to ride a bike in your normal clothes!  If you’re just doing a short journey, it’s really easy – you’re not likely to get too hot and sweaty and saddle comfort isn’t really an issue.  If you’re doing longer rides – commuting or travelling around for work – and are worried about comfort, it’s not much harder.  There are some great brands out there who have started to think about simple things like nice light floaty tops that don’t make you all sweaty and shorts or trousers that are cut so that there are no seams where you don’t want them.  There are also some very stylish padded knickers out there – one particular brand you would hardly know they were padded to look at them.

One of our members and regular marshals (soon to be ride leader too) rides miles around Tower Hamlets every day in her job as a breast feeding specialist.  Wearing a helmet & sometimes gloves is her only concession to the fact that she’s on a bike.  In fact when I bumped in to her earlier this week, she looked positively glamorous in her summer dress and heels!

Our ride later this month will very much be embracing the social and relaxed aspect of cycling – wear whatever you will be comfortable and feel yourself in.

Don’t forget, if your bike needs a bit of TLC ahead of the ride, we’ll be at the Forest Gate Festival on the 15th – bring your bike along and learn how to do the basics (fixing a puncture etc).  If you’ve got a friend who would like to come on the ride but doesn’t have a bike – they’ll be able to hire one from our lovely friend (and Newham Cyclist member) Nigel at View Tube Bikes.

TfL & Mayor of London’s Strategic Cycling Analysis

This is a fairly substantial, but hugely important document.  The committee will be reviewing it, but there is some big stuff in here and it would be good to get thoughts from as many people as possible.  It’s also worth reading Simon Munk’s (LCC’s infrastructure guru and Waltham Forest campaigner) blog which gives a good summary.

strategic-cycling-analysis

Infrastucture Update

On 13 June Newham Cyclists met Councillor Patrick Murphy, the new Delivery Lead Councillor for Environment, who includes cycling in his his portfolio.  This is progress as his predecessor showed a marked disinterest in cycling, or even antipathy.

Although not a cyclist himself Councillor Murphy appreciated the benefits that increasing cycling (and walking) in Newham could bring to its residents and referred in particular to the need to improve air quality.

We made the following strategic points which were sympathetically received:

  • The benefit of positive participation by Newham Council in TfL Living Neighbourhoods/Healthy Streets initiative.  Councillor Murphy had met Will Norman, the Greater London Commissioner for Walking and cycling that morning.  In doing so he passed to Will Norman some observations from us on strategic and cross borough walking and cycling issues (see below) on which we hope to get a reply.  We understand Newham Council was waiting for further guidance from TfL before formulating its bid for resources.
  • The imperative of the Newham Council adopting a cycle strategy (at present a cycle strategy remains only a draft document) to feed into its other work and build cycling into its early plans.
  • The need for coherence in establishing decent quality cycle and living neighbourhood, projects  which  will ultimately link up throughout the borough and with other boroughs, such as Waltham Forest’s mini-Holland initiatives.
  • The need for Newham to take development opportunities to improve the cycling and walking infrastructure as Waltham Forest Council have done to significantly supplement the mini-Holland money it has received from TfL.

Councillor Murphy indicated his willingness to hear further from us on specific matters.

NB  Here are the points passed on to Will Norman:

  • “Newham Cyclists would welcome active and wholehearted participation in TfL’s Living Neighbourhood initiative.  Newham Council’s mini-Holland bid includes some excellent plans  and there is scope for achieving a critical mass of added value by linking with, and expanding on, neighbouring Waltham Forest’s successful schemes – for example the link from the remodelled Stratford Gyratory (for which the plans are good)   to Leyton via the “Leyton Ladder” or creating areas without through traffic in the areas of Newham adjacent to  proposed Waltham Forest “Villages”.  
  • CS2: (a)  there is an the urgent need to upgrade the dangerous Warton Rd and Carpenters Rd junctions, and (b) Tfl should not abandon its original plan to extend CS2 to Ilford.  The former is an example of poor TfL design.
  • Whilst the Greenway upgrade demonstrates good design and is a clear improvement (with the notable exception of the continued embarassment of the traffic light sequencing on the A13), Quietway 6 across the north of the borough will not be fit for purpose unless the junctions are adequately dealt with.  At present plans for a number of these would result in “critical fails” for general cycling, and therefore will put off less confident cyclists for whom the quietways are intended. 
  •  Future Quietway programmes could help alleviate the critical strategic issue in urban Newham of north south connections.
  • LLDC have not done a good job in creating cycle facilities to realise the potential of the Olympic Park as a node for cycling with access to the Lea Valley (north and south) Victoria Park and Epping Forest (e.g via a  good quality QW6).  In particular the predicted issue of rat running through the Olympic Park appears to be is coming to pass and will likely increase -especially if Bridge H14 is upgraded to vehicular traffic as planned.
  • Important areas for better connectivity remain (a) the  Lower Lea, (b) the Leyton Ladder (see above) (c) to Redbridge where connectivity could be improved by extending CS2, by linking QW 6 and the Roding Way to Ilford via a bridge north of the Romford Rd  (c)  a bridge south of Little Ilford Park at Millais Ave (which we understand Redbridge Council is keen on) and (d) CS3 link to Barking Town Centre.
  • The Silvertown Tunnel will undoubtedly present Newham with environmental challenges.  Newham Cyclists opposed it,  but if it has to go ahead we share the wide concerns expressed at various levels in the Borough which indicate the need for alleviating measures, in particular upgrading the cycle facilities of CS3 and Silvertown Way, and the Lea Path in and around Canning Town.”

On 15 June Newham Cyclists met with a Maryland Resident’s Group to discuss the Council’s proposals for Maryland.  That group was lively and included some keen cyclists.  They were very receptive to our suggestions (for improving the junctions, to improve the pedestrian experience and to ensure coherence with the Stratford Gyratory Scheme.

However from that meeting emerged some disturbing information indicating that the Council were backtracking on 20mph for the Stratford gyratory (and elsewhere in the borough on what it classified as strategic routes) leading the Maryland residents and us to expect the Council also to row back from its consultation position of 20 mph in Maryland.