Our first ride of 2105

With the weather looking dry, breakfast and/or morning coffee having been taken at the view Tube, 20 of us set out for Ware along the Lea Valley.  Our group included guests from Romford, Stockwell and Greenwich._MG_0602

With only minor mishaps (one puncture and one deviation from the route) we managed to reach coffee/lunch at the white Water Centre.

With time getting on we decided that Broxbourne was far enough, so we fixed the second puncture and enjoyed a breeze assisted ride back to the View Tube with occasional glimpses of sunshine.

Thanks to Chris Kendrick for leading us for this enjoyable 40 mile jaunt and to Simon Leicester for the photos.

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The Upton Corridor

(If you would like to see the drawings and notices please contact newham@lcc.org)

Our objections have been lodged in the following terms:

Newham Cyclists object to the plans for the Upton Corridor.

Upton Lane is a combination of residential and shopping with access from it to both parks and schools. Furthermore the section of Upton Lane from St Georges Ave to Romford Rd is a key section of a proposed North Woolwich to Forest Gate quietway cycle route providing an essential north south route for cycling linking numerous schools and Newham Hospital. This section of road also complements Woodgrange Rd, north of the Romford Rd where improvements are contemplated using Crossrail money.

This context requires that genuine priority should be given to pedestrians and cyclists.

This can be achieved by:
• The creation of segregated cycle lanes and safe junctions, providing proper “Space for Cycling”. The traffic flow along Upton Lane justifies this. Alternatively;
• The creation of genuine “shared space” route where a completely decluttered space gives pedestrians and cyclists as much priority as motor vehicles, following the principles put into effect, most notably, in Exhibition Rd.

This scheme is misconceived because it does neither; the result is expenditure of public money which will be wasted in gestures to cyclists and pedestrians, but which will not achieve the proper objective of making the Upton Lane along the Upton Corridor a living street which pedestrians and cyclist will consider themselves safe and will actually want to use the space – as opposed to a space where the needs of cyclists and pedestrians remain so obviously secondary to those of motor vehicles. A particularly egregious example of gesture expenditure are the cycling “patches” when the scheme as it stands is unlikely to bring about any significant increase in cycling as it does not properly address the safety of cyclists and certainly will not increase the perception of safety for cyclists. Therefore this scheme does not assist in bringing the level of exercise in the Borough up from its present shameful place of the worst in the country.
No serious thinking appears to have been given to cycling. In particular there does not appear to have been a Cycle Level of Service (CLOS) analysis. This should be done.

In the light of the above, Newham Cyclists advocate the scrapping of these plans and replacing them with something giving genuine priority to cyclists and pedestrians following one of the models outlined above.
Should the Council nevertheless persist in this “gesture scheme” Newham Cyclists object to the following features:
• It is vital that this whole section of Upton Lane be limited to 20mph, given the context outlined above. Furthermore, (a) a 20 mph limit is a the natural complement to steps taken to prevent fast exit from side roads, to facilitate pedestrians crossing the road, and to improve the general environment; (b) the curving line of the road makes travelling more than 20mph particularly dangerous. In the past Newham Council have objected to requests for 20mph limits on the grounds of objections from the bus companies. But there is no need for buses to travel at more than 20mph along this stretch of road.
• The Upton Cross and Romford Rd junctions should be made safe for cyclists to normal continental standards enabling them to avoid being “left hooked” by motor traffic and giving a safe option for right turns.
• St Georges Rd should have a cycle contraflow (as already contemplated as part of the LIP minor schemes) improvements, and, as a consequence provision for cyclists to turn right into and out of it should be made, as a matter of joined up thinking.
• We support the additional cycle parking but do not consider it sufficient – particularly as Upton Lane includes one of the very few cycle shops in Newham.
• We support removal of guardrails which just encourage motor vehicle to regard the road as a race track, but consider they should all be removed.
• Build out of pavements should be used to benefit pedestrians and cyclists rather than create additional parking space.

We support the removal of the cross hatch dead areas in the middle of the road and central bollards. This is space that could be made available for cycle lanes or tracks.

Bicycle

Readout from February Meeting

Well attended and lively as usual.  There is still a lot going on – much is positive.

  • We discussed the latest TfL consultation on Bow Flyover for pedestrian improvements – see the earlier post.
  • We discussed the recent Greenway diversion.  Whilst it is disappointing that the shorter diversion using Canning Rd was not chosen, there are some improvements to the chosen route planned for the immediate future: signage throughout,  improving the crossing of Manor Rd into  Leywick St and opening up more the pathway near Abbey Rd DLR.  The latter two are in any event  “ward audit” improvements.  It is heartening to see the efforts put into the ward audit bearing fruit.
  • We decided to object to Council plans for the Upton Corridor (i.e. Upton lane between West Ham Park and Romford Rd) on the grounds that the improvements (extra zebra crossings, raised table on side roads, removal of staggered crossings) needed to be accompanied by a 20 mph speed limit.
  • We agreed the general thrust of our vision for Stratford gyratory (see post of 22 February) which when it has received its final tweaking will be distributed to neighbouring boroughs, Councillors and LCC.  TfL are presently indicating a finishing date of 2019 for this project.  We raised the issue of how long the current Windmill Lane diversion was due to last.
  • Quietways news: (1) Newham Council is waiting to hear from TfL which of the planned second tranche of quietways in the borough (the northern quietway was in the first batch); (2) a pilot of delimiting solar lighting is being trialled on the Greenway around Upper St, although the Council’s aspiration is for high quality lighting along its whole length; (3) the Roding Way study is progressing.
  • Olympic Park news:  (1) we are attending, with the LCC campaigns manager,  a meeting on 4 March with LLDC, which has been responsible for the current substandard cycling provision; (2) consultants hired by the Council have already made some cycle friendly recommendations for Westfield Ave/Montfichet Rd.  The study is being extended to a broader area around Westfield where the cycle provision is shameful; (3) Northwall (formerly the Northern Loop Road) is currently redundant and closed but was identified as a potential leisure cycling asset; (4) we are in discussion with Waltham Forest Cyclists concerning improvements to the northern section of Temple Mills Lane to Ruckholt Rd (which is due for improvement under their mini-Holland scheme.  Temple Mills lane east has no been made a permanent bus/cyclist only link but there is room for improvement to remove conflicts with buses.
  • We agreed to have a talk at our next meeting about CLOS (Cycle Level Of Service) – a system for evaluating how cycle friendly a street/area is.  It is now becoming widely used (including by TfL and Newham Council)and is regarded as a good tool by the LCC.  We will have some serious training for those interested in the spring.
  • We agreed to submit observations on the Newham Local Plan and Statement suggesting some further cycle and pedestrian quietways which Newham should as a matter of planning policy protect for future development.
  • We decided to develop this website to have a (moderated) comments facility.
  • Our annual meeting on 30 March 2015 at Coffee E7 at 7.00p will include a light buffet.  If you have any nominations for posts (Co-ordinator, Secretary, Treasurer)  please lodge them via the contact details on this site.
  • Our first two rides for 2015 will be 22 March up the Lea Valley to Ware, and a Newham Ride on 4 April. See the events calendar.  The rest of the programme will now be put on the calendar.
  • The Council have prepared some good plans for the Silvertown Way/Canning Town area.

If you would like further details on any of these items please get in touch through the contact details on this site.

Phew

Bow Roundabout – TfL Proposals

Details of TfL’s proposals for Bow Roundabout have been released:

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/bow-vision

At last night’s meeting, Olawale took us through the discussions he has had with Tower Hamlets Wheelers, taking into account LCC’s standards for junctions.   His draft response and sketch map are attached to this post, as well as an article on Cycle Segregated Junctions from the last issue of London Cyclist.

This is an important issue and although it is only an interim measure, it is important that we push TfL to get it right. We will be submitting a response on behalf of Newham Cyclists, but individual responses are probably more important.

Please make sure you have your say!

London Cyclist Xmas 2014 edition_CS Jct explained article TfL Bow junction interim plans_consultation response draft Bow junction reference map

Stratford Gyratory: Our Vision

Stratford Gyratory is a key cycling node.  More than £1m is available for design and consultation of a new junction.  Here are the principles we are working on for its improvement from the cycling angle.

This link will open a drawing (which will need rotating clockwise).

Stratford Gyratory General Details 

In narrative:

  • The main axis for motorised traffic would be Stratford Broadway through to the Grove i.e. the A11.
  • Stratford Broadway to be bi-directional with segregated cycle lanes forming part of CS2 (on existing westbound carriageway).
  • Tramway Avenue sliproad closed.
  • A subsidiary traffic axis  from Leyton Rd / Angel lane through to Great Eastern Rd (eastern section to the Grove) to be single single bidirectional lanes with  cycle tracks and bus islands.
  • Eastbound, one way bus, taxi, delivery and cycle traffic only on Great Eastern Rd from the “Rhubarb” sculpture to Angel Lane, with cycle contraflow.
  • This leaves (essentially) a series of  T junctions (at (1)the “Rhubarb” sculpture), (2)Tramway Ave/Broadway, Broadway/Romford Rd,   (3) Grove/Great Eastern Rd  (4) Angel Lane/Great Eastern Rd.) These to have, in principle “hold left” arrangements to prevent left hooks and attractive options for cycles turning right.
  • Additional cycle parking at convenient points with large footfall.
  • Maintain and, in some areas  improve, existing facilities e.g. at pavement level on the Grove, the Grove Crescent contraflow, Oxford Rd, the eastbound bus lane in the Broadway.
  • 20mph throughout.

This form of design would bring huge public realm gains including the link between the Stratford Centre to Westfield; permit the repositioning of crossings and bus stops to more convenient locations; and reduce conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and motor traffic.

 

 

 

 

 

Newham Council and Cycle Superhighway 2

As long ago as 31 July 2103 Councillor Conor Mcauley, then Executive Member for Regeneration,  trumpeted in the Newham Recorder “Our vision is for Newham’s streets to be made more accessible for cyclists” and called for more of the Cycle Superhighway type of infrastructure in Newham.  He ended “We’ll keep lobbying TfL to do their bit and deliver a cycle hire scheme and a cycling network that will benefit all.”  This looked like a change of approach from the Council that had previously blocked Cycle Superhighway 2 through Newham. Completing CS2 to Ilford is one of Newham Cyclists Space for Cycling suggestions to which Councillor Patel of Manor Park signed up.  It was included in Newham Council’s mini-Holland bid, but this was unsuccessful.  Since then  we have seen  no sign that Newham Council has pressed for this and it now appears to be dropped from TfL’s Cycle superhighway programme.

This unsurprising  outcome is compounded by Newham Council’s approach to the existing CS2.  It has secured the removal of a key section providing protection for cyclists from being “left hooked” at the junction of Broadway and Tramway Avenue, leaving the current dogs breakfast, which needs a plethora of signs addressed to both drivers and cyclists to be careful. This change was demanded in the face of a safety audit that confirmed that this change made this junction more dangerous for cyclists.  The reason? As the Council eventually admitted, this was to accomodate “driver misbehaviour”.

On 17 September 2014 Councillor Corbett  told the Recorder “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.”

” We will return to install the final, agreed design later this year once the local development works are fully completed, and remain committed to provide safe cycling infrastructure across London.”

There has been no change to this unction, made more dangerous for cyclists by the actions of Newham Council itself.

 

P1000741

On 3 December 2014  a spokeswoman for the Council misleadingly told the Recorder that the removal was at the behest of TfL, wrongly said that the Council only closed the risky sliproad (which is still open) and that the changes were done following unspecified “concerns” raised by the police and cyclists. The Council have  now admitted  that these “concerns”  were expressed by three cyclists who happened to randomly stop when Council officials were looking at the junction, but they have still to reveal the nature of these “concerns” despite two freedom of Information requests concerning this junction.  There is no indication that these cyclists preferred the current situation to the protection provided by the CS2 with its “wands” i.e. the latest version provided by TfL.

At no time were Newham Cyclists consulted despite the latest in a series of claims that ” We value the views of Newham’s cycling community and are committed to ensuring that there are safe cycling routes in the borough.”

Greenway Closure

As many of you know, the section of the Greenway at the CS2 end has been closed for a staggering 45 week period, whilst Thames Water carry out essential repair work on the Channelsea Bridge.

The issue is not the closure, but the lack of alternative route, which is a complicated but unacceptable situation.  For once, LB Newham are not totally responsible, but they have not helped the situation.  Because the Greenway is not a Right of Way, but a Permissive Route, the regulations are different.  It seems that there is no actual obligation to provide an alternative route.  However the transport team at Newham are well aware that this is not good enough.  Part of the problem  seems to have been that the closure was only supposed to be for a month.  The change to almost a year was very last minute.

The decision not to use Canning Road (which was the route Newham Cyclists requested) as the alternative route seems to be based on 2 main issues.

1. It is a route used by emergency vehicles

2. It is not usually the done thing to put traffic lights at the bottom of a hill (!).

Some of you will have seen the very detailed piece on the route here:  https://www.easternism.co.uk/?p=107

The lack of signage and the difficulty of crossing Manor Road is obvious.

This morning Arnold, Bill and I met with Richard Wadey to ride through the route.   The signage should have gone up weeks ago and it seems to have fallen through the gaps for it to be checked.  Richard is pushing this forward.  It may be that some ‘guerilla signage’ is needed in the meantime!

Some of the improvements that have come out of the ‘ward audits’ we have done as a group with Richard, as well as other improvements that have already been agreed would make the route much more cycle friendly and those improvements are being pushed by Richard as well.  These include access into Leywick Street.  The bus stop opposite has approval to be moved, so that a cycle crossing can be put in – the barriers will obviously be removed.  The concrete bollards which are currently in place will be replaced with a single removable bollard.  This would mean that as you come down the Greenway ramp and use the pavement to cycle under the bridge and then the already signed shared use section, you would be able to safely cross Manor Road and enter Leywick Street.

Timing on this is unclear, but Richard is hoping to be able to report back to us before Monday’s meeting.

What none of this helps, is the fact that this alternative route is a very long way around.  We have asked Richard to further investigate the Canning Road alternative.  If anyone knows of any other locations where there are traffic lights at the bottom of a hill, let us know!

 

Bicycle

Readout from January Meeting and Review of the Olympic Park

On 26 January we held another lively and well attended meeting.  Forest Gate Councillor Ellie Robinson attended with two Newham Council Officers.

The main item on the agenda was discussion of how Crossrail money for environmental improvements around Forest Gate and Maryland Stations could be spent.  See earlier post for the initial drawings.  Plenty of concrete suggestions were made to improve the the initial plans as far as cycling is concerned and these were taken away by the Council officers.  We emphasised to Councillor Robinson how important it was to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists, including by imposing a 20mph limit.  She took a lively interest and invited further representations from individuals by e-mail to her Council e-mail address.

There was also an outline of our vision for redesigning the Stratford gyratory .  TfL and Newham Council will soon be starting serious design work for which £1m in funding is available.  Newham cyclists are working up detailed representations which will be fed into this process, including the LCC Infrastructure review group.

There were other short updates on some positive developments: (1) the Aldgate to Hainault Quietway as it goes through north Newham.  This is in TfL’s second tranche of quietways and we are ahead of our neighbouring boroughs in planning this; (2) the first fruits of the Ward Audit  – with 19 permeability schemes for “urban Newham” already having been approved by the Council and the other 400+ being prioritised for approval; (3) the preliminary results of the initial study for remedial work on Westfield Ave and Montfichet Rd ;  (4) news that a further study of how to improve the wider  Olympic Park/Westfield area for cyclists in view of the possible adoption of the roads by the Council  is going out to tender; and (5) an indication that the Roding Valley cycle and footway study is progressing.

Less promising was the continued dog’s breakfast that is the junction of Tramway Avenue and the Broadway.  It is a key demand that this be improved as part of the reworking of Stratford gyratory.  This episode acts as a timely reminder that our input is vital to avoid poor designs which ultimately waste public money.

Finally, our draft ride programme for 2015 was circulated.  Watch this space.

In relation to item (4), on 30 January a group of Newham Cyclists rode around the Olympic Park area with two Newham Council sustainable transport officers, looking particularly at the periphery of the area and points of access.  From this it became clear that a coherent and useful study must  cover as wide an area as possible, even if it strayed slightly outside the borough.  Some good news is that Temple Mill Lane east is to be permanently bus/cycles only.  This is something that we have campaigned for over several years.

We also took the opportunity to discuss ideas  for the Canning Town to Excel Centre area.

It has become clear what opportunity there is to link these various improvements, together with the Greenway and the Lea Valley to create a major generator for both leisure and utility cycling in Newham.