We have prepared a paper on Cycling in Newham. It starts with evidence to show that Newham lags behind other boroughs in reducing traffic accidents and public health; and its long recognised high potential for cycling has not been realised.
It seeks the adoption of an effective cycle strategy to underpin a coherent approach – giving priority to walking and cycling over motor traffic.
The paper provides examples where past and current deficiencies in this regard have exacerbated our road safety and health problems.
Traditionally our October ride to Rainham RSPB is blessed with fine weather and this year was no exception. A record turn out of 16 gathered at the Greenway Common Cafe
and we picked up 3 more as we started along the Greenway. Fortunately we had two of the group’s ace photographers (Robin and Steve) to capture it the day.
Braving the A13…
brought the reward of an open day at the national Trusts’ lovely Rainham Hall and a quick stop to inspect the beautiful gardens.
The Thames was as atmospheric as ever.
A coffee stop at the RSPB centre (which now has bike hire and other outdoor activities) and a visit to the site of a house stayed in by Dracula led us to the Ingrebourne Valley and the train back from Upminister.
On my calculation 25 miles, almost all off road.
On 30 September Newham Cyclists had a crack team of marshals on duty to lead the latest in the regular Bike from Boleyn rides, from the statue at Green Street to the London stadium, along the Greenway. This is a partnership with “Bike from Boleyn”
A joyous occasion, which started in glorious weather and was blessed, this time, with a win by West Ham – much appreciated by those who obtained tickets in the draw or for marshalling.
A range of bikes took advantage of the refreshed Greenway, including unicycles….
and a cargo bike. Here we are at our destination:
On Sunday 1 October three of us braved an adverse (but mistaken) weather forecast and were rewarded with a beautiful 40 mile ride from Epping, through the countryside of the Hertfordshire/Essex border around Harlow and back to Epping. this was new to our calendar and Steve is to be congratulated for putting it together. A particular highlight was the newly opened Henry More Foundation.
Fortunately we had enough money that none of us had to resort to the free lunch in the Fox.
The next ride is Sunday 8 October to Rainham and Upminister.
A well attended and lively meeting on 25 September.
- A Greenway Activity Plan proposed by Newham Council to encourage use of the Greenway. A number of us were happy to volunteer to ride the Greenway at different times to encourage use of the Greenway and keep our eye out for maintenance issues. Also we might bring “Fix Your Ride” there on suitable and pre-publicised occasions. If you are interested in participating in either of these activities let me know.
- We will continue participation, as far as we can, in Community Roadwatch, which undertakes speed checks with the police which can result in reminder letters to speeding drivers. This with a view to being able to suggest a wider variety of roads for this exercise in future.
- We discussed a general paper on Cycling in Newham aimed at Councillors. This will be finalised.
- We agreed to continue our partnership with AAA cycle club for children at Canning Town. There will be a final “Fix Your Ride” session at the Arc on 11 November and we will factor in participation in our planning for next year.
- There was general approval for our future meetings to be held in different parts of the borough.
- Steve, the Ride Coordinator, will start planning our ride calendar for 2018 and welcomes ideas for rides and volunteers for leading them.
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
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.
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.
With apologies to all the ride scheduled for 25 June has been cancelled for personal reasons.
We profited from the usual good weather to reprise our earlier River Ride, with Steve leading, despite this being a flatter and shorter ride than his usual.
We ventured very slightly south of the river overcoming all obstacles, notably a lack of a lift on the Greenwich side of the foot tunnel.
Instead of photos here is a video of the route taken.
The meeting took place a week earlier than usual and in a new venue, the Terrence Brown Arc in Canning Town, currently the centre of the charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve (AAA).
- We started with a discussion of the breakup of proposed Quietway 6 by side roads from the new Chobham Manor Development in Stratford There are four side roads cutting through the cycle track. This is being taken up with Newham Council who are responsible for designing the Quietway. We discussed the need to document setting out the “critical fails” on this route to alert stakeholders in this route. Since the meeting we have also been pursing an audit ride with Council Officials.The conversation also drew attention to the frequent closures in the QEII Olympic Park and the lack of information on alternative routes.
- We discussed the prospect of working with AAA who are running a cycle club for children on Saturdays between 10.30 and 2.00pm as part of their wider Saturday children’s activities. AAA has good facilities and funding and working with them would fit with some key objectives of Newham Cyclists. However any offer from us must be sustainable and beneficial to us. With this in mind we decided to put together a pilot programme of a some “Fix My Bike” and advice sessions aimed at the children and their parents/guardians leading to a family ride in September. If you would be interested in participating please let me know.
- The Forest Gate “Fix My Ride” stall (second Saturday of the month at Woodgrange market) has been a success on the two occasions we have piloted it. Ways of improving it were discussed. It will run on 10 June but the July session will be an enhanced stall 9with a Dr Bike) at the Forest Gate Festival on 15 July. This may include a bike jumble. Since the meeting we have received the GOOD NEWS that our application for a grant from Newham Council for equipment and publicity for this venture has been successful.
- We will meet for our evening guided tour of Waltham Forest mini-Holland facilities at 7.15 on 26 June outside Coffee 7 in Forest Gate.
- We are still seeking to arrange a meeting with Councillors Murphy (responsible for cycling) and Christie (with overall responsibility for strategy).
- We were alerted to infrastructure issues at Bank Junction (a trial closure to motor vehicles for 18 months) and royal Mint St (developers restricting CS3).
- We did not think it practical for Newham Cyclists to volunteer to be a pilot campaigning group for LCC in respect of TfL’s Living Neighbourhood initiative, given our limited resources and the uncertain response of Newham Council.