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.
This meeting was well attended and interesting. We were particularly indebted to our guests, Councillor Christie, Newham’s Cabinet Member for Strategy, Terry Patterson from the Board of Trustees and Officers of Newham Council with responsibilities for cycling who have been so open and helpful over the year. They promoted lively and interesting debate to follow the business section of the meeting – a good accompaniment to the excellent refreshments put on by the Greenway Common Cafe
For the record, the annual report was presented:
NEWHAM CYCLISTS ANNUAL REPORT 2016 – 17;
This includes a ride list and a list of consultation responses.
The Annual Accounts for 2016-17 agreed:
NC accounts report 2016-17.
The same Officers were voted in to the same posts for 2017 -18:
Kerena Fussell and Arnold Ridout – Joint Co-ordinators
Bill Bremer – Treasurer
Oliwala Ajibola – Local Schemes Lead
Steve Smith – Rides Co-ordinator.
The weather had still not particularly warmed up for the start of the second in our consecutive run of three Sunday rides. After Cake Mountain we were intent on a flat, leisurely off road circuit round Newham . A goodly band of participants included a contingent from the Forest Gate Women’s Institute assembled at the Greenway Common Cafe. Our 15 mile route started down the Greenway, and continued through Beckton to the Royal Docks, stopping only for a breather/puncture repair. We then took in nature reserves at East india Dock and the Bow Ecology Park. The latter is newly linked to a back entrance to Canning Town Station. Lunch at Trinity Buoy Wharf was swiftly followed by another coffee stop at Cody Dock, whilst all the time the weather was getting more cheerful. We returned to the Greenway under a blue sky.
Thanks once more to Robin for some excellent photos.
A rather more select band of attendees than usual, but enough for lively discussion.
- Suzannah Walker from the Beckton and Royal Docks Neighbourhood Team came to discuss possibilities to increase cycling in that area of the borough which benefits from some quiet and off road routes. Ideas centres on adjusting some Newham Rides later in the year, leading bespoke “Tour of Beckton” rides and bringing the market stall to an event.
- We discussed the TfL consultation for the Bow area, for which Olawale will be preparing a collective response by the deadline of 23 April, but individual responses are also encouraged.
- Rides coming up – April 9, Kent Coast is attracting outside interest. The Bike from Boleyn Ride on 22 April is gaining momentum. Any further volunteers for marshalling this will be most welcome – contact me.
- Our approach for a meeting with Councillors Clark and Murphy, who now have responsibility for cycling infrastructure had a speedy positive response from Councillor Murphy. If such a meeting takes place, as is likely, it will give us a chance to raise some high level issues such as the Borough cycle Strategy, our vision, the need for sustainable transport “planning gain”, the Silvertown Tunnel .
- Westfield have put in a planning application to LLDC for expansion – partly using space now occupied by a car park. . The sustainable transport options and opportunities will need to be pressed.
- Other upcoming events: Kerena is proposing to lead a ride to the “Leading our Lives” sponsored ride at Redbridge Cycling Centre on Good Friday. A Cyclotopia event will be taking place at the Velodrome on 11 June- providing access to various activities at various fees. There are a series of events relating to the Lea Valley which look interesting.
- Meeting with Councillors Tripp and Akiwowo re Maryland fixed for 5 April. Anyone interested in attending contact me for details. [Since the meeting we have also had an invite from Council Officials to discuss, at short notice, both the Stratford Gyratory and Maryland.]
- Last month there was some interest in providing a rota to help with the cycling aspects of a young persons project in the Arc in the Park, Hermit Road Park each Saturday. We decided to pursue this by taking a look one Saturday to see what was involved. Again if you think you might be interest get in touch with me and I can include you in the correspondence.
- The arrangements for the Annual Meeting on 24 April are progressing.
- We started with a presentation from Paula Blake from the charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve which helps young people from the Arc in the Park in Hermit Road Park. They are funded for, and gearing up to run, a cycle club on Saturdays aimed especially at those with disabilities. They are looking for cycle-interested volunteers to help their employed sessional workers. No special cycling qualifications are needed. This sounded an interesting and worthwhile project and on initial soundings it looked like it might be possible to get a rota of interested helpers from Newham Cyclists.
If you would be interested in joining such a rota please let me know and I can provide more details.
This charity also has places on the Ride 100 available. Again, if you are interested please contact me.
- There was a report back from those who went on the Greenway inspection ride with the sustainable Transport Office from newham council on 24 February. This was a worthwhile exercise. It seems some gates will be removed as lighting and CCTV is installed and 24 hour opening is likely to come to the stretch between Upper St and Stratford High St. Work on a ramp providing a link to the Channelsea Path (and Stratford Town Centre) has started. Some remedial work was identified as were instances of bad planning of the works (e.g. gates being painted which were about to be removed) It does not look like the section of the Greenway between the Stratford High St and the View Tube will be open until at least 2020.
Problems to look out for: vents set in the path which are awkward for bikes, misaligned “cycle tiles”, school parking at Brampton Manor (which also blocks ambulance access to Newham Hospital!), chicanes and 24 hour opening along the whole length.
- We discussed the draft plans for Maryland Crossrail “improvements” which were very poor and if anything made the area worse for cyclists. Various suggestions immediately emerged to provide benefits from cyclists. Olawale will gather these and make an alternative plan which can be put to interested Councillors. Please look at the plan and send in your suggested improvements in order to help compile an alternative, more cycle friendly proposal.
- There has been a cabinet reshuffle in Newham which has seen anti-cycling Councillor Corbett no longer responsible for transport infrastructure. We decided to approach the new Cabinet member responsible for cycling.
- We decided to examine the possibility of holding our annual meeting at the (re-opening) View Tube.
- The grant application for the monthly market stall in Forest Gate has been made but may take a few weeks to process. In the meantime we decided to run a pilot a session on 11 March.
- We are compiling a list of marshals for the big Bike from Boleyn Ride on 22 April. If you can help please let me know.
- Westfield Bike user Group are holding an event on 2 June – details are still to be confirmed, but we have been asked if we would like to take part in some way.
- The transition to the new website is progressing.
- Some of our members are taking part in Spin for SmartWorks this week – raising money for SmartWorks by cycling 500 miles.
- Also aiming to cycle 500 miles is the Leading Our Lives youth group. They are looking for some cyclists to come along on Good Friday (14th April) to Redbridge Cycling Centre to help them clock up the miles. Please contact Kerena for details if you’d like to help out and be able to feel righteous about all the Easter Eggs you eat on Sunday!
It was standing room only at our January meeting and a wide variety of interesting issues were considered. Please therefore forgive the long post. If you would like further details on any of these matters please get in touch.
- We decided to hold our annual meeting on 26 April 2017, venue to be confirmed. There will be some catering. All ideas for speakers or events gratefully received.
- We decided to progress the idea of taking a monthly stall at Woodgrange Market on the second Saturday of the month (except winter) from 10 am to 2 pm, to offer minor bike repairs (with a strong teaching element) to promote cycling; to promote LCC and Newham Cyclists; and to have a jumble of unused bike equipment. We agreed to apply for a grant for tools and other essential equipment and to use some of our existing funds for this purpose, initially £100 to establish a stock of spares.
- The transfer to a new website is proceeding . The new site (which is now in use) is being degliched and ought to offer new possibilities to communicate, such as e-mail alerts.
- Two charities have offered us places on the summer Ride 100 – should anyone want to take this up please get in touch.
- We decided to invite the local charity Aspire, Ambition, Achieve to our next meeting to talk more of their proposed Saturday club for children based in Hermit Rd Park.
- Steve outlined the ride programme. He is intending to reschedule the Greenstead Ride that was rained off. The next rides are a country ride around the Hoo Pensinsula on 12 February and a short family West Ham Heritage Ride in conjunction with the Bike from Boleyn Campaign on 4 March.
- There is enormous activity on infrastructure at the moment, illustrated by number of outstanding consultations at the time of the meeting.Thanks to Olawale’s efforts we have been more active than ever in promoting good infrastructure.The outcome of the regular update meeting with Newham Council’s Sustainable Transport Officer before Christmas is available in chart form. Get in touch if you would like to see it or discuss any particular infrastructure development (photos help).
If there are particular infrastructure concerns they can be raised with us.
The meeting appreciated the need to try to influence plans as they were being formed; the need to photograph and report (via ourselves) facilities not in good order, such as gates left open. Generally when these have been raised with the Council there is a positive response.
Issues which aroused particularly strong discussion were the Greenway (for which we will now seek a ride with Council officials) and events in the QE Olympic Park (which is also being looked at by LCC centrally). We also decided to assist those who had been waiting longer than they should for on-street secure cycle parking agreed by the Council.
- Finally we discussed two disturbing local Labour Party developments:
First, West Ham Ward passed a motion seeking primary legislation to make it mandatory for cyclists to use cycle lanes. It was pointed out that this was a retrograde battle fought and lost some years ago in the redraft of the Highway Code. Also it was inappropriate in a borough where the cycle lanes can be very substandard (CS2 Warton Rd, Romford Rd) and the Council has even insisted on the removal of a protective lanes at a patently dangerous slip road (Tramway Ave) in order to accommodate driver misbehaviour. We have sought advice from LCC and agreed to engage with this issue on social media and in the forthcoming borough insert to the LCC magazine.
Second, a motion was put at the Labour Group for the Council to reverse its position of support for the Silvertown Tunnel and to call for the project to be cancelled. although this was in line with recently expressed deep concerns about the project by the Council this motion was wrecked by an amendment proposed by a Cabinet Member. The meeting noted this development with deep disappointment given the significant environmental degradation that this project will cause.
Newham cyclists are fielding (at least) one table for the Bike From Boleyn Group’s Quiznight on Friday 13 January at 7.30pm at West Ham Supporters Club, Castle St. This is essentially a fundraiser but two prizes already secured are two taster sessions at the Velodrome and tea for two at the House of Commons.
If you would like to come along please do. It would assist if you let me know in advance.
Our Next Meeting …
will be at Coffee7, Forest Gate, at 7.30pm (note the new time) on 30 January.
Steve’s Ride to Greenstead is scheduled for 15 January.
We are looking into having some kind of workshop – probably at Forest Gate market. Plans still at an early stage.
- We have lodged objections to the conversion of Bridge H14 in the Olympic Park to vehicular traffic (7/12/16).
- We made representations in respect of a traffic scheme for roads off High St North in Manor Park.
- We have been receiving plans for the Tower Hamlets section of the proposed Quietway 6 (from Victoria Park to Fairlop). They are not good, unfortunately.
- Just before Christmas three of us had one of the regular catch up meetings with Newham Council’s Sustainable Transport Officer. As usual Richard was open and informative.
Headlines:- The ramp at Twelve Trees Crescent is now open making it much easier to get from Three Mills to Cody Dock along the Lea Pathway. However the completion of the path from Canning Town is now so delayed that an (unsatisfactory) cycle diversion is being signposted.
– The Greenway improvements (Quietway 2.1) comprising lighting, longer opening, some resurfacing, more ramps, some targeted training- are beginning to be put in place. This will be complemented by the long awaited examination of these sequencing of the lights at the A13 flyover. These improvements will provide a key artery for cycling through Newham.
– Some improvements to Quietway 6 through north Newham are being put in place, but there remain some critical uncertainties over key junctions crossing at Leyton Rd, Leytonstone Rd and Woodgrange Rd. Astonishingly the Council have recently introduced pavement parking for vehicles in Cemetery Rd.
-The Council are planning to extend cycle improvements from Silvertown Way (delayed further whilst more remodelling is done for TfL) along North Woolwich Rd.
– Stratford Gyratory work is envisaged to start in August 2017.
– Some improvements to CS3 designed to improve access to Barking could bring cycle benefits to Jenkins Lane. The cycle parking under the Westfield bridge is well used, but closed between midnight and 5.00am.
– We have been provided with an early draft of a long awaited Cycle Strategy for Newham. It includes an assessment of the main routes through Newham (which are mostly very sub-standard) and an interesting factual introduction: Cycling has increased as a share of travel in recent years but the biggest increase has been on public transport (buses), whilst motor vehicle use and walking has declined; less than half the households in Newham own a car.
A new chart of ongoing infrastructure issues in the light of this meeting is available on our website.
Please get in touch if you would like any further information.