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.
On Sunday morning, thanks to the nomination I received from the group, I got to ride in a celebration of Women’s Cycling, on closed roads in central London as part of the events preceding The Women’s Tour.
It was a short ride but the women taking part were all there because of the part they play in inspiring other women to ride – whether by providing training, or leading rides, or campaigning to make the city a place where women feel safe to cycle with their children. Some of the other LCC local groups were represented as was LCC HQ. There were bikes of all shapes and sizes – cargo bikes, side by sides, an elliptical bike and even a penny farthing!
Both the Mayor of London and his walking & cycling commissioner, Will Norman, were there to wave us off as we rode out on part of the route that was ridden much faster later in the day by the elite women in the final stage of the Tour; along Piccadilly, Regents Street, Haymarket and around Trafalgar Square, before finishing on Pall Mall.
We had a great day on Saturday at Woodgrange Market, helping a number of people of all ages and from all backgrounds get their bikes back on the road. One of our favourite visitors was Jan who had not ridden her bike for 4 years and wanted to get back on it. She had a lovely dutch Gazelle bike which had a flat tyre & needed some general TLC. We helped her replace the inner tube & get the wheel back on her bike. She was spotted riding around Forest Gate the next day!
Our aim is to teach as many people as possible – especially women – to deal with basic problems, in particular fixing a puncture!
Our next stall is on Saturday 10th June – see you there!
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. Â Please join us if you can.
As per the previous posts – Maryland plans attached.
None of these posts are the full details from the submission as the file was too big for the site, but hopefully these extracts will give a good idea of the proposals.
Newham Council have now belatedly provided information about the removal of CS2 at Tramway Avenue. Â The documents provided confirm the story of TfL that the changes were driven by Newham Council because of “confusion” and “driver misbehaviour” and also reveal that theÂ cycle lane was removed in the face of a safety audit pointing out the reduction in the protection for cyclists.
Nevertheless the Council’sÂ subsequent conduct can only be described as grossly misleading. Â Here is the statement made to the Newham Recorder published onÂ Â 3 December. Â :
“CS2 route was removed by TfL, not the council, who only closed the risky sliproad.”
In fact Newham Council was theÂ driving force behind theÂ removal the protected cycle lane. Â If it was just a case of closing the sliproad there would have been no need at all to remove CS2. Â Newham Cyclists would welcome the closing ofÂ Tramway Avenue. Â It is one of ourÂ long term aims.
“Following concerns raised by the police and cyclists and a number of serious near misses on this route, a decision to close the Tramway Avenue sliproad was taken in September”
In fact the documents provided by both TfL and Newham Council do not reveal any concerns by cyclists, particularly in its latest – “wands” version. We shall be following this up.Â The police did raise concerns at an early stage but participated in the safety audit that took place. Â The “risky” sliproad remains open.
“We value the views of Newhamâ€™s cycling community and are committed to ensuring that there are safe cycling routes in the borough”
WhyÂ Â not, then, consult on this high profile action to revert back to a dangerous junction layout for cyclists?Â The Council have resisted since 2009 our suggestion for a cycling liaison group and consistentlyÂ resistÂ our suggestions for greater safety such as 20mph. The Council’s values and the level of their commitment can be judged by their actions rather than their words.
Indeed, Newham, an Olympic Borough, is the least active local authority in England!Â Â How has this happened?
One clue may be found in Newham Council’s historic antipathy at the political level to promoting cycle provision, even when this would not have cost it anything extra.Â A prime example is Stratford High St.Â Several million pounds were made available to the CouncilÂ to improve this stretch of road in the run up to the Olympics.Â No cycling facilities were installed, Â but the money was used Â for multi-coloured vanity balls.Â ThenÂ the Council blocked the early development ofÂ Cycle Superhighway 2 in the borough.Â Â Â Since the Olympics, an extension to Cycle SuperhighwayÂ has had to be retrofitted to the recently regenerated Stratford High St, Â and despite the Council later reversing Â its opposition to extendingÂ CS2 to Ilford, Â the legacy is that TfL no longer seem interested.Â Â Â Another serious example is The Council’s diversion of earlier TFL Â funding intended primarily for transport schemes to other purposes.Â Furthermore Newham Councillors on the Olympic Planning Committee supported the minimalist approach to cycling mentioned earlier.
There is some good work being done at official level in the Council, such as Â putting together an excellent mini-Holland bid and the very thorough ward audit exercise of cycle permeability. Â At the political level the Council does at least professes support for cycling in its public statements.Â However a series of recent examples looks like a disturbingÂ trend of Â casual negligence (at best) at the political level:
- Protection for cyclists has been actively removed by Newham Council Â interventionÂ byÂ the removal of Â Cycle Superhighway 2 at the junction of Tramway Avenue.Â See thisÂ website for the full story.
- Our proposal for a 20mph limit on Upper Street, a residential rat run was refused, on the grounds that this was a bus route.Â Putting to one side the question why buses would want to travel at more than 20 mph along this road, it is notable that our neighbouring borough Â Tower Hamlets Council is now consulting on making virtually the whole borough 20mph.Â This is just the latest in the series of local authorities Â (even stretching to New York) looking to reduce speed limits.Â Newham Council, however, remains behind the times.
- Cycle permeability on yet another one way street in “urban Newham” ,Â Cramner Â Rd, Â was blocked on the grounds of lack of width of the carriageway , despite this road being no narrower that the adjacent Â two way streets. Cycle contra flows on one way streetsÂ are now Â encouraged by new Department for Transport rules.Â Again Newham Council is behind the times.
- The apparent Â inadvertent removal of cycle parking at various locations, without any effort to put this right.
Promoting cycling is a well recognised Â easy winner for increasing regular exercise, and terrific value for money.Â Hackney, another neighbouring borough, has achieved one of the highest cycling rates in the country.Â Newham is recognised as having very great untapped potential for everyday cycling with sources of funding available.Â What appears lacking is the political will to even match the examples set by our neighbours
An earlier post gives a short film clip of the evolution of the evolution of CS2 at this junction.Â First TfL installed CS2, then an island was put in to protect cyclists and then this as relaced with “wands” and finally this section of CS2 was removed altogether.Â All in the space of a few weeks.
On the front page of the Newham Recorder on 17 September indicated:
Cllr Ian Corbett, mayoral adviser for environment and infrastructure, said concerns about CS2 had been raised following â€œa number of serious near missesâ€.
â€œThe Council has made clear to TfL the urgent need to fully address all safety issues at this location and review the design proposals,â€ he said. â€œThis should be done in conjunction with key stakeholders such as the council, police, emergency services and cycling groups.â€
Newham Council were formally asked for information concerning the evidence for this change.Â Despite a legal obligation to answer and giving themselves more time to do so they have not, and having received a reminder (copied to Councillor Corbett) nothing has been forthcoming at the time of this post.
TfLhowever have, belatedly, responded to a request for information.Â I you would like to see the actual response please e-mail at email@example.com
Whilst the response takes some untangling, it is clear that:
(1) TfL did not construct CS2 here as originally planned due to adjacent building work.Â Â It will be completed according to the original plan when that work is completed.
(2) Newham Council thenÂ agreed to the wand solution, but when they raised concerns it was considered by a safety auditor.
(3) The safety auditor is reported as noting “that the risk of collision with left-turning vehicles pre-dates the scheme and that the wands are having the effect of reducing the speed of turning vehicles, and therefore reducing the likelihood and severity of any collision when compared to the pre-construction layout. It was also recognised that until the final scheme can be delivered, options are limited. Removing the Cycle Superhighway from this section of Broadway altogether would not be recommended as the risk would remain, along with any new potential risks by removing the dedicated space for cyclists and conspicuous road surface.”
(3) TfL ‘s response and the supporting document indicate that the priniciple concern with the wands was confusion “poor driver behaviour” for example instances of drivers missing the turn into Tramway Avenue and backing up.
Newham Cyclists’ view is that the wands were the best of the options used from the perspective of cycle safety, but believed it was not properly signed, nor given sufficient time to bed in.
From the above it is reasonable to draw the following conclusions:
(a) Councillor Corbett has been less than forthcoming about Newham Council’s role, which has resulted in the waste of over Â£3000 of precious public funding for cycling facilities.
(b) The Council is not willing to substantiate his allegation of “a number of serious near misses” which is far different to confusion and poor driver behaviour.
(c) Newham Council has actively sacrificed cyclists protection in the face of a safety audit to accommodate driver misbehaviour and for the sake of a few signs.
At no time before or since have Newham Cyclists or LCC been consulted over these changes despite the Council’s apparent conversion to consultation.
Our last meeting of the year will be a social event – with a few bits of business thrown in! Â We will be holding it at the Wanstead Tap and Dan will be laying on some bread and cheese to go with the beer.
Tuesday 25th November 7pm
So that we can cater accordingly, can you please let us know if you are coming along – just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Following on from the conversation at our meeting on Monday, I have been doing some reading up on Sinusoidal Speed Humps.
For those who are interested, there is a good summary here:Â bit.ly/1rzPf1K