Crossrail – Manor Park consultation

The attached have been received by Manor Park residents.

Despite discussions, there is no provision for cycling at all (with the exception of a few racks round the corner).  The leaflet states that this is NOT the final agreed scheme, so we need to get as many responses as possible demanding cycle provision.

The email address for responses is: newhamcrossrail@newham.gov.uk

Crossrail Manor Park

Crossrail Manor Park 2

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

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.

Crossrail Plans – Forest Gate

The proposed plans for the Crossrail complementary measures are attached.  As with Manor Park, these are proposals only and comments are invited.  We have invited the Forest Gate councillors as well as Murray Woodbury to our monthly meeting on the 26th January, so please have a look ahead of the meeting and bring your comments along to the meeting!

FG Public Realm masterplan FG Photographic record Overview ML Public Realm Masterplan Maryland artist impressions ML Traffic modelling ML Furniture Strategy ML Spatial Strategy FG artists impressions FG – Traffic modelling FG Furniture Strategy FG Spatial Strategy

Crossrail plans – Manor Park

The proposed plans for the Crossrail Complementary schemes for Manor Park are attached.  This is what was submitted by Newham to Crossrail to get the funding secured but the plans are not final, hence our planned meetings with councillors and council staff to give our input.  Please peruse and let us have your comments!

MP Traffic modelling MP Artists Impressions MP Furniture Strategy MP Public Realm Masterplan MP Spatial Strategy MP Visual Analyis MP Photograhic record

Newham Council mislead over CS2

Newham Council have now belatedly provided information about the removal of CS2 at Tramway Avenue.  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 the cycle lane was removed in the face of a safety audit pointing out the reduction in the protection for cyclists.

Nevertheless the Council’s subsequent conduct can only be described as grossly misleading.  Here is the statement made to the Newham Recorder published on  3 December.  :

“CS2 route was removed by TfL, not the council, who only closed the risky sliproad.”

In fact Newham Council was the driving force behind the removal the protected cycle lane.  If it was just a case of closing the sliproad there would have been no need at all to remove CS2.   Newham Cyclists would welcome the closing of Tramway Avenue.  It is one of our 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. The police did raise concerns at an early stage but participated in the safety audit that took place.  The “risky” sliproad remains open.

“We value the views of Newham’s cycling community and are committed to ensuring that there are safe cycling routes in the borough”

Why  not, then, consult on this high profile action to revert back to a dangerous junction layout for cyclists?  The Council have resisted since 2009 our suggestion for a cycling liaison group and consistently resist 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.

 

 

Inactive Newham

Indeed, Newham, an Olympic Borough, is the least active local authority in England!   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.  A prime example is Stratford High St.  Several million pounds were made available to the Council  to improve this stretch of road in the run up to the Olympics.  No cycling facilities were installed,  but the money was used  for multi-coloured vanity balls.  Then  the Council blocked the early development of  Cycle Superhighway 2 in the borough.    Since the Olympics, an extension to Cycle Superhighway  has had to be retrofitted to the recently regenerated Stratford High St,  and despite the Council later reversing  its opposition to extending  CS2 to Ilford,  the legacy is that TfL no longer seem interested.    Another serious example is The Council’s diversion of earlier TFL  funding intended primarily for transport schemes to other purposes.  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  putting together an excellent mini-Holland bid and the very thorough ward audit exercise of cycle permeability.  At the political level the Council does at least professes support for cycling in its public statements.  However a series of recent examples looks like a disturbing  trend of  casual negligence (at best) at the political level:

  • Protection for cyclists has been actively removed by Newham Council  intervention  by  the removal of  Cycle Superhighway 2 at the junction of Tramway Avenue.  See this 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.  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  Tower Hamlets Council is now consulting on making virtually the whole borough 20mph.  This is just the latest in the series of local authorities  (even stretching to New York) looking to reduce speed limits.  Newham Council, however, remains behind the times.
  • Cycle permeability on yet another one way street in “urban Newham” ,  Cramner  Rd,  was blocked on the grounds of lack of width of the carriageway , despite this road being no narrower that the adjacent  two way streets. Cycle contra flows on one way streets  are now  encouraged by new Department for Transport rules.  Again Newham Council is behind the times.
  • The apparent  inadvertent removal of cycle parking at various locations, without any effort to put this right.

Promoting cycling is a well recognised  easy winner for increasing regular exercise, and terrific value for money.  Hackney, another neighbouring borough, has achieved one of the highest cycling rates in the country.  Newham is recognised as having very great untapped potential for everyday cycling with sources of funding available.  What appears lacking is the political will to even match the examples set by our neighbours

 

Cycle Superhighway 2 at Tramway Avenue: a sorry tale

An earlier post gives a short film clip of the evolution of the evolution of CS2 at this junction.  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.  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 “a number of serious near misses”.

“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.”

Newham Council were formally asked for information concerning the evidence for this change.  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.  I you would like to see the actual response please e-mail at newham@lcc.org

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.   It will be completed according to the original plan when that work is completed.

(2) Newham Council then  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 £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.