We benefited from Rosalind Readhead providing a talk and stimulating lively and interesting discussion. Â Rosalind is an independent mayoral candidate promoting a policy of car free days and active travel,Â particularly in central London.
She cited a recent study on the health effects of private motor vehicles in London. Â some of theÂ figures were very telling. This is a selection:
- Â 67% of all car journeys could be completed by bicycle in 20 minutes.
- 75 sq kms of London is devoted to car parking.
- 9,500 deaths in London each year can be associated with air pollution.
- Road closures can cause 75% of traffic to “evaporate”.
Her message was that, at the global level, Â climate change demanded action; whilst at the local level the adverse health effects of private motor vehicles threatened the existence of the NHS as a service provided free at the point of delivery.
Drawing on the example of Seville she advocated that local areas should be prepared with a detailed plan to promote cycling and other forms of active travel Â which will be available when when the political opportunity arises. Â This should include a proper cycling network, as opposed to the current “labyrinth” that is the central London grid.
On the business side (a) we discussed the approach to the forthcoming initial planning meeting on the Stratford gyratory, Â (b) decided to take up an offer from Murray Woodburn from Newham Council to discuss in detail the cycling aspects of the Forest Gate Crossrail improvements, (c) decided to seek details of theÂ junction planned at Â Stratford High St/Sugarhouse Lane and (d) progressed our arrangements for a forthcoming open meeting with Living Streets – now 2 November at 7.30pm, venue to be confirmed.
On 26 January we held another lively and well attended meeting. Â Forest Gate Councillor Ellie Robinson attended with two Newham CouncilÂ Officers.
The main item on the agenda was discussion of how Crossrail moneyÂ for environmental improvements around Forest Gate and Maryland Stations could be spent. Â See earlier post for the initial drawings. Â 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. Â We emphasised to Councillor Robinson how important it was to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists, including by imposing a 20mph limit. Â 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 . Â TfL and Newham Council will soon be starting serious design work for which Â£1m in funding is available. Â Newham cyclists are working up detailed representations which will be fed into this process,Â includingÂ the LCC Infrastructure review group.
There were other short updates on some positive developments:Â (1) the Aldgate to Hainault Quietway as it goes through north Newham. Â 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 Â – 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 RdÂ ; Â (4) news that a further study of how to improve the wider Â Olympic Park/Westfield area for cyclists in view of the possible adoption of the roads by the CouncilÂ Â 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. Â It is a key demand that this be improved as part of theÂ reworking of Stratford gyratory. Â 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. Â 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 CouncilÂ sustainable transport officers, looking particularly at the periphery of the area and points of access. Â From this it became clear that a coherent and usefulÂ study mustÂ Â coverÂ as wide an area as possible, even if it strayed slightly outside the borough. Â Some good news is that Temple Mill Lane east is to be permanently bus/cycles only. Â This is something that we have campaigned for over several years.
We also took the opportunity to discuss ideasÂ Â 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.