Readout from 27 June Meeting

The meeting focused on infrastructure as Richard, Newham Council’s Sustainable Transport Officer kindly provided an update.  The key  features are:

  • Richard explained how “LIP” funding provided to local authorities by TfL for relatively minor transport improvements work.  We are currently in the final year of a three year phase which has seen a number of improvements, not least based on the 2014 “Ward audit” Newham cyclists undertook with Richard.  Richard explained how a series of contraflows, drop kerbs and point closures  were being brought forward in a coherent way to promote  permeability in urban Newham.  Soft measures such as cycle training and work with schools  had been more successful than might have been anticipated.  The current funding may be rolled out for a further year before the next three year cycle.
  • Newham Councillors have rejected a plan for Forest Gate which (in response to strong calls from consultation) included some segregated cycle lane.   Whilst we were critical of the details of the plan this is a disappointing affirmation of how far behind Newham Councillors are in promoting cycling. Improvements    are funded by Crossrail so will go ahead, but their nature is not now known.  We will continue to keep an eye and press for improvements that benefit cyclists.
  • The Maryland Crossrail improvement plans have yet to be put out for consultation.  It is important that these are coherent with the Stratford Gyratory .
  •  Improvements to the Greenway are progressing, including lighting and some extra ramps (e.g. to Memorial Park and Newham Hospital ).  One new ramp has passed the design stage which will promote useful connectivity with the Channelsea Path (although a vital toucan crossing of Rick Roberts Way is not yet funded).
  • Redbridge Council are pressing hard for a Roding Crossing to Ilford north of the Romford Rd.  This would increase the importance of utilising the current pathway between the City of London Cemetery and the railway line which is currently unusable for cycling.
  • A cycle lane is being put into Jenkins Lane as part of CS3 improvements.
  • Implementing the Silvertown Way planned improvements are partly funded and therefore likely to start (with the active support of the local councillors).  This is important as cycle facilities need to be put in place before the Silvertown Tunnel attracts more traffic into this part of Newham.
  • The scrapyard blocking the completion of the Leaway between Cody Dock and Canning Town is reported to have found an alternative site.  The timing of any move is not known.
  • On street cycle parking shelters are now being installed and well used.  Request from groups of neighbours would be welcome.

We will have a stall at the Forest Gate Festival on 16 July, but more volunteers to do a shift would be welcome.  We will also try to promote cycling at a St Paul’s (East Ham) Street Party on 13 August.  if you can help and have not already volunteered for either of these events please contact me.

The Essex Lanes ride of the previous day was proclaimed a great success.

Next meeting 25 July – probably linked to an evening ride.

May Meeting: Tour of Waltham Forest Mini-Holland

May 23 saw us start out from Forest Gate to look at progress on Waltham Forest’s mini-Holland project.  It was a real revelation.

Automatic folding bike hire facility
Brompton bike hire

We met Paul Gasson at Leyton for his expert guidance.   There we saw the first manifestation – the Brompton hire box opposite the secure cycle parting at Leyton :

 

He explained that most of the project had now been designed and consultation was in play.  About one-quarter had been put in place.  TfL had provided £37m but the Council had found a further £17m much of it from developers (in contrast Newham Council seems to have a self-denying ordinance against seeking money for cycle infrastructure from developers); and had backed this by strong political impetus and some expert engineers/designers who were keen to get the infrastructure in place and prepared to change it if it did not work.

Ruckholt Road
Cycleway Ruckholt Road
Ruckholt Road cycleway

We went from Leyton to Ruckholt Rd and made our way up the Lea Valley where there is planned to be a segregated track/quietway route building on existing

bicycle and pedestrian crossing
Crossing at Ruckholt Road

infrastructure:

 

 

Lea Bridge Road
people on bikes on a bike path
Lea Bridge Road cycle superhighway

A key element of the project is a Superhighway along the length of Lea Bridge Road from the river to the edge of the Epping Forest.  A small part is in place near the Ice Skating centre and foreshadows something of high quality which will take about a year to put into place.

 

Lea Bridge Station Cycle Parking
glass building for bike parking
Secure Cycle Parking at Lea Bridge Station

Here we also got our first glimpse of the new Lea Bridge station and its recently installed secure cycle parking:

“Villagisation”

Another key element of the project is “villagisation” i.e. creating four areas without through traffic.  This is key to promoting the project as being as much a public realm benefit as a cycling benefit.  The first such area put in place was Walthamstow village; but we passed through first the recently installed point closures in Blackhorse “village”.  The “villages” are to be complemented by safe routes across heavily trafficked routes along their borders, such as this tiger crossing (of the sort we should see along our Quietway 6):

IMG_2109.:

We ended up at Walthamstow Village, where  point closures had been used to create mini squares:

 

Time prevented us seeing Walthamstow town centre (for which a cycle hub is planned) and routes to Chingford.  But what we saw was impressive and a testimony of what can be done with some political will.

Thanks to Bill for the photos

Arnold

Readout from Annual Meeting on 19 April 2016

After a false start our annual meeting was held last Tuesday at the Wanstead Tap.  There was an excellent turnout including three local councillors who have been supportive of cycling initiatives (John Gray, Terence Paul and Rachel Tripp).  We were assisted by some excellent cheese and beer.

As for the formalities :

  1. We approved the minutes from last year .
  2. We agreed a new constitution to update our organisation in line with LCC requirements.
  3. We agreed the annual report and accounts for 2015/16 .
  4. We agreed a budget for 2016/17.
  5. Kerena Fussell and Arnold Ridout were elected as joint co-ordinators, Bill Bremner as Treasurer, Olawale Ajibola was elected Local Schemes Lead and Steve Smith as Ride Co-ordinator.

We decided to produce for sale a group T -shirt.

Less formally, we had wide ranging discussions on the following topics

  • Stratford Gyratory – proposal now reasonable in principle but details of the junctions will need further work.
  • Other infrastructure developments – key funding available from TfL, Newham LIP allocation, and from developments such as Crossrail for some potentially significant improvements.  More information is available from the current list of issues.
  • LCC Sign for Cycling campaign – last push before the election.
  • Our contribution to the Forest Gate Cycle network Evening 26 May.

We ended with a discussion as to our future focus.  As a result we will consider how the group can focus on schools, as some money is available for promoting cycling in schools and our efforts could pay dividends in terms of increased cycling by both children and their parents.

Belated Readout from February 29 Meeting

We had a very productive discussion with Richard Wadey, sustainable Transport Officer for Newham Council, based around a PASTA presentatation (an EU funded project promoting physical activity through sustainable transport approaches) in which a number of towns and cities are participating.  For London this is Newham, Tower hamlets and Waltham Forest.  He also provided a general update of cycling in Newham showing an increase in the modal share of cycling .

Richard shared the information on the Cycle Level Of Service studies of routes in Newham,and projects, particularly Quietway 6, the Greenway, Stratford gyratory  and the Leaway.  These will form part of the Cycle Strategy of the Borough and inform future decision making, hopefully by integrating cycle considerations into all transport schemes.  He showed a Cycle Strategy map showing the potential in the Borough for a dense network of routes with a high level of service (i.e. over 80%).

He also introduced the possibility of secure on street parking hangers and the tool library at Stratford Mobile Garden.

As part of Newham “New Deal” was a new deal for roads involving investing over £100m over the next ten years.  There was potential to ensure cycling was adequately integrated into this vision.

Slides and on-line maps available from me.

Also we:

  • noted the acquisition of a cargo trailer that can be made available to anyone who would like to borrow it;
  • discussed the LCC Sign for cycling Campaign;
  • confirmed our Annual meeting for 11 April at Eat 16 cafe, at which light refreshments will be served; and
  • decided that the first in the summer series of evening rides will take place on 23 May and will visit Walthamstow Village improvements.

Arnold

 

Readout from January Meeting

Another healthily attended and lively meeting at Coffee E7:

  • Following the meeting with Councillors Gray and Paul before Christmas concerning the various issues surrounding Stratford High Street and gyratory we submitted a briefing note on which we are waiting a response.
  • There was a very open catch up meeting meeting with the Newham Council Sustainable Transport officer.  Headlines are:

    Designs have been submitted to TfL for the junctions of the northern Quietway.  Our view was that these were disappointing , and we indicated that we could not support a Quietway which had substandard junctions.  Better progress on upgrading the Greenway.  A small pilot lighting project will shortly be put in place.  Limited improvements are in prospect around Westfield (Stratford Place) as changes are made for taxis and coaches.  There are good designs on the shelf for the wider area waiting for the opportunity to be implemented.

    An cycle assessment of the main roads (but not junctions) has been undertaken which will form part of a proposed cycle strategy from the Borough along with an audit of cycle parking.

    There are further delays in establishing the Leaway between Cody Dock and Canning town.

    All current issues have been recorded for monitoring and it was decided to publish this on this website (to follow).  By way of  general follow up we have been told that Newham’s cycling mode share has increased again,according to the London Travel Demand Survey (Travel in London report 8), up from approx. 1.3% to 2.3% in 2012/13-2014/15.

  • A Greenway  users group is planned.
  • We noted that the work undertaken so far on the northern Quietway was heavily engineered and that there was still an issue of parking in Cemetery Rd.
  • We will be actively participating in stakeholder consultation on the plans for Stratford gyratory, a meeting taking place on 8 March.
  • We discussed our ride programme and in particular the forthcoming, and much anticipated, Hoo Ride on 14 February.  To ensure smooth practical arrangements (not least securing the cheapest train ticket to Gravesend), it would be helpful if anyone intending to come on this ride gave advanced notice (newham@lcc.org)

    We will be coordinating rides with a new Community group in Stratford City and we may also be joining in with a CTC ride around Witham in April.

  • We agreed to buy a further banner , some equipment for rides (tools/first aid) and some T shirts for ride leaders.
  • The current exhibition at the Design Museum was warmly recommended and there are still tickets for the talk by Emily Chappel at the Wanstead Tap on 15 February.
  • Richard Wadey will be talking at our next meeting on 29 February and then our AGM will be 11 April.
  • Funds are available from the Council for high quality on street parking bays.  Please let us know of good sites.
  • We decided to support, with a stall, an indoor car boot sale  on 20 February at the Field Community Centre, Station Rd.  If you are able to provide some time to man the store please let us know and we will be putting together a rota.

    Arnold

Readout from November Meeting

Again a well attended meeting with a full an interesting agenda.  Our first meting at the Black Lion in Plaistow:

  • Following up last month’s meeting with Living Streets we heard that Living Streets were progressing setting up a Newham branch which some Newham Cyclists were likely to join.  This would maintain co-ordination.
  • Following last month’s meeting on Forest Gate Crossrail related improvemetns, a collective Newham Cyclist response has been given to this consultation as well as well as other consultations  on Manor Park and the Silvertown Tunnel.  These to reinforce the individual responses.
  • There was a very positive meeting with Councillors Terry Paul and John Gray over the Greenway closure.  Interestingly,The day before this meeting the signage had been improved by Thames Water.  Notable also was the number of people cycling in the area and the number that stopped to voice their opinions.

    P1040940

    There is hope for the end to the closure from West Ham station to Stratford by April next year, with some limited provisional access before then  The reopening  paves the way for the planned improvements for the Greenway as part of  TfL  second round of quietways – in this case 24hr opening and lighting, and  4 additional ramps for access.  The closure on the northern side is more uncertain despite the overrunning Crossrail related works coming to end.

  • We are seeking a similar engagement with these two local Councillors to look at the multiple issues surrounding Stratford High Street and the Stratford Gyratory.  To the obvious ones can be added the frequent parking of construction traffic  blocking the shared use pavement.
  • Some more works on the Victoria Park to Hainault Quietway have started in Forest Gate.  We noted that the introduction of a CPZ had led to more parking in Cemetery Rd to the detriment of the route as a Quietway.  We agreed that we could not endorse this Quietway unless the crucial junctions were suitably addressed.
  • We decided to go ahead with some traffic counting pilots.
  • We noted the recent poll in the Newham Recorder on cycling issue.  Steve Smith put forward an excellent case for cycling.
  • We decided to seek a catch up meeting with Newham’s Sustainable Transport Officer in the New Year.
  • We noted that further cycle parking has been casually removed without replacement by Newham Council – this time outside Wilkinson’s in Stratford.
  • The Christmas lights ride on 7 December was discussed and the 2016 Ride Programme was launched.  (Details elsewhere)
  • On street secure parking has been installed by Newham Council in various locations.  A welcome development.  All were urged to identify further suitable sites.

Readout from Monthly Meeting 28 September 2015

We benefited from Rosalind Readhead providing a talk and stimulating lively and interesting discussion.  Rosalind is an independent mayoral candidate promoting a policy of car free days and active travel, particularly in central London.

She cited a recent study on the health effects of private motor vehicles in London.  some of the figures were very telling. This is a selection:

  •  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,  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  which will be available when when the political opportunity arises.  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,  (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 the junction planned at  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.

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.