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.

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    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.