Infrastucture Update

On 13 June Newham Cyclists met Councillor Patrick Murphy, the new Delivery Lead Councillor for Environment, who includes cycling in his his portfolio.  This is progress as his predecessor showed a marked disinterest in cycling, or even antipathy.

Although not a cyclist himself Councillor Murphy appreciated the benefits that increasing cycling (and walking) in Newham could bring to its residents and referred in particular to the need to improve air quality.

We made the following strategic points which were sympathetically received:

  • The benefit of positive participation by Newham Council in TfL Living Neighbourhoods/Healthy Streets initiative.  Councillor Murphy had met Will Norman, the Greater London Commissioner for Walking and cycling that morning.  In doing so he passed to Will Norman some observations from us on strategic and cross borough walking and cycling issues (see below) on which we hope to get a reply.  We understand Newham Council was waiting for further guidance from TfL before formulating its bid for resources.
  • The imperative of the Newham Council adopting a cycle strategy (at present a cycle strategy remains only a draft document) to feed into its other work and build cycling into its early plans.
  • The need for coherence in establishing decent quality cycle and living neighbourhood, projects  which  will ultimately link up throughout the borough and with other boroughs, such as Waltham Forest’s mini-Holland initiatives.
  • The need for Newham to take development opportunities to improve the cycling and walking infrastructure as Waltham Forest Council have done to significantly supplement the mini-Holland money it has received from TfL.

Councillor Murphy indicated his willingness to hear further from us on specific matters.

NB  Here are the points passed on to Will Norman:

  • “Newham Cyclists would welcome active and wholehearted participation in TfL’s Living Neighbourhood initiative.  Newham Council’s mini-Holland bid includes some excellent plans  and there is scope for achieving a critical mass of added value by linking with, and expanding on, neighbouring Waltham Forest’s successful schemes – for example the link from the remodelled Stratford Gyratory (for which the plans are good)   to Leyton via the “Leyton Ladder” or creating areas without through traffic in the areas of Newham adjacent to  proposed Waltham Forest “Villages”.  
  • CS2: (a)  there is an the urgent need to upgrade the dangerous Warton Rd and Carpenters Rd junctions, and (b) Tfl should not abandon its original plan to extend CS2 to Ilford.  The former is an example of poor TfL design.
  • Whilst the Greenway upgrade demonstrates good design and is a clear improvement (with the notable exception of the continued embarassment of the traffic light sequencing on the A13), Quietway 6 across the north of the borough will not be fit for purpose unless the junctions are adequately dealt with.  At present plans for a number of these would result in “critical fails” for general cycling, and therefore will put off less confident cyclists for whom the quietways are intended. 
  •  Future Quietway programmes could help alleviate the critical strategic issue in urban Newham of north south connections.
  • LLDC have not done a good job in creating cycle facilities to realise the potential of the Olympic Park as a node for cycling with access to the Lea Valley (north and south) Victoria Park and Epping Forest (e.g via a  good quality QW6).  In particular the predicted issue of rat running through the Olympic Park appears to be is coming to pass and will likely increase -especially if Bridge H14 is upgraded to vehicular traffic as planned.
  • Important areas for better connectivity remain (a) the  Lower Lea, (b) the Leyton Ladder (see above) (c) to Redbridge where connectivity could be improved by extending CS2, by linking QW 6 and the Roding Way to Ilford via a bridge north of the Romford Rd  (c)  a bridge south of Little Ilford Park at Millais Ave (which we understand Redbridge Council is keen on) and (d) CS3 link to Barking Town Centre.
  • The Silvertown Tunnel will undoubtedly present Newham with environmental challenges.  Newham Cyclists opposed it,  but if it has to go ahead we share the wide concerns expressed at various levels in the Borough which indicate the need for alleviating measures, in particular upgrading the cycle facilities of CS3 and Silvertown Way, and the Lea Path in and around Canning Town.”

On 15 June Newham Cyclists met with a Maryland Resident’s Group to discuss the Council’s proposals for Maryland.  That group was lively and included some keen cyclists.  They were very receptive to our suggestions (for improving the junctions, to improve the pedestrian experience and to ensure coherence with the Stratford Gyratory Scheme.

However from that meeting emerged some disturbing information indicating that the Council were backtracking on 20mph for the Stratford gyratory (and elsewhere in the borough on what it classified as strategic routes) leading the Maryland residents and us to expect the Council also to row back from its consultation position of 20 mph in Maryland.

Ride Report: River Ride of 11 June

We profited from the usual good weather to reprise our earlier River Ride, with Steve leading, despite this being a flatter and shorter ride than his usual.

We ventured very slightly south of the river overcoming all obstacles, notably a lack of a lift on the Greenwich side of the foot tunnel.

Instead of photos here is a video of the route taken.

Arnold

Readout from May Meeting

The meeting took place a week earlier than usual and in a new venue, the Terrence Brown Arc in Canning Town, currently the centre of the charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve (AAA).

  • We started with a discussion of the breakup of proposed Quietway 6 by side roads from the new Chobham Manor Development in Stratford There are four side roads cutting through the cycle track.  This is being taken up with Newham Council who are responsible for designing the Quietway.  We discussed the need to document  setting out the “critical fails” on this route to alert stakeholders in this route.  Since the meeting we have also been pursing an audit ride with Council Officials.The conversation also drew attention to the frequent closures in the QEII Olympic Park and the lack of information on alternative routes.
  • We discussed the prospect of working  with AAA who are running a cycle club for children on Saturdays between 10.30 and 2.00pm as part of their wider Saturday children’s activities.  AAA has good facilities and funding and working with them would fit with some key objectives of Newham Cyclists.  However any  offer from us must be sustainable and beneficial to us.  With this in mind we decided to put together a pilot programme of a some  “Fix My Bike” and advice sessions aimed at the children and their parents/guardians leading to a family ride in September.  If you would be interested in participating  please let me know.
  • The Forest Gate “Fix My Ride” stall (second Saturday of the month at Woodgrange market) has been a success on the two occasions we have piloted it.  Ways of improving it were discussed.  It will run on 10 June but the July session will be an enhanced stall 9with a Dr Bike) at the Forest Gate Festival on 15 July.  This may include a bike jumble.  Since the meeting we have received the GOOD NEWS that our application for a grant from Newham Council for equipment and publicity for this venture has been successful.
  • We will meet for our evening guided tour of Waltham Forest mini-Holland facilities at 7.15 on 26 June outside Coffee 7 in Forest Gate.
  • We are still seeking to arrange a meeting with Councillors Murphy (responsible for cycling) and Christie (with overall responsibility for strategy).
  • We were alerted to infrastructure issues at Bank Junction (a trial closure to motor vehicles for 18 months) and royal Mint St (developers restricting CS3).
  • We did not think it practical for Newham Cyclists to volunteer to be a pilot campaigning group for LCC in respect of TfL’s Living Neighbourhood initiative, given our limited resources and the uncertain response of Newham Council.

Arnold

Annual Meeting 24 April

This meeting was well attended and interesting.  We were particularly indebted to our guests, Councillor Christie,  Newham’s Cabinet Member for Strategy,  Terry Patterson from the Board of Trustees and Officers of Newham Council with responsibilities for cycling who have been so open and helpful over the year.  They promoted lively and interesting debate to follow the business section of the meeting – a good accompaniment to the excellent refreshments put on by the Greenway Common Cafe

For the record, the annual report was presented:

NEWHAM CYCLISTS ANNUAL REPORT 2016 – 17;

This includes a ride list and a list of consultation responses.

The Annual Accounts for 2016-17 agreed:

NC accounts report 2016-17.

The same Officers were voted in to the same posts for 2017 -18:

Kerena Fussell and Arnold Ridout – Joint Co-ordinators

Bill Bremer – Treasurer

Oliwala Ajibola – Local Schemes Lead

Steve Smith – Rides Co-ordinator.

Arnold

Newham Ride 7 May 2017

The weather had still not particularly warmed up for the start of the second in our consecutive run of three Sunday rides.  After Cake Mountain we were intent on a flat, leisurely off road circuit round Newham .  A goodly band of participants included  a contingent from the Forest Gate Women’s Institute assembled at the Greenway Common Cafe.  Our 15 mile route started down the Greenway, and continued through Beckton to the Royal Docks, stopping only for a breather/puncture repair.  We then took in nature reserves at East india Dock and the Bow Ecology Park.  The latter is newly linked to a back entrance to Canning Town Station.  Lunch at Trinity Buoy Wharf was swiftly followed by another coffee stop at Cody Dock, whilst all the time the weather was getting more cheerful.   We returned to the Greenway under a blue sky.

Thanks once more to Robin for some excellent photos.

P1040767

Arnold

Cake Mountain Ride Report

There were 18 of us on this ride on a lovely morning at the end of April. We met at the view tube coincidentally with a group of Penny Farthing enthusiasts who were promoting an event to celebrate 200 years of the bicycle

There were 18 of us on this ride on a lovely morning at the end of April. We met at the view tube coincidentally with a group of Penny Farthing enthusiast who were promoting an event to celebrate 200 years of the bicycle

We were also surrounded by runners and supporters on the Hackney Half marathon, creating a festive atmosphere, as we wound our way through Hackney along the Lea towpath. We followed the towpath to Enfield lock where we picked up, firstly the NCN route, and then the roads towards Chingford. Dawes Hill was steep as we climbed up towards Epping Forest, those riding ebikes had a distinct advantage here, we passed Gilwell scout camp and some grand houses as we cycled down towards Chingford through the forest. We regrouped at the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge, noting it was a previous Queen Elizabeth who had more bloodthirsty hobbies.

We followed a disused road through the forest towards High Beech and from there had to negotiate the busy A121 to cross the M25 and arrive at our destination at St Thomas’ Church.
The churchyard provided a great picnic spot with fantastic views over the Lea valley, there was also a nice pub, the Horseshoe, virtually next door which had a good lunch menu. We delayed our departure in order to enjoy the promised cake which was delicious, although I only tried two.
Fuelled by excellent nourishment our return journey through the forest to High Beech and Waltham Abbey, before rejoining the Lea towpath, was significantly faster.

Thanks to all participants, especially and the back marker and stewards who ensured that we were safe and stayed together and Robin for the excellent photos https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/34205642542/in/album-72157680012469164/

Cake mountain ride

Join us for a ride up the the Lea valley, through Epping Forest to the the historic St Thomas’s church Upshire. This is a 40 mile round trip, mostly off road, with an option to take a train from Waltham Cross to Liverpool St, for those that would prefer not to ride back. Bring a packed lunch, as we will eat in the churchyard if the weather permits.  Meet at the the View Tube – The Common Greenway at 10am on 30/04/17

Readout from Meeting of 27 March

A rather more select band of attendees than usual, but enough for lively discussion.

  • Suzannah Walker from the Beckton and Royal Docks Neighbourhood Team came to discuss possibilities to increase cycling in that area of the borough  which benefits from some quiet and off road routes.  Ideas centres on adjusting some Newham Rides later in the year, leading bespoke “Tour of Beckton” rides and bringing the market stall to an event.
  • We discussed the TfL consultation for the Bow area, for which Olawale will be preparing a collective response by the deadline of 23 April, but individual responses are also encouraged.
  • Rides coming up – April 9, Kent Coast is attracting outside interest.  The Bike from Boleyn Ride on 22 April is gaining momentum.  Any further volunteers for marshalling this will be most welcome – contact me.
  • Our  approach for a meeting with Councillors Clark and Murphy, who now have responsibility for cycling infrastructure had a speedy positive response from Councillor Murphy.  If such a meeting takes place, as is likely, it will give us a chance to raise some high level issues such as the Borough cycle Strategy, our vision, the need for sustainable transport “planning gain”, the Silvertown Tunnel .
  • Westfield have put in a planning application to LLDC for expansion – partly using space now occupied by a car park. . The sustainable transport options and opportunities will need to be pressed.
  • Other upcoming events:  Kerena is proposing to lead a ride to the “Leading our Lives” sponsored ride at Redbridge Cycling Centre on Good Friday.  A Cyclotopia event will be taking place at the Velodrome on 11 June- providing access to various activities at various fees.  There are a series of events relating to the Lea Valley which look interesting.
  • Meeting with Councillors Tripp and Akiwowo re Maryland fixed for 5 April.  Anyone interested in attending contact me for details.   [Since the meeting we have also had an invite from Council Officials to discuss, at short notice, both the Stratford Gyratory and Maryland.]
  •  Last month there was some interest in providing a rota to help with the cycling aspects of a young persons project in the Arc in the Park, Hermit Road Park each Saturday.  We decided to pursue this by taking a look one Saturday to see what was involved.  Again if you think you might be interest get in touch with me and I can include you in the correspondence.
  • The arrangements for the Annual Meeting on 24 April are progressing.

Arnold