Some Infrastructure News

We held a general catch up meeting with Richard Wadey, the Sustainable Transport Officer of Newham Council on 8 September.  The summary  outcome is available by clicking on this link:

Newham Cyclists Issues of Interest Aug 2017.

The headlines are:

  • The long awaited Cycle Strategy is being updated in the light of TfL’s recent analyses of strategic cycling routes which include a number going through Newham.  It will start to go through the process for formal approval.
  • There was unlikely to be a large bid for Liveable Neighbourhood funding  as the assessment is that TfL will consider that Newham has already had a large slice of the cake.

As for Stratford Gyratory the responses to the Freedom of Information Act requests concerning the dropping of proposal for 20 mph are below. 20 mph was identified in the consultation by the Council as a “key improvement”, supported by 92% of respondents to that consultation; but mysteriously disappearing without a trace in the scheme as approved by the Cabinet in May.  The Council now claim that there was “no decision” to drop this aspect of the proposal.

FOI RESPONSE E29406

FOI RESPONSE E29407

Arnold

Readout from 31 July Meeting

Our July meeting started with an well attended ride from Forest Gate around the Olympic Park.  We were please to welcome Fran from LCC. More joined us for the business end, which took place at The Neighbourhood in Stratford Village.

  • We elected Olawale as our Infrastructure Rep. This is effectively a change in name (from Local Scheme Lead) to fall in line with the LCC organisation of its Infrastructure Review Group.  It was noted how active we had been in responding to consultation and how thorough the responses, prepared by Olawale, were.
  • We discussed the Stratford Gyratory proposals where Newham Council, contrary to their consultation and the overwhelming response to it, were dropping the proposal for 20mph limit.  We have been liaising with “20’s Plenty” and considered further how we could campaign for the restoration of a 20 mph limit.
  • The lack of coherence of the Council’s approach was only reinforced by its recent Traffic Order for a 20 mph limit at neighbouring Maryland (but not Windmill Lane -the cycle route connecting to Westfield and roads to Stratford and Leyton) nor Forest Lane, a rat run which already has speed cushions.
  • Forthcoming consultation responses were in preparation for Gallions Roundabout and High St North.
  • Bill, who sent his apologies, reported (vicariously) that we had received our portion of membership fees from LCC and our grant from Newham Council for “Fix My Ride”.
  • Our feeder ride 9 July successfully brought over 50 riders to the Freecycle event, and about 30 returned with us.  We decided to hold a debriefing session.
  • Fix Your Ride will next appear at Forest Gate Market on 12 August and the following week at the Arc Saturday Cycle Club  in Canning Town (run by the charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve).  Upcoming rides are a family ride with AAA on 2 September, a brewery ride on 16 September and a Bike from Boleyn ride on 30 September.
  • We had a first discussion on the Mayor of London’s draft Transport Strategy, and recent TfL transport analyses.  LCC are preparing a central response- for which we emphasized the need for hard targets with strong interim targets, consequences for not meeting them, and proper TfL control over how their money was spent by local councils.  A zero accident target for 2041 may already be changing the approach to the quality of cycle projects (which can be very poor, as TfL’s for Nine Elms demonstrates).
  • We considered the practicality of applying for a London Cycle Grant, for which applications are open to 18 September.  We recognised the practical difficulties and the size of the commitment and did not want to make up a project simply to get the grant.   However Bike from Boleyn was interested in a partnership with us and it was worth considering a scheme for taking elderly people out cycling or in a rickshaw.
  • The LCC will be running a feature of women and cycling and Kerena provided  an update on our activity – promoting women’s rides and encouraging cycle leader training.

Arnold

 

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/