Met Police on CS2

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I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been handed one of these this week.  Whilst I applaud the fact that the Met are out there trying to make CS2 a safer place to cycle – I can’t help feeling that if TFL needed to produce these leaflets to explain how the early start system works, then it really isn’t doing the job very well.

CS2 Safety Summit

Last Thursday I attended the CS2 ‘Summit’ at City Hall, organised by John Biggs (Assembly Member for East London and Labour’s mayoral candidate for the next London mayoral elections). Forgive me if this is a bit disjointed – I scribbled a lot of notes!

The panel consisted of:

  • Darren Johnson (Green Party AM)
  • Caroline Pidgeon (Lid Deb AM)
  • Valerie Shawcross (Labour AM & Chair of the Transport Committee)
  • John Biggs
  • Ashok Sinha (Chief Exec of LCC)
  • Andrew Gilligan (Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner

Both Councillor David Christie & Richard Lewis were in the audience from Newham.

Each member of the panel gave a brief introduction of who they were and what their positions were in relation to CS2.  Mostly this involved agreement that it was ‘not good enough’ ‘dangerous’ ‘just blue paint’.  All had historically told the Mayor that changes were needed – in some cases in great detail.  It was generally agreed that the Mayor/TFL’s policy of ‘smoothing traffic’ was a barrier to reallocating road space to cyclists.

Valerie Shawcross said that there was a strong cross party feeling within the Assembly that London is ready for a cycling revolution – that people really understood the benefits of cycling (environmental, health, economy etc).

Caroline Pidgeon reminded everyone that Boris had promised a review of junctions 2 years ago and this has not happened.  She repeatedly stated throughout the evening that things just weren’t happening quickly enough.

Darren Johnson said that the ‘idea’ of Cycle Superhighways was a good one – but that they needed to be properly thought out.  He said that CS2 gives a false sense of security. He was also supportive of a 20mph speed limit in London.

It was then Andrew Gilligan’s turn.  He started controversially by stating that “not even the best engineering in the world could have stopped the deaths at Bow”.  This comment was not received well by the audience or by Ashok Sinha, who later stated that there were no issues with ‘left hooks’ in Holland.

Gilligan admitted that CS2 was ‘not good enough’ and that the Bow-Aldgate section really was ‘just blue paint’.  He also said that everyone in the room wanted the same thing, it was just a matter of how it was achieved and at what speed.  An assessment of traffic at Bow had shown 1900 cyclists and 4500 motor vehicles (of which 1500 were buses).

He then went on to outline the 3 options for improvement to the Bow-Aldgate section of CS2:

Option 1: Fully segregated 2m cycle lane, one way in each direction (similar to the Stratford-Bow section).  This would involve removal of bus lanes in some stretches and partial removal of footways.  It would also mean the removal of 7 mature trees and would need to deal with 57 ‘unsignalised’ side roads.  Although he was somewhat vague about the timing on this, he eventually said that it could be done by late 2014/early 2015.

Option 2:  This was the most radical of the options and involves the creation of a central track for cyclists. It would go over the flyover, taking out the need to negotiate the Bow roundabout and would mean less issues with buses and remove the issue of the side roads.  However they had not yet worked out how to get cyclists on & off it!

Option 3: The simplest and quickest option involved semi-segregated cycle lanes – widened bus lanes with traffic ‘wands’ and inset bus stops.  This could be achieved in 6-7 months.

All options include a full set of ‘cyclised’ junctions as well as the segregation of the Aldgate Gyratory. There were also plans in place for a parallel ‘Quietway’ running from Old Montague Street to the Olympic Park, but this needed input/approval from Tower Hamlets council and was not yet finalised.

Once the session was opened to the floor, some interesting comments and suggestions were made.  People were very passionate – understandably so, given what’s at stake.

Several people commented on the Stratford extension not being perfect – in particular the left turn at Warton Road was mentioned.  A Bikeability instructor also pointed out that in places, cyclists were forced into ‘secondary position’ on the left of the road, rather than being able to take primary position. AG said that the Warton Road junction was being addressed (as are the flooding/pooling issues in the areas around the bus stops).

Rick Andrew  from LCC talked about how the elimination of ‘left hooks’ needed to be a priority and that this had no impact on traffic flow.

Gerry from TH Wheelers talked specifically about the light phasing at the Bow roundabout, the cyclists needed longer.  AG said that this was something that could be rectified quite quickly.  Gerry also requested that the blue paint be removed as it was just making things worse. [Note – on the roundabout, the blue paint has now been removed – not sure whether this is in response or not!]

Generally:

AG said that 20mph limits were being put in place in ‘some locations’.  He also admitted that currently bike lanes are the last thing to be cleared in snow, but that new maintenance standards were to be put in place.

Valerie Shawcross said that the culture of Highway Engineering is still based on creating space for cars.  She pointed out that Dutch style roads are not ‘rocket science’.

John Biggs pointed out that as well as infrastructure, it was about behaviour and education.  He also said that the idea of a central cycle lane on this route terrified him. This is something completely new and he suggested that it should be trialled elsewhere, rather than on this dangerous piece of road.

Rhiannon Redpath (organiser of the 38 degrees petition – sign it here if you haven’t already: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-cyclists) stated that we (cyclists) are not asking for fast or ‘panic’ changes – we are just asking for changes and we want to know when those changes will happen.

Readout from November 2013 Meeting

News:

In the past month

  • Our suggestions for Henniker Rd and Oxford Rd in Stratford have been taken up by Newham Council.
  • LCC have submitted objections to the cycle facilities in and around the new Chobham Manor development in the Olympic Park, which dispay the usual tendency of developments in the Olympic Park to provide the minimumcycle provision required by planning guidance and dress up poor quality facilities as something good for cyclists.
  • We have participated in a post implementation audit of the CS2 extension which picked up lots of small points where the provision is unecessarily sub-optimal. These will be recorded for future reference but the main priority was seen as improving CS2 from Bow to Aldgate (including the Bow flyover).

Coming up;

  • Karena is attending the seminar on Thursday hosted by our London Assembly Member, John Biggs, on CS2. We disussed our main bugbears, but if you have any you would like to draw attention to please post them on this site for Karena to take up.
  • The Bike Jumble Sale at the view tube will also have bike marking. There are still some spaces if you would like to have a stall there.
  • Our annual meeting will be on 31 March 2014.

Rides 2014:

  • We will be looking to run Newham Rides on 15 March (linked to Velodrome event); either the beginning or the end of Kike Week (whihc is 15-22 June), 8 July (the day after the London stage of the Tour de France) and 20 September (the Waterfront Festival). Planning will continue on these and longer rides over the winter. Possibly also a ride linked to WWI commemorations.
  • In addition to co-ordinating with Tower Hamlets Wheelers next year we will publicise the Hackey Cyclists series of social rides.

The website

  • This was our main item of discussion. The experimental pilot is going well. If you would like to see it, the current temporary address is

http://newhamcyclists.robideas.com/

Please bear in mind that this is the exprimnetal site as is the existing content, which is not to be relied upon. All feedback on the layout of the site and what you would like to see covered by it gratefully received.

  • We thought we had progressed enough to obtain a propoer domain name and go live in the New Year. Watch this space.

November News Headlines

It has been an eventful time.

On 22 October a group from Hackney , Newham, Tower Hamlets and LCC headquarters carried out a ride around the Olympic Park and Westfield. A depressing exercise which confirmed the points we have been making throughout the planning process: the cycle provision could be much better; it rarely improves on the minimum laid down in planning guidance; and at times fails even to meet even these standards. Unfortunately the obduracy or Westfield and the complacency of the Olympic Delivery Authority (now transformed into the London Legacy Development Corporation) will result unnecessary expenditure of further public money bringing these brand new area up to standard. it should not have happened.

On 27 October we ran our last ride before the winter sets in – a leisurely and mostly off road ride to the RSPB site at Rainham Marsh and then up the Ingrebourne Valley to Upminister. The weather was pleasant and even the stiff breeze seemed to give us a helping hand whatever direction we cycled. We are now planning our rides for 2014.

The CS2 extension along Stratford High Street has opened (although has not yet been completed). Not perfect but one of the better cycle provisions in London. This progress was sadly marred by the tragic death of another cyclist at TfL’s ill thought through scheme at the Bow Flyover. On 15 November a group from LCC headquarters and ourselves made a post implementation study. The results will feed into our ongoing discussions with Newham Council on its excellent mini-Holland bid (for TFL funding to transform cycling in pilot areas of outer London) and no doubt into the wider Cycle Superhighway upgrading proposals.

In connection with mini-Holland bid we carried out a ride with the Council to study possible routes between Canning Town and Stratford. Whilst the crossing the District and C2C railway lines represents a real problem, the exercise demonstrated the huge potential for permeability in urban Newham – which is a key element of the bid.

We have further provided input into cycle schemes provided for Henniker Rd and Oxford Rd, Stratford; these received a sympathetic reception. We also opposed extending parking on the pavement in Katherine Road, East Ham and have been told this scheme has been abandoned.

It is evident that Newham Council, with its new approach to cycling, is working hard on the details of its mini-Holland bid. We wait in hope as success carries the prospect of transforming cycling in Newham.

Girls Love Bikes Too! ‘Intro’

The pic says it all really. I love cycling and I love my bike but often feel underrepresented by the cycling fraternity at large.
The majority of street cyclists are male and despite the impressive achievements of the British women’s cycling team (and female cyclists in all fields) cycling can still be viewed as a big boys’ club.
Girls Love Bikes Too! is a blog for anyone who experiences the childish joy of riding your bike for no other purpose than peddling around in circles. For those who remember a time when we were unencumbered by bewildering techno jargon, unflattering clothing and safety concerns.
Warning: Girls Love Bikes Too! is a hi-viz, Lycra and gadget free zone!

28 Oct 2013 Evening Meeting

Location and time
View on Yahoo Groups
Author: Arnold, Co-ordinator.
The Rainham ride on Sunday saw a party of 6 enjoy excellent weather before the storm. In fact the blustery wind was behind us most of the way, which was just as well for the two of us who had only limited use of their gears. Large off road tracks along the Greenway, CS3, the old A13 and Rainham marshes saw us get to the RSPB cafe. After refreshment back up the Ingrebourne Valley (again off road) to Upminister to catch the train back to West Ham to batten the hatches.

Richard updated on the mini-Holland bid. The deadline for the full bid is 13 December. The Council have set up a proper governance arrangement (including political input). We have started a “snagging list” of any possible cycle improvements, particularly those that would increase permeability in “urban Newham” – however large or small, from wrong signage to the possibilities of new cycle paths. This will complement the “snagging list” for the Olympic Park and Westfield which is being started with assistance from LCC HQ, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, all of whom participated in a ride around the area last week. If you have a suggestion on how the cycle provision can be improved please let me know and I will add it to the list. A photograph would help. A list will be going to the Council by mid-November at the latest as part of our input to the mini-Holland bid, and thereafter we will keep the list updated as a point of reference. There appears a real opportunity to translate good ideas into practice.

Rob demonstrated the pilot edition of our new website, which looked very attractive and user friendly. We will play about with this and upload some content between now and Christmas. It is, of course, absolutely essential that we keep this up to date when it goes live after this. To this end we have started a rota of volunteers who will look each month and update the news page If you would like to be on that rota (which would involve updating the news page not more than three times per year) or if you have any articles that you would like to see published on the website please contact me in the first instance.

We confirmed that our ride programme for next year would comprise about 4 “Newham Rides” linked as far as possible to cycling events and starting at the View Tube, plus one per month more extensive weekend rid, plus contributing to rides organised by Tower Hamlets Wheelers, e.g. by organising a pick up point or feeder ride. For the moment we need to fix the dates for the “Newham Rides” so we can maximise the publicity. There will of course be a rides section on our website.

Good news on the Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels, on whose “Friends Group” (FOGWOFT) Mike has been representing us. It looks like Greenwich Council will now put lifts into the Woolwich Tunnel and they are prepared to deep clean both.

We have been consulted by the Council

on early consideration of a good cycle route from Canning Town to Stratford. If you would like to participate in this or have any good ideas let me know.
on changes to Katherine Rd which involve more parking on the pavement. In view of the opposition of Members to this I will be submitting an objection (again) unless I hear otherwise.

The LCC campaign focus next year is on the Local Elections. I have already circulated their call for local ward champions. If you would like to do this please let them (and me) know. I can provide further info if needed.