Readout from 25 July 2022 Meeting

Arnold Ridout was elected to the Committee as Community Infrastructure/Bespoke Task lead.

It was agreed that Thom Sanders and Olawale Ajibola be added as signatorries to the bank account.

On rides:

  • Steve reported that the 2022 ride programme was continuing but he was no longer available for the planned 13 November ride to Hertford.
  • Arnold updated on plans for the 11 September Bike from Boleyn Ride where the organisers were planning to return to a pre-pandemic scale event.
  • Rides around potential low traffic neighbourhoods were discussed and agreed.

On bike maintenance:

  • Bill reported on the success of the Fix Your Ride at the Forest Gate Festival. The next Fix Your Ride session will be at Woodgrange Market on 11 August.
  • It was agreed that funds could be used for parts to fix bikes donated for refugees.
  • It was agreed that we would support the local charity Magpie in fixing buggies as this promoted active travel the skills needed were similar to fixing bikes.

On infrastructure:

  • Olawale reported and discussion on the extensive and generally positive meeting with the Head of Transport Policies and Programmes for Newham Council. We are grateful for the time he gave us and look forward to the significant developments outlined.
  • Jonathan reported on developments in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park including the soon to close Westfield Ave consultation (please respond by 30 July if you have not yet done so), Montfichet Rd, possible improvements in the Greenway crossing of the railway line, and the “Leyton Ladder”. He detected a more positive approach to active travel from the authorities.
  • Olawale reported on the workshop he attended on East Ham Town Centre.
  • Arnold reported on the development proposal at “Crown Wharf” and was authorised to take forward further discussions with the developers.
  • Olawale reported on his attendance at the Royal Docks Corridor Construction Liaison meeting, highlighting some of the outstanding issues.

Olawale reported back on the LCC Group Co-ordinators meeting. The most relevent item was that on dangerous junctions.

We agreed to support Tower Hamlets Wheelers in protection of cycle infrastructure in a a manner that they advised. Olawale will liaise.

If you have a question or would like further detail please get in touch.

Arnold

Take Action: Say YES to plans for new look Westfield Avenue and a fresh start for cycling in the Olympic Park

An artists' impression of a two-way cycle track next to a wide pavement and a 2 lane road, with rain gardens separating the track and the pavement. People say, "so much space!" and "no more dodging trees & bus stops!" and one silhouetted person cycling is marked out as "this could be you in 2025!"

For a long time, Westfield Avenue has been one of the worst places to cycle in our borough. Pedestrian lights across tiny crossovers. Surprise obstacles. Pavement parking. Crossings where you’re expected to wait up to four times on caged traffic islands for the light to turn green. It’s an embarrassment to the Olympic Legacy.

We’re thrilled that the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council are consulting on a brand new design for Westfield Avenue, which they hope to start building next year and finish by 2025. This is unlike anything we’ve seen in the Olympic Park before: a high quality, best-practice design from the start, with people walking and cycling taking priority over motorists. It’s been 10 long years, but this is much better late than never!

A two-lane road across a bridge, with a bus stop island accessed by a zebra crossing over a two-way cycle track, a pavement on both sides, and planters separating the cycle track from cars.
WESTFIELD AVENUE PLANS: Convenient, comfortable, at a human scale

LLDC and Newham need to know that local people want it. If you visit Westfield or the London Stadium, or if you live nearby at the Carpenters Estate, or in Hackney Wick, East Village, or International Quarter—tell them “yes please!”

Visualisation of a road with trees on both sides and a 2-way cycle track on the left side, with bus stop bypasses and a lighted pedestrian crossing.

Take action by Saturday 30th July

Here’s how to tell LLDC and Newham Council that you like the plans for Westfield Avenue’s makeover:

  1. Go to westfieldavenue.commonplace.is. You might need to provide your email address
  2. Click “Have Your Say”
  3. On the proposals for Westfield Avenue:
    • Say “Strongly Agree” for widened pavements, widened crossing points, improved lighting, and location of bus stops
    • Say “Strongly Agree” for a 3m cycleway separated from the road and pavement with crossings, relocation of bus stops and loading bays, additional cycle stands and e-bike charging, and additional Santander cycle hire facilities on Westfield Avenue
    • Say what you think of the idea to move the Aquatics Centre cycle hire stand to Westfield Avenue, and also the locations of the motorcycle parking, taxi rank, loading bays, and the crossovers and side roads (e.g. at Glasshouse Gardens and Turing Street.)
  4. On the “Additional Features” page:
    • Say “Happy/Love It!” to the seating, trees, and planting on Westfield Avenue
    • Say what you think of the redesigned Stratford Walk (the bridge between Westfield and the Aquatics Centre)
  5. If you have time to write any more…
    • Support the new one-way southbound on Olympic Park Avenue—this will eliminate a rat-run through residential areas and allow a continuous cycle route across the railway line
    • Ask for further work in the future to redesign Marshgate Lane junction, to separate all modes and reduce speeds
    • Ask for a smooth, flat cycle track that’s accessible to all kinds of cycle (including tricycles, wheelchair clip-on hand cycles, recumbents, etc.)

Our Response

You can read our response to the consultation here. We strongly support the proposals, but suggest additional changes to the Marshgate Lane junction in future to fully separate all modes.

Westfield-Ave-consultation-repsonse-from-Newham-Cyclists

MSG Sphere: Open letter to Sadiq Khan

We have written to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to ask him to refuse planning permission for the MSG Sphere when it is referred to him. You can read the text of the letter here, or see the PDF we sent to the Mayor and Dr Will Norman (London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner) at the bottom of the page.

Dear Sadiq,

RE: Please refuse the MSG Sphere planning application (approved by LLDC)

We are Newham Cyclists, part of the London Cycling Campaign.

We are writing to ask you to direct refusal of the planning application for the MSG Sphere (19/00097/FUL) in Stratford, and insist the applicant makes changes to the proposed venue’s transport strategy and public realm design.

The MSG Sphere scheme as approved by the unelected members of LLDC’s planning committee:

  • Locks in a 0.44% mode share for cycling and potentially thousands of extra car trips to each event
  • Builds an important new cycle link that would be heavily used by schoolchildren going between East Village and the London Aquatics Centre—only to then routinely close it at peak times (including school run times) to allow ingress/egress to the Sphere
  • Endangers local people by proposing a highway design for Angel Lane that constitutes at least two “critical fails” according to the Government’s LTN 1/20 standard, locking out safe cycling on Cycle Future Route 7 for potentially decades and building in community severance
  • May overwhelm Stratford station, an already dangerously-congested station which is a critical link for many people (particularly key workers, who have to travel no matter what.) The Sphere proposals only include one extra entrance to the station, and propose nothing to fix the congestion in the platforms and subways
  • Provides no legal mechanism for Newham Council to stop the building operators from showing obnoxious or distracting advertising on the building’s surface that could propose a safety risk, by granting an advertising consent for illuminated video content on the Sphere’s surface for a quarter of a century
Continue reading “MSG Sphere: Open letter to Sadiq Khan”

Readout from Annual Meeting 27 June 2022

AAA provided us with the hospitality of their premises at the Arc in the Park, Canning Town. We are very grateful.

In respect of the formal business:

  • The Draft Annual report (see earlier post) was approved.
  • The Annual Accounts for 2021/2 and the budget for 2022/3 (see earlier post)were confirmed, having been previously approved by the Committee to meet LCC deadlines.
  • The following Officers were elected. They will also form the Committee:
    Co-ordinator – Olawale Ajibola
    Interim Deputy Co-ordinator and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Representative – Jonathan Rothwell
    Secretary – Kate Byrne
    Treasurer – Bill Bremner
    Deputy Treasurer – Thom Sanders
    Infrastructure Representative – Chris Kershaw
    Rides Co-ordinator – Steve Smith
    Better streets Liaison Officer – Kerena Fussell

The lively discussion that followed covered a number of issues including the need for full consultation on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and the imperative to respond to the latest consultation on the subject found at newhamco-create.co.uk/en/projects/street-survey, health workers and cycling, the variety of cycle hire schemes in the borough, proposals for Tollgate Rd, the levelling up funding aimed at the south of the borough, Leytonstone Rd, the MSG Sphere, and the QE Olympic Park.

We also discussed some new campaigning tools we could make use of in the forthcoming year which promises to be busy and exciting..

Arnold

Annual Meeting 27 June 2022

A reminder that our Annual meeting will take place on 27 June at 7.30pm at the Terence Brown Arc in the Park.

As well as the usual formal bits (election of officers, approval of accounts, annual report. There will be an update on developments in cycling in Newham we will be setting our future direction.

Light refreshments will be served.

If you would prefer to attend by Zoom we are planning (and have successfully experimented with) a link. Let me now if you want the joining details by e-mailing newham@lcc.org.uk.

Arnold

Readout from 30 May 2022 Meeting

A select band avoided the rain to ride Cycleway 16 to look at Temple Mill Lane East, and in particular the crossing over the railway line. Whilst we were there only a small minority of those on bicycles used the eastbound shared path despite the considerable danger from westbound buses. We decided to formulate a list of possible solutions starting with a possible diversion of the buses.

Afterwards we discussed the follow up to the Climate Safe Streets Campaign in the light of the forthcoming meeting between ourselves and Better Streets/20’s Plenty with Councillor Asser.

Next meeting is the Annual Meeting on 27 June.

Arnold

News update

  • As the weather is looking suitable, May 30 meeting will be an evening ride in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with a short stop at the end for (bring your own) coffee/beer and discussion. See events for details. Let me know if there is anything particular you would wish to discuss.
  • Arrangements for the June 27 Annual meeting are crystallising. It is likely to be at the Terence Brown ARC in Hermitage Rd Park (home of AAA) starting at 7.30pm, with light refreshments. Subject to IT constraints we will try to give a Zoom option.
  • We are leading a ride for the children’s cycling club at AAA – Ambition Aspire Achieve, from 10am to 1 pm on Saturday, 28 May. If you would like to help on this please let me know.
  • Our LCC Freecycle feeder ride is Sunday 29 May. There are a lot of sign ups!
  • We have sought a meeting post election with Councillor James Asser, the re-appointed Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainable Transport. This has ben done in conjunction with Jeremy Leach (20’s Plenty and London Living Streets).
  • We have contacted Will Norman (the London Mayor’s walking and Cycling Commissioner) concerning the importance of extracting the best active travel benefits from the Twelvetrees/Stephenson St Development opposite West Ham Station.

Arnold

Climate Safe Streets – response from Mayor of Newham

At the start of the first week of her second term as Mayor of Newham, we received the following email in response to an email sent by Simon Munk at LCC (Comments from us included in our response are set out in red italics):

Thank you for your email to Rokhsana, who is absolutely committed to reducing traffic, making our roads safer and enabling active travel. This was clearly outlined in the Newham Labour manifesto. As you say, this is absolutely in line with the Mayor’s priorities locally and Labour Party policy nationally.

Newham Cyclists recognise that the  Labour Manifesto does represent a step change towards rebalancing the Council’s approach  in favour of active travel.  We very much welcome a shift in priority and recognise the recently positive steps that have been made to promote active travel.  However given the low base from which Newham started it is important that this progress is not impeded by the conditions attached to the manifesto promises. In this context we make the following comments.

In her manifesto, the Mayor committed to:

·        Consult and work with residents to identify residential roads and areas in the borough that are affected by dangerous driving, rat-runs and traffic congestion to design schemes to make these roads safer, quitter and healthier for all our residents, including wheelchairs users and those with visual impairments and disabilities

Newham Cyclist’s ask was for Borough-wide low traffic neighbourhoods and cycle friendly connection between them. The low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) so far put in place, mostly in the north of the borough have proven to be successful.  It is time to go beyond simply identifying areas affected by dangerous driving and congestion.  Areas bounded by legitimate through routes (i.e. not rat runs) should be identified as potential LTNs and a rolling plan of implementing them in consultation with residents should be established.

·        Making our roads safer places by continuing to target dangerous driving and enforce parking rules across the borough, as well as launch a safety awareness campaign about electrical scooters and bikes 

The borough is still plagued by illegal parking as has been recognised for some time, including by local councillors.  To “continue” enforcement at the same level does not address this problem. Enforcement has to be improved if it is to become effective in accordance with the Newham Cyclists’ ask.

·        Continue to work with residents and TfL on accessible streets, public areas, improved green spaces, public transport facilities and a 20mph speed limit with a focus on making all residential streets safer

Most 20mph areas in Newham are on lesser used residential streets.  The real safety dividend comes from an enforced 20mph on busier through roads.   A start has been made in odd spots such as  Stratford Town Centre. Newham should follow many other London boroughs and apply a 20mph on all its roads (i.e. all but the A13 and A12 trunk roads)  

·        Continue to work with our schools and parents on the introduction of Healthy School Streets schemes across all schools in Newham to protect our children going to school

Schools should not have a veto on Healthy Schools Streets.

·        Install at least 1000 Electric Vehicle charging points across the borough to support the transition to cleaner vehicles, alongside 500 cycle hangars and the expansion of our cycle hire scheme with to encourage more cycle usage

The promise of 500 cycle hangers is notable amongst the active travel manifesto promises as being a concrete, unconditional promise that gives rise to true accountability.  It reflects a strong demand in a borough where where space in the flats and terraced houses that predominate is not available to store bikes. 

·        Work with Transport for London to expand our cycling facilities and cycle routes as part of our plans to create a borough-wide cycle network, including good quality cycle provision for Romford Road and Barking Road

Newham Council needs to recognise that Transport for London is not necessarily a benign promoter of active travel.  For example it has been the generator of an antipathetic  bus priority scheme on the Barking Road and continues to press for more poor quality schemes. Newham Council needs to insist on schemes that promote safe active travel when pressure from TfL is to the contrary. 

·        Continue to invest in our road and pavement resurfacing and repair programmes; investing at least £10 million a year. This will deliver a programme of resurfacing and patching works, pavement upgrades including those damaged by overgrown tree roots.

Newham Cyclists would welcome a separate capital programme for improvements specifically aimed at active travel.   Prolonging the motor vehicle- centric “Keep Newham Moving” facility is not it.

·        Continue with a borough-wide programme to repaint road markings and zebra crossings, alongside improvements to our streets with more trees.

There are further policies in relation to tackling climate emergency and greening the borough also in the manifesto. I hope this confirms the Mayor’s commitments in relation to your asks and she looks forward to working with residents to ensure this is all delivered.

Kind regards,

Katie 

Katie Clark I Political Assistant to the Mayor

London Borough of Newham