Low Traffic Neighbourhoods land in Newham!

The announcement for the joint Low Traffic Neighbourhood with Waltham Forest was made yesterday. Full details are online:

https://www.newham.gov.uk/transport-streets/low-traffic-neighbourhood

https://newhamwalthamforestltn.commonplace.is/

Forest Gate Visual by Rachel Tripp
Maryland visual by Rachel Tripp

Summary Readout from Meeting of 27 July 2020

  • We reported back on the positive introductory meeting of the Committe with Councillor Nilufa Jahan, recently appointed deputy to Councillor Asser for the environment and transport portfolio.
  • We discussed progress on the Newham Covid-19 response in respect of walking and cycling. Whilst pavement works had visibly progressed this was not the case with low traffic neighbourhoods and cycle lanes along borough corridors. We agreed to pursue further information on progress. A further batch of funding opportunities were coming up in the next few weeks.
  • Additionally we agreed to seek further information on (a) what was happening at Jenkins Lane where cycle facilities had been taken away, (b) whether Newham’s cycle training was returning and (c) any plans specifically for the return of schools in September.
  • We agreed to liaise with Extinction Rebelliion on their proposed “cycle caterpillar” – likely to take place on August Bank holiday; and with Better Streets for Newham.
  • We did some adjustment to our rides calendar.
  • The Committee will look at making aviable on our website the routes of our rides, favoured cycling routes in the borough and an archive of the minutes of our meetings.

    If you would like further details or background do not hesitate to get in touch.


    Arnold.

River Ride report 12/07/20

The second of the new socially distanced rides saw four of us set off from the Viewtube on a sunny morning.  We followed the Lea canal to the point it joins the river at Three Mills.  A short visit to the peaceful, green enclave of Coal Gas memorial site and then down to Cody Dock where Nadia’s cafe was open.  Along to Canning Town, through the ecology park, the station and down the expressway to the Emirates cable car.  This provides spectacular views across this part of London and appears to be operating almost without passengers

At North Greenwich we took the Thames cycle route towards the Thames Barrier and, after an enforced detour, to the Woolwich ferry.  Unfortunately on this occasion the ferry was not running so we had to use the foot tunnel and missed the river views.  Having crossed back we stayed as close to the river as possible, through Royal Victoria Gardens, and crossing the access to King George V dock and then Royal Albert dock at the locks.  We kept on the Thames path as far as possible and then turned away from the river at Gallions Reach towards Gallions Reach Retail Park.  From there it was easy to pick up the cycle route that joins the Greenway and follow this back to our starting point.  Only stopping to admire the views we were back in time for lunch

Update on Newham Response to Covid-19 Active Travel

Here is the text of a e-mail sent to Councillor Asser, Cabinet Member for Environment and Highways and Sustainable Transport, copied to the Mayor and Council Officers. The film and audit document are found in the post concerning the Romford Rd of 29 June:

“Following the Newham Cyclists meeting of 29 June I am writing in relation to the three aspects of the Council’s response to the Covid – 19 crisis as it affects active travel. 

 Romford Rd

We were pleased to hear that the Council had secured £250K for installing temporary cycle lanes in the Romford Rd and North Woolwich Rd.  As you know we think that Barking Rd should have been a priority over North Woolwich Rd, and as a consequence we urge the preponderance of the funds to be spent on ensuring a good quality scheme for the Romford Rd.

On 19 June we carried out an audit of the Romford Rd looking at how it could be quickly and practically converted into a continuous borough corridor in which those cycling could feel safe. The result is attached. 

We very much believe that it is possible to create a temporary safe corridor based on a combination of (a) creating 24 hr mandatory cycle lanes segregated by wands and “armadillos” (b) turning existing bus lanes to 24 hrs (c) removing legal parking in both of these and (d) removing pinch points.  However these measures must be supported by enforcement of parking and loading regulations, and a 20 mph speed limit.  None of this is novel.

We  filmed out audit, which provides a clear illustration of why residents now see the Romford Rd as too dangerous to cycle.  Also, the attached texts of e-mails from a Redbridge teacher who finds the Romford Rd difficult and whose pupils are inhibited from cycling to school  because of the danger of the Romford Rd reinforces this perception.   We urge you to progress this scheme as fast as possible addressing those parts that can be done immediately rather than waiting for the whole scheme to be implemented in one go.    

We are very happy to discuss the principles of our audit and the detail with you or the Officers concerned. We intend to invite relevant Councillors to discuss with us the sections passing through their wards.

 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

We applaud your success in securing funding for three low traffic neighbourhoods. We also appreciate the detailed consultation to date on the joint scheme with Waltham Forest.  We are happy to provide input into the other schemes that have been funded.

DfT have stated that boroughs which do not demonstrate rapid progress risk having this funding withdrawn. Given that we are now in July, Newham’s disappointing inaction must now make this a real danger, especially when compared with neighbouring boroughs already putting their schemes into place on the streets. Given that the Council has the relevant powers as the highway authority, we should be grateful if you could let us know if there are specific issues holding these schemes up so that we can publicly lend support where we can. 

 School Streets

We understand that the restoration of existing school streets has been made dependent on the consent or even request of the school concerned.  If true this is very concerning, risks wasting public money and bodes ill for the implementation of further school streets for which financial provision was made by the Cabinet. We would appreciate it if you would confirm what the actual position is?

What we are seeking in relation to all three of these matters is absolutely consistent with Statutory Guidance given to local authorities, and progresses other Council policies.

The grim circumstances of the Covid-19 crisis has given the opportunity for the Council to demonstrate how its residents can keep safe whilst going about their daily lives, and that it is ready to realise the potential and benefits of active travel.  This opportunity needs to be grasped for the reasons highlighted in the paper considered by the Cabinet on 11 June.  It is unlikely to arise again.

This correspondence will be published on our website.

Newham Ride (socially distanced)

A blustery day saw us take our first organised socially distanced ride. Although we planned for six, we were only three leaving the Viewtube and a fourth joined us at Thames Barrier Park. It was noticeable that several cafes were open including the Viewtube, and Fat Boys at Trinity Buoy Wharf, and toilet facilities at the Expressway.
We had to cross the 6 sets of lights at the A13 junction, this is the most tricky section of the ride. Otherwise cycle infrastructure facilities on this route are not bad and just miss minor assists such as a dropped kerb and better light phasing on the Barking road
In all this was a pleasant ride within the current restrictions and I am looking forward to the river ride on 12th July

Summary readout from meeting of 29 June 2020

We continue to get high attendance at our virtual meetings. Yesterday we:

  • reviewed our socially distanced pop up stall in Manor Park and the Newham Ride over the weekend, and considered the lessons for future similar events. Our next stall is at Woodgrange Market on 11 July and our next ride is a River Ride the next day;
  • had a wide ranging discussion on the current position on active travel in Newham and particularly the progress (or seeming lack of progress) on Low Trafic Neighbourhoods and Romford Rd. We decided to (a) send further correspondence to the Council with the results of our audit of Romford Rd, and expressing concern at the lack of visible progress, given the danger that the existing funding for these projects from TfL is contingent upon progress (b) alert local Councillors to the Romford Rd project and invite them to walk/ride the route;
  • decided to look further into cycling to school;
  • explore the possibility of having a fuller “resources library” on our website.

Please get in touch if you would like further details.

Arnold

Romford Road

Newham Council have received funding from TfL to instal temporary cycle lanes along the Romford Rd. With this in mind we carried out an audit on 19 June 2020.

Romford Rd is officially an London Cycle Network + cycle route (unbelievably) and has been identified by TfL as a Cycling Future Route i.e. a route with very high cycling potential where the needs of those cycling ought to be addressed.

If you want a feel of the reality of cycling along the Romford Rd, this can be found in Bill’s film of the audit.

Our audit document is here.

Arnold

Covid -19 and Active Travel: an Update

On 11 June the Newham Cabinet agreed unanimously the recommendations in the paper on active travel presented to it (copy in post of 5 June below).

In addition, TfL have to date provided £843K of external funding for a number of schemes in Newham.  We are in the top half of grants to boroughs. 

The good news is that:

  • There is now some (minor) rebalancing of the Keep Newham Moving funding towards active travel and a review of more significant rebalancing.
  • 3 low traffic neighbourhood are now funded ((i)Stratford Village, (ii) Maryland and Forest Gate north (jointly with Waltham Forest), (iii) Atherton and Woodgrange)
  • 2 borough corridors (Romford Rd and North Woolwich Rd) are funded.
  • 7 more school streets are to be implemented if the schools agree.
  • Decluttering and pavement widening and removal of parking bays has some external funding.   

If all this is implemented to a good standard it will represent a significant step forward in active travel in Newham. 

NewhamCyclists had asked for greater urgency and ambition from the Cabinet as we think the immediate crisis and the longer term interests of the residents of Newham demand a very significant switch to active travel. 

Our briefing paper (see post of 9 June) set out a series of asks.  These could have been easily funded from a reasonable rebalancing of the Keep Newham Moving facility i.e. using approximately £5m of a facility of approximately £10m per year currently prioritising motor traffic over active travel.  The Cabinet have already agreed to using more than £3m of this facility if necessary. Indeed, any call on this facility would not have have to be used to the extent that the Council is successful in its external bid for funding – as it has already to the tune of £843k; with the prospect of more to come if it delivers on the schemes so far funded. .

Because Newham Council is refusing to let us know what they are bidding for or have bid for it, is difficult to know precisely what is intended.  However the following appear unfunded from the Newham Cyclists lists of asks:

  • 2 of the 5 low traffic neighbourhoods already identified by the Council as feasible (Custom House and Plashet)
  • Temporary cycle lanes in Barking Road to form a “borough corridor. ” This corridor runs through the heart of the borough and ought to have been prioritised over North Woolwich Rd for which the Council has sought and received external funding, This already has a segregated cycle track or wide pavement that could easily be shared use pending a more comprehensive scheme.
  • 13 extra School Streets.
  • Removal of Greenway obstructions.
  • An end to legal pavement parking.
  • A borough wide 20mph limit.
  • Improved enforcement directed and countering the widespread illegal pavement parking and other motor traffic contraventions which inhibit active travel.

We shall continue to press for these, and have audited Romford Rd to look at how it could become an active travel corridor. If you have any questions or would like further details please get in touch.

In the meantime please also :

Arnold

Socially distanced rides

We are planning some local rides that comply with the new new government guidelines. A maximum of six riders can participate in each group and therefore pre booking is required
28th June Newham Ride
Approximately 10 miles including the Greenway, Royal Docks, Thames Barrier, East India Dock, Bow Creek, Memorial Recreation Ground

12th July River Ride
Approximately 15 miles including the river Lea, Cody Dock, Bow Creek, North Woolwich, (depending on conditions ferry or tunnel crossing), Beckton, Greenway
 
26 July Newham Parks Ride
See the Newham’s parks and green spaces route by Bernard McDonnell in London Cyclist summer 2020

All rides start at 10am and finish by 2-3pm at the View Tube.
More details will follow