Four stalwarts braved early showers for the latest variation of our traditional Newham Ride. This time we took in the excellent parks on Newham Thameside, including Royal Victoria Gardens, Thames Barrier Park and – for the first time- Lyle Park. They all looked lush, and the last was a surprising delight in an unpromising area of new development and traditional industrial sites.
With this inspiration we resolved to work out a Newham Parks Ride for next year.
We supported a ride, instigated by Councillor Blaney and Richard, for Newham Councillors to see the Mini-Holland developments in neighbouring Waltham Forest.
There was a good turnout of about 10 Councillors including the Mayor and the relevant cabinet members. We are grateful to Waltham Forest campaigner Paul Gasson for leading the ride and providing technical input; and especially Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader of Waltham Forest Council who spoke from the political angle and answered a raft of questions.
The objective of the ride was to demonstrate on the ground the broad range of community and health benefits that quality cycle provision brings; and in particular how Liveable Neighbourhoods can be implemented. Newham has succeeded in securing TfL funding for a Liveable Neighbourhood in Custom House and has developed progressive plans for one on the borders with Waltham Forest.
As a bonus the weather was excellent.
Along the journey we stopped at the Leyton Cycle Hub;
and Francis Rd.
We cycled a section of the transformed Lea Bridge Rd;
and experienced neighbourhoods which are filtered to exclude through traffic and provide pocket parks.
After a well deserved coffee break in central Walthamstow , we all returned to Newham on an off-road route through the Wathamstow and Hackney Marshes, and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
A very pleasant and sociable ride which we hope and believe will help promote the development of quality cycle provision in Newham.
15 of us congregated in the Forest Lane Lodge despite a change in our usual date and time. Councillor Blaney sent his apologies with an update of his current activities to promote cycling in the borough.
Below is a summary of the meeting. If you would like to know more please do not hesitate to get in touch.
We discussed and made further arrangements for a Councillor Ride on 9 June. This will be an important event.
Michael Barratt, TfL’s Development Impact Assessment Manager, who has being working closely with us for some period, updated us on his recent activities with the Newham Council Traffic management team and the London Legacy Development Corporation who still retain wide powers (including planning) over the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and beyond. He suggested useful training that was available and how we can continue to minimise the adverse impact on cycling of major developments.
Stratford Original, the business improvement organisation is having its Stratford Town Centre Improvement launch event on 13 June from 4pm to 7pm; and is planning further events on 11 July and 22 September (World Car Free Day)
We will be having our “Fix Your Ride” (with add ons) at the Forest Gate Festival on 6 July.
Jonathan outlined the current enormous “Maddison Square Garden Sphere” development between Westfield and Angel Lane (see below for link to the application). He noted a derisory estimate by the planners of 20-30 cyclists going to events attracting 20,000 plus (amongst other questionable estimates) and the need for there to be better infrastructure proposals. A response to this application is due by the end of June
We agreed to support Jonathan with a QEOP subgroup to which other stakeholders and partner borough groups could be invited.
We looked at developments to restrict rat running in the Manor Park area – both east and west of High Street North (see below). The east section was a natural “Liveable Neighbourhood” and further information was needed on steps proposed to create this. The west section presented greater difficulties. However it appears to be acknowledged by the Council that its recent changes to the one way directions had not been successful. To end rat running will need further steps more akin to creation of a Liveable Neighbourhood; but it may be necessary to start with a limited area.
Having been contacted by an organisation called Iceni, which is promoting a walking and cycling bridge adjacent to the Thames Barrier. The group approved the idea in principle and will write pointing out that the Newham Ride is an ideal opportunity to put that proposal into context.
We discussed a response to a request from Newham Council to comment on the rebranding of Cycleways. We recalled our decision to object to signposting QW6 until it was of adequate quality. The consensus was that branded cycleways should be of sufficient quality (70% or more on the “Cycle Level of Service” scale) and continuous.
We had an early discussion on the prospect of greater funding from Newham Council.
There are four major issues at present. If you are interested in knowing more about any of these please contact us.
The “Madison Square Garden Sphere” between Westfield and Angel Lane: A planning application has been lodged which gives rise on initial examination to some serious concerns. We are going to examine it more carefully with other interested stakeholders and LCC HQ with a view to lodging objections by the end of June deadline. The full application is available here
The Freemasons Rd Liveable Neighbourhood potentially covers a wide area and has potential to deliver huge benefits for walking and cycling , particularly when linked to other schemes covering the Royal Docks. The Council are going into detailed design stage and we hope to contribute to this. The area of the scheme is set out in this map.
Newham Council are consulting residents in Manor Park west of High Street North on how to counter the large scale rat-running. The recent changes to the direction of one way flows so not appear to have solved the problem as this document showing traffic flows indicates.
Newham Council have consulted on how to counter rat running in Manor Park to the east of High Street North. We are awaiting further information on the solution.
We will be pressing for high quality schemes that make these areas akin to Liveable Neighbourhoods. In its Local Implementation Plan Newham Council have told TfL:
“The Council is committed to the delivery of Safe and Healthy Neighbourhoods schemes across the Borough in response to resident concerns. Two schemes are already being delivered with 2018-19 LIP funding in the East Ham North and Manor Park wards”
On Saturday 25 May a team of Newham Cyclists took a group of enthusiastic children from the Saturday cycle club of the Canning Town based charity “Ambition, Aspire, Achieve” on a ride of the Greenway and Olympic Park.
Sunday saw a large group of 20 – from Newham and other areas of London take our latest leisurely Newham Ride.
Its 15 miles took in the Greenway, Gallions, the Thames to Woolwich, the Royal Docks and the River Lea. The weather was excellent for the duration of the ride and we even managed to navigate though crowds of comic book heroes at the Excel Centre. Once we were back the weather deteriorated.
Our next ride is the longer “Cake Mountain Ride” on 9 June before reverting back to another Newham Ride, using a slightly different route, on 16 June.
20 gathered in an upstairs room in the Red Lion High Street South for our Annual Meeting.
The following Officers were elected.:
Co-ordinator: Arnold Ridout;
Deputy Co-ordinator: Kerena Fussell;
Treasurer: Bill Bremner;
Rides Co-ordinator: Steve Smith;
Local Infrastructure Rep: Olawale Ajibola;
Deputy Infrastructure Rep: Chris Kershaw;
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Rep: Jonathan Rothwell.
A draft Annual Report , Annual Accounts and Budget were approved.
Away from the more formal business:
Terry Patterson, LCC Trustee, expressed her appreciation of the groups work over the past year and asked members to consider standing for posts as LCC Trustees.
Louis Martin, from Fossil Free Newham, recalled that Newham Council had now voted unanimously to to go “fossil free”, explained what this entailed and reminded us that vigilance was needed to ensure that this vote was put into practice.
In response to Steve’s report on rides, there was discussion on categorisation of rides.
Olawale outlined developments following Newham Council’s successful bid to take part in TfL Liveable Neighbourhoods initiative in Custom House and prospects for the principles to be applied in the Stratford/ Forest Gate areas in partnership with Waltham Forest. Murray Woodburn, from Newham Council, supplemented this and delivered the news that 5 pilot “School Streets” initiatives had been agreed.
Our discussion on how to communicate better and in a changing environment resulted in a call for a single regular e-mail newsletter to replace the Borough insert into the London Cyclists magazine and continued use of the Yahoo Group for urgent communication – backed up by continued use of social media.
We discussed forthcoming activities including a possible Councillor Ride, and a partnership event with Stratford Original on 13 June during Bike Week.
The weather was not what Newham Cyclists have come to expect, being rather chilly and dull. Nevertheless 6 of us – the “naturalist wing” – set out for a short jaunt taking in Walthamstow Marshes, Walthamstow Wetlands, the Middlesex Filter Beds, the fringes of Hackney Marsh, and the northern (and greener) part of the Olympic Park. The cycling was broken up by a coffee stop and short wander around the reservoirs of the Wetlands. An excellent variety of different birds were seen, and we were reminded of the quality of the green spaces in our quarter of London. Thanks again to Robin for his photography skills.
Our Annual Meeting will take place at the Red Lion, High Street South between 7.30pm and 9.30 pm. It will be mostly a social occasion and a chance for discussion with our guests. There will be some formal business.
We met at Stratford Library – a new venue – thanks to Trevor Mbatha. there was the usual crowded and interesting agenda.
Laura Shelton, a Crossrail Walking and Cycling Ambassador started us off, being available to mark bikes before the meeting. At the meeting proper she explained her role and some of her ideas for increasing cycling around stations and for staff. She explained that current policy will be for Crossrail to carry bikes – off peak- over all its lines (including the central underground tunnel.
Richard Wadey (Newham Council Sustainable Transport Officer) unravelled how Newham was proposing to spend the £2-3m pa TfL funding to promote the Mayor of London’s Transport Policy. For details see the earlier post of the catch up meeting with him. Headlines are that the big ticket items will be for (a) progressing design of Liveable Neighbourhoods (Forest Gate North in partnership with Waltham Forest and Woodgrange Estate). These would link to TfL’s accelerated interest in tackling the Romford Rd strategic cycling corridor; (b) forwarding design for some other strategic cycle corridors and completing improvements to Greenway and its ramps (e.g. at Newham General, Upper St) and a path through West Ham Memorial Park; (c) progressing design for key junctions on TfL’s identified strategic cycling routes, particularly the Barking Rd and (d) continuing the successful training and cycle hanger programme. He also explained various potential sources of funding to convert design into actual infrastructure. This is in addition to the Freemasons Liveable Neighbourhood for which Newham’s bid was successful, and other projects on the fringe of the borough such as Ilford Hill, the crossing of the Roding at Ilford and the Ilford to Barking route.
Trevor led discussion on the proposed “Greenway Challenge” event he was promoting on either the first or last Sunday of Bike Week. He had set up a number of partnerships already to get this event off the ground and we indicate a positive wish to help.
Also during Bike Week we decided to seek 13 June for a Bike Week partnership event with Stratford Original to promote and celebrate the improvements brought by the removal of the Stratford Gyratory.
Jonathan updated us on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the disturbing approach of the LLDC (the Planning Authority) whose current Design Guidance includes some real cycling howlers. We are going to have to get down to detail to update them not only on current practice but also to bring to their attention the historic mistakes make in the QEOP.
Richard Stevenson is pursing a Councillor Ride to ensure that the Newham Councillors who cycle get a better idea of what cycle infrastructure is possible and in place elsewhere.
Partnership Rides with Clapton CFC on 27 April and Bike from Boleyn on 4 May are coming up. A chance to mix football (of your choice) with cycling. And of course our own ride season is now in full swing.
Our Annual Meeting will take place on 29 April at the Red Lion 80 High St South East Ham 7.30pm to 9.30pm Light refreshment will be provided. Whilst predominantly a social/discussion event with guests we will have some formal business, particularly the election of Officers. Anyone who would like (or think they may like) to take a more active role in Newham Cyclists is encouraged to put their name forward. We want to continue to be a vibrant group.