Summary readout of 8 June Meeting

Richard Wadey provided a wide ranging overview of Newham Council’s progress in implementing its Cycle Strategy. Key points emerging from his presentation and follow up questions:

  • Of the 33 priority cycle routes it identified plans were in place or being developed for beneficial interventions on 19. But implementation depended on funding, which was being sought from a variety of sources.
  • The low traffic neighbourhood strategy was not part of the original cycle strategy but has been added since. LTN’s would complement and in some cases enhance the plans for the 19 cycle routes.
  • In some cases compromises were necessary especially in relation to bus priority schemes.
  • Pressure on staff time was a significant constraint on progress.
  • There was a build up of demand for cycle hoops which the Council were not currently meeting.

An invitation was extended to all to provide any infrastructure ideas which would be collated with our existing checklist and pursued at the resumption of catch up meetings with Council Officers. 

John Morris was appointed Deputy Co-ordinator.  He has a special interest in outreach.  

In relation to events and partnerships:

  • Fix your Ride is continuing at Woodgrange Market on the second Saturday of each month and we were responding positively to a request for some midweek sessions to support community activity on the Carpenters Estate.
  • There is an opportunity to assist in a Woodcraft Folk cycle project.
  • The AAA children’s cycle club has resumed at both The ARC in Canning Town and Abbey Hub. Details of opportunities for us to resume this partnership will be pursued by e-mail and discussion group.

Jonathan outlined positive developments in the QE Olympic Park where LLDC have appointed a expert sustainable transport officer.  

Our rides programme is progressing and country lane rides are resuming.   The number of no shows after booking has been disappointing. 

We had been invited by the Council to attend a resumption of Traffic Management Liaison Meetings, where infrastructure developments would be discussed with official bodies such as ambulance and police. 

Our programme of video’s of rides was continuing. 

If you would like further information on any of the above please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Arnold

Ride Reports April and May 2021

Our intensive short season of local rides suitable for those new to cycling kicked off on 25 April with a River Ride taking in the banks of the river Lea and the north and south banks of the Thames between Woolwich and Greenwich. The weather served us well but we did have to carry bikes down to the foot tunnel at Greenwich . A lovely way to start our transition from lockdown.

The following Sunday was our ride to help launch GoParks Newham. We took in over 20 parks including an excellent coffee and cake stop in Central Park and a stop at the East Ham nature Reserve.

The launch of GoParks Newham in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
East Ham Nature Reserve
Beckton District Park

The route is available on the GoParks Newham website. It shows the all the parks in Newham and our ride demonstrates access by sustainable transport

An interesting and worthwhile jaunt of 23 miles.

The following Sunday, 9 May, we tried out a new local ride – Beating the Bounds of Newham where we kept a closely as we could to the boundaries of Newham using paths and quiet roads. Using Quietway 6 to cross the north of the borough we then followed the rivers Roding, Thames and Lea. The main disappointment is that the pathway is not open to allow cycling to the bottom of the River Roding and on to the Royal Albert Dock.

Beating the Bounds – the banks of the River Lea
Beating the Bounds – having finished coffee at Royal Albert Dock

A 20 mile ride of tremendous variety and interest.

Two more rides complete this short season – a 10 mile west ham themed Bike from Boleyn on the final day of the Premier League season – 23 May; and another “Call the Midwife” themed ride around Poplar on 30 May.

And with lockdown easing we shall be turning to some longer country lanes rides.

Arnold

Readout from Annual Meeting 26 April 2021

The meeting benefitted from the attendance of a number of guests with whom we have worked over the course of the year and from throughout the borough.

We started with informative presentations from Terry Patterson, Councillor James Asser, and Murray Woodburn, followed by a lively question and answer session. This session served to highlight the recent progress made in supporting sustainable transport in Newham, the plans for the future and the challenges ahead – particularly political, human resources, and unlocking funding .

On the formal side the following elections were made: Co-ordinator, Arnold Ridout; Treasurer, Bill Bremner; Secretary, Kate Byrne; Rides Co-ordinator, Steve Smith; Infrastructure Representative, Olawale Ajibola, Deputy Infrastructure Representative, Chris Kershaw; Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Representative, Jonathan Rothwell.

Kerena Fussell who has done such amazing work for us over a number of year stood down as Deputy -Co-ordinator but agreed to stay on our Committee as our Better Streets Liaison Officer.

We agreed our accounts for 2020-21 and our budget for 2021-22. The annual report of our activities over the last year was approved.

In terms of ongoing activities; there was an outline of our forthcoming rides, our project to record useful cycling routes, and information on a study by Car Free London which is seeking volunteers for a survey of long established road filters.

We did not get time to discuss in any depth the ongoing infrastructure consultations in which we are involved which include major projects for the Royal Docks Corridor, and Westfield Ave.

Forthcoming local leisure rides Rides: Parks Ride 2 May and Beating the Bounds of Newham 9 May.

If you would like further information on any of the above please get in touch on newham@lcc.org.uk.

Arnold

Annual Meeting 26 April 2021

Our annual Meeting will take place on 26 April 2021 at 7.00pm – 8.30pm by Zoom. For the details of the meeting please e-mail newham@lcc.org.uk

The provisional agenda includes –

  • introductory presentations by Terry Patterson, our link LCC trustee, and Murray Woodburn, Principal Transport Planner, Newham Council followed by an open discussion of cycling issues . In support of this discussion is our draft annual report.
  • short notices on current local group issues, including recording and mapping of ride routes; forthcoming rides; current consultations.
  • election of officers, agreement of financial statement and budget, and agreement of annual report. The draft annual report has embedded in it the financial statement and budget but if you would like a separate copies please e-mail newham@lcc.org.uk.

Arnold

Readout from 29 March 2021 Meeting

Milena Rouse, the Green Spaces Community Worker at Plaistow South Big Local introduced her plans for promoting cycling in the area, including facilitating a try before you bike scheme and local bike parking. We agreed to support her initiative how we could.

Our Fix Your Ride stall at Woodgrange Market will resume on 17 April and continue thereafter on the second Saturday of the month. We will also explore the possibility of further stalls around the borough with potential partners who were approaching us.

We discussed the LCC’s campaign for the May elections based on:

  • rapid expansion of the Strategic Cycling Network at the highest quality;
  • development and implementation of a London-wide smart road user charging system; and
  • co-ordinated expansion of easy access to low-carbon shared mobility services such as car club and and shared cycle/scooter points.

The Committee will look at promoting these objectives on social media, by writing to the local press and by organising a ride to which candidates would be invited.

The Treasurer set out the preparations for the annual accounts and budget, asked for all outstanding invoices to be sent to him and invited suggestions for what should be included in next years’ budget.

On infrastructure:

  • Low Traffic Neighbourhoods were progressing;
  • as nothing has been heard of progress on the Romford Rd we decided to chase this up again;
  • the proposals for the Royal Docks Corridor route (Silvertown Way and North Woolwich Rd) on which we are being consulted looked promising but we needed to be sure of the treatment of junctions;
  • Stephen Timms MP was promoting a Roding Greenway Route. Something which we have supported whilst recognising the challenges of achieving it.

We further discussed how cargo bikes might be promoted locally. political action such as a Scottish scheme would be the best way of achieving progress but there were some local steps we could take by liaising with those promoting use of cargo bikes, and publicising businesses which deliver by this means. If you know of any please let me know.

We discussed the resumptions of rides when LCC give the green light.

Member Liam Adams explained his opposition to Newham Council’s policy of charging for a first parking permit based on emissions.

We will be pursuing our project of recording local rides. If you would like to be involved please let me know.

Arnold

Readout of 22 February 2021 Meeting

Michael Barratt, Development Impact Lead at TfL and a longstanding friend of ours, joined us to share his expertise on promoting the use of cargo bikes. He has had success in promoting their use in the unpromising area of construction and provided us with good ideas on how we might promote the use of cargo bikes in Newham.

We updated on Covid-19 related infrastructure changes. Low Traffic neighbourhoods in the north of the borough were slowly being implemented. There is an opportunity for individuals to contribute to a consultation, particularly on the newly published proposals for areas 3 (Manbey), 4 (Atherton) and 7 (Stratford Park). The main issue with the proposals identified at the meeting is a lack of a safe crossing of Water Lane from Manbey Grove to Louise Rd. Please make your views known.

We decided to co-ordinate our Fix Your Ride sessions at Woodgrange Market with the Dr Bike sessions provided by Newham Council.

We pooled our experiences on mapping and filming good cycling routes to the Excel vaccination centres and were cheered by reports of the usefulness of the material provided to date.

There are potential new partnerships in the forthcoming year with Plaistow South Big Local (an organisation seeking to regenerate this ward of the borough) and the Royal Docks Learning and Activity Centre.

We decided to renew our Zoom subscription.

Arnold

Readout from 25 January 2021 Meeting

21 of us turned out, virtually, for our monthly meeting.

Mariam Draaijer from JoyRiders joined us to explain the exciting work of that organisation to promote cycling for women, now being extended to Newham. She is looking for female volunteers to be trained to lead rides or buddy up with new riders and also contacts with local organisations which JoyRiders can work with.

There was an update on infrastructure developments. There had been some progress on completing and implementing 5 of the 7 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (1 Maryland, 2 Odessa, 3 Manbey, 4 Atherton, and 7 Stratford) but no known concrete progress yet on 2 (5 Woodgrange, 6 Capel). There was hope of something being started on the Romford Rd corridor shortly. 3 of the 10 second batch of school streets had been progressed but, disappointingly, some of the existing first batch of school streets had been closed down despite the fact that the schools were still open for vulnerable pupils.

Members were encouraged to write to their local councillors to support these schemes and add their comments to the current online consultation.

Additionally, Newham Council is currently consulting of its 2021/22 budget. This includes spending £11m “to Keep Newham Moving through long-term investment in roads, footpaths and street lighting”. The existing “Keep Newham Moving” fund was notoriously skewed towards motor vehicles rather than active travel and members are encouraged to seek clarification that, post pandemic, there will be a rebalancing towards active travel.

We discussed the current lack of provision and facilitation for the use of cargo bikes, which could have a significant role to play in obviating the need for short journeys by car because the journey involved carrying shopping or work material. We agreed to pursue with experts what options might be available and to put together and publish photos showing the potential to carry stuff on bikes.

We also discussed options for publicising easy local cycle routes to key destinations (such as employment centres and vaccination centres). Waltham Forest Cyclists and Joyriders had videos of useful routes available.

Arnold

Some January News

First: you may have seen in the Recorder that half of Newham Councillors are now backtracking on the proposal to introduce a charge for a first parking permit in Newham. They have apparently been “overwhelmed” by requests to remove what is falsely described as a “regressive tax”

Newham Cyclists have been supporting a permit charge since October 2018, as a necessary and welcome element of rebalancing of Newham’s traditional discrimination in favour of motor traffic at the expense of active travel; and in line with all other London boroughs save one.

You are invited to let your local councillors know your views and would be welcome to draw on our earlier letter or the following (in italics). This takes account of the implications Covid 19 and addresses head on the fallacy that a charge for a first permit is a tax:

Dear Councillor

I am writing to ask for your support for the Council’s proposals for an emissions related charge for a first on-street parking permit, as does every other London Council save one.  

This Covid-19 crisis has reinforced the absolute necessity for walking and cycling to be better promoted in Newham.  The Council needs to do some catching up following a long period favouring motor traffic over walking and cycling.  Without a significant change in direction Newham will continue to suffer from poor air quality and its crowded and polluted streets will create a hostile environment for residents and in the broader context the Council’s declaration of a climate change emergency will remain mere hollow words.  We need to avoid a migration back to private motor vehicles in response to Covid-19 making public transport less attractive.

As one of the objectives of the charge is to address the overcrowding of our streets it would be right for electric vehicles to be charged, albeit at the lowest rate.

It is wrong to consider a charge for a first permit as a “tax” on Newham’s motorists.  Rather it is the removal of an unfair subsidy to those better off residents of Newham who have access to a vehicle.  The free permit does not even cover the administration costs of the parking scheme let alone address the “external costs” to the community of private use as a car park of public space.

Second: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are being implemented slowly in Newham. In the meantime more evidence (as opposed to the noisy myths against) is emerging of their benefits. Please continue to talk to your neighbours about the benefits of LTNs.

Third: our next (virtual) meeting is on 25 January at 7.30pm. If you would like any particular item to be on the agenda please let me know. In any event this will be an opportunity for a full catch up.

If you would like further information on any of the above please get in touch at our e-mail address.

Arnold

Summary Readout from 30 November 2020 Meeting

Richard gave us an update on the progress on implementing low traffic neighbourhoods and borough corridors where there is progress on both aspects

We then shared our best lockdown rides which also gave some ideas for our future ride calendar.

We decided to reinstate our Christmas lights rides within the constraints of social distancing.

Finally we welcomed Chris as our representative on the Epping Forest Consultative Committee.

If you would like more information on any of these matters or any other cycling issue in Newham please get in touchvia our e-mail or via our discussion group.

Arnold