- We discussed the progress of the Council in implementing their proposed low traffic neighbourhoods and the temporary scheme for the Romford Road; and decided to produce a short factsheet addressing the most commonly expressed objections to low traffic neighbourhoods.
- We decided to continue organising rides as far as social distancing permitted and seek to add easy local rides which would be particularly suitable for those seeking to increase thier confidence having recently returned to or started cycling.
- Our partnership with AAA will resume with bike fixing sessions at the ARC, Hermit Rd on 17 October and 21 November and rides on 24 October and 28 November. We will be acting as AAA volunteers rather than as Newham Cyclists or the LCC.
- Fix Your Ride at Woodgrange Market will take place on 10 October at Woodgrange Market.
- We will look further into whether we have the resources to join the LCC Cycle Buddy scheme.
- We will consider responding the to the Stratford Masterplan consultation.
- Redbridge Cyclists are seeking views on expanding the paths that cyclists can use in Wanstead Park. Comments by individuals can be make through email@example.com or on Facebook at wnstd.com/fwp.
Our September monthly meeting will take place on 28 September at 7.30pm.
This has been a busy and exciting time so lots to share and discuss.
- Infrastructure developments in rsponse to Covid-19;
- Events and partnerships;
- Wanstead Park.
Let me know if ther is anything you would like to discuss that is not on the agenda.
To join the meeting:
Meeting ID: 865 3918 4165
A Discover Newham Ride will be run this Sunday 27 September . It will be easy paced, mostly off road and between 10 and 15 miles, starting at the View Tube. There is a limt of 4 who must register in advance
Do not turn up if you are displaying Covid-19 symptoms.
See also the events page.
A lot has been going on and and there is still more to come. The Council have been working hard and with some success. We have been in close contact and are assisting as much as possible.
Here is a summary update of the cycling developments:
- The joint low traffic neighbourhood with Waltham Forest, from Leyton Rd to Forest Gate north of the railway line, (see post of 6 August) has now secured external funding and physical barriers (modal filters) are in place. There has been a delay in procuring cameras for those modal filters that are not physical – hopefully not for too long.
- Planning is in hand for 2 further low traffic neighbourhoods for which external funding has also been secured – a small one in Stratford Village and a major one covering the rest of the area from Water Lane to Manor Park north of the Romford Road. These need to be implemented before the end of October if the external funding is not be be at risk.
- Plans are at an advanced stage for the first phase of making Romford Rd better for cycling, for which external funding has been secured. It is based on our suggestion of making bus lanes 24 hour, converting cycle lanes to mandatory 24 hours with segregation, and removing pinch points. Unfortunately our suggestion of a 20 mph limit has not been taken up. further work to deal with bus stops will be expensive adn is depended on further external funding.
- No application was made to improve the Barking Road.
- Existing Schools Streets are due to be restarted and more are envisaged. These would be self funded.
- Self funding hs been used to restart some soft support measures like cycle training.
The focus of the Council and ourselves is on implementation of these schemes, which if put in place will mark a step change in the borough. We shall be looking at other schemes, both large and small, when the heat has died down a bit on these.
Should you wish to know more please contact me. And in any event keep supporting cycle infrastructure improvements and keep making suggestions for improvements on the Council’s portal. This will help keep the current momentum going.
In addition to the Joint Low Traffic Neighbourhood outlined in the earlier post Newham Council is advancing further Covid-19 related work on the Romford Rd and two more low traffic neighbourhoods (covering Stratford Village and the rest of area north of the Romford Rd from Water lane to Manor Park. Whilst Newham Council is self funding the joint low traffic neighbourhood it has secured external funding (in principle) for these other schemes.
Do promote the benefits of low traffic neighbourhoods amongst your friends and neighbours as there is likely to be a backlash from Newham’s entrenched motor vehicle lobby.
Our next Discover Newham Ride will be on 6 September.
We are planning to attend this cycle safety event in Plaistow to talk to local cyclists and to help with minor adjustments and maintenance.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :
- Write to the Mayor of Newham to support LCC’s Help London stop the tide of motor traffic campaign.
- Put all your suggestions for active travel imporvemetns on the Council’s portal.