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Lower Lea Crossing: Is that it?

TfL are consulting on changes to the Lower Lea Crossing and Aspen Way Roundabout. It’s not too bad—tweaking some crossings here, widening some cycle tracks there, etc.

But it’s also not especially transformative: there’s already a cycle track here, and it already provides an important connection to the Royal Docks. Some of the changes will be nice to have, but they could’ve been better. One arm of Aspen Way roundabout on the north side, amazingly, still won’t even have crossings!

The bad news is that this scheme ties in to the Tidal Basin Roundabout and the Silvertown Tunnel. The Tunnel will bring much, much more traffic to the Lower Lea Crossing and Aspen Way. Maybe these changes to the Lower Lea Crossing cycle track are an attempt to mitigate these negative effects—but they’re nowhere near enough.

The consultation is open until Monday 12th February. We recommend responding and telling TfL:

  • The scheme won’t really make a difference to the number of people walking and cycling in the area.
  • TfL should build crossings on all arms of the Aspen Way roundabout, and they should all be separated for walking and cycling (no shared areas please.)
  • In the medium term, TfL should look at grade-separating walking and cycling at the roundabouts, like at the Green Man Roundabout.
  • Where the cycle track is interrupted for servicing entrances, drivers of servicing vehicles need to be given adequate warning to watch for people walking and cycling.
  • The main problem in the area will still be the Silvertown Tunnel, a 1960s quality urban motorway scheme which shouldn’t have been approved. This scheme, combined with the threadbare bus network and silly cycle shuttle bus, comes across as a tick-box exercise to let the Tunnel’s promoters pretend they’re doing something worthwhile for people who don’t have a car, don’t want one, or can’t afford one.

You can also read our consultation response here:

Lower-Lea-Crossing-consultation-response

Featured

Everybody needs good neighbours!

Our neighbours in Tower Hamlets need support!

Many of us cycle into Central London via the Tower Hamlets cycling network.

However “Mayor Lutfur Rahman has taken the most extreme, undemocratic and dangerous decision available to him. He has decided to rip out all the walking and cycling infrastructure in Bethnal Green. “

“Save Our Safer Streets” is fighting back.

Find out more below. Can you help our neighbours?

Readout from 29 January Meeting

Our Ride Programme is now listed on this website and on LCC website.

In accordance with LCC changes to rides limited to 15, which is plenty for our local rides, there is a new  risk assessment template which requires both a leader and a backmarker to be named. We will indicate in advance that there is a maximum of 15 and first 15 who have signed in will be guaranteed a place.  Larger rides over 15 require the risk as assessment to be signed off by LCC Office.

Our next ride is the Women’s Freedom Ride feeder on 3 March for which marshals needed.

We are running a ride for the children of the Ambition, Aspire, Achieve children’s cycle clubs on 24 February.  At the moment there are not enough volunteers to run bike maintenance sessions for these clubs.  If you would be interested (weekends or weekdays) please contact Arnold

We anticipate running a Bike from Boleyn Ride in April/May

Fix your Ride will start again on March 9.

We agreed to participate in Green Fair run by Sustainable Newham in West Ham Park on 6 May and will look to provide some bike maintenance and outreach/information.

In respect of the Newham Cyclists bank accounts we are in the process of changing the signatories to reflect the current Committee.

In respect of Community/Public Engagement, there are 358  people connected to Newham Cyclists, either as LCC members in Newham, or via the mailing list or both, but 223 people on the mailing list. Karen will ask LCC to email the 125 members who do not receive our newsletter, and ask if they want to sign up.

She will also laminate a newsletter QR code so that people at Fix Your Ride and other events can scan if they wish to sign up.

There will be a separate meeting (1 hour, virtual) to discuss strategy for increasing and diversifying membership.  Anyone  I would like to participate should contact Karen who would also welcome contributions for a forthcoming planned newsletter

Infrastructure

  • Olawale met Newham Council’s Romford Road Active Travel Scheme team in January. The only new development was on the stretching of the phases of development, with separate sections within each phase.  The next section in planning will be the south side of Romford Rd between Dershingham Ave and Fifth Ave.  This will be considered by the Council Cabinet on 5 Feb. 

    Implementation of the scheme and opening sections, including public engagement events,  has been slow and there are issues such as puddling on some of the sections built.  However the Council has a good project engineer and an experienced project manager has recently been appointed.  There remains issues TFL and the omission of major junctions.  Olawale invited comments and suggestions for consideration be the Committee.
      
  • Newham council are promoting a cycle route via Osborne and Hampton Rds – running parallel to the Romford Rd –  by stencils on road and minimal signage.  At the moment it is considered unsuitable s and it was agreed that we should ensure that this was not an alternative to improving the Romford Rd.  Both routes need to be safe.
      
  • Council proposing making existing bus lanes 24/7 on New Plaistow Rd-Plaistow Rd-West Ham Lane. It is encouraging that there is acceptance that the bus lanes should be 24 7 given the reluctance of TfL to follow their own policy at the awful Greengate St/Barking Rd junction and Prince Regent bus priority schemes.  However there should be continuous bus lanes on both sides of these roads as they are part of  Cycle Future Route 7.  This is especially important especially between Plaistow Station and Barking Rd. 
  • The proposals contained in Traffic Orders for the Beckton Walking and Cycling Scheme – essentially Tollgate Rd and south part of Woolwich Manor Rd look good but don’t cover the whole of Tollgate Rd and do not address the linking A13 and Tollgate Rd. Newham Cyclists responded to these proposals in 2022 and there will be a supportive response to the Traffic orders. 
  • Councillor Tripp looking for comments on transport side of the proposal for use of the Capel Rd Changing Rooms especially in light of reopening car park, which could impact on Cycleway 16.  Comments can be offered direct to her via Kerena.
  • East Village Connections proposals are going to consultation next month. The main features are 2 way cycle tracks on Celebration Ave and Penny Brookes St and improvement of Liberty Bridge Rd.  These proposals link to the northern section of Cycle Future Route 7.  Issues include: International Way being descoped for present due to development and no space for segregated tracks on Liberty Bridge itself.  A bus gate or bringing this within the existing school street  are potential alleviating measures –  the former by preference.
  • Work on the excellent   Westfield Ave scheme has started.
  • Work on Honourlea Ave mostly complete and funding is now available for the long awaited drop kerb and parallel crossing suitable to facilitate cycling into the park area. to facilitate crossing into park at west end for parallel crossing.
  • TfL are to consult on changes to the Lower Lea Crossing.  The proposals look very cumbersome and scanty given the pressure to come (and the finance available from) the Silvertown Tunnel.   Any suggestions on what is needed in this area can be made to Jonathan.
  • Planning permission has been granted for the Crown Wharf development without taking on board Newham Cyclists suggestions for a pontoon path under A13 to link to CS3.

Any Other Business

  • It is proposed to hold the AGM on 22 or 29 April.  All posts are up for re-election. 
  • The LCC Local Group Forum link includes notes on the LCC strategy plan for the forthcoming mayoral election.
  • A Cargo Bike celebration event on 28 January 2024 was a timely  demonstration of parking for cargo bikes and adapted bikes.  It would be good for Newham Council to promote this type of facility  forward, consistent with its active travel, health and climate change policies.

Next meeting 26 February.

Christmas Lights Ride

Thanks for coming to the Christmas Lights Ride! It was very busy but we managed to see all the best displays. Kudos to Robin for a quick puncture repair and photos, to Steve for leading, to Anita and Ken for marshalling, and to all for completing the ride. More photos available here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/albums/72177720313311169/

Karen.

Readout from 27 November 2023 Meeting

Ted Maxwell, representing the informal group Save Our Safer Streets, spoke about the removal of the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in Tower Hamlets even after being made permanent. The meeting was supportive of the campaign. Ted outlined ways in which Newham Cyclists could provide practical asistance .

There has been one Newham Ride since the last meeting, on 12th November 2023. Next ride is the Christmas Lights Ride on 10 December 2023. There was discussion on improving the link with the LCC website and providing a GPS link of our rides.

The ride for the Ambition, Aspire, Achieve (AAA) children’s club proposed for 2 December 2023 will not go ahead because AAA are engaged with their toy delivery then. A new calendar will be put together for maintenance and rides in the New Year.

Fix Your Ride (FYR) has now finished for 2023. It will start again in 2024.

On infrastructure:

  • The opening of phase #1 of the Romford Road Active Travel Scheme (RRATS) scheme will happen when the Council is satisfied with the safety. The regular NC dialogue (which is good on this particular project) will continue. There will be a further liaison meeting in December 2023 when there should be information on Phase #2. Public engagement events are planned by the Council for December 2023.
  • Implementation of the borough-wide 20mph speed limit will be implemented in #4 Phases , northern part of the borough to the southern part. The traffic order for Phase #1 has been published. Liaison will continue with the organisation 20 is Plenty and other interested organisation in case of problems in implementation and to ensure enforcement.
  • A response has been submitted to the Bromley-by Bow Gasworks (BBBG) planning application raising the fact that some of the critical roads for local Active Travel connectivity are currently designated as “private roads” i.e. not adopted or controlled by LB Newham so don’t .
  • The Mayor of London (MoL) has rejected the planning application for the MSG Sphere (to be located next to Stratford railway station), to which Newham Cyclists had objected.
  • LB Newham Liveable Neighbourhoods team have proposals for complementary measures for Low Traffic Neighbourhood/LTN 2 (Odessa) includes proposals for complimentary measures. The exact nature of these are not clear from the Council’s website.

There was feedback from the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) Campaigning Summit. A key message was that campaigning by ‘personal witness’ stories was more effective that reliance on ‘dry data’ (to promote and support cycling). There were also tips on improving outreach through partner organisations and cycle shops. A strategy could usefully include means to attract younger activists. A consolidation of mailing lists increased the numbers by 10%. The suggestion of a separate meeting of the interested to develop an outreach strategy was favourably received.

Other business:

  • London Cycling Campaign (LCC) Annual General Meeting will take place on Wednesday, 6th of December 2023.
  • Voting ends on 29 November for the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) Board of Trustees interest/Board elections 2023.
  • The Newham Cyclists Christmas Social is scheduled 11 December 2023 at the Boleyn Tavern. For those wanting the Christmas menu the choice of dishes needs to be given to Arnold by 3 December.
  • The suggestion to look into the activities of the Safer Transport Team of Newham Police command, if it exists, will be looked into.

Christmas Social 11 December 2023

The joint Christmas Social, with Bike from Boleyn, will take place on Monday 11 December at the Boleyn Tavern.

The event will start at 7.00pm although the Tavern is open from 4 pm if you need a warm up.

We will provide a drinks tab (with a limit of £100).  Food will be available as follows:

  • Burger and pint @ £15.
  • An a la carte menu.
  • A traditional style Christmas menu at £30 for 2 courses or £34.99 for 3. If you would like this please let me know by 4 December.

It would help with the arrangements if you let me know you are coming (and haven’t done so already).

Arnold

Newham Ride report

Although 16 places were booked on the ride were were but six on the day. The weather was damp and cold but the ride covered some beautiful and interesting spots in the borough For those that wish to investigate themselves here is the link to download the GPX file:

www.newhamcyclists.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/gpx/Newhamride121123.gpx

Readout from 30 October 2023 Meeting

In relation to rides, the Bike from Boleyn ride has taken place since the last meeting and went well. There will be a local Newham Ride on 12 November.

There has been a maintenance session for the children’s cycle club of Ambition, Aspire, Achieve at the ARC. There is still work to be done at their Abbey Hub and the meeting indicated at willingness to seek to arrange this in November or December. If you are interested in either maintenance of helping with a Saturday children’s ride let me know.

There was a Fix Your Ride session at Woodgrange Market on 14 October 2023 and the last one of the year (i.e. 2023) is scheduled to take place on 11 November 2023.

On infrastructure:

  • A report on the last monthly meeting with the Romford Road Active Travel Team (RRATS) is available. The completion of the current phase #1 has now been put back to December 2023 with phase #2 (eastern end , Dersingham Ave to Ilford Hill) due to start in January 2024 next year. NC have been emphasising the need for good publicity for the scheme given the piecemeal approach to this project. The Council are planning a public event in November. The meeting expressed frustration at the delay in opening the sections of phase 1 that appear to be complete.
  • There is also available a report on the useful Newham Liveable Neighbourhoods (LN) team organised audit ride of 26 September of schemes around the Romford Rd, western end. There was a good turnout from the Newham Council new Liveable Neighbourhoods (LN) and Transport for Lonon (TfL) teams, including Michael Barratt – a longstanding friend of NC.

    The audit ride looked at the schemes in the recently created (from 2020) Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN’s) in the Stratford, Maryland and Forest Gate areas which have now been made permanent and examined a possible new LTN scheme bounded by Vicarage Lane, Romford Rd, Ham Park Rd and Upton Lane, the major motor traffic “cut through/rat runs” runs being Ham Park Rd, Margery Park Rd and Tavistock Rd.

    NC are seeking regularly LN events of this sort. The meeting recalled that a Newham Planning Committee had recommended that Wyatt Rd should be made two-way directional for all carriageway traffic and filtered to meet the concerns of residents with regard to “cut through/rat run” issues. This is within the area under examination.

    Comments were also made about some movement of installed planter observations in the existing LTN’s.
  • Still no more news on the Woodgrange and Capel areas and a related concerning lack of information.
  • There are major developments coming up for planning permission around the North Woolwich Rd which provide opportunities for the Council to leverage funding to support local Active Travel. Specific current “planning permission” related schemes schemes include the Beckton Masterplan and the Bromley by Bow Gasworks where NC have a particular concern about the fact that the major routes providing potential Active Travel connectivity are currently designated “private roads.”

London Cycling Campaign (LCC) HQ have provided membership by ward data. NC have increased membership to 171 but membership is still heavily biased to the north of the borough. The meeting noted that the opening of new university campuses in Newham provided an opportunity for outreach, as did spreading our activities to different areas of the borough. It was also worth seeking lessons from other LCC borough groups with a more successful outreach in terms of local membership and activism.

Other business:

Next meeting provisionally set for Monday 27 November by Zoom subject to other arrangements to be notified.