Readout from 24 February 2020 Meeting

14 of us gathered at the Velodrome after the successful Greenway Ride which also featured the participation of Newham Community Dogwalkers.

  • There has been positive engagement from all the Newham Councillors we had contacted following the previous meeting and also Mr Desai, the London Assembly Member for the area and Chair of its Police Committee The only non-response had been from Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling commissioner.

    Newham Councillors reported from a meeting earlier on 24 February that police action had led to a significant downturn in incidents. We decided to take up offers of meetings with Mr Desai, and James Beckles, Newham Cabinet Member for Crime and Community Safety, and discussed a number of steps that could be taken to ensure that crime is prevented in the future.
  • We decided to respond positively to the forthcoming consultation by Newham Council on its emission based scheme for charging for parking permits. Whilst this may not go as far as we would have liked we believe our support as an organisation and individually is the best way forward on a matter we ourselves had raised with the Council last year.
  • We looked at our forthcoming rides and activities. 29 February and the 7 March see our first round of support for the AAA children’s cycling club in Canning Town. 14 March will be our first Fix Your Ride in Woodgrange Market. The Much Hadham Ride is on 22 March. Bike from Boleyn will now take place on 2 May.

    We discussed the practicalities of the proposed new Newham Parks Ride on 24 May, during Newham Heritagae month. Also, in the light of their awkward timing we felt that our participation in the Forest Gate Festival may need to be limited; and that we were unable to organise a Stratford Feeder Ride to the Freecycle event on 15 August.

    A series of “Zero Vision ” walks of the Romford Rd is being undertaken by TfL and Newham Council this week to assess what improvements in ennforcement could reduce accidents. On Monday we were the only community group to attend this.
  • On infrastructure, our next catch up meeting with Newham Council officials will be on 6 March. Members are invited to raise any concerns they have which could be addressed at this meeting. We decided that we could respond to a consultation on the shortening of the 101 bus route insofar as it related to our overall aim of promoting active travel and insofar as it raised particular cycling issues.
  • Views were canvassed on the LCC policy on charging motor vehicles using East London Bridges in anticipation of an LCC Policy Forum meeting on 27 February and on the Crossrail improvements in response to an academic study.
  • We were reminded of the “Heathy Streets Scorecard” on the CPRE and LCC website which was being revisited this year, and invited to contribute views on how the metrics of this survey could be improved for the purposes of a forthcoming update.

Greennway Ride and Meeting

Our next meeting is at the Velodrome on 24 February at 7.30pm.

As we decided at our January meeting we are riding along the Greenway before this meeting to draw attention to the recent increase in crime along it. We will meet at 6.15pm at the East Ham end where the Greenway meets High Street South. We hope to be joined by other Greenway Stakeholders.

Come along to the meeting or the ride, even if you cannot make the other.

Let me have any issues you want to put on the agenda for the meeting either by e-mail or the Group.IO.

At the moment I current issues are:

  • Greenway update;
  • A response to some academic research on Forest Gate “improvements”;
  • Forthcoming rides and events including our monthly “Fix your Ride”; Bike from Boleyn (2 May) a possible Newham Parks Ride in partnership with the CPRE (24 May);
  • Our Annual Meeting in April;
  • Infrastructure, including items for catch up meeting with Newham Council scheduled for 6 March.

Arnold

Readout from January 2020 Meeting

13 gathered at the Denmark Arms on 27 January (with 2 apologies) to discuss Newham cycling matters.

The main topic was the Greenway. There has been an increasing spate of assaults aimed at cyclists and members had even been advised by the police not to use the Greenway in the evenings. Coincidentally this was the subject of a post by “Diamond Geezer” (a walker, not a cyclist) the same day. The areas of the assaults seem to have spread and to be deliberately targeting cyclists. Lighting has gone into the stretch north of the Greenway and the police are engaged. However, the situation is untenable as the Greenway is a designated Cycle Quietway annd was recently upgraded upgraded for 24 hour usage.

We decided to write with our concerns to local politicians and those responsible for law enforcement in the area and to cycle the length of the upgraded Greenway to our next meeting on 24 February from East Ham to the Olympic Park.

We looked at our partnerships with Ambition, Aspire, Achieve (AAA), Bike from Boleyn and the Women’s Institute and decided how we could take these forward in the forthcoming year.

We discussed outstanding major consultations (a) The MSG Sphere (which we have previously objected to) has returned with minor tweaks and remains unsatisfactory for cyclists. All are encouraged to register their objections on the grounds that there is inadequate provision for cycle parking and for cycle infrastructure around it. We will also be registering our continuing objection. (b) Newham Council’s proposal for an interim scheme for Odessa Rd E7 was perplexing as there is an outstanding application to TfL (in conjunction with Waltham Forest) for funding for a low traffic neighbourhood. We will be registering detailed objections on the basis that the scheme fails to prevent rat running and incorporate suggestions made at the meeting.

Other continuing problems were highlighted; the Browning Road scheme; the failure to install the promised cameras in school streets; and the chronic failure to enforce traffic and parking rules; and the Stratford Town Centre snagging list. We will pursue these and seek a further catch up meeting with Council Officers and seek to meet the TfL offer now responsible for Liveable Neighbourhoods in Newham.

Steve reported that the ride season had started with the Greensted Church ride and will gain momentum as the weather improves. We looked at additions and tweaks to the ride calendar.

On communications, Kerena reported that the website problems had been fixed. The migration from Yahoo Group to Groups IO seems to be smooth.

We have an aspiration to obtain an electric cargo bike and will continue to explore how we might fund this and look for places where it might be kept.

Jonathan drew attention to the need for better cycle facilities in the area of Stratford International Station, in the form of cycle hire or ideally a cycle hub.

Arnold

Readout from Meeting of 28 October

Eight of us made it to the latest, Littile Ilford, round of our tour of Community Centres. Highlights –

  • We discussed the logistics of the planned ride to the Newham Firework Display – details to be confirmed.
  • We decided that November’s meeting will be a social to which partner organisations will be invited.
  • We started our thinking on our rides calendar for next year. Steve will bring a draft to our next meeting.
  • We discussed what options were available to replace the Yahoo Group which was becoming limited and whose future is uncertain. We decided to continue to use the website as the main archive and to try out Groups.io; but leave other options, with different functionality, open. We also agreed that there should be an additional site administrator in LCC HQ.
  • We decided to put in a detailed response to the proposed Waltham Forest/Newham Low Traffic Neighbourhood based on our earlier response advocating 5 “traffic cells”. The Infrastructure Group were tasked to put this together in the light of any plans already in place from the Council and in liaison Waltham Forest Cyclists. In the meantime individuals were encoraged to add there comments to the consultative interactive map which closes on 14 November. The major rat runs of Cemetery Rd and Odessa Rd were identified. Also the need to protect Quietway 6 which crosses this area.
  • Olympic Park “quick wins” have been submitted to the LLDC consultant, and the signs were that the MSG Development was likely to be brought back.
  • Schools Streets are being launched on 11 November at the Chobham Academy and Woodrange/Godwin Schools. We hope to have a presence to encourage cycling.
  • We identified a need to liaise with the newborn Redbridge Group in support to the “Ilford Gardens” development.
  • Various other infrastructure improvements were identified. These have gone on our list of cycling issues which we plan to discuss with Newham Council officers at a forthcoming catch up meeting with them.

Arnold

Readout from 30 September Meeting

A wet night might have accounted for a slight drop in numbers for our meeting at the Beckton Community Centre, but there was no shortage of lively discussion.

We were pleased to welcome Councillor James Asser, newly appointed as Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Sustainable Transport. Before his appointment he had previously engaged with us by attending our Annual Meeting and our Councillor Ride. He mentioned that a new Director of Highways had been appointed.

Kerena updated on the activities of the Newham Climate Collective which brings together organisations interested in Newham Council’s initiatives to fight global warming, poor air quality and waste. We are a strong voice in this group. It will next be meeting on 7 October to consider Newham’s draft Air Quality Action Plan, on which consultation ends on 14 October.

We agreed that Newham Cyclists should put in a specific response in addition to anything produced by the NCC, and put together a co-ordinating group. However everyone is encouraged to participate as individuals in the Council’s online consultation. Specific points raised were: (a) the Cycle Strategy invoked in the draft needs to be actively implemented, (b) maximum leverage should be extrated from new developments and (c) all Council developments should be looked at with an eye to active travel and monitored – in paticular that infrastructure conducive to active travel is restored if removed for any reason.

Possible planning applications for a lorry park/distribution centre in Silvertown and the expansion of London City Airport were discussed. It was clarified that Newham Council still retained its planning and other powers in respect of the Royal Docks Enterprize Zone.

A panel discussion on cimate changed is planned at the LCC annual Meeting on 16 October.

On infrastructure:

  • It was agreed that an infrastructure group with a core of Olawale, Johnathan, Chris and Arnold – but open to anyone interested- should focus on infrastructure issues and take the load of the monthly meetings. To this end also regular updates of the Cycling Issues chart will be posted on the website to inform those interested.
  • The issues surrounding the MSG development in Angel Lane were discussed. Whilst it is opposed on infrastructure grounds by TFL the development is not likely to go away. However it should not compromise the surrounding area (Stratford Station, Montfichet Rd and Penny Brookes St and Angel Lane – all key points for active travel.
  • There is still time to submit “quick wins” for minor improvements in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
  • Enforcement cameras have not yet been installed for the Browning Rd bridge but should come shortly. We agreed to monitor the effect once the cameras had been installed and bedded in.
  • The pilot School Streets were going to be introduced in phases. The need for new schools to design in air quality was raised.
  • In general enforcement (of parking, littering, and to prevent engine idling) was becominng more important. Councillor Asser encouraged use of the “Love Newham” App.

We finishedwith a reminder of the success of the car free day. We had participated in events in Stratford (where there were a variety of activities – see photos – but no street closures) and in Tylney Rd (which was partially closed for play). The success of the event in Warrior Square Manor Park demonstrated the appetite for liveable streets.

A variety of bikes on display and in use at the Stratford Car Free Day event.
Smoothies also available with a bit of effort.

Arnold

Late September Ride and Meeting

A Newham Ride will take place on Sunday 29 September -starting from the View Tube Cafe at 10.00am.

Our regular monthly meetings resume on 30 September at 7.30pm at Beckton Community Centre, 14 East Ham Manor Way, E6 5NG. Lots of interesting matters to discuss including significant political and infrastructure developments and our role in the Climate Change movement.

Arnold

Readout of meeting of 29 July 2019

We started with an evening ride from Forest Gate around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We saw the newly opened section of the Greenway before moving on to Crate for refreshment and a short discussion.

  • Michale Barratt, TfL’s Development Impact Manager, told us he was having discussions with Newham Council’s Network Management team and we agreed to maintain contact (whilst being wary that this department had a done little in the past to promote cycling in Newham). This initiate should benefit pedestrians , site workers, the less able as well as those that cycle.
  • The disappointing backtracking by Newham Council in respect of theBrowning Road bridge (see previous post). This issue gives greater urgency to our efforts to link with other like minded groups promoting a better environment and better neighbourhoods for Newham.
  • We will give feedback to LCC that scheduling the Freecycle in August made it difficult for us to provide marshals for the feeder ride.
  • We discussed forthcoming events on 22 September (Car Free Day) and 5 October (Bike from Boleyn).
  • We will seek discussions with Newham Council over the defective scheme for the junction of Greengate St and Barking Road.
  • We noted that staff at the Financial Conduct Authority found parking in Startford so cheap compared with Canary Wharf that commuting by car had increased.
  • We discussed the possibilities of hiring and/or hiring out a cargo bike.

Our next meeting will be 30 September – details to be confirmed.

Arnold

Readout from Meeting of 28 May 2019

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.

Arnold