Readout from Monthly Meeting 28 September 2015

We benefited from Rosalind Readhead providing a talk and stimulating lively and interesting discussion.  Rosalind is an independent mayoral candidate promoting a policy of car free days and active travel, particularly in central London.

She cited a recent study on the health effects of private motor vehicles in London.  some of the figures were very telling. This is a selection:

  •  67% of all car journeys could be completed by bicycle in 20 minutes.
  • 75 sq kms of London is devoted to car parking.
  • 9,500 deaths in London each year can be associated with air pollution.
  • Road closures can cause 75% of traffic to “evaporate”.

Her message was that, at the global level,  climate change demanded action; whilst at the local level the adverse health effects of private motor vehicles threatened the existence of the NHS as a service provided free at the point of delivery.

Drawing on the example of Seville she advocated that local areas should be prepared with a detailed plan to promote cycling and other forms of active travel  which will be available when when the political opportunity arises.  This should include a proper cycling network, as opposed to the current “labyrinth” that is the central London grid.

On the business side (a) we discussed the approach to the forthcoming initial planning meeting on the Stratford gyratory,  (b) decided to take up an offer from Murray Woodburn from Newham Council to discuss in detail the cycling aspects of the Forest Gate Crossrail improvements, (c) decided to seek details of the junction planned at  Stratford High St/Sugarhouse Lane and (d) progressed our arrangements for a forthcoming open meeting with Living Streets – now 2 November at 7.30pm, venue to be confirmed.

Readout from April 2015 meeting and update

Our meeting took place on 27 April at Coffee E7.  As usual lively

Headlines

  • We discussed the wide ranging review meeting which took place with the Newham Council Sustainable Transport Officer on 24 April.  Further details are annexed below.
  • We looked at the slack.com communication platform and decided to trial it for a couple of months with a view to replacing the Yahoo Group (if the trial turns out successful). (if you would like to participate in the trial and did not give your name at the meeting please indicate this via our e-mail address)
  • We discussed future rides and were grateful to Steve for volunteering to be our ride co-ordinator.
  • We decided to take the opportunity of publicising our group at (1) the Newham show, (2) the Forest Gate Festival and (3) the monthly Dr Bike sessions in Stratford.

Upcoming matters

  • The next Newham Ride is 2 May (see calendar).
  • The committee will be meeting Sustrans and the new Newham Council project officer in relation to the Quietways.
  • We will be riding the route of the proposed “A 406 Quietway” with Sustrans and Newham Council.

 

Annex

Issues discussed with Richard Wadey (Newham Council Sustainable Transport Officer) 24 April 2015

  •  LIP projects: most  ward audit schemes slated this year as “early winners”” have been implements or are shortly to be implemented  – mostly around Stratford and associated with the Greenway Diversion. 
  • Next year priorities likely to be contraflows around Stratford/Plaistow N and A 406 route – see below). We drew attention to need for priority to be along proposed quietways i.e. Ismailia Rd FG.
  •  Royal Docks: separately funded and opening up a route north of Albert Rd. We pressed for improvement to crossing of road to London City Airport. 
  • Gallions Roundabout: separately funded. Our priority is widening path to Cyprus and ensuring traffic crossing on all legs. 
  • A 406 QW: Sustrans have done initial scoping and land ownership looks helpful, as key plots owned by LBN, or TFL or (ultimately) AM Trust.  Northern section is most direct if it follows road rather than Little Ilford Park.
  • QEOP: There is a proper plan for Penny Brookes St, Montfichet Rd and Westfield Ave.  These now need funding but this may come from neighbouring developments. 
  • Quietways: Henniker Rd the preferrred route for northern QW.  LBN have appointed a project manager who we are arranging to meet with Sustrans in May.  We agreed with Richard that junctions s are key (Leyton Rd, Leytonstone Rd, Dames Rd, Woodgrange Rd, Forest Drive.) 
  • Leaway: land for route south of Cody Dock likely to become available shortly.  Plans already developed for Canning Town subject to some minor issues. 
  • Stratford Gyratory design sessions to take place this summer.
  • Newham Cycle Strategy should be put in place 2015/6.   We supported the idea of a detailed strategy drawing , for example, on ward audit projects.

Readout from Annual Meeting

15 of us gathered at Coffee E7 for the annual meeting , fortified by a buffet.  We benefited from the presence of Richard Wadey -Sustainable Transport  Officer for Newham Council and Councillor David Christie, both of whom have gone out of their way to consult over the previous year.  We are grateful for their support.

On the formal side the annual accounts and report were adopted (see earlier post). Bill’s oral presentation of a budget for next year was similarly approved.

Elected onto the Committee were: Kerena Fussell and Arnold Ridout, as joint Chair; Bill Bremner as Treasurer and Olawale Ajibola as Cycling Schemes Lead.

Richard gave a talk on the application of TfL’s Cycling Levels of Service (CLOS) assessment.  Right click on the link below for a copy of his presentation.

Cycling in Newham – Cycling Levels of Service (CLoS)

It emerged that Newham has a  high level of walking and public transport use, but a relatively low (but significantly increasing) level of cycling.

CLOS is likely to be a useful tool.  It is instructive how low the score was for the proposed Upton Corridor scheme, to which we have lodged formal objections (see earlier post).

This opened up a series of open discussions ranging from the lift failures in the Woolwich Foot Tunnel to our website and communications to our proposed rides for the forthcoming year (the next being a Newham Ride on 4 April).

Some future guidance emerged:

  • The CLOS can  be incorporated into our campaigning.
  • We need to publicise our objections to schemes on our website.
  • We need to contact our local Councillors and respond to consultations as individuals as numbers count.
  • We need to increase our liaison with pedestrian groups.
  • There is a gap in our communications in the absence of a platform for discussion.

 

Readout from January Meeting and Review of the Olympic Park

On 26 January we held another lively and well attended meeting.  Forest Gate Councillor Ellie Robinson attended with two Newham Council Officers.

The main item on the agenda was discussion of how Crossrail money for environmental improvements around Forest Gate and Maryland Stations could be spent.  See earlier post for the initial drawings.  Plenty of concrete suggestions were made to improve the the initial plans as far as cycling is concerned and these were taken away by the Council officers.  We emphasised to Councillor Robinson how important it was to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists, including by imposing a 20mph limit.  She took a lively interest and invited further representations from individuals by e-mail to her Council e-mail address.

There was also an outline of our vision for redesigning the Stratford gyratory .  TfL and Newham Council will soon be starting serious design work for which £1m in funding is available.  Newham cyclists are working up detailed representations which will be fed into this process, including the LCC Infrastructure review group.

There were other short updates on some positive developments: (1) the Aldgate to Hainault Quietway as it goes through north Newham.  This is in TfL’s second tranche of quietways and we are ahead of our neighbouring boroughs in planning this; (2) the first fruits of the Ward Audit  – with 19 permeability schemes for “urban Newham” already having been approved by the Council and the other 400+ being prioritised for approval; (3) the preliminary results of the initial study for remedial work on Westfield Ave and Montfichet Rd ;  (4) news that a further study of how to improve the wider  Olympic Park/Westfield area for cyclists in view of the possible adoption of the roads by the Council  is going out to tender; and (5) an indication that the Roding Valley cycle and footway study is progressing.

Less promising was the continued dog’s breakfast that is the junction of Tramway Avenue and the Broadway.  It is a key demand that this be improved as part of the reworking of Stratford gyratory.  This episode acts as a timely reminder that our input is vital to avoid poor designs which ultimately waste public money.

Finally, our draft ride programme for 2015 was circulated.  Watch this space.

In relation to item (4), on 30 January a group of Newham Cyclists rode around the Olympic Park area with two Newham Council sustainable transport officers, looking particularly at the periphery of the area and points of access.  From this it became clear that a coherent and useful study must  cover as wide an area as possible, even if it strayed slightly outside the borough.  Some good news is that Temple Mill Lane east is to be permanently bus/cycles only.  This is something that we have campaigned for over several years.

We also took the opportunity to discuss ideas  for the Canning Town to Excel Centre area.

It has become clear what opportunity there is to link these various improvements, together with the Greenway and the Lea Valley to create a major generator for both leisure and utility cycling in Newham.