Readout from 28 September 2020 Meeting

  • 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 wnsteadpark.org.uk@gmail.com or on Facebook at wnstd.com/fwp.

Summary Readout from Meeting of 27 July 2020

  • 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.


    Arnold.

Summary readout from meeting of 29 June 2020

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.

Arnold

Readout from 1 June 2020 Meeting

Virtual meetings appear to be popular, as 20 of us logged in yesterday for our belated May monthly meeting. We

  • had an introduction to Love Newham Streets and agreed to co-ordinate with them;
  • discussed the Council’s transport response to teh Covid-19 crisis and decided to write to Councillor Asser in advance of the 5 June deadline for applications for DfT Emergency Funding for London money;
  • discussed how to take the issue of crime on the Greenway forward having received a response from Will Norman to our letter concerning crime on the Greenway;
  • discussed how we might get Fix Your Ride back and running;
  • thought it useful to have a resource listing bike shops/repairers in the borough.

    If you were not at the meeting (or even if you were) and would like further details on any of these matters please get in touch.

    Arnold

Annual Meeting 27 April 2020: Readout

20 of us gathered virtually for our Annual Meeting. Given the circumstances we focussed on essential business and our reaction to the Covid-19 crisis.

The following were elected Officers:

Co-ordinator – Arnold Ridout

Deputy Co-ordinator – Kerena Fussell

Secretary – Kate Byrne

Treasurer – Bill Bremner

Ride Co-ordinator – Steve Smith

Infrastructure Rep – Olawale Ajibola

Deputy Infrastructure Rep – Chris Kershaw

QEOP Rep – Jonathan Rothwell

The Annual Report, Accounts for 2019-20 and the Budget for 2020-21 were approved. Steve’s Ride Report and an album of Robin’s photos are now available. We hope to arrange for cashless donations at Fix Your Ride sessions when they resume..

In response to the current crisis we encourage members as individuals to lobby their Counsellors on the immediate advantages in promoting cycling and walking and, once the lockdown is eased, to take the opprtunities to maintain the impetus given to sustainable transport and better air quality in the face of an anticipated flight to motor vehicles. A number of templates for this are avaiable including that of Living Streets and British Cycling and those already used have propmpted some responses. We will also provide a template. Other London local authorities are known to be actively looking at how to exit the lockdown by exploiting the opportunities to promote sustainable transport.

We agreed to supplement important individual effots with a Newham Cyclists submission to the Council to remind it of the opportunities available now and post lockdown. This should take into account that the Council’s enforcement officers are presently stretched, but include for the longer term: 20mph, liveable neighbourhoods and ensuring that future road proposals provide good quality provision for cycling – especially given teh anticipated “flight back to cars”.

We also agreed to collate and pass on members suggestions for temporary improvements as part of this exercise. These suggestions should be sent by e-mail – newham@lcc.org.uk

We are in the process of putting together some good cycling routes which we shall publish if we can.

We were warned of increased cycle thefts including breaking open of cycle hoops.

Finally we agreed to keep our next (virtual) meeting to our regular last Monday in the month slot despite this falling on a bank holiday.

Arnold

Readout from 30 March 2020 Meeting

This was our first attempt at a virtual meeting which, despite glitches, was judged a success by the 15 who participated.

We discussed the operation of the group during the current Covid 19 crisis and the various ways in which we could help.

We decided (a) to hold a virtual, short form Annual Meeting next month; (b) to subscribe to Zoom; and (c) to investigate further with LCC the approach by Newham Council to relaxation of parking enforcement, in the light of the opportunity to exploit the benefits of active travel. For example, there was an opportunity for some temporary cycle lanes on some of the very worst roads within the QEOP.

We agreed the broad lines of next year’s budget, which should enable us to keep about £500 in reserve to meet LCC’s suggestion to local groups to avoid spending their reserves at present. We decided not to press for the usual payment from LCC based on membership given the circumstances.

There was a general infrastucture update and focussing on the light phasing at Stratford Town Centre.

Keep well

Arnold

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.

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