Greensted Church Ride

For our next ride we are taking the tube from Leytonstone to Epping and, as part of a 20 mile circuit, riding to Greensted church. The plan is to meet at 9.30am on 13th June at the cafe on the south side of Leytonstone station. The route, while relatively short will include some hills, therefore you are likely to need your gears. You will also need to book

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/greensted-church-ride-tickets-157473666977?utm_source=eventbrite&utm_medium=email&utm_content=follow_notification&utm_campaign=following_published_event&utm_term=Greensted+Church+Ride&aff=ebemoffollowpublishemail

Ride Reports April and May 2021

Our intensive short season of local rides suitable for those new to cycling kicked off on 25 April with a River Ride taking in the banks of the river Lea and the north and south banks of the Thames between Woolwich and Greenwich. The weather served us well but we did have to carry bikes down to the foot tunnel at Greenwich . A lovely way to start our transition from lockdown.

The following Sunday was our ride to help launch GoParks Newham. We took in over 20 parks including an excellent coffee and cake stop in Central Park and a stop at the East Ham nature Reserve.

The launch of GoParks Newham in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
East Ham Nature Reserve
Beckton District Park

The route is available on the GoParks Newham website. It shows the all the parks in Newham and our ride demonstrates access by sustainable transport

An interesting and worthwhile jaunt of 23 miles.

The following Sunday, 9 May, we tried out a new local ride – Beating the Bounds of Newham where we kept a closely as we could to the boundaries of Newham using paths and quiet roads. Using Quietway 6 to cross the north of the borough we then followed the rivers Roding, Thames and Lea. The main disappointment is that the pathway is not open to allow cycling to the bottom of the River Roding and on to the Royal Albert Dock.

Beating the Bounds – the banks of the River Lea
Beating the Bounds – having finished coffee at Royal Albert Dock

A 20 mile ride of tremendous variety and interest.

Two more rides complete this short season – a 10 mile west ham themed Bike from Boleyn on the final day of the Premier League season – 23 May; and another “Call the Midwife” themed ride around Poplar on 30 May.

And with lockdown easing we shall be turning to some longer country lanes rides.

Arnold

Readout from Annual Meeting 26 April 2021

The meeting benefitted from the attendance of a number of guests with whom we have worked over the course of the year and from throughout the borough.

We started with informative presentations from Terry Patterson, Councillor James Asser, and Murray Woodburn, followed by a lively question and answer session. This session served to highlight the recent progress made in supporting sustainable transport in Newham, the plans for the future and the challenges ahead – particularly political, human resources, and unlocking funding .

On the formal side the following elections were made: Co-ordinator, Arnold Ridout; Treasurer, Bill Bremner; Secretary, Kate Byrne; Rides Co-ordinator, Steve Smith; Infrastructure Representative, Olawale Ajibola, Deputy Infrastructure Representative, Chris Kershaw; Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Representative, Jonathan Rothwell.

Kerena Fussell who has done such amazing work for us over a number of year stood down as Deputy -Co-ordinator but agreed to stay on our Committee as our Better Streets Liaison Officer.

We agreed our accounts for 2020-21 and our budget for 2021-22. The annual report of our activities over the last year was approved.

In terms of ongoing activities; there was an outline of our forthcoming rides, our project to record useful cycling routes, and information on a study by Car Free London which is seeking volunteers for a survey of long established road filters.

We did not get time to discuss in any depth the ongoing infrastructure consultations in which we are involved which include major projects for the Royal Docks Corridor, and Westfield Ave.

Forthcoming local leisure rides Rides: Parks Ride 2 May and Beating the Bounds of Newham 9 May.

If you would like further information on any of the above please get in touch on newham@lcc.org.uk.

Arnold

Annual Meeting 26 April 2021

Our annual Meeting will take place on 26 April 2021 at 7.00pm – 8.30pm by Zoom. For the details of the meeting please e-mail newham@lcc.org.uk

The provisional agenda includes –

  • introductory presentations by Terry Patterson, our link LCC trustee, and Murray Woodburn, Principal Transport Planner, Newham Council followed by an open discussion of cycling issues . In support of this discussion is our draft annual report.
  • short notices on current local group issues, including recording and mapping of ride routes; forthcoming rides; current consultations.
  • election of officers, agreement of financial statement and budget, and agreement of annual report. The draft annual report has embedded in it the financial statement and budget but if you would like a separate copies please e-mail newham@lcc.org.uk.

Arnold

Covid -19 ~ Cycling Developments

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.

Arnold

Summer Update

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.

On 30 July we assisted the Children’s Charity Ambition, Aspire Achieve (one of our regular partners) by getting all of their all-ability bikes ready for use.
Our new Parks Ride had a socially distanced successful first try out on 26 July. We even discovered a new Thameside link between the Thames Barrier Park (shown in photo) and Lyle Park. The only disappointment was the continued closure of some refreshment stops – but thankfully not all.

This ride is likely to become a regular on our calendar of excellent and easy local interest rides.

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.

Arnold

Update on Newham Response to Covid-19 Active Travel

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. 

 Romford Rd

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. 

 School Streets

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.

Romford Road

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.

Arnold