Readout from 25 January 2021 Meeting

21 of us turned out, virtually, for our monthly meeting.

Mariam Draaijer from JoyRiders joined us to explain the exciting work of that organisation to promote cycling for women, now being extended to Newham. She is looking for female volunteers to be trained to lead rides or buddy up with new riders and also contacts with local organisations which JoyRiders can work with.

There was an update on infrastructure developments. There had been some progress on completing and implementing 5 of the 7 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (1 Maryland, 2 Odessa, 3 Manbey, 4 Atherton, and 7 Stratford) but no known concrete progress yet on 2 (5 Woodgrange, 6 Capel). There was hope of something being started on the Romford Rd corridor shortly. 3 of the 10 second batch of school streets had been progressed but, disappointingly, some of the existing first batch of school streets had been closed down despite the fact that the schools were still open for vulnerable pupils.

Members were encouraged to write to their local councillors to support these schemes and add their comments to the current online consultation.

Additionally, Newham Council is currently consulting of its 2021/22 budget. This includes spending £11m “to Keep Newham Moving through long-term investment in roads, footpaths and street lighting”. The existing “Keep Newham Moving” fund was notoriously skewed towards motor vehicles rather than active travel and members are encouraged to seek clarification that, post pandemic, there will be a rebalancing towards active travel.

We discussed the current lack of provision and facilitation for the use of cargo bikes, which could have a significant role to play in obviating the need for short journeys by car because the journey involved carrying shopping or work material. We agreed to pursue with experts what options might be available and to put together and publish photos showing the potential to carry stuff on bikes.

We also discussed options for publicising easy local cycle routes to key destinations (such as employment centres and vaccination centres). Waltham Forest Cyclists and Joyriders had videos of useful routes available.

Arnold

Some January News

First: you may have seen in the Recorder that half of Newham Councillors are now backtracking on the proposal to introduce a charge for a first parking permit in Newham. They have apparently been “overwhelmed” by requests to remove what is falsely described as a “regressive tax”

Newham Cyclists have been supporting a permit charge since October 2018, as a necessary and welcome element of rebalancing of Newham’s traditional discrimination in favour of motor traffic at the expense of active travel; and in line with all other London boroughs save one.

You are invited to let your local councillors know your views and would be welcome to draw on our earlier letter or the following (in italics). This takes account of the implications Covid 19 and addresses head on the fallacy that a charge for a first permit is a tax:

Dear Councillor

I am writing to ask for your support for the Council’s proposals for an emissions related charge for a first on-street parking permit, as does every other London Council save one.  

This Covid-19 crisis has reinforced the absolute necessity for walking and cycling to be better promoted in Newham.  The Council needs to do some catching up following a long period favouring motor traffic over walking and cycling.  Without a significant change in direction Newham will continue to suffer from poor air quality and its crowded and polluted streets will create a hostile environment for residents and in the broader context the Council’s declaration of a climate change emergency will remain mere hollow words.  We need to avoid a migration back to private motor vehicles in response to Covid-19 making public transport less attractive.

As one of the objectives of the charge is to address the overcrowding of our streets it would be right for electric vehicles to be charged, albeit at the lowest rate.

It is wrong to consider a charge for a first permit as a “tax” on Newham’s motorists.  Rather it is the removal of an unfair subsidy to those better off residents of Newham who have access to a vehicle.  The free permit does not even cover the administration costs of the parking scheme let alone address the “external costs” to the community of private use as a car park of public space.

Second: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are being implemented slowly in Newham. In the meantime more evidence (as opposed to the noisy myths against) is emerging of their benefits. Please continue to talk to your neighbours about the benefits of LTNs.

Third: our next (virtual) meeting is on 25 January at 7.30pm. If you would like any particular item to be on the agenda please let me know. In any event this will be an opportunity for a full catch up.

If you would like further information on any of the above please get in touch at our e-mail address.

Arnold

Summary Readout from 30 November 2020 Meeting

Richard gave us an update on the progress on implementing low traffic neighbourhoods and borough corridors where there is progress on both aspects

We then shared our best lockdown rides which also gave some ideas for our future ride calendar.

We decided to reinstate our Christmas lights rides within the constraints of social distancing.

Finally we welcomed Chris as our representative on the Epping Forest Consultative Committee.

If you would like more information on any of these matters or any other cycling issue in Newham please get in touchvia our e-mail or via our discussion group.

Arnold

Westfield Avenue and Surrounding Streets

The LLDC and Newham Council have launched a consultation on Commonplace on how to improve Westfield Ave and the surrounding streets. The poor cycle facilities in this area is a matter on which Newham Cyclists have been campaigning for nearly a decade.

The deadline is 8 November.

In this document are some photographs of the area with our suggestions. Please feel free to use this in making comments or supporting the comments already made on the basis of this document.

Arnold

Readout of 26 October 2020 Meeting

A well attended meeting was mostly taken up with an unpdate and discussion with Murray Woodburn, the Principle Transport Planning Officer of Newham Council. The discussion included immediate plans (and long term aspirations) for the the Romford Road and the next batch of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs). These are both major step changes but also entangled in London wide and national politics. However the Council remains supportive and iMurray outlined the steps it is taking to implement them.

The part implemented LTN (a partnership of Newham and Waltham Forest) has had a broadly favourable reception in contrast to the LTNs in some other London Boroughs and is already yielding some benefits, such as a radical reduction in rat running through Chobham Rd.

We raised some consequential and related improvements which we shall take up when the dust has settled.

The best way to communicate with the Council on the plans is via the Commonplace site. The latest plans for the Romford Rd can be found here. If you have any questions on these or indeed the LTN proposals please get in touch with us. We may be able to answer from the information we have or we can raise them with the relevant Council official.

We discussed the current Westfield Avenue consultation for which individual responses are needed. We hope to put out some guidance on this shortly.

There is also a further consultation on the MSG sphere. If you are able to help with formulating a response please get in touch.

We discussed progress on providing an archive of our cycle ride routes.

We also discussed how we could make the group more welcoming nd relevant to a broader range of those who cycle in the borough. Ideas raised included promoting ourselves at events more effectively, reaching out to a broad range of possible partners, starting rides around the borough and how we might hold meetings and events once the social distancing restictions are eased.

We decided to participate in Newham Heritage month in May 2021 and Bernard will lead on this.

Arnold

October 26 Meeting

Join us on Zoom – Monday 26th 7.30pm

Provisional Agenda:

  • Update on LTNs. Newham Council’s Principle Transport Planner will be joining us to provide up to date information and context.
  • A discussion on format of meetings and making the group more welcoming.
  • Westfield Ave walking and cycling consultation
  • Other Cycling issues – a chance to raise any questions or comments on infrastructure; see the latest version of the chart of issues.
  • Rides update
  • AAA & market update
  • AOB – please let us know ahead of the meeting if you have anything you would like to include

Arnold

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

The appearance of the first of the planned low traffic neighbourhoods in Newham has given rise to a good deal of discussion, some of it not based on evidence from other well established schemes.

Other local low traffic neighbourhoods are still in the pipeline.

Ealing Council have issued an interesting FAQ document setting out the case for, and the evidence concerning, “Street Parks” as they are being called in that borough.

A short factsheet more focussed on Newham indicates that the common issues that worry residents are either without foundation or are minor when compared to the proven benefits of low traffic neighbourhoods.

Arnold

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.