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.