Apologies:
Douglas Carnall (attending Dalston neighbourhood committee)

Present:
Simon Hughes, Keith Butcher, Patrick Field, Crispin Truman, Rory Brooke, Tim Evans, Sara Mort, Dave Bracken, Claire Tansley, Charlie Lloyd, Jonathan Edwards, Malcolm Fergusson, Cathi Davis, Neville Llewellyn, Ros Savournin, Trevor Parsons
Topics discussed:
1. Training in schools
2. Cycle-friendly proposals by Council
3. Bike Week
4. Road Danger Reduction Charter
5. New parking provision
6. Clissold Road Neighbourhood theatre – lack of facilities for cyclists and pedestrians
7. Albion Road
8. Local Transport Day
9. Any other business

1. Training in schools

Sara Mort is interested in training school students to ride effectively. Sara has a child at Stoke Newington School. She phoned Douglas Carnall recently, and he put her on to Roger Kite, Hackney’s Road Safety Officer. Roger gave much the same message as he has given to numerous cycle liaison committees, which is that in his experience there is not enough demand from parents or school students to make training feasible. However, he is happy to train adults to train young people if the demand is there. He advises a course of five two-hour sessions, but Sara feels that this would be too much for most pupils to put up with.

Sara wasn’t clear on the particular significance of ‘Cycling Proficiency’, and Patrick advised that this is really a fairly 1950s-style test which is really only suited to primary/high junior level.

The other issue Sara raised was that of teaching schools students to maintain their bikes. She was wondering if we might be able to run a Dr. Bike/maintenance class at Stoke Newington School’s summer fair, which will take place on either 20th June or July 4th. We advised that she talk to Martin Powers, our workshop manager.

Sara also arranged to speak to Claire Tansley, who is co-ordinating our training strategy.

Back to the top

2. Cycle-friendly proposals by the Council

There are currently public consultations on four new schemes which share the aim of making life easier for cyclists.

Chatsworth Road

The Council proposes to put two consecutive mini-roundabouts on Chatsworth Road at its junctions with Millfields Road and Powerscroft Road. We discussed the merits of mini-roundabouts in general and in this particular location, and agreed to approve of the proposal. Malcolm Fergusson, who is a resident of Chatsworth Road, said that he had met with a number of other residents to discuss the proposals. He said that what concerned them most was the concurrent changes to the bus routes and the probability that Powerscroft Road would be added once again to the distributor network as a result of these changes.

The cycle route from Millfields joins Chatsworth Road just to the north of the junction with Millfields Road, (although the map provided with the consultation letter did not mark this) and it was noted that this could be a good opportunity to improve the infrastructure surrounding this. We decided to recommended that (1) if possible, an island or refuge should be built on the centre line just north of the cycle route junction to aid cycle movements from Chatsworth Road into the park, and (2) signing should be improved to indicate the existence of the cycle route to road users.

Downs Park Road

A contraflow lane is planned on the one-way section of Downs Park on the north side of the triangle at the junction with St. Mark’s Rise. This was approved by the meeting. We also wondered why we couldn’t also have a contraflow on the south-east section of the triangle.

Rowhill Road

Again, a contraflow lane is planned, and again we felt that this was to be welcomed. However, we echoed the comments of the Agenda 21 Transport Working Group that the generally defensive attitude as regards on-street car parking is a pity, and highlights the gulf between excellent policy statements and equivocal implementation. This street would certainly be better if the car parking were removed on the contraflow lane side – in fact, the street could then be two-way for all traffic.

Hoxton Street/Fanshaw Street

A contraflow lane is proposed for the one-way section of Hoxton Street north from the junction with Old Street, and also for the narrow section of adjoining Fanshaw Street, which is presently one-way eastbound. We welcomed this wholeheartedly as a long overdue improvement. We will ask that attention be paid to the desire line in this case, i.e. most people will be wanting to continue north up Hoxton Street. Road users coming from Fanshaw Street should be encouraged to slow down as much as possible and be aware of northbound cycle traffic. Perhaps the priority at this junction should be restored to its ‘natural’ state, with Fanshaw Street giving way to Hoxton Street.

Back to the top

3. Bike Week (6th-14th June)

Victoria Park event

Jonathan Edwards (Hackney City Farm manager) brought up the question of the Victoria Park launch event which we discussed after last year’s Bike Week (see minutes of our July ’97 meeting). He reiterated his preference for Haggerston Park as a venue, it being better suited to the size of the event, with the potential for use of catering and toilet facilities at the City Farm. Sara agreed that too few people knew that the event was going on last year, partly because the event is lost in the vastness of Victoria Park, and partly because of insufficient publicity to the general public.

Charlie Lloyd pointed out that the last time the event was held at Haggerston Park, it was indeed good for Hackney people, but that most non-Hackney people found Haggerston Park difficult to locate. It seems that the final decision on venue is about to be made, and we are prepared to accept the likely choice of Victoria Park and work to make it as successful as possible.

Tour of Hackney

Claire offered to organise a historical tour of the borough on bikes for Bike Week.

Cyclists’ Breakfast

Crispin mentioned that Bike to Work Day is on the Wednesday of Bike Week, so we should not clash with this. We decided on the Friday (12th June) provisionally, at the junction of Southgate Road and the east-west cycle route as mentioned last month. Trevor Parsons reported that Les Moore from Hackney Wholefoods had expressed interest in providing the refreshments. There was some discussion of what we could do by way of cover if it rained, e.g. a small frame marquee, or perhaps some big umbrellas if that’s all the budget will stretch to.

Project Modal Shift

We discussed how to extend last year’s excellent initiative. The current idea is to get Hackney’s new Executive Directors onto bikes, or at least Lorraine Langham, the E.D. with responsibility for transport. Douglas has some big ideas on how to stage bicycle heaven for Lorraine as she pedals around the borough. Trevor said that it would be good to get the pothole inspectors onto bikes for the week. Patrick, who cunningly organised last year’s Project Modal Shift with zero finance, said that he would find it difficult to organise it again this year, unless there was a budget, particularly if the scope of the project were widened. Tim Evans said he is trying to persuade the new Head of Press Relations to cycle, and that s/he (sorry, didn’t get the sex of this person) would be another candidate. Crispin said we should suggest that the Council find the money to provide the bikes somehow, perhaps by integrating this as part of their policy and practice in favour of sustainable transport among employees.

Supervised cycle parking at Church Street Festival

Simon Bannister has had the excellent idea of providing supervised cycle parking in addition to just doing a stall as we usually do. We all thought this was a brilliant idea. We discussed various ways of doing it, from providing crush barriers for people to lock up to themselves which we simply overlook, or taking bikes off people, giving them tickets for them, and storing them ourselves in an enclosure. The former was considered to be less labour-intensive, but there’s plenty of time to discuss details. The main thing is to bag the space necessary early and to ensure that the service is advertised very well in all festival publicity.

Back to the top

4. Road Danger Reduction Charter

Trevor summarised the aims of the Road Danger Reduction Forum’s Charter, contained in their publication ‘Is it Safe?’. This is a counterblast to the Road Safety lobby’s harm minimisation strategy, which aims to reduce casualties by reducing the exposure of vulnerable road users to the road, rather than tackling the hazards at source. Trevor suggested that we get the Council to adopt the Charter, (which you can read here), and seek to educate relevant officers about the road danger reduction approach. Patrick said that the timing would be good, considering that there is currently a Whitehall attempt to introduce Targets for Casualty Reduction, which would have the effect of discouraging people from walking and cycling. Trevor will put this to Roger Kite and Lorraine Langham in the first instance.

Back to the top

5. New parking provision

Patrick reported that the Council in conjunction with Groundwork Trust, Dalston City Partnership and various other organisations has money to put in 270 parking stands. They have to go in before April (the end of the financial year, natch) and suggestions for locations are sought. Call Cycling Officer Liam Mulrooney as soon as possible on 0171-418 8221. We think they can go in basically anywhere in Hackney.

Back to the top

6. Neighbourhood theatre – lack of facilities for cyclists and pedestrians

Dave Bracken told us that he had been to the Stoke Newington neighbourhood committee recently, at which planning permission was granted for a local neighbourhood theatre in the school on Clissold Road. Apparently, 110 car parking places were identified in the plan, but no provision was made for cycle parking or storage of pushchairs/prams/buggies for people who walk there. For something which is supposed to be a local facility, this is ridiculous. Dave lamented this particular instance, but also underlined the general lesson that we should find out about major planning applications as early as possible, and follow them through committee. We mandated Dave to write to the planners asking that at least two of the planned car parking spaces be converted to cycle parking. We will also ask at the next Cycle Liaison Meeting whether the planners are prepared to consult the LCC in Hackney officially about all major trip-generating applications.

Back to the top

7. Albion Road

Patrick has been sent a note and photos concerning the new buildouts on Albion Road. The sender, apparently remaining anonymous because of a sensitive employment position, points out that cars are often parked on the outside of the buildouts, and even double-parked (!) as proved by the photos, meaning that most of the carriageway is blocked.

We remembered that a motorcyclist had been killed when he rode into one of these buildouts when they had just been installed, and regretted that, but it was our general opinion that there was nothing wrong with the idea of buildouts in principle. The problem is that the parking restrictions are not adequate, and that there is insufficient enforcement against hazardous and unsociable parking. We asked Dave to add this to his previously-mentioned letter, and we will raise this at the Cycle Liaison Meeting.

Back to the top

8. Local Transport Day (Saturday March 7th)

Crispin told us about the plans of the Agenda 21 Transport Working Group for Local Transport Day, which are basically to do another street survey, since the last one was such a success and quite fun to do. This one would be focussed around people’s views on issues of transport and access, and their favoured solutions. Many people from the meeting said that they would be prepared to help prepare and conduct the survey.

Back to the top

9. Any other business

Patrick had a letter from CSV environment group inviting our participation in a cycling promotion event of theirs in Whittington Park on 13th June. Due to other demands on our time in Bike Week we felt we had to decline, but you can get details from Patrick if you would like to know more.

Patrick also had a letter inviting us to meetings of the London Canals Committee, a canals user group. The next meeting will be on 15th April. Again, contact Patrick if you’d like to know more. Charlie mentioned that British Waterways, who swing violently in policy about cycling, are now on one of their pro-cycling oscillations, in public at least. They are, for instance, claiming that cycling was never banned on a particular stretch of the Regent’s Canal, which is news to a lot of people. On the ground, things are not quite so rosy.