Present: Charlie Lloyd, Douglas Carnall, Rory Brooke, Nick Hutt, Trevor Parsons
1. Matters arising from our last meeting
Re: Travel to school
Last month we decided to ask Liam Mulrooney, the Council’s Cycling Offficer, to invite the Green councillors to the next Cycle Liaison Meeting to discuss the travel to school issue. Since then we have had an offer of help from new councillor Jessica Crowe, so we shall see if she would like to come along too.
Re: Timing of Cycle Liaison Meeting
Rory said that he would be interested in attending Cycle Liaison Meetings, but would never be able to make the traditional time of 4pm, preferring a later time. Trevor said he would raise the issue at the next meeting.
Re: Hackney 2020
Douglas reminded us of the planned tour of the borough with Executive Director Lorraine Langham, Executive Director of Hackney Council with responsibility for transport. The itinerary will take in high streets, parks, cycle routes, council facilities, etc, and give her the feel of cycling in Hackney and how things could be made even better. The tour will be professionally videoed, and anyone wishing to be involved should contact him on 0171-241 1255 or by email.
Re: Bike Week events
Charlie reported that we turned over £72 at the Hackney Show and a larger amount, to be confirmed, at the Stoke Newington Midsummer Festival. A particular vote of thanks is due to Patrick Field and Daniel James for bringing along the fantastic Micro Sound System on the Brox. Douglas has ideas for making the stall more of a crowd puller at the Show next year, for instance a test-your-cycling-strength feature! Apparently there was cycle parking provided at the Show, although we did not hear about it. We will enquire about this and perhaps liaise to improve and publicise it. The Hackney Cyclists’ Breakfast was generally agreed to have been a very pleasant and worthwhile event, and we hope to repeat it next year, advertising it in advance along the east-west route so that people who just happened upon it but didn’t have time to stop will know about it and set out early to give themselves a few minutes for a coffee with us.
Since we had two qualified medical practitioners among us, we discussed various issues around cycling and health locally. Nick Hutt, a GP, would like to see more of his patients benefitting from cycling. He has one or two elderly patients who cycle – very good examples of the life-prolonging and enhancing benefits of cycling – and thinks that we should publicise their good example to everyone, including older people themselves. Douglas said that he too would like to see exercise prescription for people with, for example, cardio-vascular conditions include the chance to be reintroduced to cycling. Trevor wondered if it would perhaps be possible to get funding from sources such as the Health Action Zone to provide seed finance for a cycle training project. Nick said he didn’t see why not. Douglas mentioned that Baz Hunt is based in Lower Clapton Road and has funding to do exercise prescription, which presently is focused towards work in the gym. It would be good to talk to him.
We moved on to talk about Homerton Hospital, its access and transport problems in general and cycle friendliness in particular. These are already proving to be a factor in difficulties with recruitment. Douglas brought up the example of the Southampton hospital which has implemented a plan for reducing private car use, using a system of incentives and disincentives. Charlie agreed that this is the best example to date in the country, but that it is not without its problems such as unpopularity and displacement of car parking to the surrounding neighbourhood. He emphasised that these problems have become more acute because of the move towards suburban sites for hospitals – although transport links at Bart’s were not perfect, they were far superior to those at Homerton. Douglas namechecked Michael Peel, ex-borough co-ordinator for the LCC in Ealing, who runs the LCC’s Health Professionals Group. His main experience is in setting up Bicycle User Groups for staff in hospitals. Douglas said that a lot could be done to make the Homerton not only cycle friendly but ‘cycle attractive’, giving the small but significant example of the need for contraflow cycle provision between Chatsworth Road and Urswick Road. Trevor raised the issue of the severance of Homerton Hospital from Hackney town centre despite its proximity, and thought that the whole access and transport issue should be reviewed in an integrated way, including all modes, not forgetting pedestrian access. Perhaps there is the opportunity for some consultancy to be done.
Nick said that he is on the Homerton’s community liaison committee, and will see if this issue can be discussed soon. Douglas said that he would set up a meeting to include ourselves, Baz Hunt, a representative of the Trust and someone appropriate from the local authority.
Charlie Lloyd briefly mentioned the difficulty encountered by a healthy, elderly cycling neighbour of his who has been told not to wheel her bike through the Dalston Cross shopping centre, which makes life difficult. This is a serious impediment to cycle access for shopping in the area, and we resolved to speak to the Dalston Town Centre Manager about this problem, and perhaps arrange a face-to-face meeting.
St. Mark’s Rise/Shacklewell Lane junction
This junction is badly set out, and cyclists and pedestrians are often put at a disadvantage by excessively fast motor traffic. There have been several collisions that we know of, and just last week a cyclist was knocked off here. We resolved to arrange a meeting between interested residents we know of and significant others such as the headteacher of nearby Kingsland School, Gill Bunce. Trevor will talk to Gill Dibden who expressed her interest in this problem last month, and will ask if she can take on arranging the meeting. We will also put this on the agenda for the September Cycle Liaison Meeting.
Graham Road/Navarino Road junction
Motor traffic on Graham Road passes the junction with Navarino Road very quickly, and the sight lines are difficult for pedestrians and cyclists wanting to cross Graham Road at this point. Speed cushions on Graham Road would help, but this is currently ruled out due to it being a main road. Douglas, Charlie and Trevor have looked at the site and think that pedestrian refuges should be installed either side of the junction, which would slow motor traffic, making the crossing easier for cyclists and allowing pedestrians to cross in two stages. This should also be discussed at the Cycle Liaison Meeting.
Rory voiced concerns about Mare Street between Amhurst Road and Richmond Road. He thinks it is generally inhospitable to cycle traffic. Particular concerns are the junction with Amhurst Road/Narroway and the left filter leading to the junction with Morning Lane. Nick observed that the pressure on main roads is now partly due to the widespread use of measures to dissuade drivers from using lesser streets, meaning that it is now very difficult to cross main roads due to seemingly endless streams of traffic. We discussed this but did not resolve anything. Trevor suggested that Rory talk to Patrick Field, who has long pondered the Mare Street question and favours the desire line solution up Mare Street Narroway.
We thanked Nick for providing the new meeting venue, which he intends to let us use for at least six months, all being well.