Hackney LCC meeting 2nd February 2000

Topics discussed:

1. Burns Night

2. Hackney Environmental Forum – short term targets

3. Pavement parking

4. Review of highways expenditure

5. Experiments with motor traffic free days

6. Stoke Newington gyratory

1. Burns Night

Without publicity of any kind except the best of all – word of mouth – Burns Night was a great success again. Sold out. Final confirmation of profits yet to be made, as ticket sellers have yet to bank profits.

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2. Hackney Environmental Forum – short term targets

We discussed Hackney Environment Forum’s call for review of short
term targets for transport. The three short term targets were:

  • an immediate ban on pavement parking
  • review of highways expenditure
  • experiments with motor traffic-free days in certain areas

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3. Pavement parking

Residents in Clapton Square apparently succeeded in getting pavement parking removed from one location as part of other environmental upgrades in that location.

Most pavement parking in Hackney breaches the council’s own minimum standard for pavement width: it should not be implemented unless it will leave at least 2m of free pavement for pedestrians. The car is a most effective privatiser of public space, and getting it back will prove problematic, given the power of the frontager* in local politics.

*frontager: one whose residence or business abuts on to a road. Has the right of veto on most traffic schemes if sufficiently exercised to raise a petition of like-minded residents. See for example
failure of cycle route down Petherton Road, failure of contraflow
down Milton Grove. Which means that the reality is that stationary
cars have priority in many road schemes.

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4. Review of highways expenditure

How Hackney spends money on transport is clearer than it used to be. Part of the reason for the lack of clarity is the diversity of the
sources of funding from which monies are derived. As far as I can
recall in 1999/2000 Hackney BC spent 4m. on transport, of which 80k
on cycle specific measures.

The meeting discussed calling for greater priority for cycle routes
within that, but also noted that repairs the surfaces of main roads
and junctions are as, or more important, for cyclists as other road
users.

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5. Experiments with motor traffic free days

Hackney has the example of the Church Street festival, which greatly
increases traffic (footfall) and therefore prosperity and
opportunities for social and commercial exchange in that vicinity on
one weekend a year.
Other areas could follow. Traffic arrangements that give priority to
pedestrians and cyclists over a much greater area than at present
have been contemplated and half-heartedly implemented for the
Hackney Show and Mardi Gras.
A one-off opportunity for a demonstration of the way Mare ‘de gras’ Street
might be in the the future comes on Friday 22 September 2000
which is a Euro “no cars in town day” and also, coincidentally the
September opening of the new Ocean Music Centre on the Town Hall Square in
Hackney.

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6. Stoke Newington gyratory

Consultants Atkins have produced a provisional report which is in
Stoke Newington library.
The basic plan is for two way operation along Stoke Newington High
Street to buses, cycles and delivery vehicles only. Other motor
traffic will travel two way along (South–>North) Evering Road (yes,
including that little residential bit), Rectory Road, Northwold
Road.
Southbound will be the same, except apparently Manse Road will be
one way East–>West (i.e. carrying southbound traffic.

This mini-gyratory could be a bone of contention from local
residents.

Although there is general consensus among transport researchers and
progressive transport organisations that prioritisation of
pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users enhances the
environment and the prosperity of an area, it is uncertain as to
whether this message is widely held by Stoke Newington residents.
These, it is rumoured, include one Sarah Ebanja, who lives at the
reservoirs and drives to work (because public transport is so
terrible). Perhaps some kind person will introduce her to the delights of
cycling to work?.