Anthony Brown (from Groundwork
1. Hackney Bike Posse
2. Groundwork Hackney’s ‘Safe Routes to School’ project
4. Millennium Bike Week
5. September 22nd: Car-free Heaven on Mare Street
6. LCC Junctions Campaign
7. Conference on transport in North East London
Any Other Business
Tim reported back from the Posse, calling it a ‘moderate success’. The first part of the scheme is now completed, but the pros and cons still need to be assessed. The Posse did seven excursions, including one to the Old Ford. There was also a kids’ mass across Hackney. Lessons learned include that kids _will_ have bikes that don’t work, so that too much time was spent fixing things, and also that older kids didn’t find it challenging enough. Tim is thinking of doing it with another youth club next time, when he also wants to target older kids and to be more adventurous.
Anthony Brown from Groundwork talked about the Safe Routes to School project, which is ‘dedicated to easing the burden of the journey to school, making it an
integral part of the school day’. The project is trying to achieve this by empowering children and parents, e.g. against bullying, motor traffic,
stranger danger. 14.3% of collisions in Hackney involve children, a disproportionately high figure that may push people towards car use, which is on the rise in Hackney (stat compiled by Roger Kite at HBC from Met’s accident statistics). Money from SRtS is to be spent on physical improvements to schools, e.g. parking restrictions. A website is also being set up. An audit found that only 1 in 10 ‘junior school’ (4/5-11) pupils cycle to school. This figure is higher for ‘senior school’ (11-16) pupils, but there is a serious problem encouraging these to cycle; 20-30% journey to school by private car. Only two year 7 pupils attended a recent cycle training event at a Hackney school. Anthony has been trying to make cycling an element in drama, attractive to many children, in order to habituate kids to cycling early. Anthony answered Simon’s question what we, as Hackney LCC, can do about the scheme, by asking for interested parties (parents, schools) to be pointed in his direction. He also said that he was trying to spread Simeon Bamford’s cycle training scheme to Hackney, as Cycle Proficiency tests alone were inadequate preparation for on-road cycling. Refer also to
Anthony’s handout on the website.
Claire Tansley reported back from CycleActive, calling it a great success. Under the scheme, people are prescribed cycling as treatment, e.g., against lack of fitness or
depression. Nick, a GP at Well St practice, was very happy with it. So far, people have mainly come from Well St practice, but there are plans afoot for a Turkish-speaking Hoxton group (from Hoxton co-operative practice) and a Homerton group. The fees are £6/session if waged and £2/session if unwaged. The aim is to build up very shaky people’s confidence to ride in traffic in about five sessions. More men than women so far. The 1 1/2-hour long sessions have been in Vicky Park. Those for the Hoxton practice will most likely be in Haggerston Park and the Homerton sessions in Millfields Park (not certain yet). The project supplies participants with folders, so that
they don’t have to buy their own bikes.
We spoke about the breakfast on the 23rd, and Nick and John Dash agreed to help, with Brian Catchpole doing signs two or three days before to alert people to what’s happening. Dave and Simon might also be able to help. Claire can be there early. Coffee is thought to be procurable from Hackney Wholefoods nearby. Patrick Field’s awning will be needed again.
About the barbecue, the venue is either going to be Equal Play or King’s Head. Claire can cook the food but can’t do the cycling around bit to prepare the orienteering event, as she’ll be working till 3:30. The orienteering will replace the Bike-around-Hackney event, which some people found too long. Dave said he might help with putting up signs. The orienteering event would be a first opportunity to go across Friends’ Bridge.
Everybody was in favour of lobbying HBC, Meg Hillier and Darren Johnson quite hard for the closure of Mare St to motor traffic. Car-free day coincides with the opening of the Ocean Music Centre, who have apparently been pushing for more car parking. John Dash said that Trevor’s original idea was only to close the town square bit of Mare St, but the possibility of closing all of Mare St was discussed. It was agreed that this would only be possible with the support of the council and the GLA–Livingstone has since declared himself to be in favour. It was also agreed to get as many organisations as possible involved. Anthony said he would write on behalf of Groundwork, make a press release, write to the Gazette and talk to schools near Mare Street. The pitch will be something along the lines of ‘All those major cities in Europe are doing it, and we’re so backward’, hopefully igniting the environment portfolio holder (DJ?) into action. Apparently, LCC Central are already hard at it, but it was agreed that we should focus on Hackney. We agreed to adjourn to the next meeting to await the responses of the initial letter writing. There was a question whether stewards might have to be recruited from the ranks of Hackney LCC.
We nominated Shacklewell Lane/St Mark’s Rise our major problem junction in Hackney for the LCC Junctions campaign. We weren’t sure about the status of the plans that Douglas showed us recently (pipe dreams or soon reality?).
Ben reported that he had been in touch with Robert Vaughan from LCC Waltham Forest and Terese from LCC Islington, both of whom had had several meetings with Meg Hillier (Labour), the GLA representative for London North East, which includes Hackney and the other two aforementioned boroughs. Both were very interested in lobbying Meg Hillier, and we thought about things to bring to her attention. These include the automatic cycle counting project, which is due to be reduced or scrapped due to lack of funding, Shacklewell Lane/St Mark’s Rise junction, Car-free Day (see above), and the proposed conference. We agreed that we should invite Darren Johnson to the conference along with Meg Hillier.