Hackney LCC meeting Wednesday 3 July 2002

Venue: Pub on the Park, London E8

Present:
Mary Dooley, Paul Golding, Brenda Puech, Katie Hanson, Paul Singer, Melissa Martin, Trevor Parsons, Tim Evans, Vincent Stops, Oliver Schick, Kay Wagland

Chair: Tim Evans

Minute taker: Trevor Parsons

Apologies for absence

None received.

Topics discussed:

1. Festivals
2. Junctions campaign
3. Car Free Day
4. Cycling Fund applications
5. Health workers project
6. St John’s Churchyard
7. LCN+
8. Borough Spending Plan
9. Peace ride
10. Bike Week report back

1. Festivals

Kay recalled how effective our bike park had been at last year’s Volcano festival on the Marshes. We were looking forward to helping to run the bike park at the upcoming and much bigger Mardi Gras festival, also on the Marshes.

Finfest

Sunday 14th July. Oliver says it’s looking good. Will co-run an LCC stall with Alison Dines from Islington. Mary will ask for volunteers from Waltham Forest.

Respect

In Victoria Park, 20th July. We’ll be doing this jointly with Tower Hamlets LCC. Brenda and Oliver to lead.

The other possibility for us to do is Hackney Downs, if it’s going ahead.

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2. Junctions campaign

The junctions campaign is a London-wide LCC campaign to improve specific problem junctions. Our focus in Hackney is currently the junction of Shacklewell Lane and St Mark’s Rise. We have been suggesting a very cheap solution: a kerb buildout to square off the junction and slow down left-turning motors turning into St Mark’s Rise, which occasionally collide with cycle traffic going straight on westbound on Shacklewell Lane. Steve Walker has let it be known that there may be money in the 2003/4 road safety budget to do this work.

To keep the attention on this junction, we will be there on the Junctions Day of Action on 18th July in the morning between 7.30 and 9.30, with some amusing signs commenting on the difficulty of the junction. Oliver will write and ask Vincent Stops to attend in his official capacity as councillor and cabinet member i/c environment.

There have been 17 reported traffic incidents in the five years to mid-2001, Oliver told the meeting, 13 of which involved cyclists. Nine of these were in the standard pattern which we believe would be reduced and, we hope, eliminated by our suggested engineering solution. The cycle traffic flow is high here: we have counted 140 people passing on cycles in the two hours of the morning peak here.

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3. Car Free Day

Vincent told us that Mare Street is a runner, with the car-free area stretching from Morning Lane to Richmond Road. Talking to police and buses. Not yet confirmed, but officers instructed to do all they can to make sure car-free day happens there. Dave Wetzel, vice-chair of Transport for London and former chair of the GLC transport committee, will be driving a bus through the car-free area, to emphasise the importance of public transport to the theme of the day. Trying to get a bendy-bus there. Very interested in getting plenty of cycle training activities going on. Kay said Groundwork could maybe help out.

We’d need plenty of stewards. We managed that OK last year in Curtain Road, thanks to the support of Hackney LCC members. Paul Singer suggested that the involvement of Growing Communities might help to add a ‘food miles’ theme. It’s also Open House Day, and the town hall will be open, so culture vultures should have a good day out checking out all the open places in the area and stopping off (on foot, by bike or by bus) in car-free Mare Street on the way.

Vincent suggested that we attend the Hackney Environment Forum meeting on 25th July at the town hall. We need to form a working group as soon as possible to start planning for CFD. We can use a town hall meeting room for free if we wish.

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4. Cycling Fund applications

Deadline for the current round of National Cycle Fund applications is 31 July. Still awaiting the TRA list. Vincent expressed his support for any project which linked in with housing, eg secure residential cycle parking.

Tim injected a note of reality, saying that the only feasible application for this round is STA Bikes. Oliver praised the comprehensiveness of the aims of the cycle project at the school, grading development from year 1 to year 6. Most pupils will go on to secondary schools in the area, so the work done at primary level is a good foundation. Vincent observed that the STA Bikes aim of sharing good practice between schools fits in nicely with current government policy.

Mary observed that there is no parking at Lauriston school. She will check with the head to see if s/he would be OK with having some more parking put in. Tim said that Stoke Newington School is having some secure parking put in, as part of the Safe Routes To School project. Trevor observed that it would be interesting to see a final report about the Groundwork Safe Routes to School project, including information about where the parking went in.

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5. Health workers project

Bicycle user groups are burgeoning, one at St Leonard’s in Kingsland Road, led by Kate Lees, and one at Homerton Hospital, led by Brian Leveson. Kate and colleagues have run a stall promoting cycling one lunchtime in the St Leonard’s canteen, and Brian and colleagues are putting on a Bike Breakfast on Wednesday 21 August (see diary).

Meanwhile, Douglas is getting on with the photographic project. It looks good for putting together a proposal for funding at some appropriate point. Groundwork is also apparently interested in this, in particular Greg McNeill.

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6. St John at Hackney Churchyard

Trevor said he had spoken to LCC member John Dash, who lives close to St John’s, and he is part of a recently formed Friends of St John’s Churchyard group. Almost of those who are taking an interest in this are also locals and are opposed to the inclusion of substantial car parking in the proposed regeneration plan for the churchyard. This view is identical to that of the Hackney LCC committee members who were involved in the consultation earlier this year. We believe that institutionalising the car parking is detrimental to the churchyard as open space for all, and also makes it difficult to achieve the ambition of a safer and more convenient crossing for pedestrians and cyclists between the churchyard and Clapton Square.

The problem is that to qualify for regeneration money the scheme has to show that it can generate revenue for maintenance, and apparently there is also a directive from the Church of England to say that the church, which is of course the owner of the land, has to maximise income, despite this being clearly to the detriment of the environment in this case. We and the Friends have suggested alternatives such as a market. We can’t see how making money out of a market could be seen as objectionable in comparison with making money out of car parking. A good comparison would be St James’s Church, Piccadilly, which has a regular market in its churchyard while being a thriving spiritual and social centre.

Vincent said he would try to find out what is currently happening with the London Bus Initiative on Lower Clapton Road. (We are looking to the LBI to partner with ourselves and the borough in finding a good solution for the above-mentioned crossing. We should ask John Dash to ask the church whether they are seeking planning consent for a change of use from private to public car park, which its plan would seem to require.

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7. LCN+

Oliver said that the team reconceptualising the London Cycle Network is asking for examples of places where good provision for cycle traffic has been sacrificed to suit other road users. We would give them at least two examples of this in the borough: 1) TfL’s insistence on retaining the rat run in Pitfield Street, and 2) footway parking in Controlled Parking Zones.

Vincent said that the council’s policy was now to give streets back to pedestrians and residents, and that he is determined to get rid of pavement parking for that reason – “pavements are for pedestrians”. He said if 200 “greenies” would get out to show their support any time there was a proposal or an attempt to remove footway parking, there would be no problem. As it stands, it’s usually motor-owners who turn out to public consultations, and this makes it hard to implement positive policies such as this. So the lesson is: get out there and have your say, or don’t grumble about the motorised minority getting their way.

Vincent observed that many current back-street LCN routes were not well used, and said it was his understanding that the new LCN+ would now have a strong focus on getting to ‘town centres’, which could chime in with our other strategic aims such as scrapping the Stoke Newington gyratory system, which would make getting to and from Stokey High Street much easier by bike, on foot and by public transport.

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8. Borough Spending Plan

Tim said he had made some comments on the draft Borough Spending Plan, which is Hackney’s bid for money from Transport for London, and that the main item he observed to be missing was the ‘human element’, that is to say the importance of the promotion of the sustainable modes. Vincent suggested that this observation be fed into the Local Strategic Partnership.

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9. Peace ride

Paul S. told us about an idea he had for a cycle ride to mark the anniversary of the September 11th atrocities. Places to visit in such a ride might include the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park, the Geraldine Mary Handsworth Park and the memorial to Edith Cavell. It was also observed that there is a peace memorial behind St Augustine’s Tower off the Narroway in Hackney.

Tim welcomed the idea and said that if Paul did organise such a ride he should definitely use LCC networks such as the lcc-rider mailing list and the Rides Diary in London Cyclist to publicise it. Paul said he would like to invite everyone to take part and would appreciate any help that might be available with publicity. Paul’s email address is pedevan1@hotmail.com

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10. Bike Week report back

Oliver said it had been a good bike week for us. The ceilidh was not perhaps as big as we had hoped, but it was fun and people who attended did enjoy themselves. Tim agreed that it had been fun and a good excuse for a dance, but observed that the net income was only £120, and if we were thinking of repeating it we should think long and hard about it, as it had taken up a lot of volunteer effort. Vincent observed that the ticket price had seemed a bit steep. Oliver said that the idea had been largely to make it a social for the membership, which many people had said they would like. Also, the first time our now-regular Burns Night had been run, there were only about 30 in attendance, so we could follow that example and build it up year on year as a regular event.

Katie said that maybe organising such an event would be easier once the clocks changed – people don’t tend to dance until it’s dark. Tim thought that it was all about mobilising people, and the best time for that is spring, whatever event we choose to run. We should carefully consider what type of event it is next time. Could be a barbeque, for instance. It was important that an event shouldn’t end up competiting for activist time that could be more usefully spent on the many other demands of the campaign.

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Next Meeting

Next meeting Wednesday 7 August, 8pm, same venue.