2006 AGM REPORT
Our annual AGM, held this year at the Bohemia Café at Mare Street, was a great success. Always a sociable occasion, this year saw both borough meeting and email discussion group regulars (as well as a gratifying number of casual members) enjoy the usual slap up meal, hear about recent members initiatives and get involved in an informative workshop on new approaches to street design (see minutes below). Oh – and there was also the small matter of committee elections….
This was the last AGM to be chaired by Oliver Schick who is standing down as Borough Co-ordinator after four years of intense commitment to the promotion of cycling in order allow others to get their hands dirty and assist the groups further growth. We’re not loosing his invaluable experience though as he’ll be staying on in the new position of Council Liaison officer, taking the lead in our dealings with Hackney Borough Council on planning and highways issues and consultations. Our thanks go out to him.
Succeeding Oliver in a care-taker capacity will be Richard Lewis and Trevor Parsons who have been elected joint co-ordinators whilst a full-time replacement is sought. Like Oliver, both Richard and Trevor have served on the committee in other positions for a number of years and genuinely feel that the group would benefit from some fresh blood in the long term.
In other committee positions, the long suffering (and greatly appreciated) Brenda Puech stays on as treasurer. Rookie David Farnham replaces Richard as Secretary whilst the similarly fresh faced Charlie Lloyd comes in as Membership Secretary. In addition to sharing the responsibility of being joint coordinator, Trevor will continue to act as Communications Officer dealing with the website and advertising of events. In this he will be ably assisted by another new face – Therese. Trevor hopes to get a new ‘forum-style’ website up and running in the coming months, so get in touch if you’d like to assist.
Owing to strong competition from other Borough Groups, it was decided to leave dormant the position of Rides Coordinator – though if anyone is interested in resurrecting this tradition we’d be happy to hear from you!
The New Committee
Trevor Parsons – Joint Co-ordinator
Richard Lewis – Joint Co-ordinator
Brenda Punch – Treasurer
David Farnham – Secretary
Charlie Lloyd – Membership Secretary
Oliver Schick – Council Liaison
Trevor Parsons – Communications
London Cycle Campaign in Hackney
Notes of 2006 Annual General Meeting held at Bohemia Café, Bohemia Place, Hackney.
1. Co-ordinators report
As chair, Oliver began by welcoming everyone to his final AGM as co-ordinator before providing a summary of the years activities and prospects for the coming months.
We now have nearly 1,000 members, and it is partly through this membership as well as through our recognised expertise in all things cycling that we enjoy a high standing with public officials, elected members, and professionals whose activities touch on cycling. Oliver considered that we can honestly say that we are a successful campaigning group and are in partial or full ownership of a number of processes that are moving cycling further and further into the mainstream.
Oliver explained his decision to stand down as coordinator and invited a change of guard on the committee. Both are essential to the groups continued growth and success (see committee elections below). Oliver noted that members were welcome to come forward with suggestions for new positions if they considered that these could be valuable to the group.
Our activities over this past year have been continuations of long-standing projects such as the HomeBikePark project, and putting into motion new ones, such as the Bike Project aimed at recycling bikes and making them available at reduced prices, training the more vulnerable in society at the same time.
We have continued to liaise closely with the local authority and numerous other local groups, providing significant input into a large number of traffic schemes, including the Windus Streets for People scheme, where we achieved two-way cycling throughout (after a significant local minority had jeopardised the success of the scheme by having streets made one-way). Eagle Wharf Road will be returned to partial two-way operation (with two-way cycling throughout). We provided input into a number of 20mph schemes and are confident that more area-wide treatments will be progressed in Hackney.
Car-Free Day was a smaller-scale event this year from organising a large festival for thousands of people, but was nonetheless successful in its own small way. Gayhurst School in London Fields was made car-free for the day, meaning no elephants’ ballet around the school as parents delivered children in cars. Instead, many parents commented how lovely it was without all that.
Bike Week saw our usual range of successful events, some in partnership with Hackney Council–cycling breakfast in London Fields, rides, etc. A pit stop event and other breakfasts were also held outside Bike Week. Burns Night 2006, the tenth anniversary edition, was considered by many to have been the best ever–or so it felt from the organisers’ side. We again made a surplus, which will go towards funding our campaigning activities.
Finally Oliver thanked all LLCiH’s volunteers who provide their time, skills, experience, local knowledge, and passion for their constant and tireless help. Without you none of our success could have been achieved.
2. Treasurers Report
Brenda reported on the years in and out goings as summarised in a handout.
Our annual grant from LCC central is steadily rising with our membership numbers. Our main income from events is from Burns Night, where we make well over a £1,000 each year. We also had a grant of £1053 from Hackney Council, who co-organised car free day in Hackney around Gayhurst school.
Our main expenses in 2005 were for car free day (fully funded by LBH), Bike Week events, our AGM event, our Desire Line magazine and the remaining part of the Home Bike Park project, mainly funded by LBH, with a small contribution by Hackney Cyclists.
We enter the new year with £1,020.30 in our account and the proceeds of another Burns Night in January 2006 to replenish our income.
3. Election of Committee
As outgoing co-ordinator of the last 4 years Oliver began reiterating his belief that LCCiH would benefit from a change in representatives to ensure its continued growth and success.
The responsibilities of any new Co-ordinator were explained. The role is a busy one, combining the co-ordination of voluntary efforts with the representation of the groups in the public arena, especially at local meetings, in correspondence with the local media, and other local groups. Good relationships with elected members and officers are vital. The co-ordinator’s role, at least in theory, should not be one of ‘lead campaigner’, and it is essential that the co-ordinator be supported by a strong management committee.
Before formal nominations and elections began Richard and the AGM thanked Oliver for his tireless work and commitment that was considered by all to be
go far beyond the expectations for a voluntary role.
The subsequent nominations and elections were as follows:
Richard and Trevor
Proposed: Brenda and Oliver
Trevor and Richard agreed to take over in a care-taker capacity from Oliver as joint co-ordinator until a permanent replacement comes forward.
Upon their election Oliver passed chair of the meeting to Richard and Trevor.
New faces on the committee included David Farnham and Charlie Lloyd as Secretary and Member Secretary respectively.
Several new posts were created with Oliver taking the role of Council Liaison and another new face, Therese, elected to help Trevor as Communications Assistant.
It was agreed that Richard as new joint co-ordinator would inform LCC head office of the changes to the committee.
4. Other Matters
Trevor is keen to revamp the web site to improve communications with members and discussed some of the preliminary options.
5. Presentation: The bike project
‘The Bike Project’ is a new initiative in the borough aimed at teaching secondary school pupils cycle maintenance through use of unwanted or damaged bikes. The repaired bikes are then given to attendees or offered to others in the community. Pupils receive training during normal school hours. It has been developed and run by Therese who is a regular at LCCiH meetings. Therese provided a brief presentation on the initiatives successes so far. Following a successful bid for funding from GCC as part of STA bikes proposal to provide cycle training in the borough, ‘The Bike Projet’ has now been running at St Thomas Abney School for the past 3 weeks. Objectives for the coming year include obtaining storage space at the school so that bikes and equipment can be kept on site, and finding premises for a workshop so that the initiative can be expanded to the wider community. Therese invited anyone who might be interested in assisting or attending to get in contact.
6. Seminar and Workshop: Naked Engineering.
As a preface to plans to introduce regular speakers and seminars on issues affecting cyclists at future LCCiH meetings this year, Richard led a seminar on the emerging design approach of ‘Naked Engineering’. This has been informed by Richard’s own work as Cycling Officer at Brent Borough Council where he is authoring ambitious draft policy supportive of the approach.
As Richard explained ‘naked engineering’ seeks to readdress the balance between motorists and other road users by removing the standardised elements of road layouts (linear kerbs, road markings, traffic signs, guard railing and signals) which currently assure motorists that they are in a segregated and controlled environment in which they can ‘switch off’ from considering other road users. By removing these familiar crutches, and converting roads into level surfaces shared with pedestrians and cyclists (and in which none have priority) motorists are forced to pay greater attention to their environment. Accordingly they slow to the level in which they are able to make eye contact with other street occupants in order to negotiate priority – just as they normally in any normal social environment on foot.
In place of linear kerbs, level paved surfaces are introduced with subtle demarcation of footways etc.. provided by changes in material where necessary. Traditional speed control devices such as humps and bollards are replaced by trees and benches. These are used to create regular shifts in the width and alignment of the channel available to vehicles and to invite pedestrians back in to the street where they play a passive traffic calming roll. It is the later who benefit most from approach of course. Naked engineering promises an improved and more sociable environment through the reduction in impediments to movement (guard-rails and speeding/intimidating traffic) and the replacement of the unsightly paraphernalia of highway design with sensitive and attractive public realm schemes.
The approach has been pioneered in Holland where major signalised junctions have been converted to naked squares with no demarcation of kerbs, traffic circulation or signals. The result has been slower traffic speeds, an improvement in the throughput of motor vehicles and a marked reduction in accidents. The squares designer infamously demonstrates the success if the approach to visitors by walking backwards across the space with his eyes closed. In another example an entire town has had all traffic signs, signals and road markings removed to great success. The UK however, with its litigious culture, has been much slower to catch on, with the few contemporary examples such as Kensington High Street, being limited to a reduction in road markings and highway clutter impeding pedestrians such as guard rails. Never-the-less to a background of increasing acceptance of more sensitive urban design based approaches to slowing traffic, typified by Poundbury, the scheme has been influential and there are now plans to convert Exhibition Road to a fully realised naked street.
Richard went on to explain how the approach might be applied to different locations in the UK. Whilst modestly trafficked streets in busy centres might readily benefit from the full naked street treatment of level, unsegregated surfaces and the removal of signals, in other more trafficked environments a more modest approach similar to that at Kensington High Street might be required. Trunk roads like the north circular meanwhile might be considered to form part of the traffic realm and a ‘traditional’ segregated highway layout thus retained.
Though there are some clear issues to be addressed in respect to access for the visibly impaired, Richard was happy to report that disability groups were fully behind the approach.
A brief workshop followed in which attendees formed groups and considered locations in the Borough which could provide a pilot for naked engineering and the level of treatment which might be appropriate there. These included Kingsland junction and the Dunsmere Road shopping parade.