Members present included: Trevor Parsons (chair), Anna Kidd (secretary), Brenda Puech, Ralph Smyth, Charlie Lloyd.
Guests: Stuart Jones, Cllr Alan Laing, Andy Cunningham
Discussion with Cllr Alan Laing, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and councillor for Hackney Central ward. Cllr Laing was accompanied by Andy Cunningham, head of the Streetscene department.
Alan: More than half of the borough’s streets are already 20mph. During the current financial year another two 20mph zones will be introduced. The Met police will not enforce 20mph so LB Hackney must ensure self enforcing, engineering solution must be created which do not lead to cost and resource problems. Have introduced one zone per year since 2003. Currently looking for more funding from TfL. Agree that 20mph default speed limit throughout the borough should be the aim. However TfL roads are out of LB Hackney control. LB Hackney is looking to sit down with TfL to identfy major arterial routes which could be trialled for 20mph limits.
Ralph: the Met police stance on non-enforcement is wrong. Met police provision is agreed in black and white with LB Hackney. Also can we not just join the gaps between 20mph zones?
Alan: You’re right and Streetscene is looking at incorporating streets with existing physical engineering measures into 20mph zones. We have problems with zones being unenforceable due to missing signs, particularly at the edge of the borough. Also problems with suppliers for signs. TfL is moving down to five funding streams from the currently compex system of around 20. LB Hackney is on top of change in TfL funding streams. Looking at trialling average speed cameras in the borough. All stakeholders especially residents must buy into the change to a 20mph zone, otherwise you get a backlash from residents, as in Victoria Ward. LB Hackney keeps track of speed and collision rates once engineering measures have been put in, but only in certain areas.
Alan was aware that LCCiH has written to the mayor of Hackney asking for a task force to be formed on the issue of HGV/cyclist collisions. The council is deeply concerned. Happy to sit down and try a work out what can be done. The road user education and safety funding pot in TfL is due to be cut. Happy to have a local task force and will work with TfL to encourage action, but this issue should really be given a London-wide focus. TfL should not be let off the hook.
TfL now in the early stages of handing over some of its red route (TLRN) streets to the boroughs, but problems with maintance contracts etc will mean this is not an easy option. (As an example of the funding problems that can be anticipated, TfL has only given enough money to LB Hackney to resurface 20 metres of street this year).
Oliver: TfL will mostly likely want to integrate HGV/cycling messages into the updated ‘Share The Road’ campaign. Unfortunately the first round of STR contained positively unhelpful messages/graphics. Brenda: In Hackney most problems seem to be rat running and HGVs turning left.
Alan: In order to be exempted from the lorry ban scheme, operators have to sign up for cycle awareness training, fresnel mirrors.
Cycling in parks
There are moves by some individuals to challenge the legitimacy of shared-use cycling and walking in our parks. Alan wasn’t aware of the issue but will look into it and report back.
Alan: Secure cycle parking is a standard planning requirement for new developments. Problems with new cycle hire scheme. Questions about how Hackney Homes can get an income stream for secure parking on estates. A working group of councillors has been formed to examine the issue of cycle parking in the borough, but has still not met. Likes the idea of cycle parking being examined when controlled parking zones are being put in. Have put in bids for money for secure parking on estates and stations.
Andy: Where you get the heavier vehicles, rutting and spreading will cause a problem. They need to be surveyed once a year and also principal and red routes go back to TfL. LB Hackney does surveying once every 3 months. LB Hackney has regular liasion meetings with TfL red route teams and will bring matters up.
Stuart: Can TfL or contractors be be prosecuted for not maintaining surfaces properly?
Alan: It would be a good idea if TfL brought a list of the defect reports made by the public to the meetings they have with Streetscene. Andy: One of the factors in prioritising resurfacing is whether or not it is on a major cycle route. Northchurch Road was a good example of this.
LCC advocates the use of road humps with a sinusoidal profile, which still function adequately to reduce motor vehicle speeds but are less uncomfortable for cycles.
Andy: Cushions are now preferred method of speed control especially in areas of older housing, where house foundations are very poor. LB Hackney tries to avoid speed humps. Cushions have buy-in of all stakeholders, esp residents.
Bendy buses: no credible research showing that they are any better or worse for collisions with cyclists. Their benefit operationally is not in doubt.
Current methods of working
Currently LCCiH liaise with Hackney Streetscene both formally in regular liaison meetings and informally in discussions had between officers and the co-ordinator. The latter has the advantage of giving LCCiH early input into shaping schemes.
Alan would like Streetscene to come to LCCiH meetings and present their plans after they have put in their annual funding bid to TfL. Also would like LCCiH to present a wishlist by the end of this calendar year. Happy to hold council to account, but want to formalise the process and have a greater shared understanding. How does the LCC work with other London councils and submit requests to TfL? And start co-ordinating responses with sympathic London councils. Basically start being a bit more politically minded. LCC sits on borough cycling officers group, which not the place to have political views and co-ordination. Now is a good time to be helping each other and sharing information a bit more. Tips on who to brief, would be very helpful.
Alan: LCCiH needs to help get residents buy in to LCN+ network. What is the opinion of LCCiH about which parts of LCN+ should be prioritised?
Trevor: Well Street needs an entire area review. Issue is barriers and gaps and this prevents the network working properly. Oliver: Scope of LCN+ was set out at the beinning and TfL has all this data, but doesn’t expect this to be completed by 2010. Many of the large barriers have not been fixed because of lack of political will. Hackney’s vision with permeability is fantastic and we are leading the way. We need more of such schemes.
Alan/Andy: We are bidding for money from TfL for some of the larger schemes on the LCN+.
Oliver: We are interested in work which benefits walking, cycling and public realm holistically. Ralph: Does LB Hackney have a policy of how 106 funding is used to improve the streetscape? Charlie: The stakeholder views from LCN+ should be in the hands of the borough and should be looked at when looking at area schemes.
Action. LCCiH to present its revised wishlist by December 08.
Andy: LB Hackney happy to map cycling issues into their GIS schemes
LCCiH should be invited to comment on all schemes, but how do we express the consensus view and how do we ensure that we have a single point person to communicate our policy view esp. at the initial stage before going out to public consultation?
Trevor thanked Alan and Andy for attending the meeting.
Any other business
High Bridge, bottom of Coppermill Lane is being replaced. Wider bridge, but still not three metres. What did LB Hackney know about the scheme? Who was responsible for the consulation? Ideally we would like to be consulted.