London Cycling Campaign in Hackney

Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, 4th December, 2013

Marcon Court and Aspland Estates Community Hall


Present: Olawale Ajibola, Kate Charteris (committee member without portfolio), Bill Chidley, Mark Deloughery, Dave Harris (treasurer), Rafael Hortala-Vallve, Richard Lufkin, Dave Lukes (sustainability officer), Jon Parker (committee member without portfolio), Trevor Parsons (co-ordinator), Brenda Puech (events co-ordinator), Oliver Schick (secretary, minutes), Urs Trepp, Chas Wilshere (workshop representative).

Apologies: Siobhan Blackshaw (rides co-ordinator), Jono Kenyon (committee member without portfolio), Matt Saywell.

Agenda:

1. Minutes and matters arising

2. Election manifesto

3. Report back from Local Groups Forum

4. Ward asks

5. Mare Street Narroway stall

6. Report back from Sustainable Hackney meeting

7. Cycle permeability schemes

8. Finance update

9. Burns Night

10. Hackney Cycling Showcase

11. Rides

12. Other events

13. Any other business


Action Summary:

Item

Action

Who

June 2013: Morning Lane/Mare Street junction

Take video of the situation to back up our case and to write to the Council with the video. Action carried over.

TP

September 2013: Minutes and matters arising: Morning Lane/Mare Street junction

Suggest to the Council to include some work on this junction in Hackney’s possible bid for the Hackney Central Triangle major scheme funding.

TP

November 2013: Report back from meeting with Hackney officers

Organise a Vision launch meeting with a possible Q&A session with Andrew Gilligan. Action carried over.
TP, BP, AC

November 2013: Report back from meeting with Hackney officers

TP to invite Andrew Gilligan. Action carried over.

TP

November 2013: Any other business: Hackney Bike Workshop
Workshop to come back with a proposed budget, including potentially higher rent. Action carried over.

MF, SB, KC

1. Minutes and matters arising
Correct November minutes

OS

2. Election manifesto
Compile manifesto and circulate the draft to the committee, then to the main mailing list.
OS, BC
4. Ward asks
Book the larger meeting room upstairs, if available, for the earlier start time.

TP

5. Mare Street Narroway stall
Prepare having a stall.
JP, BC, DL, RLu, OS
7. Cycle permeability schemes
Reply to Council with approval.

OS, TP

8. Finance update
Discuss expenditure as well as the level of our financial reserve and to come back to the next meeting with more detail.

Cttee

9. Burns Night
Contact Limehouse Town Hall and Princess May school. 

BP

10. Hackney Cycling Showcase
Contact Council, compile a calendar of festivals, and co-ordinate dates.

KC

12. Other events: Celebration of Goldsmith’s Row half million trips
Organise our contribution to the cycle counter celebration.
BP, BC, RLu
13. Any other business: Building site next to the Wenlock Arms
Contact the housing association and potentially the ward councillors on behalf of the group.

BC

1. Minutes and matters arising

January meeting date: TP suggested moving the January meeting to January the 8th, 2014, as the first Wednesday of 2014 falls on New Year’s Day. All agreed.

Workshop: CW was appointed the workshop rep on the committee.

Correction: BC clarified that the route he had meant at the last meeting had been the route from Hackney to St Giles, not from Hackney to Shoreditch. OS said he’d correct this in the November minutes. Action: OS.

2. Election manifesto

RLu flagged up that he was a candidate standing for the council and asked when manifesto input for political parties would be ready. TP replied that we were finalising the manifesto at this meeting and that we would then send it to political parties.

OS had prepared slips of paper for the proposals we came up with last time and members arranged them into the shape we wanted for the manifesto, with the inclusion of some additional items we agreed on at the meeting. We also had slips with the priority locations where we wanted to see change.

The discussion moved towards amalgamating various items into cohesive points and we ended up with a long list of thirteen, of which we wanted to take ten forward into the manifesto. We agreed that we’d aim to refine the names for these themes. KC suggested doing a survey on Survey Monkey for which items to include, but all others were in favour of holding the vote at this meeting. TP pointed out that with open surveys it would not be possible to determine if the participants were LCC members.

This was the long list (not in order of discussion, which was long and complex, but in the order of lettering that we later applied to them for the purpose of voting):

(A) Liveable Town Centres: BC suggested putting our three location priorities of a new Clapton Town Centre (to replace the Lea Bridge roundabout), the Old Street/City Road junction, and a better layout for Stamford Hill Broadway into this item, which aligned neatly with the LCC’s ‘ask’ under the same name. These were locations where more than ‘just’ junction redesign was needed. All agreed. RHV said that grouping stuff would get the message out.

(B) Improving key junctions in Hackney: BC suggested having a manifesto point on big junctions, e.g. a Hackney Junctions Review, putting most of our location-specific priorities into this, namely the Pembury Junction, the A12 Lea Interchange, the Shoreditch Triangle ‘Apex’ junction, Lebon’s Corner (Dalston Lane/Queensbridge Road/Graham Road), and the St Leonard’s junction (Hackney Road/Old Street/Shoreditch High Street/Kingsland Road). All agreed.

(C) Returning one-way gyratories to two-way: TP suggested combining the gyratories that we wanted to see returned to two-way operation into one manifesto item. The main gyratories we target are Stoke Newington, Victoria Park, and East Road/Provost Street/Vestry Street. There are a few other gyratories in Hackney, but some are partial gyratories (Rock Street/St Thomas’s Road/Blackstock Road, partly in Islington, and Seven Sisters Road is two-way), Median Road/Powerscroft Road (Lower Clapton Road is two-way), Vallette Street/Paragon Road (Morning Lane is two-way). Nonetheless, we would like to see these returned fully to two-way. The Lower Clapton one-way ladder, although not a gyratory, is also a prime candidate for improvement owing to the systematic nature of the one-way arrangements there (parallel streets one-way in opposite directions, etc.). TP wondered whether we should embed cycling permeability in this manifesto not as an explicit standalone item, but instead by referring to it all the time. All agreed.

(D) 20mph (completion of the project to make all of Hackney 20mph): OS suggested grouping 20mph, car parking control, and modal filtering, as these were the three most effective policies when carried out together. Most people at the meeting thought that 20mph still deserved a standalone item, as it was important to stress that we wanted all streets in Hackney to be 20mph.

(E) Improve school cycling: We agreed to propose targets for the number of children cycling to school, to make this measurable, recognising that it was unlikely that many primary school children, who in Hackney generally live within walking distance of their school, would cycle on their own. Cycle training for parents would help in converting car-bound school runs into ones in which parents could drop off their children by bike. There was also still a role to play for street improvements next to schools and specific to schools.

(F) No more rat-runs: We discussed the precise name for the urban cells. Many suggestions came up that had been considered by the Policy Forum before it agreed to take the name ‘Quiet Zones’ to the LCC’s AGM, which was then promptly overturned there and replaced by ‘Areas without through motor traffic’. BC thought that quiet zones didn’t sound right, as while he wanted less through motor traffic everywhere, that wouldn’t have to mean that Hackney should be quiet—it should be alive with activity, just not noisy and polluting through traffic. MD suggested having the same signs for such zones as in NL and DK for ‘play streets’. TP outlined the options that had already been considered and added ‘reduce rat-running’ to the mix as a headline for this item. All agreed.

(G) Higher cycling targets: We agreed that we thought Hackney’s existing cycling target was too low, although this was not Hackney’s fault, because TfL had not allowed them to pursue the higher target that they had wanted. A slogan that we had had at the last meeting had been ‘everybody can be a cyclist’. MD said that in Copenhagen, a biannual report on cycling was done, and that data was important to show progress. All agreed that measuring progress was very important. KC flagged up councils’ responsibility for health and the possibility to set targets there.

(H) Cycling economy: We next turned to the cycling economy. OS said that it was very important, but not necessarily a good manifesto item. BC said that to fill it with content we could commit the Council to using more bicycle transport, e.g. as the next stage of movebybike, the council’s active travel programme for its staff? JP said that many contractors do council work and suggested influencing the Council’s procurement policy.

(I) Increase secure residential cycle parking: We considered a few ways of putting this point. It started out from a point made at the last meeting in favour of more on-street bike lockers, but we expanded it to cover all residential cycle parking. We wanted secure bike parking for all homes. Of particular importance was provision for homes which were too small to install internal cycle parking. All agreed that residential cycle parking was really important. TP suggested ‘a secure place for everyone to keep their bikes at home’. We also included our previous item on planning policy in this, as this had been intended to refer specifically to planning policy for residential cycle parking. TP explained that the group had got a requirement for cycle parking provision into Hackney’s old Unitary Development Plan (UDP) in 1995. This had proved more important than expected, as the UDP had remained in force for 15 years. OS said that we were now seeing the long-term consequences of the foresight in installing this requirement.

(J) Better traffic policing/enforcement: We all agreed that this was important. OS said that it would not be so much for the Council to work on as for the police, but that we should try to have a dialogue with both parties.

(K) Better cycle access to the Olympic Velopark: BC stressed the importance of a better access to the Velopark. He said that the kids wouldn’t use bridge H14 but would go straight through the A12 Lea Interchange. This was quite hazardous and he was worried about crashes at this (complex of) junction(s).

(L) Road surfacing: DH said that road surfacing was also important. UT agreed strongly, criticising the ‘appalling’ workmanship that he had seen in recent patch jobs, and that it was a big health and safety issue. BC said we should ask to preserve the surface as much as possible by keeping heavy vehicles off it. OS said work had been done to involve the Health and Safety executive, but he wasn’t sure where this had got to. BC said that the HSE had replied that they’d need ten times the number of staff to do effective work on traffic safety.

(M) Reduction in car parking: This proved to be the most controversial item. JP said that reducing car parking was unachievable and negative. TP said that it equated to an ‘increase in useable space’ on the street. BC said that it’s exactly because it is an unpopular thing that it takes a couple of people to come forward to show that it could be a popular policy (the majority of Hackney residents don’t own a car). He said it was probably the most important policy of them all (according to the Mayor of Copenhagen). OS agreed. JP didn’t disagree but he said that the Mayor of Copenhagen had a popular mandate that the Mayor of Hackney didn’t have. BC said that people in Denmark liked driving just as much as people over here, and that it had taken some political courage to address these issues. OS said that it was important to realise that London had a very limited supply of off-street car parking compared to other European cities and that this was a blessing in disguise, as it was easier to address on-street car parking. He also thought that car parking reduction was better as a policy implicit in others, as in the New York City model. TP suggested to sharpen up the point by linking car parking supply to car ownership, and to set targets accordingly. We thought that it might be possible to broaden the issue by setting targets for freeing up road space.

We voted by everybody writing down their three least favourite long list items and we then eliminated those which had the most negative votes. 10 LCC in Hackney members were present and eligible to vote. This was the outcome:

Item Number of elimination votes
(A) Liveable Town Centres 0
(B) Improving key junctions in Hackney 0
(C) Returning one-way gyratories to two-way 0
(D) 20mph (completion of the project to make all of Hackney 20mph) 0
(E) Improve school cycling 1
(F) No more rat-runs 2
(G) Higher cycling targets 2
(H) Cycling economy 4
(I) Increase secure residential cycle parking 2
(J) Better traffic policing/enforcement 6
(K) Better cycle access to the Olympic Velopark 2
(L) Road surfacing 6
(M) Reduction in car parking 5

The total tally was 30 votes, three for each of the ten members present. We had a clear outcome from the vote and (J), (L), and (M) were voted out.

Actions: OS and BC to compile the manifesto and to circulate the draft to the committee, then to the main mailing list.

3. Report back from Local Groups Forum

KC gave a report from the LCC’s Local Groups Forum, at which the process for the 2014 local elections campaign was discussed. There was going to be an on-line survey organised by the LCC, in which people were going to be able to give their priorities for action in each ward. This was going to be fed back to local groups for them to make a decision about ward-level asks and to finalise a list to use in the local elections campaign. Policy Forum elections were coming up in January, and KC gave details of how to apply.

4. Ward asks

KC suggested holding a separate meeting on these in late January or early February. TP thought that this would involve too many meetings and suggested delegating authority to the committee for most of the day-to-day work and and turn over our regular January meeting to the task of finalising the ward asks. This was agreed. OS suggested starting the meeting earlier to have enough time. We agreed to start the meeting at 7pm and to possibly use the larger room upstairs.

Actions: TP to book the larger meeting room upstairs, if available, for the earlier start time.

5. Mare Street Narroway stall

We were planning to hold a stall in the Narroway in January to coincide with the Council’s potential adoption of the Experimental Traffic Order for two-way cycle traffic in the Narroway and re-routing the buses around the Hackney Triangle. However, there was now a complication with the collapse of number 5 Amhurst Road, one of the old Gibbons terrace. As a result of this, Amhurst Road had been closed to vehicular through traffic for a week and was still closed in the eastbound direction on the evening of our meeting. Buses had again been routed through the Narroway to minimise disruption from the demolition work.

We were unable to set a date for a potential stall. OS said that we should be on standby and be flexible in reacting to what might happen.

Action: JP, BC, DL, RLu, and OS potentially up for a stall and to prepare for it.

6. Report back from Sustainable Hackney meeting

DL was now not only our representative on the Sustainable Hackney Steering Group but also the member covering transport on it. He reported that Sustainable Hackney was willing to adopt LCCiH’s manifesto for cycling and was also very much in favour of our Old Street/City Road proposal. As some Steering Group members had asked what they could do, DL had pointed them towards our web-site. OS asked whether Sustainable Hackney would be interested in supporting the ‘Vision for Hackney’. DH said that they would. They had had their own vision meeting and would in principle be very happy to support what we said. TP reminded the meeting that Sustainable Hackney was a networking organisation and didn’t necessarily have to adopt a manifesto on everything, but could support others’ manifestos. The meeting thanked DL for his work in liaising with Sustainable Hackney.

7. Cycle permeability schemes

We had received drawings for cycle contraflows in Bocking Street, Parkholme Road, and Kingsmead Way. OS proposed that we support these three simple schemes, as they all provided very useful permeability improvements. This was carried nem con.

Action: OS and TP to reply to the Council with approval.

8. Finance update

DH reported on our financial position. The current balance was around £1,500. Were Burns Night to be as successful as last year’s edition, which had made a profit of about £500 (Burns Night would raise significantly more money if we could do food), and we kept a minimum reserve of £500 (as agreed previously), we would have between £500 and £1,000 to spend before the end of the financial year in April 2014. We had also accepted the LCC’s financial grant (about £500) with the proviso that we would return whatever we couldn’t spend.

TP said that we had in the past run a balance of £2,000 to be safe against surprises. DH thought that this was too high and thought that we should use more of it sooner. TP said that we didn’t have an overdraft facility and we wouldn’t be able to run into this if we ran over. DH suggested that in this case we should decide to increase the reserve.

We explored ideas for things we could do. KC suggested spending money on publicity for the Hackney Cycling Showcase and on LCC in Hackney-branded items for events generally. BP now rented a garage and offered to sell us some storage space in them, e.g. £5/week. (We have long looked for accessible storage space like this.) BP also suggested sponsoring another networking event, as the ones last year had been very useful. There was also the outstanding action on the workshop crew to find a new venue and to come back to us with an estimate of what additional financial support the workshop might require.

DH welcomed the suggestions and requested that we appoint project managers attached to these suggestions with budgets.

Action: The committee to discuss expenditure as well as the level of our financial reserve and to come back to the next meeting with more detail.

9. Burns Night

We had not yet managed to find a new venue. However, there were still leads to follow up. TP had a contact at Princess May School. We were also tentatively looking at Stoke Newington School, although for various reasons it was unlikely to be a candidate.

KC asked whether one way out of the venue problem might be to find a larger hall but to hire cooking facilities nearby, e.g. hiring a café’s kitchen. The meeting didn’t think that this idea was likely to work financially and possibly logistically.

TP asked whether we would we be prepared to do a dance-only event again? All agreed that this might be necessary. We contemplated hiring Limehouse Town Hall for this if no other venue was found in time.

Action: BP to contact Limehouse Town Hall and Princess May school.

10. Hackney Cycling Showcase

KC wanted to set a date early to start work on this to be able to contact potential exhibitors early and to assemble a large range of them. She suggested having it in Haggerston Park, for more space and more space for the sound system.

TP asked whether we should do it in Goldsmith’s Row. All agreed. This would enable us to have other things going on in Haggerston Park. OS asked whether, if held in the summer, this would fall around the time when we would have the one millionth cyclist on the Goldsmith’s Row cycle counter. We thought that this might be a possibility.

We did not yet set a date but asked KC to follow up on her suggestion of researching a calendar of festivals in Hackney to avoid a clash like the one we had had in 2013 (with the Finsbury Park tri-borough Festival of Cycling).

Actions: KC to contact council, compile a calendar of festivals, and to co-ordinate dates.

11. Rides

Siobhan Blackshaw, our rides co-ordinator, was unable to attend the meeting, so that we did not have an update from her. CW reported that the last ride (to Lesnes Abbey) had been very good and had even included a unicyclist.

12. Other events

Celebration of Goldsmith’s Row half million trips: TP said that the council was running a competition to guess the date on which the 500,000th cycle trip was going to be counted on the cycle counter. This was expected sometime in January and could be a nice little event. BP suggested that we give something to the cyclist making the 500,000th trip, e.g. a bottle of champagne. We decided to have a selection of things to give away, e.g. magazines. Action: BP, BC, and RLu to organise our contribution to the cycle counter celebration.

13. Any other business

Building site next to the Wenlock Arms: BC reported that this site was problematic, with lorries spreading mud in the carriageway and many instances of bad driving, e.g. speeding along Eagle Wharf Road. TP suggested the approach of contacting the housing association whose development it was. If this did not lead to success, we should contact the ward councillors. Action: BC to contact the housing association and potentially the ward councillors on behalf of the group.

Cycling on the canal path: RHV asked if this had been discussed before. He said that he lived on the canal and was a member of the Friends of Regent’s Canal. Various people replied that it had been discussed many times owing to the large amount of attention it received. TP mentioned the workshops we had done with the Canal & River Trust on developing better cycling conditions in the canal corridors, which might encourage people to use the canals less, and OA reported on a similar workshop which C&RT had done with Tower Hamlets Wheelers. TP also said that we supported the ‘share the space, drop the pace’ initiative by the C&RT. OS said that we’d be very happy to go to a Friends of Regent’s Canal meeting and discuss the issues.

The meeting closed at 10:08pm.

Date of next meeting: Wednesday, January 8th, 2014, 7pm. Note the earlier-than-usual start time.

   Minutes of Hackney LCC monthly meeting 4th December 2013 in PDF