London Cycling Campaign in Hackney

Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, 6th November, 2013

Marcon Court and Aspland Estates Community Hall

Present: Siobhan Blackshaw (rides co-ordinator), Kate Charteris (committee member without portfolio), Bill Chidley, Fenn Clarke, Alex Cooper, Stewart Dring, Marian Farrugia, Carol Gray, Dave Harris (treasurer), Dave Holladay, Jono Kenyon, Richard Lufkin, Dave Lukes, Jon Parker, Trevor Parsons (co-ordinator), Brenda Puech (events co-ordinator), Oliver Schick (secretary, minutes), Aurora Trujillo, Chas Wilshere.

Apologies: Mark Douglas.

Agenda:

1. Minutes and matters arising

2. ‘A Vision for Hackney’: Setting a date for a meeting

3. Manifesto for influencing party political manifestos

4. List of priority junctions to treat

5. Report back from meeting with Hackney officers

6. Report back from deputation to the Council on Old Street/City Road

7. Sustainable Hackney membership

8. Burns Night

9. Rides

10. Other events

11. 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

1. Minutes and matters arising
Co-ordinate trailer usage/ascertain whether we need any new builds.

TP, KC

2. ‘A Vision for Hackney’: Setting a date for a meeting
Organise the meeting. TP to print out maps.

Cttee

3. Manifesto for influencing party political manifestos
Compile the long list and work on it.
Cttee

5. Report back from meeting with Hackney officers

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

5. Report back from meeting with Hackney officers

TP to invite Andrew Gilligan.

TP

7. Sustainable Hackney membership
Liaise over payment.
DH, DL
8. Burns Night
Look for a venue.
BP, SB, MF, OS
10. Other events
Send an e-mail about the Fourth Annual UK Bike Gathering round.

FC

11. Any other business: Hackney Bike Workshop
Workshop to come back with a proposed budget, including potentially higher rent.

MF, SB, KC


 

1. Minutes and matters arising

Morning Lane/Mare Street junction: TP asked for this action to be carried over again, but he was still determined to do it. Action: TP.

Stall in Mare Street Narroway: We had carried over an action to hold a stall in Mare Street Narroway. This action had been indirectly carried out at the Car-free Day event in the Narroway, although OS was still keen to have a stall independently of this sometime. TP suggested using this to support potentially making the Experimental Traffic Order for the Narroway permanent. We envisaged possibly having one on a Saturday in January should our action in support be useful, although it was likely to be cold. We agreed to discuss the issue again at our next meeting (December).

Storage: Between meetings, JP had sent an e-mail to update us on potential storage space in Hackney Central. There were spare garages available in the area which we might be able to rent. This would be £73 a month for a full (i.e., car-sized) garage, but there were also motorbike garages for less.

Trailer: KC asked whether we could ask John Discombe to make a trailer. TP said we already had trailers, but that they could do with more use. Action: TP and KC to co-ordinate trailer usage/whether we need any new builds.

Announcement: TP had been contacted by an organisation called LocalWorks, who try to promote the Sustainable Communities Act. He announced a public meeting as follows:

Sustainable Communities Act East London public meeting

Thursday 21st November 2013, 7pm to 9pm

Hackney CVS, 84 Springfield House, 5 Tyssen Street, London E8 2LY

2. ‘A Vision for Hackney’: Setting a date for a meeting

OS and TP explained the ‘Vision for Hackney’ process. We had originally intended to discuss the emerging Vision at this meeting, and to devote most of our time to it, but the agenda had filled up again and left us with too little time. We therefore decided to hold a separate meeting on Monday the 25th November at 7pm.

TP was going to print out large-scale maps to assist us in looking at areas and considering as many locations as possible. He asked for a budget for the meeting, and £150 was agreed.

BC asked about the role of the Vision vis-à-vis the 2014 campaign. OS explained that we wanted to use it to underpin our work on establishing ‘ward asks’ and our manifesto. Other local groups in London were not so far yet as to have their own Vision, and they would probably use other mechanisms.

Actions: Committee to organise the meeting. TP to print out maps.

3. Manifesto for influencing party political manifestos

TP introduced the item and read out the items from our manifesto for the 2010 elections.

1. Permeability

2. Stoke Newington gyratory

3. Cycle training

4. Lorry danger

5. Cycle parking and cycle theft

6. 20mph

7. Road danger reduction

8. Targets

9. Health

10. Events

TP recapped on the actions that Hackney had taken from this manifesto. There had been continuous work on improving permeability, but the systematic approach we advocated had yet to materialise. Interestingly, he noted, we had not had mention of filtered permeability in the manifesto. On returning the Stoke Newington one-way gyratory to two-way operation, there had been no progress, as TfL were currently unwilling or unable to fund it, and Hackney was still doing an ‘all options’ survey to identify possible schemes. Cycle training had continued, but Hackney were struggling to maintain the budget in the face of funding cuts. There had been a lot of work on lorry danger and certainly progress, but Hackney had not signed the LCC’s Safer Lorries pledge, as in view of contractual difficulties they did not want to commit something that they would not be able to deliver, much as they were already most of the way towards meeting the demands of the pledge. There had been a lot more cycle parking rolled out, including cycle stands in the carriageway, residential bike lockers on estates, and residential on-street cycle parking lockers. The police had established the Cycle Task Force, including its Hackney section, and been active in working against cycle theft, detecting and arresting bike thieves. There had not been as much work on theft prevention. On 20mph, Hackney had continued with their approach to implement 20mph zones in residential streets. This work was now finished, and it was now necessary to extend the approach to main streets. Hackney still did not have a ‘Road Danger Reduction’ department and strategy in name, but they were moving on it. KC went to a meeting on Hackney’s transport strategy where the topic was discussed. On overall cycling targets, Hackney had been more than willing to adopt the 20% modal share target that we had envisaged in the 2010 manifesto, but had not been permitted to by TfL. We were confident that Hackney would achieve a higher target than it had been permitted to have. On health, a large area in which few concrete policy measures had yet taken hold, less had been done, although 18% of Council staff cycled to work. KC said that she had heard of some award for Homerton Hospital. MF said that health was now part of the Council, and this should enable better joined-up working. Finally, on events, there had been many, including car-free days and many other events which we organised jointly with the Council.

TP then opened the floor to input from the meeting about a new manifesto. JP said that he thought some of the old points were non-specific and should be replaced by specific points, e.g., returning the Stoke Newington gyratory would capture people’s imagination. We agreed that this should remain our number one priority. MF said that we should consider planning policy, e.g. on cycle parking in new developments. SD suggested Safe Routes to School, about children, as part of ‘ward asks’, as well as Liveable Town Centres, e.g. Lea Bridge roundabout. JK added that there could be targets for the number of children cycling to school. BC nominated better cycle access to the Olympic Park’s Velopark, which was currently inconvenient with the (worsened by the Olympics) A12 Lea Interchange to cross. He wondered whether a new and better access point could be created. OS stressed the continuing importance of permeability work, including modally-filtered zones to make a coarse-grained network for through motor traffic and a fine-grained network for cycle traffic. DH mentioned secure on-street bike parking, e.g. bike hangars. TP said that some had already been installed. BC said that there should be targets to reduce car parking in the borough, especially on-street car parking. BP suggested influencing the police to ensure better enforcement against bad driving and unlawful car parking. BC said that we should have a second run at the cycling targets. On a specific point, he said that the route from Hackney to St Giles (within Hackney for the purposes of this manifesto) needed re-engineering. BP added mention of the Hackney Road/Shoreditch High Street/Old Street/Kingsland Road junction, which needed change. OS pointed out that we had already included this in our draft Vision for Shoreditch. KC stressed the importance of a cycling economy—people running businesses and creating jobs through cycling. She also suggested the message that ‘everybody can be a cyclist’, and that on 20mph we should push again for more—full coverage of the borough, and enforcement. OS said that we should have car parking control, 20mph, and filtering policies in one, as it was the key combination to improve the urban environment.

BP asked about the ward-level asks. She had just been at a meeting of prospective candidates in her ward (Queensbridge), and there had been a predominant anti-cyclist feeling. Many discussions had centred on the Regent’s Canal and the situation with conflict between walking and cycling there. She suggested that we should organise people to go to ward candidate meetings. All agreed.

We ran out of time to compile this long list into a finished manifesto. Another item for the manifesto was agreed in the next agenda item.

Actions: TP and OS to compile the long list and the committee to work on it.

4. List of priority junctions to treat

At the last meeting, we had thought that we should establish a list of which junctions we considered a priority for improvement. However, TP questioned whether it would be an effective communications strategy to have the Vision, the Manifesto, the list of junctions, and the ward asks—people might get confused. We agreed to ‘fold’ the list of priority junctions into the manifesto to reduce the number of items, so that out of the Vision would come ten things, not necessarily junctions, as priorities.

OS collected mentions of problem junctions throughout the meeting (across different agenda items) as follows. These are not an indication of priority, but cover many of our major concerns.

  • Stoke Newington gyratory
  • Victoria Park gyratory
  • Old Street/City Road
  • Lea Bridge roundabout (Lea Bridge Road/Upper Clapton Road/Lower Clapton Road/Kenninghall Road)
  • Pembury junction (Dalston Lane/Amhurst Road/Pembury Road)
  • Shoreditch Triangle ‘apex’ junction (Old Street/Great Eastern Street/Pitfield Street)
  • Dalston Lane/Graham Road/Queensbridge Road junction
  • Stamford Hill Broadway (Stamford Hill/Clapton Common/Amhurst Park)
  • A12 Lea Interchange (A12/Eastway/Waterden Road/Ruckholt Road/Homerton Road)
  • Hackney Road/Shoreditch High Street/Old Street/Kingsland Road junction

5. Report back from meeting with Hackney officers

OS and TP gave a presentation on the Hackney bid to the Mayor of London’s Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, for the latest round of cycling funding.

  • A decision had been taken by Transport for London not to pursue a Cycle Superhighway project on the A10 but to instead provide funding for an ‘enhanced quietway’ along the alignment of the former London Cycle Network (LCN) and LCN+ Route 10. We were assured that this would be carried out in accordance with Hackney’s streetscape guidance. We were hopeful that it might help address the long-standing problems of the alignment, such as the crossing of Ball’s Pond Road and the Shoreditch Triangle ‘Apex’ junction.
  • There was a small programme of proposed ‘quietways’ with some good and some slightly more strange initial alignment choices. These programmes featured a good number of opportunities to pursue project ideas we had had for some time.
  • The most promising part of the bid was the work on the Zone 1 Bike Grid. We had anticipated this by doing detailed work on the area as part of our response to the Shoreditch Space and Place Shaping Plan and officers had included many of our recommendations for the area.

OS mentioned that there had been interest in inviting Andrew Gilligan to speak to the group (he had already visited other LCC groups). BC said that he had heard Gilligan speak many times now, and that he would be in favour if he came to listen about Hackney rather than giving his standard speech. JP was in favour of a Q&A session with him. TP asked whether it should be a separate meeting. OS wondered whether one of our regular meetings would be a good idea, as the dates were fixed and given Gilligan’s undoubtedly busy diary it would be better if we could offer him a choice of dates.

TP wondered whether we should hold a hustings. BC thought that it should be a separate meeting, but not a hustings. We resolved to invite him to the official launch of our Vision, which we would hopefully be able to hold in February. There could be a Q&A session and a specific focus on the new Hackney bid. BC said that we should avoid party politics. RLu said that Gilligan had come to a Labour party conference fringe meeting and had had a large audience, and that his appearance had certainly been non-party political.

Actions: TP, BP, and AC volunteered to organise a Vision launch meeting. TP to invite Andrew Gilligan. If he was able to attend, we would hold a Q&A session with him.

6. Report back from deputation to the Council on Old Street/City Road

OS gave a report back from the deputation at the meeting. This had been supported by the Islington Cyclists’ Action Group, Hackney Living Streets, the Hackney Society and the Islington Society. We had had a somewhat sympathetic response from Hackney, but they also mainly re-iterated Transport for London’s concerns. These essentially revolved around the scope of the project and project phasing. Interestingly enough, motor traffic capacity was not mentioned as prominently, at least not at the Council meeting, although it is a standing objection that TfL put forward, and especially concerning the operation of the Inner Ring Road, which runs through this junction (between City Road north and Old Street east).

One of the main objections was that TfL did not anticipate finding funding for the upgrade of the train stations under the junction before 2020. As the work underground would have to be carried out before a crossroads traffic scheme on the surface (in particular, the bridge over the station to carry traffic across that our proposal would require), they expected that the junction would not benefit from a traffic scheme until then, unless their preferred option, peninsularisation, was pursued. Our view on this was that planning gain money from associated development on the corners could help with funding, and that a crossroads scheme would have major benefits for station redesign, enhancing the scope and the capacity of the project. This would not be ‘scope creep’ but a larger and more ambitious scheme of quite a different order to TfL’s plans was clearly required to address the many problems the site had.

One objection to such a larger project was that the site would have to remain closed to through motor traffic for ‘years’. We did not consider this objection very strong, as much more major construction projects had been handled in London while through traffic was still managed. While there would undoubtedly be disruption to routine traffic, it would be possible to maintain movements through intelligent deployment of the project. For instance, the busiest movement along the Inner Ring Road across the north-west corner could be maintained while work proceeded on the centre of the junction and other corners.

A slightly more specific objection was that only one possible position was conceivable for the lift shafts (in the centre of the junction) owing to the positioning of the sewers. At the Design Review Group meeting of TfL’s ‘Better Junctions’ process, it had been suggested that this work was currently at ‘feasibility stage’. We had not seen detailed evidence or drawings on this point. As our plan envisaged a reconfiguration of access arrangements to the stations in any case, it was premature to judge the potential project on this kind of technical objection. It most likely only applied within the project parameters as drawn up by TfL, i.e. a much smaller scheme on less funding. It had become clear that TfL’s scheme had not been very far advanced.

CG asked what the best way was for individuals of advocating our Old Street plans. TP said that one approach would be to keep requesting information. CG said that it was important to get local people on board.

MF asked whether LCC Central should support it, too. OS said that the LCC’s Junctions Review Group had supported the crossroads option, and this had been stated by LCC representative Charlie Holland at the Design Review Group meeting.

KC asked for more explanation of the proposal. TP was wary of adding more detail to the drawing, but he thought that we were missing information on what buildings to put on the corners, and what the benefits were of our proposed layout, e.g. making crossings shorter. KC wanted to have more detail on pedestrians, and OS said that this was what we concentrated on, e.g. in showing very wide pedestrian crossings so prominently. He said that the drawing certainly needed some more annotation. TP said that we should write more on it.

As this junction formed one of the centrepieces of our emerging Vision, we were going to pursue action on it through various channels and no specific actions were decided on at the meeting.

7. Sustainable Hackney membership

DL alerted us that the cheque for membership to Sustainable Hackney last year was raised but never cashed. It appeared as if the membership application had not been submitted. It was £40/year and we agreed to ensure that our membership was secured this time.

Action: DH and DL to liaise over payment.

8. Burns Night

BP said that we needed to look for a venue.

We assembled a Working Group for the venue search, consisting of BP, SB, MF, and OS.

Action: BP, SB, MF, and OS to look for a venue.

Post-meeting note: In subsequent e-mail discussion, we noted that Burns Night 2014 fell on a Saturday and that we would therefore aim to hold it on its proper date, the 25th January.

9. Rides

SB was doing a recce for a week-end ride soon to Lesnes Abbey. She was going to put out an announcement to the mailing list.

10. Other events

FC announced the Fourth Annual UK Bike Gathering for community projects and grassroots activists, in Oxford, on the 29th/30th November, 2013.

Action: FC to send an e-mail round for those interested.

11. Any other business

Hackney Bike Workshop: MF announced that the Hackney Bike Workshop was now in Hackney City Farm, with tools in a small container outside the main building. She said that the space they had was significantly smaller than the one at Frampton Park Baptist Church and that the workshop wanted to find another venue. They asked whether they would be able to spend money on a potentially higher rent that another venue might require and whether the meeting could agree a budget for this.

TP reminded the Workshop of a free venue to which we had access just south of City Road. This was admittedly just outside the borough boundary (in Islington), but it was spacious and accessible.

DH said that money was available and was awaiting the right proposal.

Action: Workshop to come back with a proposal.

The meeting closed at 10:05pm.

Date of next meeting: Wednesday, 4th December, 7:30pm.

  Minutes of Hackney LCC meeting 6th November 2013