What will they do for cycling?
Hackney has led the resurgence of cycling in London for more than a decade. Many factors have contributed to this, especially influential among which have been the policies and decisions of Hackney’s elected mayor and councillors.
But the job is far from finished. Yes, one in five journeys to work are by bike in some wards. But for other segments of our population cycling is still something that other people do. We want all of our borough’s residents to have the chance to enjoy the benefits of cycling.
On Thursday 22nd May, all councillor seats and the post of directly elected mayor are up for grabs. We sent our ten-point manifesto, drawn up by LCC members at meetings earlier this year, to the five mayoral candidates, inviting them to provide written comments.
Invitations were also extended to all five candidates to attend our May meeting to give their views on our ten-point manifesto.
Responses from candidates
The following four candidates attended: Mischa Borris (Green Party), Simon de Deney (Liberal Democrats), Mustafa Korel (Hackney First), and Jules Pipe (Labour Party). Their views on our manifesto are summarised in this special extract from our minutes of the meeting.
Linda Kelly (Conservative Party) was unable to attend due to a previous commitment, but provided a written statement giving her views on our manifesto.
Following the meeting, Simon de Deney supplied a written statement of Hackney Liberal Democrats policy on cycling which addresses a number of our manifesto points.
We called on mayoral candidates standing in the 2014 local elections to commit themselves, if elected, to:
Create liveable town centres
Draw up plans to re-establish liveable town centres at Clapton and Old Street / City Road by replacing the huge roundabouts there with human-scale development based on crossroads; and similarly to improve the town centre at Stamford Hill Broadway.
The traditional centres at Clapton and Old Street were sacrificed in the 1960s to make way for grotesquely over-proportioned road junctions. Stamford Hill Broadway is likewise over-dominated by motor traffic. With Hackney’s population growing, and car ownership decreasing, we need to make better use of space in our town centres, making them places to go to, not just pass through.
Return one-way systems to two-way
Prioritise removal of the borough’s remaining large one-way systems – Stoke Newington, Victoria Park, and East Road – as part of a programme of returning all streets to two-way working, at least for cycle traffic.
One-way systems are a relic of an outdated transport planning philosophy which valued private motor traffic more highly than making streets pleasant and convenient for walking and cycling. Returning the main streets of Shoreditch to two-way has accelerated regeneration and boosted walking, cycling and public transport use. The other areas blighted by big one-way systems need to follow suit.
Improve key junctions
Make Hackney’s other key problematic junctions safer and more pleasant for walking and cycling, notably:
- The Pembury Junction
- The A12 Lea Interchange
- The Shoreditch Triangle ‘Apex’ junction (Old St/Great Eastern St/Pitfield St)
- Lebon’s Corner (Dalston Lane/Queensbridge Rd/Graham Rd)
- The St Leonard’s junction (Hackney Rd/Old St/Shoreditch High St/Kingsland Rd).
Make Hackney a genuinely 20mph borough
Complete the rollout of a 20mph speed limit on all borough-controlled streets, and ensure that there is effective enforcement of this limit.
The council has made walking and cycling safer and more pleasant by introducing lower speed limits on most of our streets. Now it needs to finish the job by extending the 20mph limit to our main streets, and making sure that it is observed.
Increase youth participation in cycling
Boost the uptake of cycling by young people, especially at school, by reducing road danger and making suitable facilities and training available to all.
Particular emphasis should be placed on reducing the drop-off from cycling in teenage years. Cycling is a key life skill and essential for better health later in life, and the council should work together with schools and the new Health and Well-being Board to ensure sufficient funding to meet this goal.
Eliminate the rat-runs
Establish a systematic programme to restrict through private motor traffic to main streets, while retaining access by motor for residents and services to all addresses.
Hackney already has a number of ‘filtered’ streets and areas – such as De Beauvoir and Brownswood – in which access by private motor traffic is on a ‘same way out’ basis. The result is a hugely enhanced environment in which to live and play, and through which to walk and cycle. We would like to see this approach extended borough-wide, in order to reduce the impact of motor traffic on local streets and increase the competitiveness of walking and cycling for shorter journeys.
Aim higher: 20% cycling by 2030
Set higher targets for cycling, including an overall modal share of 20% by 2030.
Hackney Council has tried to set very ambitious targets for increasing the modal share of cycling, but was instructed by Transport for London to reduce these. The Council should resume efforts to persuade TfL to permit a higher target for Hackney. We envision at least 20% by 2030.
Extend secure residential cycle parking to all
Increase secure residential cycle parking, and devise a strategy to make it possible for everyone to store a bicycle securely at home.
The council has been working with housing providers and developers to increase the amount of secure cycle parking at people’s homes, but for many people it’s still difficult to keep a bike, safely and conveniently, where they live – especially in flats.
Improve access to the Olympic Park
Improve access by bike from Hackney to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Access to the new park is limited, and in places is downright dangerous. The council should work with TfL to solve the problem of the notorious A12 Lea Interchange and its approaches, and should also work to provide safe 24-hour access from the west to the new Wallis Road foot and cycle bridge, which should also be equipped with a ramp at its western end.
Promote the cycling economy
Encourage the expansion of cycling-related businesses (e.g., bike shops, framebuilders, and other cycling-related companies) and encourage the uptake of human-powered vehicles in delivery of goods and services.
This could be achieved by:
- increasing cycle use within the council, e.g. among Parks and Hackney Homes staff;
- using procurement policy to increase the use of cycling by contractors;
- ensuring that all commercial and retail premises have sufficient bicycle parking for customers and staff; and
- establishing a ‘cycling hub’ as a regeneration project, on a similar model as the ‘fashion hub’, in which start-ups could be attracted to work alongside the growing cycling businesses such as frame-builders which have already chosen to base themselves in Hackney.