Report on Connect2 steering group meeting on Wed 23rd Feb

Connect2 steering group meeting on Wed 23rd Feb
Present: Alison Dines & John Ackers( ICAG);  Councillors John Gilbert (Lib Dem, Highbury East), Phil Kelly (Lab, Finsbury Park) & Richard Greening (Lab, Highbury West); Caroline Russell of Living Streets, Michelle Quin Sustrans rep, a TfL rep, Paul Taylor, Will Umney & Martijns Cooljmans (all LBI transport officers)
In summary:-

Station Place:

Nothing more can be done to the cycle lane through Station Place as TfL buses won’t relinquish any space; they need it for operational reasons.  The 2-way cycle lane is (just) over the minimum width. John queried whether it was appropriate use of a long length of shared space. But the view was that there weren’t many pedestrians and therefore there should be little conflict. They also want to keep the guard rail by the side of the cycle lane to prevent buses hitting pedestrians and cyclists. Caroline Russell asked why pedestrian and cycle groups weren’t involved in the discussions with TfL buses and Islington officers said it was their responsibility to represent cyclists and pedestrians.

John suggested applying political pressure & Richard Greening seemed to agree, if an alternative solution could be proposed.  The main concern was the length of time this would take so the majority view was to proceed with the proposed scheme (& possibly pursue the political action route thought a few).

Rock Street:

Of the 3 plans on Rock Street it was agreed that 2 lanes of motor traffic with shared use footway was the preferred option. John suggested keeping the northbound cycle lane so cyclists confident of being on the carriageway could use it & it was agreed that would be put into the scheme.

The consultation will show the 3 plans but recommend this option with the explanation. LBI will consult locally in March, including having a stand there & send feedback to TfL.  TfL have to put in a request for alterations locally (i.e. changing light phasing, there won’t be much engineering work) to their forward planning group & it might take 10 months to get considered.  However there seems to be no work being done in the run up to the Olympics (can’t remember the exact time periods) & the Connect2 project has to be completed by March 2013 so if they’re not careful they might run out of time! Phil Kelly was very disappointed there was no connection from this area up into Gillespie Park.

Drayton Park:

The officers had compiled a short list of work that would be undertaken but realised they had not forwarded it to anyone so they will do that.  Only minimal local consultation will be needed & they envisage the schemes going ahead without problems.

Overall:

Martijns Cooljmans said he appreciated ICAG were not happy with the scheme but had no suggestions as to what else should be done. The councillors generally acknowledged that the scheme was poor but they felt that it was an improvement.  John asked how it was an improvement and the councillors said that there would now be a southbound route. Phil Kelly said that we should make these changes and wait until more cyclists use the route which will then make it possible to make further changes. John said the Sustrans vision was to make the transformation in one step. Michelle Quinn restated that the connection into Finsbury Park was the key part of the project but did not express any objections to these latest proposals.

This whole project has been poorly managed and lacked any desire to do something really ambitious (but perhaps you can’t at Station Place with the money on offer).