Party responses to space4cycling

Use your vote!
Use your vote!

Thank you for taking part in the space4cycling campaign.  Here are the responses from the local political parties.  If you haven’t taken part yet or want to know more about this campaign then go to the London Cycling Campaign space4cycling site.

Islington Labour Party

Islington Labour Party has responded centrally to the ward asks.  Some candidates, Paul Convery, Theresa Debono,  have also written to their local voters. 

Monday 28 April 2014

Dear ICAG and LCC members and supporters,

I am writing on behalf of Islington Labour to thank you for the many emails you have sent to our council candidates across Islington (all of whom are listed here) with proposed suggestions for cycling improvements in their respective wards. We welcome the effect your campaign has had in raising awareness of the forthcoming elections among cyclists in the borough.

In reaction, please find in the spreadsheet attached here both your suggestions and Islington Labour’s collective responses in brief. We are responding together, as we agreed with London Cycling Campaign that we would, because we are standing in next month’s elections as Islington Labour – a single party, not just 48 separate individuals.

Islington Labour recognises that cycling is one of the most sustainable modes of transport and that it makes a significant contribution to reducing road traffic congestion and improving health. We support policies and projects that encourage cycling and improve safety for cyclists on all of Islington’s roads.

Over the past year, Islington’s Labour council has taken a number of major steps to improve safety for cyclists and all road users, including becoming the first London Borough (Camden and the City of London have since followed suit) to introduce a 20mph speed limit on all roads that the council controls. We are lobbying Transport for London to do the same on their roads in Islington and we are working with the Metropolitan Police Service to seek closer enforcement of the new limit over time.

In December, at the suggestion of London Cycling Campaign, we announced new measures to boost cycle safety through extra training for Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers working for the council, its contractors and major developers in the borough. According to London Cycling Campaign, no other borough in London has imposed this requirement on developers. This means many regular drivers of Heavy Goods Vehicles in Islington will be required to take the Safe Urban Driving training course.

Islington’s Labour council continues to tackle accident hotspots across the borough, to make local cycle network improvements and to improve conditions for cyclists through road traffic engineering with projects that make physical improvements to our roads. These have recently included enhancements at: Goswell Road / Old Street; Brecknock Road / York Way; Mildmay Park; Caledonian Road (between Roman Way and Camden Road); Hornsey Road / Bavaria Road; Jackson Road / Lowman Road; Monsell Road; Hornsey Road; Archway Close; Caledonian Road / Copenhagen Street; Blackstock Road; Junction Road / Cathcart Hill; Old Street / Mallow Street; Clerkenwell Road / Britton Street; Liverpool Road; Essex Road; Tollington Park and Brewery Road. In the Bunhill area, for example, we have enhanced cycling facilities on Bunhill Row and supported EC1 NDC public space projects in Malta Street, Mitchell Street, Compton Street and Cyrus Street. We and our partners have also increased the number of bike stands and the amount of cycle parking in the borough, for instance on Gillespie Road and at Highbury Corner.

Islington’s Labour council also funds a series of initiatives to provide cycle training and make cyclists aware of road dangers. Every Islington primary school can take up free Bikeability cycle training and we also deliver Bikeability in half the borough’s secondary schools. On the first Sunday of Bike Week – that is 15 June 2014 – we will hold our highly successful Finsbury Park Festival of Cycling, in partnership with Haringey and Hackney councils. The Finsbury Park Festival of Cycling has been shortlisted twice in the National Transport Awards this year in the ‘Achievements in Cycling’ and the ‘Transport Partnership of the Year’ categories.

In January 2014, Transport for London informed the council of their commitment to deliver major improvements at key gyratories in Islington at Archway, Highbury Corner, King’s Cross, the Nag’s Head and Old Street. The council is working with Transport for London to ensure that these projects deliver very significant improvements for all road users, including cyclists, and also transform the environment in these areas for the better. Although these projects may take some time to complete, it is encouraging that this much-needed and long-awaited work is now moving forwards.

The coucil has also been investigating new cycle routes and route improvements across Islington. As you will appreciate, the council is under severe financial pressure, with the Tory-led government cutting our budget by a third over the past four years and with the worst ever cuts to local government still continuing, so available funding is being stretched to meet our existing essential obligations. However, early in 2013, City Hall announced that £913m is to be made available to improve cycling in London. Part of this funding is being offered to councils to fund the delivery of new cycle routes, so Islington Council has submitted a bid to Transport for London for an ambitious programme of new routes, as part of the development of a Cycling Grid for central London, a Cycle-to-School pilot project for Tufnell Park and the Quietways programme to provide better cycling links across Islington. We continue to lobby Transport for London and the Mayor of London to provide the funding to help us deliver these improvements, and we expect an announcement from Transport for London in May 2014 informing us which routes are being funded (with an announcement of the Cycle-to-School pilot project expected later now, in July). Any support you can express for the council’s proposals to the Mayor of London or Transport for London directly would help support our bid.

If funding is forthcoming, we will develop designs to create high quality routes. These could include segregation and other safety features. However, careful consideration will need to be given to any significant traffic displacement onto nearby residential roads. It is therefore crucial that all schemes that propose improvements are subject to extensive public consultation to allow local residents the opportunity to influence the types of improvements that are delivered, and to build support for any changes to local roads that impact on the local community.

Islington Labour will take onboard the suggestions you have made and we will look to act on them where we can. We would appreciate it if you could update the LCC website accordingly to reflect our support for cycling in the borough.

Islington Labour councillors, including myself, speak and meet regularly with John Ackers and other members of Islington Cyclists Action Group and with Tom Bogdanowicz and others from the London Cycling Campaign. We want to continue to work closely with you as we work together to make Islington as safe and welcoming for cyclists and pedestrians as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Andy Hull on behalf of Islington Labour’s council candidates 2014

Labour’s responses to each ward ask, updated on 6th May 2014 (google spreadsheet)

Labour’s responses to each ward ask with 2017 status updates added in an additional column

Councillor Paul Convery marks himself as “non-compliant” on the Caledonian Ward ask

The candidates for in Islington Liberal Democrat ward are responding to individual voters. 

Islington Liberal Democrats

LibDem John Gilbert writes to Alison Dines: 

Thank you for your recent email about the ‘Safe Space for Cycling’ campaign.

As a long-standing member of the London Cycling Campaign and a regular cyclist myself, I am writing on behalf of all three Liberal Democrat candidates in Highbury East ward – Terry Stacy, Julie Horten and myself, John Gilbert – to confirm our support for London Cycling Campaign’s proposal to provide protected cycling space at Highbury roundabout.  We have also let the London Cycling Campaign know that we back their proposals.

We know from personal experience that the current dangerous situation for cyclists at the roundabout needs to end.  Liberal Democrats in Highbury have been calling for improvements here for some time now.  When we ran the Council until 2010, we specifically set aside £1million to help remove the gyratory system at Highbury Corner and improve public access to Highbury & Islington station.  This included a new public square in front of the station, access to the green area at the centre of the roundabout, as well as cycle lanes separate from the rest of the traffic.  It is good news that the Mayor of London has finally agreed to progress this scheme in conjunction with works for the new Cycle Super Highway along Holloway Road.

We have also been involved in other campaigns to make cycling easier and safer in Highbury, such as:

  • new, secure bike parking facilities at Highbury Corner, Taverner and Peckett Squares
  • safer cycle paths in Drayton Park
  • improvements to the dangerous junction for cyclists and pedestrians at Holloway Road/Fieldway Crescent/Madras Place, on which we worked with community groups.
  • calling on the Council and Police to enforce the borough-wide 20mph speed limit
  • making the Council fill in potholes throughout the area, including our recent successes on Sotheby Road, Highbury Grange and Highbury New Park

While there has been a welcome rise in the number of cyclists in Islington and London generally, there is so much more that the Council could do though to make cycling more attractive and safer for Highbury residents.

In our manifesto for the elections on May 22nd, one of Islington Liberal Democrats’ key commitments is to extend the London Cycle Hire scheme across Islington.  This would encourage more residents to start cycling, improve health and fitness and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

We are also calling for the Council to use more of the money it makes from traffic fines and parking tickets on safer cycle facilities around the borough, such as improved junctions and segregated cycle paths.  There is, of course, a need to work closely with Transport for London on the roads they manage, but the Council could also be doing much more itself.  It was wrong of Labour councillors to axe the funding to make key junctions safer in their first budget after they took control in Islington in 2010.

I hope this answer is helpful.  Please let me know if you would like any further information.

With all best wishes

John Gilbert

Islington Green Party

Islington Green Party is responding centrally to individual voters. 

21 Apr 2014

Thank you for contacting us about the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) for Space for Cycling.

As you will have seen from the LCC map, Islington Green Party is already supporting all 16 ward asks for Islington. Candidates standing for Islington Greens have a consistent track record on active cycle campaigning, including improving the Madras Place crossing, the Londoners on Bikes Mayoral Election campaign 2012 and supporting LCC campaign rides and Roadpeace vigils across London.  We care about cycling as much as you do.

The Green Party has a comprehensive range of policies supporting active travel and prioritising the movement of people on bikes and on foot over that of vehicles.  We see safer streets for cycling as part of the solution to reducing road danger, air pollution and carbon emissions and making our city more liveable.

Just today, Green MEP Jean Lambert has voted to introduce EU measures which will make cyclists more visible to lorry drivers. The Parliament also voted to postpone measures which would give the go-ahead to the cross-border movement of huge mega-trucks. Greens have been fighting hard to ensure that such measures were rejected, which would have put the HGV lobby before the interests of wider road-users.

Over fourteen years on the London Assembly, Jenny Jones AM has championed the cycling cause and demonstrated the commitment of Green politicians to meeting the needs of vulnerable road users.

Islington Green Party Councillor Katie Dawson (Highbury West 2006 – 2010) introduced the 20mph limit on all our residential roads.  Islington Greens campaigned and successfully made the case for 20mph limits on our main roads on the basis that the majority of serious collisions happen on main roads. We are now pressing TfL to bring 20mph limits to the Mayor’s roads.

Highbury East candidate Caroline Russell raised the issue of Lorry danger reduction in the Council chamber and we were very pleased that the Labour-led council took action to ensure all HGV drivers working on contracts in the borough undertake training.

Since the last election,  Labour has introduced over 800 additional parking bays across the borough, despite car ownership levels going down year on year.  The latest census shows only 35% of Islington residents have access to a car or van and the council’s policies should reflect that. Labour just don’t get that encouraging car use is the wrong solution for transport in islington.

Any elected Islington Greens will work with local residents and Islington Cyclists’ Action Group to help make our streets more  people-friendly, less vehicle-dominated, and great places to walk and cycle.

We care about cycling as much as you do. VOTE GREEN in Islington on 22nd May.

Best wishes

The Islington Green Party Team

PS Please check out our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @islingtongreens @greenhighbury and @greenfinsbury, sign up for updates and if you can make a donation please do.  As a small but growing party we are dependent on multiple small donations from people like you.

  • John A

    Andrea has written Labour Party plans to deliver Clerkenwell Boulevard by March 2016: “The Council has received ICAG’s proposals for the Clerkenwell Boulevard and will consider these proposals as part of a full feasibility and design study of the route that is currently being carried out. The Council will develop proposals for public consultation and has requested TfL fund this route for delivery by March 2016. ”

    The wording in Andy Hull’s email is ambiguous. I think we can assume that Labour is committed to doing something by 2016 on Clerkenwell Rd and that it might be influenced by the Clerkenwell
    Boulevard proposal.That’s all at the moment.

    • If Andy Hull is being disingenuous, and I don’t believe he is, than he would correct my statement. Best way to interpret his letter is that the Clerkenwell Boulevard will be in place by March 2016 if TfL provides the money.

  • John A

    Andy Hull has asked LCC to forward the Labour statement to all LCC supporters. As I understand it, LCC aren’t willing to do this. They only want ward candidates to accept the pledge or not. Keith, can we include a link to this page in the next (Islington only) mail out?

  • Tom Harrison

    Andy Hull mentions 18 places where they have paid for “road improvements”. As far as I know none of these have significantly improved conditions for cyclists, and some have made them worse. Andy then says there is no local money for cycling. This suggests an inconsistent approach. The truth is that there is money, but Islington Labour chose to spend it on other things.

    Secondly, why couldn’t Labour say that they will close roads off to through traffic on the proviso of feasibility studies? The evidence from across London, particularly Hackney, shows that filtered permeability is very cheap (under £5k) and the benefits far outweigh any negligible dis-benefits. In sum, the reasons for not committing to make our residential streets cycle-able by all seems to be not due to feasibility but politics.

    Lastly, I should say I am delighted that Islington Labour have committed to implement a number of our asks, particularly providing segregated, protected cycle tracks around Highbury Corner, and Nags Head. I hope they move quickly and will join ICAG in writing to TfL to formally request that this provision for cycling is implemented at these locations.

  • Cyclical

    Not impressed with Labour comments by Andy Hull above. It seems that Tom Harrison below has more of a big-picture view of this and generally I defer to him – in any case, definitely from my perspective Essex Road is awful for cyclists and I’ve seen zero sign of any improvement (under Labour) in safety, pollution, walkability, etc. on it in the last 4-5 years.

    I’m particularly unhappy with Labour’s mealy-mouthed comment about needing to consider displacement of motor traffic onto other streets. It’s very clear from all academic research that reducing motor traffic throughput on major thoroughfares reduces motor traffic overall. All forms of traffic have a magic feature of melting away significantly when routes become slower and/or more dangerous and/or more indirect and/or more constricted. Currently in London that applies to bikes – it’s so unpleasant (and scary) to bike generally in London that people use other forms of transport, as they comment to me all the time (which is a large part of why the roads are clogged with motor traffic about which Labour is agonising over potential displacement). This is back-to-front – people should be saying this about driving, not biking. The way to start getting there is to emulate Hackney’s De Beauvoir area, with filtered permeability – very simple and cheap – install bollards at junctions such that only bikes and walkers can get through. Streets maintain a nice level of liveliness and “natural security” (unlike cul-de-sacs), while losing the air pollution, noise pollution, danger and ugliness of motor vehicles. At the same time, those residents who want to will continue to be able to drive right up to their doors. If there is concern about traffic displacement, far more of the junctions in quieter streets should be bollarded like this – and displacement simply will not happen.

    Labour’s letter looks to me like a long list of excuses why it considers cars are more important than people. This settles my voting plans for the election in 2 days’ time.

  • Arabica

    Hi ICAG – we’re looking for some guidance on how to vote in Islington to maximise the value of our votes for space4cycling. We live in Canonbury ward. Thanks!