Category Archives: Campaigns

There’s always plenty of new schemes to keep us busy. Often we need to respond to proposals for Islington Council or TfL, but there are also issues which we want to bring to either authority.

Have a read to find out more, and if you’re interested, get in touch; any help you can offer will make a huge difference and it sure is rewarding to see progress happen in front of your eyes.

ICAG rejects Islington’s Quietway 10 feasibility study

Dear Councillor Webbe,

Thank you for the feasibility study for Quietway 10 which you provided to ICAG in March. We look forward to receiving the companion report which analyses our proposal in full. The study’s proposed options and the Council’s plans for the route are extremely disappointing. The Council has a unique opportunity to use £800k of TfL money to reduce motor traffic, pollution and car-dependency in Islington by removing through motor traffic from a few streets. Instead, the Council intends to ignore the root problem: there is too much motor traffic on this route for it to be considered a Quietway. Because of this, we cannot support the current plans.

In the recently-published Human Streets review of the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling, the Greater London Authority states:

Quietways are supposed to be direct routes running on low-traffic back streets. They are meant to include filtering (bollards or other blockages) to reduce motor vehicle rat-running where necessary; full segregation wherever a route has to use a busy main road; and safe, direct crossings where the route has to cross a busy junction, road or gyratory.

This gets to the heart of the matter. This route needs traffic filters and junction segregation, or it will not be a Quietway.

TfL’s Cycle Level of Service (CLoS) assessment measures the quality of cycling provision on roads, either current or proposed. One requirement imposed by this tool is that roads and junctions where bicycles are unseparated must see no more than 1000 PCU (Passenger Car Units) per hour at the peak, (figure 2.3 of London Cycling Design Standards). Any more, and the street or junction fails the test. A cycle scheme which fails the CLoS assessment cannot receive TfL Quietway funding.*

At least three unprotected junctions on the Quietway 10 route see more than 1000 PCU per hour at the peak today. At these junctions, the report proposes neither traffic reduction nor cycle segregation**.

  • Penton Street and Donegal Street
  • Penton Street and Tolpuddle Street
  • Drayton Park and Martineau Road

These three critical CLoS failures must be addressed before the project can progress.

When the Council proposed Quietway 2 with no filtering, ICAG objected in private to both officers and councillors. We pointed out a few problems with the route publicly, but stopped short of rejecting the route outright. Instead, we made it clear at liaison meetings that to receive our support, future Quietways must actually be made “quiet”. The data collected show that the Quietway 10 route is not quiet today. The feasibility report specifically recommends reducing traffic by installing at least one traffic filter, at the dangerous junction of Gillespie Road and Drayton Park. And yet the Council is still refusing to consider any traffic filters at all on the whole 3.5-mile route.

Determining if a section of road is “quiet” is straightforward. CLoS rates a route “good” if it has fewer than 500 PCU at peak hours where people cycling are mixing with motor traffic. The junction of Thornhill Road and Bewdley Street sees over 600 PCU in the peak. Another useful metric is London Cycling Campaign policy, based on international best practice, which requires no more than 2,000 vehicles per day on streets without segregated cycle infrastructure. The report identifies 3,300 vehicles passing through the top end of Thornhill Road in just 12 hours of the day. This far exceeds the LCC maximum. Volumes are even higher on Gillespie Road, at around 5,000 vehicles per day.

The traffic data used to reject the (poorly-placed) filters on Drayton Park and Offord Road in the study comprise only motor vehicle counts. This does not take account of where the vehicles have come from, and thus it can’t distinguish between rat-running motor traffic (which will likely end up on parallel routes, either nearby or many miles away) and local motor traffic (which will partially evaporate as habits change). In fact, the report assumes no traffic evaporation at all. But motor traffic does evaporate, as has been proven by studies for TfL (Cairns et al) and the European Commission, among others.*** This means the estimated motor traffic displacement is far greater than it will be in reality. Not accounting for motor traffic evaporation through mode and time shifting is widely recognised to be the main failing of traffic models, and it’s why we have suggested installing automatic traffic counters, adding temporary area-wide filters, and creating a report after a six-month trial to see how traffic has actually adapted. This approach is cheaper and more reliable than traffic models, and it’s the approach currently being used in locations across London including neighbouring Harringay (Wightman Road).

The report asserts that 1.5m cycle tracks are an adequate option on stretches of Penton Street and Drayton Park. There are far too many people using these streets on bicycles today for this to be sufficient. (Over 800 per hour on Penton Street at the peak.) Tracks of only 1.5m do not provide enough space for cyclists to pass one another. This is why the recommended width of cycle lanes in the UK is 2m.**** Consequently, they also provide only half as much capacity as tracks which are just 50cm wider. We can’t support infrastructure which is inadequate for today’s needs, much less tomorrow’s.

Because Islington Council implemented very unambitious plans for Quietway 2, we created the Liveable Islington campaign with Living Streets and Better Archway Forum to promote the “human streets” which the Quietway programme envisions. The campaign has emphasised the benefits that reducing through traffic will bring to neighbourhoods, in addition to enabling all-ages cycling. We know that there is strong support for our proposal because we have so far collected 2,400 signatures in favour of a six-month trial of our area-wide filtering scheme.

In your email of March 8th, you say ‘the Council has received letters from residents’ associations and individuals along the route expressing their concerns about the possibility of road closures in their area’. First of all, we are proposing traffic filters, not road closures. Cars and delivery vans will still be able to access every residence and motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians will be able to use the roads exactly as before. No road will be “closed”. On the letters you have received, we urge you to assess the legitimacy of the concerns and to seek the best evidence available, not to compromise the scheme completely in its initial design. There are many people who are disadvantaged by current traffic patterns—we heard from them in the course of gathering signatures for the petition. Residents of Gillespie Road, for example, have taken video of opposing columns of car traffic at a standstill and unable to make their way through the one-lane street. By maintaining the status quo, you guarantee that those being harmed by rat-running traffic today will continue to suffer. Traffic will be dispersed to a number of other roads if Quietway 10 is done right. But by pushing ahead with a scheme which displaces no motor traffic at all, you would condemn residents who live on the route to air which breaches EU pollution limits and motor traffic levels which harm the quality of life. You would ensure that Islington will not benefit from motor traffic evaporation. You would also guarantee that the conversation about how to deal with excessive motor traffic, and about who benefits and who suffers from traffic patterns, would not be had in public.

We look forward to working with your officers and TfL to deliver a Quietway 10 which passes CLoS with a high score, reduces pollution in Islington, and creates streets which enable people of all ages and abilities to cycle in comfort and safety.

Sincerely,

Nick Kocharhook
for Islington Cyclists

CC John Futcher, Senior Strategy and Planning Manager – Cycling, TfL
CC Toby Jones, Project Assistant, Sustrans

[*] London Cycle Design Guide section 1.1.2: “The requirements for cycling infrastructure proposals delivered through the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling, are that they should:
2b. Meet the minimum standard expressed in the Cycling Level of Service (CLoS) assessment, and any further programme- or project-specific requirements”

London Cycle Design Guide Section 2.2.3: “Certain factors also have ‘critical’ scores, which describe circumstances that should be a cause for particular concern. Clients and designers must address these as a priority, even if only to ‘lift’ them to a zero score as an interim measure – a scheme that registers as ‘critical’ on any one indicator has not met the required standard.”

[**] Item 2.15.8 on the southern feasibility study says: “Reduce the carriageway width to provide a minimum 4m segregated footway / cycleway with cyclists adjacent to the kerb line to keep frontage free between Tolpuddle Street and Donegal Street on both sides of the street. Provide Copenhagen style crossings at all junctions.” What this means is very unclear, but it sounds like it’s proposing to put cycle tracks of an unspecified width at pavement level for these two blocks. Given that the cycle volume here (800+/hour) requires 2.4m tracks, this would leave only 1.6m for pedestrians. This seems likely to create conflict between people on bikes and pedestrians, and we would want to hear a compelling case for why this was the best option available.

A “Copenhagen crossing” is also called a “continuous pavement,” but we don’t believe the report is actually suggesting continuous pavements across all arms of all 3 junctions. Instead, we believe it is proposing Danish-style junctions, where turning motor traffic first merges into the cycle track. Regardless, neither treatment is segregated, and so they don’t meet CLoS requirements for high-traffic junctions. It’s a particularly poor idea at Tolpuddle Street, where many buses turn across the main cycle flow every hour.

The junction of Penton Street and Pentonville Road also exceeds the 1000 PCU requirement, and by much more than the other three. The report doesn’t provide options for this junction, so we cannot evaluate them. However, we point out that our preferred option (as communicated to Paul Taylor in November) is to reduce the Penton Street carriageway to a single lane of northbound traffic, leaving room for parking and adequate, unobstructed cycle tracks. This would also remove the left hook southbound.

[***] See Wikipedia for a good overview of the research showing that motor traffic evaporation occurs when road capacity is reduced. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearing_traffic>

[****] https://www.camcycle.org.uk/resources/cyclelanewidths/

Air Pollution Map

As London experiences another bout of High Air Pollution, it is worth pointing out that Particulate Matter and NO2 pollution varies greatly depending on traffic volumes.

In November 2014, ICAG partnered with Healthy Air, an initiative by Client Earth, the organisation who has won a ruling at the European Court against the British Government for failing to implement policies to lower illegal levels of air pollution.

Our goal was to measure NO2 pollution in South Islington.

Here are the results and our Executive Summary:

ICAG - Air Pollution results table
ICAG - Air Pollution results map

Executive summary

  • The Islington Cyclists Action Group and Healthy Air have partnered in an initiative to measure air quality in South Islington.
  • The area chosen has been earmarked by the Council to improve conditions for people who wish to travel by bicycle.
  • The Council has received £2,000,000 from Transport for London to provide safe cycling infrastructure on three important routes in the area:
    • An East-West route from Mount Pleasant to De Beauvoir Town, named Quietway 38
    • An East-West route along Old Street and Clerkenwell Road, which represents the busiest cycling route in the Central London Cycling Grid
    • A short North-South stretch, which requires amelioration of a crossing of the arterial City Road
  • The Council aims to spend the money installing safe infrastructure without any alterations to motor traffic flows
  • ICAG maintains that filtering motoring traffic at key places is a very inexpensive way to reach two important goals:
    • Increase the level of actual and perceived safety of cycling
    • Improve air quality to the benefit of all users of the relevant roads: people on foot, on bikes, on buses and people working in shops and offices facing these roads
  • Islington Council has published its Air Quality Strategy 2014-17  which shows (page 20) that
    • Old Street breaches safe levels of NO2 by 70%
    • There has been no improvement in the past three years
  • Islington Council has a duty to implement measures as soon as possible, to bring air quality to safe levels.
  • ICAG’s opinion is that some of the best cycling routes (determined by desire lines) are marred by rat running by motor traffic. This has detrimental effects not just on the safety of people on bikes but especially on the health and safety of everyone who lives or walks on these streets.
  • ICAG has therefore taken samples on a number of roads, to contrast the air quality on rat runs  with truly calm residential streets. The results have confirmed ICAG’s concerns: namely:
    • Clerkenwell Road and Old Street, the main East West corridor, used by thousands of daily commuters on bike registers pollution levels which are 50% higher than the EU safe levels (40ug/m3 of nitrogen dioxide). The European Court of Justice has ruled in November 2014, that the UK Government has to take measure as soon as possible to bring air pollution below the annual limit
    • The residential rat-runs, some of which have been designated as Cycling Quietways, also experience pollution above the legal limits
    • Only areas which have been filtered to prevent through traffic have safe air quality
  • In other words, in April 2013, the Mayor has presented a Cycling Vision, with the admirable aim of making cycling appealing to all Londoners. However, many of the routes chosen (following established desire lines) for the Central London Cycling Grid experience unhealthy levels of air pollution.
  • It is therefore critical, morally unavoidable and mandated by law that Transport for London and Islington Council take appropriate motor traffic reduction measures to ensure that Londoners can engage in active travel without impairment to their health.

Take action: Please tell TFL to maximise measures in Mildmay

KHWG Village
Coming soon to Mildmay? With your help King Henry’s Walk really could be like this. A big thanks to Vinita Dhume from Levitt Bernstein for providing this image.

The issue:

Transport for London latest “Cycle Superhighway” is planned to run along quiet back streets in parallel to the west of Kingsland High St between the City and Tottenham.

The proposals touch the edge of Islington, crossing Balls Pond Rd, up Kingsbury Rd, along St. Jude St and up Boleyn Rd before turning into Wordsworth Rd.

cs1-section-10-kingsbury-road-wordsworth-road

The small problem is, they are not quiet enough: Boleyn Rd and Crossway (becoming King Henry’s Walk) carry huge numbers of cars and lorries making them very unpleasant to cycle on.  And to be fair to Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan,  he recognizes there is scope to improve this stretch.

So what’s the solution?

To get space for cycling, we need to separate people on bikes from through motor traffic. We need to filter the busy streets to get the rat running vehicles away from residential streets and onto main roads, such as Balls Pond Rd and the A10.

ACTION:

Please write to consultations@tfl.gov.uk  and tell them that their plans aren’t nearly safe enough. They need to reduce rat running on Boleyn Road, Mildmay Road, St Jude St, and King Henry’s Walk by installing trees or bollards. They also need to create a fully pedestrianised plaza on King Henry’s Walk. We would also really encourage TfL to enhance the public realm with more bike parking, seating, and urban greening to maximise the benefits of this cycling scheme for all Mildmay residents, not just long distance commuters.

(see featured picture by local design firm Levitt Bernstein of what it could look like).

If you would like to respond to the full consultation, please click here.

Filter map.Milldmay
4 bollards or trees planted in the road at the green stars is all it takes. There would need to be some flexibility to ensure buses can easily get through Boleyn Rd, and local buses elsewhere. Local traffic could access every building, but not drive through.

These 4 simple things will make Mildmay a calm, safe haven for walking and cycling.

Purple: Through traffic Blue: Bus route Green: Safe routes for walking and cycling
Purple: Through traffic
Blue: Bus route
Green: Safe routes for walking and cycling

What is more, at a stroke, Islington Council and TfL could dramatically reduce pollution in this area and bring it down to safe levels.

Mildmay Pollution
A current map of pollution. The excessive rat running along Crossway and King Henry’s Walk creates an obvious red/yellow diagonal line. Green is “legal”. Where it is yellow or red, Islington council have a legal obligation to take action..

The scheme was presented to the local community at a Mildmay Ward Partnership meeting last week. The overwhelming view of the room was incredibly positive. The only comments were that there needed to be even more seating all around Mildmay and how important secure bike parking is. We totally agree!

A slightly more detailed presentation can be viewed here.

We would love to hear your thoughts, either to address concerns or get ideas for further improvements we should be asking for in Islington. Please email tom(at)icag.org.uk.

 

KHW1

 

Before and after. Which would you prefer?

KHWG Village

 

 

 

 

 

Archway plans are not safe enough for #space4cycling

Our suggestions (PC users, click to obtain a bigger image. Touch screen users, tap for a bigger image)

Update 11 Feb 2015

We met TfL on Friday 6 February and they showed us revised plans which take our suggestions into account.  We are waiting to hear for more information from them.   We feel the drawings we made [see above and below] were good solutions to our requests. [Also below]  We look forward to further dialogue with TfL. We are, of course, pleased with the overall concept of ridding Archway of its gyratory. (Also present at the meeting were members of Better Archway Forum and Jeremey Corbyn M.P.  A representative from Living Streets was unable to attend.)

This is from our post of 5 December 2014…

TfL's proposals for Archway (click drawing for larger image)
TfL’s proposals for Archway (click drawing for larger image) View as PDF

Islington Cyclists Action Group Response to Transport for London’s Proposals for Archway

We are pleased that TfL recognise Archway needs to be improved for pedestrians and people who want to cycle. While there are some good aspects to this proposal, especially segregated tracks and floating bus stops, we have serious misgivings around some aspects of the design which we are very keen to see revised.

  1. Various cycle movements are dangerous, and could be made safe with proper segregated tracks throughout and protected “T” junctions.
    1. Coming from Highgate Hill crossing Archway Rd to Archway Park: It would not be clear that you should go around the bus and not inside it on the cycle track, which would be more logical. It also requires you to turn right across left turning traffic. This is being removed at Oval because it is unsafe. It has no place in modern cycling designs. 
      1. Cyclists could have their own crossing linking the cycle track by Clerkenwell Building to the one on Archway Rd in one go.

        Comparing current dangerous proposals to what we could have there. Which would you prefer?
        Comparing current dangerous proposals to what we could have there. Which would you prefer?
    2. Coming from St Johns Way to Junction Road or into the new plaza: requires you to turn right across left turning traffic.
      1. A cycle track could fork from the Holloway Rd track and go straight in Junction Rd or join up with bike track going north from Holloway Rd.
    3. Coming from Junction Rd to St Johns Way there is another left hook risk: requires you to turn right across left turning traffic.
      1. A cycle track along the central Archway island along with a cycle crossing on Archway Rd would ensure these cyclists are safe.
      2. If a bus stop is placed here, the cycle track should go on the southern side of the road, forming a bidirectional with cycles coming west from St Johns Way.

        Space for cycling and accomodating more suitable bus stop by providing bidirectional on southern arm
        Space for cycling and accommodating a more suitable bus stop location by providing bidirectional on southern arm
    1. Coming from Archway Station up Highgate Hill: requires you to mix with traffic before joining the bike track again
      1. The bike track could easily join up by removing central island
    2. Coming down Highgate Hill: requires you to mix with buses and traffic at Bus Stop C
      1. Could be a floating bus stop and create a cycle track all the way to the new one opposite Archway Tavern.
  2. Various cycle movements are impossible / overly complicated despite being very obvious desire lines
    1. Not clear how to get from Archway station into Holloway Rd
      1. need a segregated track, clearly distinguishing bikes and pedestrians that links to the southbound Holloway Rd track.
    2. Make Mcdonald Rd and Vorley Rd two way for cycling
    3. Impossible to cross Archway Rd north of Toll House Way
      1. Need a link from Archway Rd (northbound) to Archway Rd/Harberton Rd, especially at  Despard Road and Waterlow Rd
    4. From St Johns Way, there should be a cycle track north up Archway Rd on the east side of the central island.
  3. As well as motor traffic / cyclists conflict, there is a worrying amount of built in pedestrian / cyclists conflict too
    1. The cycle track through the plaza should be clearly marked; eg with planters, boulders, or benches facing away from the tracks
    2. Where possible, bus stop bypasses should be larger to provide more space for bus passengers waiting and alighting
    3. Pedestrian provision could be improved by building out the corner of St Johns Way/Holloway Rd and Archway/Tollhouse Way. This could substantially simplify crossings by enabling one stage crossings and has the potential for creating a greater sense of place. We are aware this would involve some restructuring of the greenery, but this would be outweighed by the ability to interact with it and enjoy it more.

      Wider pavements Less conflict between people on bikes and on foot.  More accessible public space.  Wider floating bus stop
      Wider pavements
      Less conflict between people on bikes and on foot.
      More accessible public space.
      Wider floating bus stop
  4. Cycle parking
    1. None has been marked. We very much hope there is ample throughout the area.
    2. Ideally this should be safer than “Sheffield stands”. Even with CCTV, hundred of bikes have been stolen in Islington in recent years, with stations as particular crime hot spots.
  5. Continuation
    1. TfL should explore continuing the bike tracks down Holloway Rd and West through the  Girdlestone Estate
  6. Bus users
    1. It is frustrating for there to be 2 bus stops for buses going in the same direction – people just want the first one. Therefore bus stops V and D should be united on St Johns Way.
      1. If this was done, there would be a danger to cyclists, so a bidirectional track would be needed (as explained above)
      2. The removal of bus stops V and D would reduce any potential conflict between bus users and cyclists.
      3. Space by bus stop V could be used for substantial secure cycle parking.

This clip of video shows cyclists going through the Gyratory at present (09.12.14)

We did this clip of video for the Space for Cycling campaign; this was the ‘ask’ for the Hillrise Ward.  A couple of cyclists negotiating the Gyratory Southbound. Don’t forget to sign the petition in the latest part of the campaign!

New census data argues for more active street designs.

Our roads are designed for driving, but we walk and cycle far more.

Last week, new census data was released highlighting where people work and how they get there. Then the wonderful people at CASA.UCL made a map for us simpletons to easily see what is happening.

The data is quite extraordinary. Having crunched the numbers, its clear that the overwhelming majority of Clerkenwell and Bunhill residents walk and cycle than get the bus or drive.

  • 6483:   Walk or Cycle
  • 3335:   Bus
  • 234:      Car or Taxi

Of course, this isn’t a completely full travel picture: we all vary our travel routines, and it’s just working age adults commuting, but it is undoubtedly indicative of general trends.

There are two lessons from this fascinating data set:

1. Many journeys by bus and car could easily be walked or cycled (proven by our neighbours making the same journeys).

2. There is now an overwhelming argument to use TfL’s £2m to make cycling and walking the most convenient, obvious modes of travel in the area. Islington Council pioneered 20mph zones, and now they have a strong mandate to develop the most liveable streets in London.

With careful planning and a few planters or “modal filters”, we could cheaply and easily re-focus our streets to reflect the growing demand for active travel. Our planned layout can be seen here:

Please get in touch to add your voice of support for our plans, or to hear more about our work, please do get in touch through

https://www.facebook.com/IslingtonCyclistsActionGroup or

@IslingtonCycle

 

 

 

 

A constructive solution for Beech St

Beech St. Cyclists Dismount

Dear Messrs Simmons and Presland,

I am writing to you regarding the current changes to the street layout at the Beech St/Silk St junction. The aim seems to be to widen the pavement and simplify the pedestrian crossings outside the new Barbican cinema, according to your website; https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/transport-and-streets/traffic-management/Pages/silk-street-enhancement-works.aspx

As a member of the Barbican, I welcome these changes to what has been a very unsatisfactory street layout. It is quite a positive step in creating a more attractive place.

However, I can’t help but notice that the worst bits of Beech St will remain: the ear splitting noise reverberating around the tunnel, air pollution that drips from the ceiling, and pavements so narrow that I am frequently forced onto the road at busy times when walking between the station and gallery. So a while small fragment of the street-scape may become more attractive,  it really seems a missed opportunity for creating a pleasant, healthy, or “liveable” environment

More dispiriting and perplexing though is that the pavement changes come at such a high cost to cycling along Beech St.  Whereas a month ago, people could cycle in their own, dedicated cycle lane all the way to the Whitecross St junction (going east), they will now be dangerously squeezed into the motor traffic as we can see in the picture below.

Beech St Cycle Lane End

So my 60 year old dad will probably no longer be willing to cycle along Beech St – which up to now has been one of only a handful of routes he is happy to use, precisely because he isn’t required to share the road. Having finally persuaded him to get back onto his bike after 30 years of driving, this is a blow to my skills of persuasion and to his health.

This damaging impact on the cycle lane is important. Beech St provides the only east-west cycle route through the city. The Central London Cycling Grid,  London’s vision for a network of quiet, welcoming cycle network really does rely on this route as seen in TfL’s map of the grid.

Grid with Beech St

More bizarre still, is that Beech St cycle lane has been so successful. As Mr Gilligan wrote in 2007, the City won an award for the lane from TfL. And the scheme was improved further in 2012 to much acclaim as seen in this blog and this video .

Indeed, this bike lane has helped Beech St see cyclists make up 20% of traffic and 30% in peak hours (almost certainly understimated), and these numbers would probably be higher if Chiswell St (immediately to the east of Beech st) had any provision for cyclists.

You may have seen that others have criticised your scheme here and here.

Without wanting to add to their flames too much, I urge you to consider a constructive solution. There is a way for the City of London to go beyond these aesthetic changes and create a more environmentally pleasant environment that is genuinely conducive to walking and cycling.

My solution? Keep doing what you are doing right now: keep the road closed.

During the building work, we have all seen how little traffic there is on Beech St and the other roads that spoke out from the junction. Indeed, it was bliss to walk through the tunnel, for the first time being able to hear my friend speaking about the gallery as we walked to the station. Cycling along Chiswell St felt safe and civilised, such was the transformation.

I hope you agree that the benefits of closing the road to through traffic permanently are extensive. Only a bus bollard is needed to let the 153 through, to filter other motor traffic out. The traffic could use London Wall instead, which according to DFT traffic counts, has seen a reduction of c.30% traffic since 2004.

Although this would only be a small change, I appreciate there may be concerns about the impact of traffic displacement from such a modal filtering scheme, but I hope you agree that with the road closed now, we have the perfect opportunity to do a trial and gather empirical evidence for what the effects would be.  My own hypothesis, would be that it would greatly improve traffic flows around Moorgate, Smithfield, and north into Islington which all suffer from too much traffic and high pollution.

I look forward to discussing my constructive proposal to this scheme and other quietways at the City Cycling Forum, 31st July.

Yours faithfully,

 

Tom Harrison, Committee Member for Islington Cyclists

Personal letters asking Islington Labour to improve their cycling record.

Inspired by our #space4cycling campaign, several residents have written to Islington Labour to urge them to support measures in their wards. We share a few below.

 

lslington residents want Space for Cycling
lslington residents want Space for Cycling

 

Dear Islington Labour Party,

As a former Labour party member, and as a present ditherer between Labour and Lib Dem, I am disappointed by this response.

The “Go Dutch” principles are clear, and may be found at http://s3.amazonaws.com/lcc_production_bucket/files/4097/original.pdf?1319469423.  The Labour Party Mayoral candidate signed up to the Go Dutch principles.  Accordingly, I thought that we had won this particular debate in the Labour party.  However, you have not clearly signed up to “Space for Cycling” principles.

I am not at all sure that the Labour Council’s history is particularly impressive:

·        Virtually none of the “improvements” to which you refer in your letter have been carried out to “Go Dutch” principles.

·        The 20mph zone is widely flouted, and rarely (if ever?) enforced.

·        Provision of cycling facilities seems pretty low down the list of funding priorities.  Cycle improvements seem to be entirely dependent on TfL funding.

More importantly, so far as I can tell, none of your responses to LCC’s suggestions contains firm commitments to prompt, well designed provision of cycle paths.

I was particularly unimpressed by the following paragraph.

“If funding is forthcoming, we will develop designs to create high quality routes. These could [not will] 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.”

That sounds to me suspiciously like code for “business as usual” – i.e. give motorists the right of veto, and let cyclists fend for themselves.

Yours sincerely,

James


Andy Hull, Labour candidate for Highbury West and Current Executive Member for Finance and Transport thinks there is no problem for cycling on Drayton Park. What do you think?
Andy Hull, Labour candidate for Highbury West and Current Executive Member for Finance and Transport thinks there is no problem with cycling on Drayton Park. What do you think?

Dear Andy and Richard,

Thank you for sending me this detailed answer.

You say that there is not much of a cycling issue with Drayton Park. I must challenge you on that! Even if casualty rates were close to the average, this is perceived safety that is most important to your residents. At present, actual safety in Islington isn’t ideal yet the risk of collision is so small that it is far outweigh by the fitness benefits. Hence my emphasis on perceived safety. Perceived safety is currently so poor that most residents consider it inconceivable to cycle here. Can you please tell me what is the proportion of children cycling to school in the ward? And the proportion of children being driven to school?
I notice that Labour is committed on several campaigns on the cost of living. Cycling is the cheapest and quickest mean of transport in Islington. It allows people to make the most of their income and spend their free time with the loved ones. Whilst at a national level the party is focussed on giving people cheaper fuel, I have been pleased to see the Labour Council deliver safer streets in Islington. I’m only worried that so much remains to be done, with the benefits of cycling often reserved to the young white men!
Now, talking about the work which is ahead of us. I think it’ll be hard to get ‘Quietway’ funding for a street which sees 25,000 motor vehicles a day. TfL considers that a street is quiet if there are less than 3,000. LCC sets the threshold at 2,000. However, it’s not mission impossible and I’m happy to assist you in putting a successful bid to TfL.
Regardless of TfL’s generosity, Islington cyclists (ICAG) have some design ideas that would cost peanuts and deliver enormous benefits. You must be worried about acceptability. We have solutions that do NOT necessarily involve filtered permeability and do NOT cause the loss of parking/trees/footway. Parking could become the physical segregation in the wide parts of Drayton Park.
To conclude, I would really encourage you to pledge and deliver on Drayton Park, regardless of funding source, as an acknowledgement of the wider health, social and financial benefits that cycling will bring to the community.
PS: I will be present at the Ward Partnership meeting in September, although I’d rather meet you straight after the election. Why so fast? Did I mention child obesity? One more reason to make strides!
Best regards,
Alex

Valerie Shawcross, Deputy Chair of the Transport Committee for the GLA said Labour 100% support #space4cycling. But do Islington Labour?
Valerie Shawcross, Deputy Chair of the Transport Committee for the GLA said Labour 100% support #space4cycling. But do Islington Labour?

Dear Islington Labour,

I do wish that Islington would be a progressive council which challenges the primacy of the motorist. There are progressive individuals in the Labour Party who want to create an environment for cyclists, Valerie Shawcross and Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Transport Spokesperson are determined to encourage cycling and make it safer, Labour Hackney has great achievements, yet Labour Islington, remains stuck in the past. Why? Let’s make Islington the Amsterdam of London.
Yours sincerely,
David