The 5 Asks campaign: Join us in making a difference!

The local elections at the beginning of May 2018 are a great opportunity to shift Islington’s transport policy onto a progressive path focusing on walking, cycling and traffic reduction. It’s a once-in-four-years chance and, with the help of everyone, we want to capitalise on it.

Over the past few months, we have been discussing many ideas for inclusion in our campaign and have decided on 5 key Asks which we feel could make a real difference to people walking, cycling and simply living in the borough. The benefits of cleaner air, safer streets and quieter neighbourhoods can be enjoyed by everyone.

At local elections, most people vote for their favourite political party largely ignoring the policies and practices of the local council. But we urge voters to ignore national party policies and consider local policies.  Two adjacent Labour councils like Islington and Hackney can and do have very different transport policies, or at least they have had in the last four years. So, before voting, please consider what each party is saying on air pollution, traffic reduction, walking and cycling.  We will report back, as we did in 2014,  about which political parties will grant our election asks should they be elected.

Our Asks are for:

  1. A high quality Liveable Neighbourhood bid
  2. Protected cycle tracks on main roads
  3. Bikehangars
  4. More ‘Quick Wins’ delivered
  5. A Quietway 10 for the many

What you can do:

  • Online: sharing our Asks on social media, liking our Facebook page, following us on Twitter, commenting on our Asks on Twitter which we will retweet. Commenting on our Asks on our Facebook page is particularly valuable as it spreads the message wider.
  • Offline: going to your local ward meetings* with current councillors and talking to prospective councillors. Candidates are very busy now and will only talk to you if you can convince them that your vote is at risk and winnable.  Also please write to the local press** about our Asks or any other active travel issue and come on our Bike the Borough Bike ride planned for the spring.
  • Download, print off and share our 5Asks flyer https://cycleislington.uk/wp-admin/upload.php?item=6464

It doesn’t matter if you only have an hour a week or an hour a month – get involved and do what you can.  Talk to anyone in Cycle Islington, spread awareness of the 5 Asks and help make things better.  Don’t think that cycling in Islington will improve without a massive effort on all our parts;  recent history tells us that things will just remain the same .  It’s time we all got involved and worked together to make the much needed changes happen.

* more information about Ward meetings here: https://www.islington.gov.uk/about-the-council/have-your-say/ward-partnerships

**local press deadlines:

– Islington Tribune: letters@islingtontribune.com, deadline: Wednesdays @ 12 noon
-Islington Gazette letters: gazette.letters@archant.co.uk: deadline: Tuesdays @ at 12 noon

 

CI wrote to LBI on 25 February 2018  to ask for their support for our 5 Asks and here’s our mail:

Dear Claudia

I am writing on behalf of Cycle Islington to tell you about the five ‘Asks’ we have put together for the local election campaign. I believe these were mentioned at the cycling summit meeting in January but I wanted to give you the final versions with our website links.

We have worked with Islington Living Streets on several of these ‘Asks’ and we hope you will support them.  We also hope you will be able to include these ideas in your manifesto or other publications and would be grateful if this e-mail could be forwarded to your central office so it could be circulated to your candidates.

As you know, cleaner air and safer streets are important factors in making Islington a better place to live, work, study or simply visit and we believe they are achieved by enabling more people to walk and cycle in the borough.  So we have put together these five ‘Asks’ of the candidates in May’s local election as we think they will encourage both walking and cycling:

Ask #1: Make a high quality Liveable Neighbourhood bid to TfL in the next four years for funding for an area with high potential for walking and cycling.

Ask #2: Put more protected cycle tracks on main roads and commit to building a minimum of 5 km in the borough during the next two years.

Ask #3: Install more bikehangars so secure cycle parking is accessible for more people.

Ask #4: Deliver more ‘Quick Wins’ – small changes that improve streets for cyclists.

Ask#5: Make Quietway 10 a route for people of all ages to use.

For more information please see the pages on our website www.cycleislington.uk   and do contact me if you have any queries or comments you would like me to pass on to our members.

With best wishes

Alison Dines

And on 7 March, we received a reply from Claudia Webbe: 

Dear Alison,

Thank you for your email.

As you know, Islington Council, under Islington Labour’s leadership, is fully committed to encouraging more people to cycle and to do so in a safe environment. The benefits of cycling to people’s health and to wider society are clear, and we want to see more people gain from them.

I was pleased to meet with representatives of the London Cycling Campaign, and local representatives of Cycle Islington, alongside Cllr Richard Watts at the Cycling Summit that I organised. We fully believe that regular constructive engagement is the best route to achieving the sustainable transport environment we all want to see in Islington.

Thank you for sharing the finalised ‘asks’ Cycle Islington will be promoting at the local elections this year and we welcome your collaboration with Islington Living Streets to develop some of these. As you say, these were discussed at the Cycling Summit and we are supportive of the constructive way Cycle Islington has approached the elections this year.

Ahead of the local elections, Islington Labour Group is currently drafting its 2018 manifesto in consultation with local Labour Party members. We are considering a range of suggestions from residents and groups, such as Cycle Islington, in that ongoing drafting process. I am sure you will appreciate that we cannot reveal the contents of the manifesto until it has been approved through the local Labour Party’s democratic structures. However, we have received your ‘asks’ and will consider them fully as part of our manifesto commitments that seek to make Islington a safe borough for cycling and that promote sustainable transport.

Thank you once again for contacting us

Yours sincerely

Cllr. Claudia Webbe

And a further mail was received from Claudia Webbe on 26 March 2018:

Islington Labour has published our manifesto for the upcoming local elections, in which we set out a radical vision for how we will continue to make Islington a fairer place for all. You can read a copy of the manifesto here http://www.islington-labour.org.uk/manifesto

Our key commitments include building more new genuinely affordable homes, supporting local people into work, giving young people the best start in life, helping people with the cost of living and protecting vital frontline Council services.

I wanted to share the manifesto with you and Cycle Islington, and to highlight commitments that will be of interest to your members.

As you know, Islington Council, under Islington Labour’s leadership, is fully committed to encouraging more people to cycle and to do so in a safe environment. The benefits of cycling to people’s health and to wider society are clear, and we want to see more people gain from them.

I was pleased to meet with representatives of the London Cycling Campaign, and local representatives of Cycle Islington, alongside Cllr Richard Watts at the Cycling Summit that I organised. We fully believe that regular constructive engagement is the best route to achieving the sustainable transport environment we all want to see in Islington. I want to thank you again for sharing the ‘5 asks’ Cycle Islington have for this year’s elections. I am pleased to say that each of these asks is recognised and adopted in our 2018 manifesto.

In the last four years, we have prioritised the transformation of key transport intersections to make them safer and to support more active and sustainable forms of travel. The removal of the Archway Gyratory has created new public space and new safer pedestrian and cycling routes, demonstrating our determination to secure investment in our transport infrastructure to support our goals of healthier and more accessible streets. We will continue to pursue similar transformational schemes at Highbury Corner, Old Street, Nag’s Head and King’s Cross to make a real difference in supporting people to walk and cycle more, ensuring new schemes are accessible for all.

While we are proud of our record, it is clear that many people choose not to cycle because some streets can feel unwelcoming and are too dominated by motor traffic. This prevents many from taking part in active travel and from enjoying the enormous benefits that come from doing small amounts of exercise every day. We are committed to helping more people to be able to walk and cycle safely, and fully support the Mayor of London’s vision that 80% of all trips are made by foot, cycle or public transport by 2041.

Despite being penalised by funding models imposed by the former Tory Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, we have delivered significant improvements to many roads. We have supported the Quietway programme, and are committed to delivering a successful Quietway network across the borough. But we need to do more. We will work with the Mayor to deliver the new cycle routes from Old Street to Clerkenwell Road, and along the Camden Road and Seven Sisters Road corridor. We will campaign for TfL to support our ambitions for protected cycle routes on the Holloway Road corridor and Upper Street. We see the need to close certain roads to through traffic to prevent rat-running, make neighbourhoods more liveable and improve cycling routes. We will investigate doing this in consultation with local residents and businesses.

Over the next four years, we will deliver ‘quick wins’ and at least one cycling improvement in every ward of the borough. We will install 400 more bike storage facilities on streets, but also on estates where storage space is often limited, building on our work that has seen almost 700 low-cost, secure, covered spaces for residents provided on Council estates. We will also look to create more storage space on estates for prams and wheelchairs as well.

Helping people to cycle safely means we need developers to take their responsibilities seriously around site safety and training for HGV drivers. We will sign up to the CLOCS standard (Construction Logistics and Community Safety) and become a CLOCS Champion. We will also review all streets in line with London Cycle Design Standards. We fully support the Mayor’s ‘Healthy Streets’ agenda, and, subject to external funding, will implement a programme of healthy streets at Clerkenwell Green, Central Street/Golden Lane and at Angel. We will submit a bid to the Mayor’s Liveable Neighbourhood scheme at every opportunity. We will also support more ‘play streets’ to be set up and seek to improve access across the borough for people with disabilities.

We will continue to enforce our 20mph speed limit on Council-controlled roads, and repeat our calls for TfL to implement safer speed limits on the major roads it manages. We will also bring forward a new Transport Strategy in 2019, that supports our ambition of making Islington’s transport environment healthy by promoting active travel and reducing the negative health impacts of motor vehicle travel on Islington residents, in particular the borough’s most deprived communities. We will also call for plans to be developed for all TfL stations in the borough to be made fully accessible through step-free access, and continue to support Dial-a-ride and the Taxi Card.

The manifesto also includes many other important commitments that will help improve air quality in the borough – from bringing forward plans to prevent HGVs from travelling through the borough on residential roads, to closing streets outside schools at certain times. Islington Labour is committed to improving our local environment, and to leading calls for more steps to be taken to improve air quality and to create more safe space for cycling and walking.

I wanted you to be aware of this important document, which sets out both our commitments for the next 4 years and for the long-term future of the borough.

Best wishes

Claudia Webbe

  • Anita Frizzarin

    Islington Labour cllrs are for the few who drive and not the many who don’t. So we’ll have a long wait.