An aide memoire of items I’ve noted from the boroughs where I work, rest and play, in case its of use to others. With London council elections in May 2018, and the purdah period kicking in for April, this month will probably be the last useful one for council business for a couple of months.
(Similar pickings of councils’ papers from January and February here).
City of London
- Public consultation/ survey on its proposed traffic and transport strategy closes on 3 April.
- Looking forward to Planning & Transport Ctte on 9 April, it has the latest reports on the Bank Junction changes, including results of the recent consultation (agenda item 13). There is majority support for the changes – including the 150 member City Property Association – with only opposition from taxi drivers and one property group. However, there are several months to go before a final decision, so positive reinforcement continues to be necessary.
- On 10 April, the Streets Sub-Ctte has further papers on Bank Junction (item 5) with detailed appendices with data on casualties (down), air quality (improved), bus journey times (faster), compliance with road signs (improving) and taxi journeys (mixed, study ongoing).
- Cycle forum on 20 March: no papers attached to agenda, which includes an update from Met Police on its close passing initiative.
- Streets Scrutiny Ctte on 20 March: has the response from Croydon Cabinet regarding the recommendations at the previous meeting – September 2017 – when TfL’s plans for the Fiveways Junction were scrutinised and, well, slaughtered. The Council wrote to TfL on 6 October listing issues and proposed revisions, and a full consultation report is expected in June 2018. (See TfL below which published an interim consultation in early March).
- Full council on 26 March. Cllr King’s paper reports that Croydon has completed rollout of the 20mph zones.
Kensington & Chelsea
- Public Realm Ctte on 15 March:
- Highways programme paper report that 869 adults and 1083 children have received cycle training in 2017/18 (this is fully funded by TfL);
- Appendix lists several areas where pedestrian and cycle related works are ongoing and proposed. For 2018/19, the council is proposing further extensions to the central London cycling grid, 20mph zones on selected roads, a possible dockless bike scheme, and 21 junctions to receive ASL boxes. Nothing radical.
- These papers include the claim that RBKC has more miles of cycling quietways than any other London borough. This is using RBKC’s own definition of quietways which includes Central London Grid – the latter is a completely separately TfL programme. RBKC’s mix of the terms is causing a lot of confusion and, due to the poor quality of RBKC’s routes, further devaluing the already weak quietway brand.
- Cabinet members report summarises impact of TfL’s squeeze on LIP funding, although the highways appendix above suggests smaller budgets for active travel have been maintained.
- Paper on criteria for selecting streets for 20mph zones, which seems overly complicated when neighbouring boroughs are rolling them to most residential streets.
- 2016 road casualty data (it takes a while for STATS19 etc to be verified and reported). Collisions rose by 10% and casualties by 9% from a statistically low number in 2015. Cyclist casualties were 166, an increase of 13 over the 153 in 2015, with no fatalities. Pedestrian casualties were 179, an increase of 34 over the 145 in 2015, with 2 fatalities. Report compare with neighbouring boroughs. Lots of sober analysis of junctions where people walking and cycling are being injured.
- Announced it is replacing the bridge over the gyratory on 14&15 April to provide a wider ped & cycle bridge as part of the GoCycle scheme.
- Growth Ctte on 27 March: has new planning guidelines for the Tolworth area. The planning documents are ridiculously big (two PDFs, 49mb and 71mb), but do set new cycle and walking routes to better link each side of the A3 bypass (Annex 1, page 36).
- Transport Ctte on 1 March, has the transcript of the 1st February panel on cycling infrastructure attended by Will Norman and other luminaries from London government.
- Oversight Ctte on 1 March invites Boris Johnson to discuss the Garden Bridge procurement process.
- Budget & Performance Ctte on 6 March unsurprisingly has lots of budget papers, including:
- Paper trying to reconcile Healthy Streets to TfL’s Street Division capital budget through to 2023;
- Exchange of letters from Assembly to Treasury, and Treasury to the Assembly, regarding Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) allocation to London for roads investment. Basically, the Treasury response is “get stuffed”;
- Plenary meeting on 8 March focussed on the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy (more below).
- Mayor’s question time on 22 March. Several Q’s from assembly members about active travel, most will get written answers.
- On 23 March, Assembly’s Transport Committee published its report on London’s cycling infrastructure. There’s three documents: the main report with recommendations, a large PDF with submissions from organisations (mainly active travel advocates, plus truck, bus and taxi operators), and submissions from individuals (dominated by Chiswick’s anti CS9 campaign). Lots of sensible recommendations, including that London’s cycling design standards should become a requirements rather than guidance. The only committee member not supporting the recommendations was UKIP’s David Kurten, who argued that cycle highways are only used in rush hours, so the programme should be stopped.
Mayor of London
- 28 February, published The Mayor’s Transport Strategy, which updates the draft following consultation last autumn. All the papers are in the London Assembly agenda for its 8 March meeting, along with the process for its approval. There’s a big emphasis on public transport, active travel, healthy streets and the need for modal shift from private transport and low-utilisation freight.
Mayor’s Question Time, February 2018
- A few answers from February:
- Caroline Pidgeon asked about improved cycling infrastructure on the A4 (presumably, to placate Chiswick LibDems upset about about CS9). Answer: TfL is at early stage of planning improvements between Syon Lane and Boston Manor.
- Florence Eshalomi asks when there will be a better cycle route along the A23 between Streatham and the Oval. Answer: TfL and Lambeth Council are scratching their heads.
- Caroline Russell asked how the many will keep promise to triple the extent of segregated cycle lanes by 2020. Answer: by adding up all the little bits from eg mini-hollands. A related question about how many km have been built in this Mayoralty has not been answered.
- Two questions from Fiona Twycross about theft of bicycles. Answers: up to local authorities to build secure parking, and cycle theft is not a priority for the Met Police given bigger policing issues.
- Interesting question from Caroline Russell re tension when making changes to London’s roads between bus journey times and the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. Answer, including the dreaded word “balance”, does say that Vision Zero will inform the answer.
- Caroline Russell asked several questions, most unanswered, about the Camberwell Green junction. Anecdotally, the proposals got a lot of negative feedback but no consultation report has been published. Southwark Council will start work on its bit this spring, and TfL start work in 2019.
- Scrutiny Ctte on 20 March: in the discussion on ANPR cameras, the minutes note the council is considering using cameras to enforce parking rules outside schools. (I’m sure I’ve read somewhere there’s debate about whether councils can/ should do this, and I’m also sure that RBKC is considering this too in the papers above … )
Mitcham Common Conservators
- Quarterly meeting on 14 March: reports that drivers visiting the Ravensbury Arms pub on Mitcham Common are regularly parking on the shared-use pedestrian and cycle path on Croydon Road, blocking it to VRUs. Seeking action from Merton Council’s parking staff.
- Cancelled the Cycling Forum on 20 March, so the local crew can’t ask why Richmond is the only council in London charging its residents for cycle training (which is fully funded by TfL).
- In early March, Sutton Council installed a K-frame barrier on the Wandle Trail, the route of National Cycle Route NCN20. The council consulted no stakeholders (except the police) beforehand. In this blog post, I argue that the barrier discriminates against people who use non-standard bicycles. This story has been picked up by the local freesheet newspaper with comments from Alex Ingram for Wheels for Wellbeing and Charles Martin for the Sutton branch of London Cycling Campaign.
Transport for London – Board papers
- TfL Board on 20 March:
- Commissioner’s report has updates on CS3 (N/S CSH) construction at Farringdon, and other work-in-progress updates. Santander hire bikes have been extended into Brixton, and January’s 646k hires was the month’s record for the scheme.
- TfL’s proposed scorecard for 2018/19 has new measures & targets for active travel, mode share etc, all based on the mayor’s proposed transport strategy.
Transport for London – Consultations
- On 27 February, TfL published the headline results for the Cycle Superhighway CS9 consultation in west London.
- Overall, 59% support the plans, 38% against
- The consultation report summarises comments from a number of organisations. The stand out classic was Turnham Green’s (Hounslow) Conservative Councillors who claimed that building CS9 will “increase local crime (cycles used for snatch thefts and planned heists from high value retailers such as jewellers)”. Cue lots of comments about Oceans 11-speed, Reservoir Cogs and Grand Theft Velo.
- I may have had too much fun highlighting the best of the NIMBY nonsense in a Twitter thread.
- On 19 March, results of the Nine Elms consultation. The proposals got flamed for sub-standard cycling infrastructure, especially for the western section between the Power Station and Queenstown Road (joining to cycle highway CS8) – this section will be redesigned.
- On 19 March, results of the consultation into the Mayor’s draft transport strategy. Looks like it will go ahead with minor tweaks – there will be a heavy emphasis on public transport and active travel.
- On 22 March, results of the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf crossing consultation. Headline is that 93% are in favour of a new crossing.
- On 23 March, results of the CS4 consultation, a cycle highway from Tower Bridge towards Greenwich (but stopping short …). Again, heavy results in favour but lots of feedback on design details.
Transport for London – Freedom of Information requests
- FOI published 22 February 2018 regarding CS9 correspondence with Kensington & Chelsea Council, although the attached files include a selection of public notices about last autumn’s public consultation. Of particular interest to meeting nerds are the minutes of a CS9 Design Review Board from June 2017 that walks through the CS9 routes raising issues.
- FOI published 16 February 2018 with the minutes of TfL’s Healthy Streets Board meetings. Worth a perusal with a big mug of coffee.
- FOI published 2 March 2018 regarding enforcement of mandatory cycle lanes in London. Embedded in a long FOI string is an exchange of emails between Will Norman (TfL) and Jessie Norman (DfT Minister),. No conclusions on changing enforcement powers. The exchange also includes a bit about involving David Evennett (Government Whip and MP for Bexleyheath) in the Regents Park gate closure to effect CS11. He is one of the commissioners of the Crown Estate Paving Commission who have a role in managing the gates.
- FOI requested 5 March 2018 regarding gritting of cycle highways by TFL, or clearance of leaves. This follows the heavy snow at the end of February/ start of March when the CSHs were left untreated. Answer due by early April.
- FOI published 12 March 2018 asking for Cycling Level of Service (CLoS) assessments for most of the quietway routes. Answer: “TfL no longer uses the CloS assessment tool within the Quietway Programme.” (Tweet)
- FOI published 21 March regarding ‘contract’ between TfL and Wandsworth Council for the design of Quietway 4 – no such contract exists. (I’m *not* the requestor!)
- FOI published 22 March asking about the Westminster Bridge Road ex-roundabout design because they don’t like the cycle lanes.
- FOI published 22 March regarding studies informing the design of the Oxford Street pedestrianisation scheme.
- Full council on 7 March: Cabinet lead for Community Services, Cllr Jon Cook, explains in Q42 how its dockless bicycle pilot will be run. There will be a limited number of bicycles, in limited locations, which if not used but seen to cause obstruction will be removed. So, the pilot is set up to fail. (The transport team is shared with Richmond Council, which is also considering a dockless bike pilot, so one might assume the approaches will be similar …)
- On 29 March, finally issued an experimental traffic order to trial contraflow cycling in five one-way streets. The order takes effect on 6 April. This comes four years (!) after the trial was approved by the Communities Scrutiny Committee. Further info in this blog post.
Westminster City Council
- Environment, Children & Leisure Ctte 19 March: cabinet member’s report discusses air quality work around schools in the borough (including timed road closures around a primary school near Edgware Station), and action on engine idling.
- Community Infrastructure Levy Ctte on 26 March: considering allocating CIL funds to lots of projects, including design work to remove the Aldwych gyratory (and pedestrianizing the area outside Somerset House), and installing a promised Santander hire bike station Maida Vale.