Space For Cycling – Hammersmith and Fulham’s parties responses

With only two days to the election, we’ve been looking at the support we’ve gained on for the asks we set out for each ward. Now, the current situation is something of a surprise, as what was set out to be a local ward-by-ward campaign has seemingly split very decisively on party lines.

Overall 64% of candidates support us, but that’s because:

0% of Conservative Party candidates support Space For Cycling
100% of Green Party candidates support Space For Cycling throughout London.
100% of Labour Party candidates support Space For Cycling throughout Hammersmith and Fulham (and some other boroughs)
100% of Liberal Democrats candidates support Space For Cycling throughout Hammersmith and Fulham (and some other boroughs)
100% of Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates support Space For Cycling throughout Hammersmith and Fulham (and the rest of London)
0% of UKIP candidates support Space For Cycling

We cannot tell you how to vote, but here’s what we’ve had from the parties:

Statements from the Parties

The Conservatives locally say:

(this space left intentionally blank by hfcyclists, no formal response provided and informally they say they are busy with the election)

Local Transport Spokesperson for the Green Party Caroline Russell has said: (link)

“Any elected Greens will work with local residents and London Cycling Campaign Groups to help make our streets more people-friendly, less vehicle-dominated, and great places to walk and cycle.”

Stephen Cowan, leader of Labour locally wrote to the Chief Executive of London Cycle Campaign, Ashok Sinha stating:

“I am writing to let you know that all of Labour’s candidates in the local elections in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham will be running for office on a manifesto that supports Space for Cycling’s proposals. On a personal note, the first thing I achieved after first getting elected in 1998 was to turn the whole of my original ward (Grove ward) into a 20mph Home Zone in 1999. It was the largest metropolitan 20mph zone in the UK at the time and I’d be very keen to see that idea extended along the lines of one of your suggestions.”

Paul Kennedy, Chair of H&F Lib Dems has said: (link)

“As a cyclist myself, I am delighted we are supporting the Space For Cycling Campaign. Hammersmith & Fulham has some of the worst traffic and air pollution in the country, and there is no excuse for the current low level of cycling compared with similar cities such as Amsterdam. The Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for action to tackle the problems with traffic on our streets and the proposals will make our streets safer for responsible cyclists and other road users. The Liberal Democrats are also supporting a default 20mph speed limit in residential roads and decisive action to tackle rat runs.”

We simply do not have a response from the Conservative party at a borough level (but as you can see there is a blank space for one) and none of their candidates have even supported a single one of the wards they stand in. This has not been for the want of trying. We explained our case further to make it clearer, but despite compliments on our web design and tone, no substantive reply has been given to us. We would welcome Conservative support whenever it may come, even though they’ve dismissed some of our requests on the grounds that we didn’t submit them to consultations we weren’t invited to respond to(!)

Throughout the campaign, Conservatives have repeatedly tried to deflect the issues in Space For Cycling claiming that tax rates, tube strikes, the Flyunder proposal or balancing the needs of other residents trump them. We would rather they responded to the issues we’ve laid out. Should they be elected they can naturally contact us after the election, but we would expect a response sooner rather than later.

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We believe that the Conservatives may at best support only small parts of Space For Cycling, and even then they are not being forthcoming in saying what those might be. It’s not really possible to deliver these ideas in piecemeal fashion, but it’s better by far for us to know what is being disagreed with. In statements they’ve given to date we’d believe they may support a Superhighway, as long as other boroughs do (and we know Kensington and Chelsea likely does not and hence Superhighway 9 rests in the balance), they might support more two-way cycling on one-way streets and they may well support even more hire bikes. This is pretty weak, and we’re having to work second hand. We hope that these candidates and their party become more responsive should they be elected.

We had hoped that Richard Tracey’s statement (as a Conservative Assembly Member) at the rally on Saturday might give us something to balance this page more, but he just spoke about part-time travelcards. We consider it fairest not to quote that as their statement on cycling.

Looking into the next four years

Meanwhile, the speech from Andrew Gilligan also at the rally, made specific commitments to change junctions in North, East, South and Central London, but gave nothing for the West, and nothing for Hammersmith and Fulham. In four years time all we may have from the cycle vision could be a reworked Hammersmith Broadway, a Superhighway running along the A40 and Westway, and perhaps a Quietway, which might link them going north-south and upgrade an existing route. It may well be that the higher quality pieces from the vision aren’t even delivered as part of a coherent network. Councils have a huge part to play in correcting this, especially in our borough where the primary East-West routes are well segregated from and paralleled by other routes that can be used to provide Space For Cycling.

Mayor's Cycle Vision - Hammersmith and Fulham (guess)
Mayor’s Cycle Vision – Hammersmith and Fulham (guess), cycle crossrail in blue, quietway in green, hammersmith broadway in red.
For contrast, our attempt at guessing what a more complete network for the next few years might look like

It will be the job of the next council to see how they can improve that, much of which may involve lobbying and discussing issues with our neighbours (both in administration and as actual residents and businesses) in Kensington and Chelsea who appear to be blocking Superhighways and Quietways reaching the borough. However, we cannot necessarily rely on support from any party, even if they have signed up. The most important thing for all politicians is that they read our candidate briefing, and think about how they will respond to the issues within it. It will be interesting to see how the updated statistics on collisions and traffic to be released over the summer update the trends we have identified – a rising proportion of cycle and pedestrian collisions in the borough, and a falling proportion of journeys made by car. There is surely not only Space For Cycling in Hammersmith and Fulham to be won, but also a need for it to address the issues we are concerned about. Until any party can say that they feel they have a plan that will enable cycling to be a genuine choice for ages 8-80, of any confidence and of any background there is still work to do.

LBHF 3 Year Rolling 2007 2012 Line Percentage

If you’ve not got in touch with your candidates, it’s never too late to remind them of what they’ve signed up to, or to remind them of what we’re seeking to achieve.

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