On Monday evening, 23 June 2014, from 6pm to 7pm, John Griffiths Chair hfcyclists] and Alex Ingram [Co-ordinator and Vice-Chair hfcyclists] met with
- Cllr Wesley Harcourt, Member for Community Safety, Environment and Resident Services,
- Cllr Larry Culhane, Chair of the Policy and Accountability Committee for Community Safety, Environment and Resident Services,
- And Cllr Stephen Cowan, the new Leader of the Council.
The purpose was to discuss how the Council’s manifesto would be delivered for cycling, and how to progress our asks in Space for Cycling. We had sought meetings with the previous Conservative leaders of the council since late last year to no effect, it is pleasing the new administration have met us so swiftly.
First Stephen explained that policy is now going to be formed through the new Policy and Accountability Committees. The public would have access to these, and we are likely to be invited to make a presentation to the relevant one.
We spent a lot of time discussing 20 mph zones and limits. Their manifesto talked of extending home zones to all residential streets, but not to include trunk roads. Technically what used to be called trunk roads in the Borough are only the A4 and A40. However it was clear that their interpretation of a trunk road was to include all the roads of the Borough Strategic Road Network, over which TfL has some control. This is basically all the main roads in the borough.
In their manifesto they want to improve the life of high streets, and one way of accomplishing this would be to make high streets 20mph, to make them more people and cyclist friendly.
Two places John mentioned on the Borough SRN which he would particularly like to see made 20mph were Hammersmith Bridge and Hammersmith Gyratory. He also said that he would like to see the footway area from Hammersmith rd to the entrance of the Piccadilly line stn made shared use. This not as a solution to sorting out the Gyratory, but to avoid cyclists being fined for using this area as a route going west. The Labour manifesto talked of “action to make sure our pavements are safe for pedestrians”.
We did not discuss the asks in detail , but rather as themes. In wards where there are no Labour Councillors there could well be opposition. Stephen said it would help if we had a broad coalition beyond that in our campaign, as seen with hospital and schools campaigns to get things through. Stephen also mentioned the effect the image of problem cyclists would have on getting things done for cyclists.
On rat-runs Stephen said it would be very difficult to get filtered access past local residents. Wesley was questioning the virtue of two–way cycling on one way streets, primarily due to the concern about speed of one-way car traffic.
Money is a big problem. There is some money in the pot from TfL for cycling. Perhaps some money can be found from parking. On section 106 money, this may be less than expected in future if more of a development is given over to affordable housing.
Although the Labour party supports the flyunder, as £60m is being spent by TfL to give the flyover another 60 years of life, on top of £10m spent for emergency repairs in 2012, Stephen does not foresee it happening in the very near future. We discussed the envisioned future road layout, and whether things could be changed sooner before the flyunder might be constructed. TfL is looking at Hammersmith Gyratory as one of 33 junctions it wants to redevelop to make it safer for cyclists, but there is currently no expected timetable for this to happen.
In the meeting Stephen was enthusiastic for promoting walking and cycling, and would like to see less traffic. Stephen was concerned that more traffic is to be expected from the expected population growth in London . Alex mentioned the recent trends in reduced motor traffic and car ownership in the borough despite population growth. Stephen was keen that we make sure we come up with as evidence based a policy as we can, especially in handling such issues.
Wesley is a very experienced Councillor and spoke wisely and knowledgeably about transport matters. Wesley was particularly keen to see some measures taken to make existing infrastructure safe rather than focussing on new infrastructure. Alex cited the Cycling Level Of Service audit in the draft London Cycle Design Standards as a possible solution to grading the borough network and identifying priorities. It appeared the likely cancellation of Superhighway 9 was not understood by the incoming administration, though we cited that it was likely decisions in RBKC that had caused that to occur.
Larry is a Councillor for the first time and his contributions were limited especially as he had to leave early to prepare for other council business.
Talking briefly after the meeting John and Alex agreed there was a lot to do in order to convert the asks into stuff on the ground. Alex and perhaps John will continue to liaise with Chris Bainbridge to see what can be achieved.
There are fantastic opportunities and we hope people will come forward to help make things happen. This may involve collecting information, helping devise more detailed solutions, talking to local cyclists to recruit them behind some action, carrying out some observations, designing leaflets or surveys, etc. If you want to be involved in this phase in any way please contact John and Alex and we will continue to include next steps in agenda at future meetings.