Brief Campaign Update
After the flurry of activity to get the best bits of Quietway 1 finished in our borough, (although Childers St and the Deptford High St crossing still isn’t done; we’re keeping our eye on those,) you may think things have gone a bit quiet on the Campaigning front. Not so. We still carry on working to keep safe space for cycling a key part of both the council’s and TfL’s transport policies. It’s not an easy job, and we always welcome help with it. So do get in touch with us if you think you can help in any way, however small. Even if you can’t get to monthly meetings, there are jobs that can be done at home, such as writing responses to consultations, checking for new consultations, keeping an eye on the infrastructure local to you and keeping us informed of stuff that needs doing. Every litttle helps.
One thing we haven’t forgotten is Cycle SuperHighway 4, the segregated high quality route planned to link Deptford to the City at Tower Bridge via Evelyn St, Surrey Quays and Jamaica Rd. Councillor Ingleby, the council’s cycling champion, recently spoke to Len Duvall and asked for his help in getting Transport for London to release a bit more information about what’s going on with the plans for this. Len Duvall did indeed discuss this with TfL as well as other space for cycling issues affecting London.
We were sent the reply he got last month and have sent our own reply to that. We believe our reply states very clearly our campaign position on space for cycling in Lewisham and that TfL should not be in any doubt about what we think they should be doing.
Thank you for informing us of the outcomes of Len’s attempts to secure more information for Lewisham residents about the development of safe space for cycling in the borough. Thanks also to Len, for taking the time to listen to our concerns and approaching the authorities on our behalf.
We are extremely appreciative of his efforts for Lewisham residents.
The information TfL disclosed however, was lacking in the detail that we would need in order to involve local people in any meaningful way in developing any strategy to increase cycling in our borough.
We would have liked to have seen the A21 scheme that we have developed, and that the council has also adopted, acknowledged, as it fits so well with the new policy of Healthy Streets and Liveable Neighbourhoods. Although the letter mentions the £2bn for Healthy Streets, across London, only a fraction of this will be allocated to Lewisham. What we need is to elevate the priority accorded to Lewisham’s Cycling Strategy, and especially the A21 scheme, which would transform the numbers of people making the shift to sustainable transport, reduce congestion, improve health, and enhance the liveable spaces around the main spinal route in the Borough
The work to develop the Quietway 14 from Southwark to Canada Water should not be regarded as a high priority for Lewisham. We would of course support it, but it will have only a limited impact on cycling numbers.
We were interested to to see mention of a proposed “Analysis to Deliver a Strategic Network” process, which seems promising. However, we would ask for assurance that beneficial projects already identified in the borough would not be put on hold while this analysis is carried out, bringing further delays to the implementation of safer cycling here. We’d also expect that Lewisham Cyclists would be involved in any relevant meetings regarding the analysis, in order to bring our perspective and experience to bear on how it could include cycling, and especially how to increase the numbers of Lewisham residents choosing this form of active travel.
There is also a mention of meetings with LBL Officers to discuss potential Liveable Neighbourhoods in the borough. We would also expect that Lewisham Cyclists representatives be invited to attend these meetings to provide constructive input into any initial plans for neighbourhoods in the borough. We have a large number of members from all areas in the borough, with extensive local knowledge and believe our input is constructive, considered and very necessary.
We are concerned that CS4 seems to be subject to further delays and would like to know the source of the delay. Given that we were told that the original plans went back for review and improvement, especially of the Lewisham section, (which was good news as they were not originally to the standard we expected) we would like reassurance that key stakeholders, such as ourselves, would have the opportunity to view the new plans as well and offer advice before the final public consultation, in order to reduce the need for further review and improvement and consequent further delays in implementation. We, along with a number of local community groups with whom we have been working closely on joint projects in the Deptford area, believe CS4 is crucial to the transport plan for this area, which has seen a huge increase in housing development and will see a large population increase as a result. Public transport links are already busy and the area already has a problem with the movement of private motor traffic at peak times. Local groups have welcomed and used the new Quietway. It has proved extremely popular and has shown a clear need for such provision. Indeed we are assisting two with projects designed to get more local residents cycling already. It is crucial that CS4 is delivered to a high standard as quickly as possible to build on these initiatives in the community.
We do feel very positive about the potential to develop cycling right across the Borough, including the Heritage Trail, which is great example of a community based local initiative that will make a terrific east-west link that will benefit many neighbourhoods and enable more healthy opportunities. However, achieving a significant change to more sustainable transport choices will require a scheme like the A21 segregated cycleway, running right through the borough. This would really enable large and significant numbers of people in Lewisham who currently will not consider cycling or even walking through these heavily trafficked and polluted areas to shift their transport choice to active modes. It would bring additional benefits by tackling congestion, improving community health and enabling liveable streets.
Once again, thanks to Len for helping us. We sincerely want to develop a useful relationship with all the transport authorities who make decisions that affect us as Lewisham residents as well as cyclists, and who share our commitment to making Lewisham a more liveable borough for all who live and work here. We appreciate all his attempts to help us communicate more effectively with those authorities.
Jane Davis, Lewisham Cyclists Coordinator