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Updates 2012


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6th December: Old Street needs newer thinking permalink
Tim Stonor of Space Syntax has hit the nail on the head regarding today's announcement of government funding for a technology centre at the junction of Old Street and City Road: "Old Street does not need a building inside a roundabout, a Donatello parmis les Fauves. It needs a space; a truly public, open and accessible great place. This must be the test of whichever scheme is built."

29th November: Hackney renews its 20mph vows permalink
Last week's motion reaffirming the council's commitment to 20mph as our standard speed limit was passed with huge support. [Meeting minutes -- see 16b for full text of resolution] We are eager to see the new lower speed limit on every street in the London borough of Hackney. With neighbouring boroughs to the east and west of us going the same way, we now have the pleasant prospect of a 20mph bloc all the way from Waltham Forest to Camden.

21st November: Council debates extending 20mph limits to all our streets permalink
Tonight Hackney council will decide what steps it should next take towards meeting the historic commitment it made nearly five years ago to make 20mph the standard speed limit in our borough.

For many years, Hackney has been creating 20mph zones on residential streets -- an approach which has been proven to result in substantial reductions in injuries.

Earlier this year, Hackney completed this strategy. All streets classed as residential are now covered by 20mph zones. We congratulate the council on this achievement.

The question now is how to extend 20mph to the rest of our streets, especially now that Islington has resolved to roll out 20mph limits on most of its main streets, including, with Hackney's co-operation on a trial basis, on streets which are on the border of both boroughs, for example Southgate Road.

A major concern in both boroughs is the scepticism of the police about enforcement of a 20mph limit without physical measures such as humps.

If the motion proposed by Vincent Stops and seconded by Feryal Demirci is passed this evening, the council will have committed itself to persuade the police to co-operate on introducing an enforceable 20mph limit on all council-controlled streets, and to lobby Transport for London to introduce 20mph limits on those of our streets which it currently controls, notably in town centres such as Shoreditch, Dalston and Stoke Newington.

If you're free, please come along and show your support. The meeting takes place at Hackney town hall, Mare Street, London E8 1EA, from 7pm. Agenda

5th October: Survey shows huge support for car-free canal bridge
Following our successful Car-free Day experiment at Cat & Mutton bridge canal bridge, we surveyed shoppers and visitors a week later and found that a huge majority want the bridge and Broadway Market to be car-free at least weekly. More here.

6th September: Cat & Mutton Bridge Car Free Day
We are obtaining a traffic order to make the Cat & Mutton canal bridge, just south of Broadway Market, car-free on Saturday 22nd September, to mark European Mobility Week. The idea is to let residents and visitors enjoy this section of street without a constant stream of cars and vans, and to promote our proposal that the bridge should be permanently open to walking, cycling and buses only. Currently, allowing private motor traffic to use this bridge facilitates a 'rat run' through predominantly residential areas, notably the Whiston and Goldsmith's Estate. Around 3000 cars per day cut through this way. We believe that through motor traffic should be redirected onto surrounding 'A'- and 'B'-classified streets which are better adapted for the load (Kingsland Road, Queensbridge Road, Hackney Road, Mare Street etc). Creating a 'modal filter' on the bridge would also reduce the amount of private motor traffic cutting through Broadway Market on non-market days. Customers of the shops and restaurants of this now thriving market street almost all arrive on foot or by cycle, as has been demonstrated by annual visitor surveys. Cutting out the through motors, while maintaining access to all addresses on a 'same way out' basis, would also greatly improve the experience of using London Cycle Network Route 9, which runs through London Fields, Broadway Market, Pritchard's Road and Goldsmith's Row, on the ancient alignment variously known as the Black Path and the Porters' Route.

We will need volunteers to help steward the barriers, and to assist the safe passage of the 394 bus service, which will continue to be allowed through the car-free area. If you can help for a few hours, in return for coffee and snacks, please or call 020 7729 2273.

We'd like to thank Volker Highways, the street maintenance contractor for Hackney, and their sub-contractor A J O'Connor Ltd, who have kindly offered to provide traffic management services for this event free of charge.

More info

15th August: Get yourself a secure cycle parking locker
These days there are secure individual cycle parking lockers on many of the housing estates in our borough. The hire fee is cheap, at less than a pound a week. Most of these lockers are managed by Bikeaway Ltd. Check whether your estate has lockers available for hire now. (Click the link for London, then Hackney).

Anti-M11 Link Road campaigners hang a banner on transport minister John MacGregor's house in 1994
Anti-M11 Link Road campaigners hang a banner on transport minister John MacGregor's house in 1994

8th August: The lethal legacy of the M11 Link Road
We were saddened but not surprised to hear, during our monthly meeting last Wednesday, that a young man had been killed at the hideous 'Lea Interchange', a sprawling junction next to what is now the Olympics site in the far north-east corner of our borough. The bus which ran over Dan Harris was being driven from the media centre on Eastway onto the slip road of a quasi-motorway called the 'A12 Hackney to M11 Link Road', whose construction in the 1990s was opposed by this group and many other individuals and organisations, including Hackney Council. The Department for Transport's decision to bulldoze the road through Wanstead, Leytonstone, Leyton and Hackney Wick, in the teeth of fierce resistance, has had many unpleasant outcomes, including community severance and increased car dependance in Waltham Forest, and the spewing of thousands of extra motor vehicles into our borough every day. Conditions for walking and cycling at and around the Lea Interchange were further worsened in recent years by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which became the de facto highway authority for this location. Adding insult to injury, the ODA then announced that it planned to ban cycle traffic from most of the carriageway during the games. We sent a formal objection, which was eventually acknowledged (and of course dismissed) six months after we sent it. In the ODA's opinion, cycle traffic should be restricted to sub-standard, inconvenient shared-use footway 'facilities', which turned out to be poorly signposted and hard to follow. Whether and to what extent the temporary Olympics arrangements might have been a factor in the collision we will not know until the investigators have done their work. Perhaps not even then. What we can say for certain is that the death of Dan Harris is the latest bitter legacy of the M11 Link Road.

16th July: Movement for Liveable London is coming to look at Hackney
Instead of its usual monthly Street Talk, the Movement for Liveable London (MLL) is organising a Street Walk around Hackney on Saturday 18th August to see some of the recent public realm and cycling projects that are helping to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists in the borough. The itinerary is to be confirmed but will probably include the Britannia junction (ex-roundabout) and the newly filtered southern end of Goldsmiths' Row. Places are limited to keep numbers manageable, so drop MLL a line if you'd like to take part.

28th June: Shoreditch Space and Place Shaping Plan
Shoreditch has high and fast-growing levels of walking and cycling, showing that it's already a pretty good place to spend time and to get around. But we think there's still a lot that can be done to improve it. That's why we've invested a lot of effort working with the local pedestrian lobby group Hackney Living Streets to produce a comprehensive joint response to the Council's Shoreditch Space and Place Shaping Plan consultation.

Our proposals range from massive, long-term development proposals such as remodelling the junction of Old Street and City Road (currently blighted by the brutalist 1960s roundabout ironically associated by the press with the 21st century information technology industry), to smaller-scale interventions to maximise route choice and minimise diversion for cycle traffic across the area.

When you've had a look at our proposals, feel free to join our discussion list and let us know what you think.

11th June: Daniel Cox case: charges against lorry driver withdrawn
The Standard's Ross Lydall reports that prosecutors have dropped the case against lorry driver Simon Weatherley after accepting he could not have seen Daniel Cox because of a 'blind spot' in his view from the driver's cab as he turned from Dalston Lane into Kingsland Road. LCC's No More Lethal Lorries campaign makes it clear that we do not accept the 'blind spot' excuse. Lorry drivers who regularly travel within the borough of Hackney, and their employers, are encouraged to take up the offer of the free Safe Urban Driving course which counts towards their CPC training. It includes cyclist awareness training, and gives them the experience of riding a bike on the street.

The inquest into Daniel's death is taking place at Poplar coroner's court today.

15th April: Ride with us to... The Big Ride on Saturday 28th
Join us as we ride together from Hackney town hall to Marble Arch to take part in what promises be London's biggest-ever mass ride in support of safe and inviting streets for cycling. Meet on Saturday 28th March at 10.15am for a 10.30am departure from Hackney town hall.

20th March: A second Shoreditch crossing is saved!
Another crossing in Curtain Road, Shoreditch -- this time a combined cycling and walking (toucan) crossing -- was recently programmed for removal by Transport for London. We sent an objection to the removal, on the grounds that the crossing:

We asked TfL to reconsider its proposal to remove this crossing, which is providing a useful service to people travelling on foot and by cycle, and is not causing any significant delay to carriageway traffic. And, to their credit, they have now agreed to drop the proposal. The crossing is saved!

6th March: TfL withdraws threat to remove Curtain Road pedestrian crossing
Congratulations to Hackney's branch of the pedestrian lobby organisation Living Streets for their successful campaign to oppose Transport for London's plan to remove the pedestrian crossing on Curtain Road. Installed in 2002 as part of the partial dismantling of the Shoreditch gyratory system, the crossing was particularly valued by people with mobility and visual impairments making their way across Curtain Road between the two sections of Rivington Street. Rather than reactionary pro-motor proposals like this, what is actually required is for the last vestiges of the Shoreditch one-way system to be removed, returning northbound A10 private motor traffic to Shoreditch High Street, and enabling Curtain Road to be turned from a two-lane one-way racetrack into a quiet two-way walking and cycling street, with motors permitted for access only. Together with Hoxton Street to the north and the rest of Curtain Road south of Great Eastern Street, this would form a safe and pleasant green link from Hoxton through Shoreditch to the City. The removal of through motors was promised by TfL as a 'phase 2' of the 2002 Shoreditch traffic reforms, but they have conveniently forgotten about it. It's time we reminded them!

28th February: Claire Tansley
We sadly record that former Hackney LCC comrade, and friend to many, Claire Tansley, died on Wednesday 22nd February in Bart's Hospital. She was 41, and had been suffering from a recurrent lymphoma. A Scot by birth and upbringing, and a teacher and environmental educator by profession, Claire was an active member of our local group from the mid-1990s until the turn of the century brought with it parenthood and migration across the River Lea. Claire invested masses of time and effort into the campaign. Frequently the face of the group on our stall at events such as the Hackney Show, she encouraged many people to start or return to cycling. She organised several of our Burns Night fundraisers -- a role for which her vivacity and gregarious nature as well as her national origin suited her well. And she initiated our tradition of annual Bike The Bounds rides around the borough. Perhaps Claire's most significant campaigning legacy was her role in nurturing cycling education in schools and the wider community when there was very little of it going on. She led 'Safe Routes to Schools' initiatives, introduced cycle training into the schools she worked at, and helped create one of London's first 'exercise on prescription' projects, called Cycleactive, here in Hackney. She leaves behind husband Harry, son Dennis and daughter Julia.

8th February: Minutes of February meeting
Subjects discussed by Hackney LCC members this month included: the new Sustainable Hackney map; the danger of the Women's Institute taking a position in favour of mandatory cycle helmet use; a Hackney cycling conference in June; secure on-street residential cycle parking; and TfL's proposed pedestrian crossing removal in Curtain Road.

1st February: Walk tomorrow to remember Dan Cox
Christine, mother of Dan Cox who died after being struck by an HGV in Dalston, will remember the tragedy by walking her son's last cycle route, tomorrow, Thursday 2 February, exactly one year after he died. She'll be setting off at 4.30pm from 54 Lower Clapton Road, and be joined by friends of Dan, as well as other wellwishers. The group expect to arrive at Dalston Junction at 5pm, where they'll stop to pay their respects at the ghost bike put there in memory of Dan. Then they'll continue to Camden, expecting to reach the Edinburgh Castle pub (where Dan worked) towards 7:30pm. Christine Cox said: "One year ago on the 2nd Feb, our beautiful Dan left his flat for the last time. I would like to walk his final journey, leaving at the time that Dan left and stopping at his ghost bike at Dalston Junction and lighting some candles. I hope others will be able to join me. We plan to go on to the Edinburgh Castle in Camden afterwards to complete Dan's journey so if you can't make the walk/cycle we could have a drink in Dan's memory later. If we could get lots of cyclists to join in perhaps that will draw attention to the needless loss of life on our roads and in particular to the senseless loss of our beautiful boy."

28-year-old Dan Cox died after being struck by a left-turning lorry at Dalston Junction. He was rushed to Homerton Hospital but died several days later of his injuries. Dalston Junction is recognised a problem junction, where the A10 meets the North Cross Road, both routes with serious casualty problems. Charlie Lloyd, LCC's campaigns office and lorry expert said, "Our thoughts are with the family and friends." Close friend of Dan Cox, Daniel Barnes raised £7000 last year for LCC's No More Lethal Lorries campaign and the hospital where Dan was treated.The Hackney group of LCC also contributed £1000 to No More Lethal Lorries out of profits from our Burns Night fundraiser.

27th January: Tracing the Black Path
Get yourself a map of London; lay the bottom end of a ruler on London Bridge; tilt your ruler roughly 20 degrees away from the north, in the direction of Walthamstow; and look at the streets and paths along your ruler's edge. You may start to notice a pattern, especially between Columbia Road near Shoreditch and St James' Park in Walthamstow. These are the remnants of an old trail that's variously known as the Black Path, the Market Porters' Route, and, more plainly, the Porters' Route. Its origins are lost in history, but its legacy is a very useful alignment for walking and cycling, linking a string of town centres and green spaces. Last weekend half a dozen members of our neighbouring LCC group in Waltham Forest enjoyed a recce of the Black Path. They have noted some potential improvements on a map. We look forward to working with our trans-Lee friends to continue to achieve improvements to the Black Path in both boroughs.

14th January: Minutes of December and January meetings
Catch up with recent discussions and decisions by reading the minutes of our December 2011 and January 2012 meetings.

13th January: No Burns Night this year -- sorry!
We found out rather late in the day that Sir Thomas Abney primary school, which has kindly hosted our annual Burns Night fundraiser for the past several years, was unable to accommodate us this year. This left us with little time to find another suitable and affordable venue. Although we have now had a kind offer of a venue (from the head teacher of cycling-friendly Southwold primary school), key contributors have meanwhile been booked for other events, so we have reluctantly decided to cancel the event for this year. We may hold another type of fundraiser later in the year, possibly a ceilidh without the associated dinner. We do apologise for the disappointment, but we hope to get organised nice and early for next year and see you again in January 2013 to toast the immortal memory of Robert Burns.


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