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Swimmers Lane is a newly widened connection between Whiston Road and Laburnum Street, flanked by the still-closed Haggerston Baths to the east and a new block of flats to the west. The widening has enabled the inclusion of a cycle path, proposed by the developer of the flats, supported by us and approved by Hackney Council as the planning authority.
For this new connection to become usable, the guard railing and redundant loading bay will have to be removed from the Whiston Road end of Swimmers Lane, and bollards, a dropped kerb, and double-yellow lines provided in order to create the new junction. Similar work is required at the Laburnum Street end.
At both ends the required space for cycling will mean less space for car parking. Here, as so often, you have to make a choice. But this is Hackney, London's leading cycling borough, where car ownership fell by 9% between 2001 and 2011, which should make it easier for our politicians to make that necessary choice.
The Swimmers Lane cycle path will be a very welcome first step to restoring cycle permeability between Whiston Road and Laburnum Street. Two more new north-south streets (open to motors) will be created as redevelopment proceeds, but Swimmers Lane will remain the most useful alignment. Currently there is no cycle permeability north from Whiston Road anywhere between the A10 Kingsland Road and the B108 Queensbridge Road -- a distance of nearly half a kilometre.
As well as enabling locally useful manoeuvres such as avoiding the junction of Whiston Road and Queensbridge Road, the Swimmers Lane cycle path is also the key to unlocking longer-distance quiet routes between Hoxton and Dalston for people who would like to avoid cycling on the A10 or B108.
We are asking the council to act as soon as possible to make the relatively inexpensive changes required to bring Swimmers Lane into commission.
Update April 2014: The requested work of providing dropped kerbs at both ends of Swimmers Lane, removing the guard rail on Whiston Road and extending the double-yellow lines on Laburnum Street has been done. The only item outstanding is the removal or relocation of the loading bay on Whiston Road. Thank you Hackney Council!
6th December: Minutes of our November meeting
The main subjects debated by Hackney LCC members at our December meeting were our 'Vision for Hackney' and our manifesto for next May's local elections.
30th October: Old Street / City Road as a crossroads permalink
...a preliminary visualisation to illustrate why we are bringing a deputation to Hackney Council this evening promoting a crossroads at the Old Street / City Road.
28th October: Putting people first in the Narroway
A film by Brian Jones about the current experiment with removing buses from Mare Street Narrow Way. Includes interviews with shopkeepers, passers-by, Vincent Stops (councillor for Hackney central), Brenda Puech (co-ordinator of Hackney Living Streets, the pedestrian lobby), and Trevor Parsons (chair of Hackney Cycling Campaign).
10th October: Old Street / City Road crossroads campaign update permalink
Our campaign to re-establish a crossroads at the junction of Old Street and City Road (currently squatted by a monstrous 1960s roundabout) has taken a couple more steps forward. At last night's meeting of Islington Cyclists Action Group, our neighbouring LCC group, members voted to join the campaign for a crossroads, while today Councillor Carole Williams of Hoxton ward agreed that she will introduce the deputation which we are planning to bring on this subject to the next full meeting of Hackney Council on 30th October.
A crossroads -- the original shape of this key node -- would be a far better connector than the peninsularisation scheme currently proposed by LB Islington and Transport for London, which leaves planners struggling with a variety of complex and confusing layouts in an attempt to establish connections, and still failing to achieve even that basic aim. A crossroads also provides the best opportunity for creating active frontages on and leading up to all four corners, rather than wind-swept desolation of the sort to be found at the recently, and rather unambitiously, remodelled southern junction of Elephant and Castle.
The ugly roundabout which destroyed the original streetscape of Old Street and City Road, and which continues to eat up so much space at this increasingly valuable location, is a relic of post-war motor-centric planning. There's widespread agreement that it is a failure and must go. The argument is about whether the shape of its replacement has to be dictated by the spatial planning errors of the 1960s ... or not.
1st October: Come and hear Carlton Reid speak at our AGM tomorrow
Our annual general meeting takes place tomorrow, Wednesday 2nd October, and will feature a presentation by Carlton Reid, travel writer and editor of Bikebiz and BikeHub. Carlton will be giving the inside skinny on his eagerly anticipated new book, Roads Were Not Built For Cars, which earlier this year achieved more than four times its crowd-funding goal, towards which Hackney LCC was the largest single contributor among hundreds of backers.
Original research undertaken for Roads Were Not Built For Cars reveals how motoring actually owes a massive and largely forgotten historical debt to cycling and its pioneers. Carlton's talk - like his book - will aim to show how the hidden history of who first lobbied for better roads can inform the future.
The meeting will start with a brief formal session during which we will hold our annual elections for chair, secretary and treasurer. LCC members resident in the borough are invited to consider standing for these posts, or to volunteer to join our committee in another capacity of their choosing such as events or rides co-ordinator.
>> Wednesday 2nd October at 7.30pm, New Kingshold Community Centre, corner of King Edward's Road and Ainsworth Road, E9 7JE. Map
12th September: Hackney's new secure on-carriageway cycle parking: no sooner installed than fully rented
Four secure on-street cycle parking hangers are now on our streets, with another coming shortly ... and lots more in due course, we hope. All spaces are rented. More are on the way, though not as quickly as we'd like due to limited funding. Nevertheless, if you would like to suggest a location, please .
11th September: Minutes of our August meeting
Subjects discussed by Hackney LCC members at our August meeting included: permeability proposals in Retreat Place and Bradstock Road; Bishopsgate Goodsyard master plan; Dunwich Dynamo catering; and the LCC local groups forum.
23rd August: Better late than never! BBC, ITV, LBC tell us what we knew six months agopermalink
6th August: Hackney Cycling Conference papers now availablepermalink
18th July: Minutes of our July meeting
Subjects discussed by Hackney LCC members at our July meeting included: renewal of east-west path (LCN+ Route 8 / Maurice Hope route) in London Fields; Mare Street Narroway; Brownswood Road crossing; and catering for the Dunwich Dynamo.
13th June: Minutes of our June meeting
Subjects discussed by Hackney LCC members at our June meeting included: Hackney Central bus re-routing; filtering the Marcon Place/Spurstowe Terrace rat-run; London Fields cyclists' breakfast; and the Hackney Cycling Showcase.
View Missing 'except cycles' signs in the London Borough of Hackney in a larger map
23rd May: Mapped: missing 'except cycles' signs in Hackney permalink
22nd May: Secure residential parking -- coming to your street?
Many houses and flats in inner London don't have enough room to store bicycles comfortably indoors, and access is often via narrow passageways and staircases (writing from experience here -- Ed.). A solution to this problem that has been tried and tested for many years in the Netherlands is on-street secure cycle parking. Lambeth Council has led the way with trialling these in London, with quite a number now installed in the Kennington area. Hackney is now among five more councils which are about to start trials in their boroughs. If you would like to have secure residential cycle parking on your street, you can register your interest now.
11th May: Man doored in Dalston sues
Kevin Fallon, who was injured in a dooring incident in Dalston while on his commute from Walthamstow to the City, is suing the driver of the car involved for £200,000, according to a story in the Evening Standard, and is calling for a change in the law on liability.
9th May: A brace of Hackney winners in London Cycling Awards 2013
At last night's London Cycling Awards, two of the ten awards went to projects based in our borough. Hackney Bike Around the Borough, an annual mass ride for hundreds of primary school pupils run by Hackney Council and Hackney Learning Trust, won the Best Schools Cycling Initiative award, while London Bike Kitchen, the DIY workshop in Hoxton where you can take care of your own bike, came top in the Best Community Cycling Project category. Congratulations to both!
29th April: Two-way cycling in Mare Street Narrow Waypermalink
23rd April: Police seize 150 stolen bikes, 100 parts
Yesterday, Leaside Safer Neighbourhoods Team searched an address in Chatsworth Road, E5, and discovered over 150 bikes and 100 bike parts which are believed to be stolen. Two men were arrested at the scene. Police are urging anyone who has had their bike stolen in Hackney recently to attend one of the bike identification sessions being organised at Hackney Police Station over the next couple of weeks. This will allow members of the public to identify their stolen property and for police to verify its rightful owners.
Details of viewings
3rd April: Bike Yard East is up and running again after arson attacks on two Hackney cycle traders
After suspiciously similar night-time incendiary attacks on Bike Yard East and Cycle Pit Stop, two small timber-constructed cycle workshops less than half a mile apart, we are glad to see that Bike Yard East, at least, is back up and running. Meanwhile fellow traders at Netil Market have been busy raising money for Cycle Pit Stop, which lost thousands of pounds worth of uninsured tools and stock. These events have been covered by the Evening Standard, the Hackney Citizen, the Hackney Gazette.
15th March: Minutes of our March meeting
Subjects discussed by Hackney LCC members at our last meeting included: Shepherdess Walk / Bath Street crossing of City Road; traffic issues in the Whiston Road area; the Hackney Cycle Safety Working Group; and proposals for major events for Hackney Marshes.
10th March: How Hackney got its cycling
Vincent Stops, who as a local councillor and sometime cabinet member has for many years been closely involved in promoting policies friendly to walking, cycling and public transport, has initiated his 'CycleAndWalkHackney' blog with a summary of the Hackney approach over the past decade or so. It includes a nod of appreciation to a Conservative counterpart, and kinds words about the contribution of the London Cycling Campaign in Hackney to the process.
3rd March: Minutes of our February meeting
Subjects discussed by Hackney LCC members at our last meeting included: Hackney borough police's cycle task force; The Bike Project and its work with asylum seekers; the Census 2011 results; how to widen participation in cycling among people living on estates; and the consultation about byelaws for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
1st February: Cycling surges. Car ownership collapses. permalink
Figures released from the 2011 Census this week reveal large increases in the number and proportion of London residents who use cycling as their main way to get to work. Across London as a whole, 4.3% now cycle to work, while the figure in inner London is 7.2%. Hackney has London's highest proportion of people cycling to work, at 15.4%. (These figures exclude employed people who work from home).
Meanwhile car ownership is plummetting in inner London, and especially in Hackney, where the proportion of households which are car-free has risen to 64.6%, up from 56% in 2001, with just 170 motor vehicles per 1000 people, and about 3200 fewer cars owned overall, even though the population has increased by some 44,000.
The media has been taking an interest, with two articles in the Evening Standard, while the Cyclists in the City blog has taken the opportunity to do a compare-and-contrast of Hackney and Westminster.
These figures are certainly something to celebrate, both for Hackney and for London, and we will use them to continue argue the case for the further development of cycling. But the proportion of people travelling to work by cycle is only one part of the picture. Overall mode share is another issue, and we know that cycling generally makes up a significantly smaller proportion of it. The weekday cycle commuter will often jump in her Jag or a hire car for non-work-related journeys at the weekend. School pupils will usually (in inner London, at least, and certainly in Hackney) walk or take public transport. And so on. Unfortunately, while the data for travel to work is very dependable, thanks to the census (refuseniks aside) and the regular, predictable nature of work journeys, data for overall mode share and other segments are considerably less robust, and for good reasons will probably always be harder to obtain. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't step up our efforts to get good data. The more information we have, the better decisions we can make.
Mapper Jim has produced some excellent maps illustrating the change in cycling levels in London since 2001. Not surprisingly, Hackney and its near environs stick out like a sore thumb.