For our final meeting of the year, we were back at the Cock and Bull, Sutton High Street, SM1 1HF on Monday, 1st December. We were pleased to be joined by Councillor Richard Marston (Worcester Park, Liberal Democrat, Chair Cheam North and Worcester Park Local Committee), taking our attendance to ten!
Our main focus of the meeting was to discuss our response to Sutton Council’s draft Sustainable Transport Strategy, currently out to consultation until 4 January 2015. Although everyone was impressed with the council’s ambition for Sutton to become London’s most sustainable suburb, there was general agreement that the proposals outlined in the draft strategy were nowhere near robust enough to deliver this aim. Unless tough decisions were made, it was felt that this ambition would only ever be an aspiration. Use of the road user hierarchy, to inform transport scheme selection and design, was particularly welcomed. This hierarchy puts children, people with mobility impairments and the elderly first, and non-local motor traffic last.
The six outlined transport objectives, to deliver 38 actions, were noted. Clearly all six are important, but the core part of our discussion centred on the two that were most directly aligned to cycling: (3) enabling smarter travel choices, particularly by improving and encouraging walking, cycling and public transport; (5) improving safety and security of road users, particularly pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.
It was agreed that Charles Martin would draft a response in time for the rather tight deadline of 4 January. Main comments to include in our response:
- the need for clearer evidence of how objectives would be delivered
- a clear statement that the final strategy would be fully promoted to raise awareness of residents
- new developments seen as opportunity for sustainable transport
- school and workplace travel plans to be delivered and acted upon
- sustainable transport destined to fail without political support for cycling across all parties
- cycling needs to be enabled as well as encouraged
- shared space on Sutton’s gyratory not welcomed, but rather segregated cycle paths
- evidence that all Sutton council employees responsible for delivery of cycling infrastructure had accreditation
- public health mentioned, but not specifically in actions
Our response was subsequently published online as Get Sutton Cycling and the draft Sustainable Transport Strategy on 5 January.
Cllr. Richard Marston mentioned the ongoing work to the cycle path joining Trafalgar Avenue. We were concerned that plans showing how this ‘route’ would cross the A24 had yet to be published. We also made the point that the infrastructure provided to enable safe crossing of the A24 also has to enhance the cycling experience on the A24 itself.
A major piece of work for us during the last month had been the publication of our thoughts on the proposal to convert parts of the footway on the west side of Green Wrythe Lane to a footway cycleway. This can be read at Green Wrythe Lane footway cycleway proposal – a lack of vision for cycling.
Meanwhile, it was noted that the council’s review of our ‘ward asks’, expected by the end of November, had still not been received. Nevertheless, we were all happy with how our new group had established itself over the last twelve months and we looked forward to 2015! (For a review of our first year, see Notes from our November 2014 meeting).
[Page published 7 February 2015]