Monday, 25 April, found us back at the Cock and Bull (competing with TV coverage of the Snooker World Championship from Sheffield, and Premier League Match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion from White Hart Lane (1-1 at full time). Not too noisy, and good a atmosphere, but inevitably less conducive for covering a lot of in-depth cycling business! Thanks to John C, Chris, Maeve, Shirley, Ben, Mike and Chas for giving up their time this evening, and to the staff for making us very welcome as usual.
A quick round-up since the previous meeting in February
Cycling Strategy: It was 150 days ago yesterday (and will be five months ago tomorrow) since the borough’s latest cycling strategy was approved (26 November 2015). As far as we are aware, this document has still not been promoted by Sutton Council, either prior to, or since, it’s eventual publication three months later (28 February 2016). We have secured a meeting with Cllr. Jill Whitehead, Liberal Democrat, Carshalton Central; Chair of Environment and Neighbourhood Committee, to discuss the strategy and the way forward. We wrote to Cllr. Whitehead requesting this meeting on 22 March. Although we have not yet been offered a date for this meeting, it is anticipated that this will take place in early June (well after the current purdah period for the Mayor of London and London Assembly Elections taking place on 5 May). A meeting of core-group (and interested parties) to be held ahead of this in May. One thing we need Cllr Whitehead to be aware of is this: we are so far from where we want to be with cycling in this borough, that it hurts!
Cycling schemes for TfL roads: We had asked for an update to the progress on the Proposed cycle facilities on the TfL Road Network report at the Sutton Cycle Forum meeting on 15 March. At that meeting we were told by Lynn Robinson, Senior Engineer, Regeneration and Parking Team, Highways and Transport, Kingston and Sutton Shared Environment Service, that a draft report would be produced for senior officers and that this was likely to leave out any reference to Rosehill roundabout. (As previously reported, approval for the very idea of any improvements to this major intersection, and Sutton gateway, for cycling had been rejected by members of the St Helier, the Wrythe and Wandle Valley Local Committee in December 2015). Lynn advised that the aim would be to have the draft report prepared by June. There is no doubt that the decision by the northern wards has resulted in the progress on this being held back.
Sign for Cycling
Over the last few weeks supporters of Get Sutton Cycling had been promoting Sign for Cycling extensively on Twitter, as well as tagging bikes, leaving leaflets with bike shops, and directly collecting signatures for the petition in Wallington, Sutton and St Helier. If you have been part of that, thank you. Now, with only the days until the election, ideas for a final push for promotion on Twitter were discussed.
Earlier today (25 April), there was the news that Sadiq Khan had pledged his commitment to Sign For Cycling . (And the day after the meeting (26 April), as I write, we learn that Zac Goldsmith now backs Sign for cycling too)! Caroline Pidgeon, Sian Berry and Sophie Walker, had already given their support, leaving only George Galloway and Peter Whittle not to have done so. We will be publishing a review of manifestos relating to cycling in the next few days. This was subsequently posted as The 2016 mayoral candidates on cycling, on 27 April.
Meanwhile, everyone is still reminded to #signforcycling at signforcycling.org. An opportunity not to be missed!
Ideas for mini-Holland
It was agreed to have a meeting of the core members of Get Sutton Cycling to prepare a short-list of locations and decide on best options for where we would like too see significant investment on cycling in the borough should a future mayor ask borough’s to prepare bids for funding (a scenario now all the more likely following today’s announcement (and, indeed, the following day’s announcement too)). Meeting to be arranged for mid-May.
Mini-Holland suggestions at present include Carshalton (to create a linked network of robust routes); a focus on Sutton town centre (to include north-south and east-west routes); a park connection (fully segregated cycle lanes along Park Lane and Boundary Road, part of Sustran’s National Cycle Network 20). As part of this decision process, we will be reviewing the Space for Cycling ward asks from May 2014 (and the partial review to these action points that was received at the December 2015 Cycle Forum – details of which we are not currently permitted to share publicly).
Planning a cycle network
A review of existing conditions, mesh-density analysis, classification audit, porosity analysis and Cycling Level of Service assessment. All part of the London Cycling Design Standards (chapter 2). A presentation by Brian Deegan for the Cycling towards a better Enfield: Health, Business and Transport conference last month, has got us thinking about this too! Meeting of core group, again in May, to discuss. Please get in touch if you would like to be part of this.
Video to promote London’s evolving cycling infrastructure
We intend to go on location later during the spring, and attempt to produce a video highlighting London’s evolving cycling infrastructure! Chris prepared a script for this a while ago, and with the opening of the north-south and (a large section of) the east-west cycle superhighways only days away, now would seem a good time to make progress. If you are interested in helping, either in front of, or behind, the camera, please let us know. Chris to arrange a meeting, and initial trial filming, for May.
Talking of videos, Chris shared a feature from the Landscape Architect Association, published five months ago (so, around the same time as our borough’s Cycling Strategy was approved). CS6 – North-South Cycle Superhighway – review of the first section, makes interesting viewing, having been recorded during of part of the construction phase in the autumn of 2015.
There is an accompanying video for part of the east-west route too: Will London’s East-West Embankment Cycle Superhighway be too popular?
- Since the last meeting in February, we have been busy responding to consultations:
- Our response to the TfL consultation on A24 Epsom Road Cycle Safety Improvements was submitted on 11 March
- Our response to Sutton Council’s Local Plan, consultation Sutton 2031: planning for our future was submitted on 7 April (with a follow-post Sutton 2031 – is cycling in the picture? published on 23 April)
- Forthcoming blog-posts likely to include:
- Mayoral Candidates 2016 manifestos on cycling (The 2016 mayoral candidates on cycling was subsequently published on 27 April, Cycling towards 2018 on 5 May, and What is your councillor doing for cycling? on 18 May)
- Our February ride with Cycling Champion Cllr. Manuel Abellan (Cycle tour of Woodcote Road and Park Lane subsequently published on 9 June)
- Cycle Funding 2016-2017
- A school run story (Cycling to school 2016 subsequently published on 10 May)
- Idea’s for boosting Sutton’s cycling aspirations
- A cycling system for Carshalton published 30 April
- Sutton Cycle Forum
- The latest of these quarterly meetings hosted by Sutton Council (which currently take place on a weekday morning and therefore precludes wider attendance – our response to the Cycling Strategy consultation asked for a review of this) took place on Tuesday, 15 March. From now on, it is our intention to produce a summary post to these events. For the first of these, see Sutton Cycle Forum March 2015.
- Ward councillors need to continue to hear the cycling message (a message that is not just about cycling, of course). Please consider writing to all three of your ward councillors or, better still, meet your councillors and have the conversation at one of their monthly surgeries. Details of how to contact your councillor can be found on the Your Councillors page of Sutton Council’s website. To check surgery details, select a councillor in the ward of interest, and you should find in the information provided a section headed ‘Surgery details’ (presuming the ward has regular surfers that is). Be aware, though, that even when a ward holds a surgery this not always evident from the details supplied for every councillor of that ward. Therefore, it is always a good idea to select another councillor in the ward of interest to see if surgery details are listed there instead. Here is a quick run-through of the current status of wards that hold regular surgeries:
- Beddington North – contact councillors directly to arrange a meeting
- Beddington South – contact councillors directly to arrange a meeting
- Belmont – First Wednesday in every month, except August, from 7 pm until 8 pm in the Church Hall, St Johns Church, Belmont.
- Carshalton Central – contact councillors directly to arrange a meeting
- Carshalton South and Clockhouse – Last Saturday in each month, except August and December, from 10 am to 12 noon at the Clockhouse One Stop Shop, Hillcrest Parade, Clockhouse, and from 1 pm to 3 pm at the Good Shepherd Church Centre,Queen Mary’s Avenue, Carshalton. Please contact councillors direct if urgent
- Cheam – Second Saturday in every month (except August) at Costa Coffee, 15 High Street, Cheam from 10.30 am to 11.30 am
- Nonsuch – First Saturday in month except August from 11-12 at Worcester Park Library
- St Helier – contact councillors directly to arrange a meeting
- Stonecot – Second Saturday of the month (except August) 11.00 – 12.00 at the Sutton Life Centre
- Sutton Central – contact councillors directly to arrange a meeting
- Sutton North – Every Saturday, except during August, from 11am until 12 noon at the Salvation Army Hall, Benhill Avenue, Sutton
- Sutton South – Councillors Clifton and Fivey will arrange a meeting with residents who contact them seeking a meeting, at a time and place convenient to the residents
- Sutton West – Second Saturday in every month, except in August, from 11 am to 12 noon at St. Alban’s Church, (side entrance) Gander Green Lane, Sutton or by arrangment with one of the ward Councillors
- The Wrythe – contact councillors directly to arrange a meeting
- Wallington North – First Saturday in every month (excluding August) from 10 am to 11 am at the Trinity Centre, Holy Trinity Church, Maldon Road, Wallington
- Wallington South – Third Saturday in every month (except August) from 10am to 11.30am in Sainsbury’s, Wallington (Wallington Square entrance). Please note that the December surgery will NOT be in Sainsbury’s, but in the Iris Tomlin Room in Wallington Library from 10am to 11.30am.
- Wandle Valley – contact councillors directly to arrange a meeting
- Worcester Park – Between 11-12:00 on the third Saturday of each month at Worcester Park Library
- Upcoming Local Committee meetings:
- Council Meeting: next Council Meeting (annual Council meeting): 23 May 2016
- A report “Analysis of transport usage across Sutton 2007-2015” (draft, July 2015) was received from Sutton Council on 8 April (as a result of our request for details of cycle counts in Sutton at the last two Sutton Cycle Forum meetings). It makes interesting, if somewhat confusing, reading (and may feature in a future post). The report notes that “the results should [still] be treated with caution”, and that the “data appears to indicate that whilst pedal cycle usage is increasing across the TLRN (Transport for London Road Network), in Sutton it is in fact decreasing“. The report suggests the LBS only commissioned two traffic count surveys, one in 2007 and then again in 2015. This is interesting because the Smarter Travel Sutton reported, in 2009, that there had been a 75% increase in cycling over two years from 2007, and so a traffic count in 2009 would have been expected. Presumably, the increasing in cycling over this three-year period was based on residents responses, rather than traffic counts. The report notes that pedal cycle counts were carried out over a single twelve-hour period (in itself can lead to high inconsistencies) at twenty-nine locations in Sutton, and that the resultant average pedal cycle count across the borough between 2007 and 2015 had increased by 22.8% (which contradicts the previous statement that pedal cycle usage had gone down).
- Talking of traffic counts, we will carry out some more ourselves during the coming months. If you have any suggestions for suitable locations, or would like to get involved, please get in touch.
- Recently there has been a small spate of inappropriate, politically biased, retweeting on the @cyclinginsutton account. If you are part of the team who tweet through this username, please consider the appropriateness of any messages that you send. In representing the London Cycling Campaign, we must make sure we are not seen as favouring one political party over another.
- A #pollutionprotest is taking place this Wednesday, 27 April, between 1700 and 1830, outside the Department for Transport, Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, SW1P 4DR . Further details, including the reason why this is happening, are available on the Stop Killing Cyclists Facebook page.
- Details of the next two LCC evening seminars have been released. Monday, 23 May: demonstrating the Propensity to Cycle Tool; Thursday, 9 June: Creating Liveable Communities.
- Hackney Cycling Conference 2016 is on Friday, 10 June. Registration through Eventbrite. This will be the fifth year for the Hackney Cycling Conference, and so far it has got better and better. From last year’s event: Andrew Gilligan at the Hackney Cycling Conference 2015. It remains to be seen whether there will be a Cycling Commissioner, or Active Travel Commissioner, present this time (and if so whether it will be Andrew Gilligan).
Our next open-meeting will be June (most likely the fourth Monday, 27 June), at a venue to be confirmed (possibly out-of-borough in New Malden – rather like our meeting last June in Wimbledon, a bit different). Details will appear on the Next meet-up page of the website, so keep an eye out for that. If you would like to be involved with the core-group meeting (or series of meetings) planned for May, please get in touch.