Notes from our November 2016 meeting

London Cycling Campaign in Sutton: 28 November 2016 meeting notes

Location:
Shinner and Sudtone, 67 High Street, Sutton, SM1 1DT

Present:
Gary James, John Kinnear, Charles Martin (Coordinator and Chair), Ben Rafferty (Treasurer), Michael To, Maeve Tomlinson, Colin Quemby, Shirley Quemby

Apologies:
Chris Rutland, Victoria Couchman, John Courtman, Max Underwood

This was the sixth, and final, formal meeting of 2016. Notes from previous Get Sutton Cycling meetings are available here.

1: Update on actions from meeting on 26 September 2016

  • Our constitution and the future of the group: Ben Rafferty is now formally the new Treasurer, following the departure of Alex Forrest. Our thanks to Alex for his work, and to Ben for agreeing to take on the role. Volunteers are still needed to chair meetings, take on role of Secretary. Possible other roles could include Cycle Champion to liaise council’s Cycle Champion, Cycle Champions to liaise with councillors and review schemes (ideally one per local committee area). Wider involvement required (must be a LCC member if taking on a role). More information about the roles is available in the LCC Local Groups Handbook. If you would like to get involved, please let us know. Our constitution is on our ‘Constitution’ page.
  • Network audits no specific progress to report (held over to 2017); occasional traffic counts are on-going
  • Meeting with Cllr. Jill Whitehead (Chair Environment and Neighbourhood Committee) to discuss way forward with Cycling Strategy – no progress on arranging this. Clearly this has proved to be too difficult, so will leave for now and revisit in 2017.

2: Review of informal ad-hoc meeting on 24 October 2016

Supporters who were unable to attend the Get Sutton Cycling meeting on 26 September 2016 were invited to a catch-up meeting towards the end of October. In addition to reviewing the September meeting, there was discussion around Karl Roche’s suggestion (made by email) to trial Skype for some meetings (pros and cons); the use of social media in general. It was agreed (not for the first time?) to move our Facebook Group to a Facebook Page (on-going). Gary to be added to the @cyclinginsutton Twitter team (which he subsequently was on 29 November).

3: London Cycling Campaign AGM

This took place on Saturday, 15 October. A report is available at AGM 2016 report (London Cycling Campaign, 19 October 2016). Ben, Mike and Chas attended, and enjoyed the opportunity to network with campaigners from across London. They even had a chat with Val Shawcross, the Deputy Mayor for Transport to the new mayor Sadiq Khan.

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1: London Cycling Campaign AGM. Michael takes the opportunity to have a conversation with Val Shawcross.
15 October 2016

4: General news and updates

  • A217 cycle path (Sutton North): lines and signs on sections of the cycle path adjacent to the A217 have recently been repainted. In some cases the paint has been so heavily applied that it has cause an up-stand! Lying leaves have been a hazard of late too. Elsewhere there are continuing issues with poor drainage and lying water, a particular hazard in cold weather when the water freezes. A reminder: It is the responsibility of Sutton Council to maintain the cycle paths along the A217, even though the A217 is classified as a ‘Transport for London road’ (or Red Route). See ‘Report It’ below.
  • Green Wrythe Lane (The Wrythe): The installation of a short section of delineated cycle path, between William Street and St James Road, is apparently still unfinished. This has been the case for over two months now, and it is reported that the space is often being used for parking. It is hoped that this third phase of the footway conversion of Green Wrythe Lane will be the last (and we have it on record, from the Council Meeting in January 2015 (reported in Green Wrythe Lane – one year on), that the council will be “more ambitious in other areas”).
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2: Green Wrythe Lane, west side, opposite Aultone Way, and looking south towards William Street and Wrythe Green. New section of two-way cycle path.
24 October 2016

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3: Green Wrythe Lane, same location as in (2) above, but looking north towards St James Road. New section of two-way cycle path remains ‘under wraps’.
24 October 2016

  • ‘Report It’: Our request for the addition of a cycling category to the ‘Report It’ facility on the Sutton Council website, initially made at the Sutton Cycle Forum in September (where it met with general approval), appears to have stalled. Councillor Manuel Abellan attempted to instigate such a facility, but the most recent update received from him about this (on 30 October) included a response he had received from the council:

“We can pass your request to our Dynamics team to put on their list for future review, but as we are working with a relatively new system and every service is in the process of updating their website content we do have to prioritise those changes which can have the biggest impact on channel migration and helping residents to self serve.

As you know we all have savings targets to achieve in terms of avoidable contact and as you say Cycling is not a high volume enquiry topic so cannot be prioritised at this time. “Report it” is limited to those issues which residents contact the council about the most, which have a degree of urgency and generally which require action rather than a response. While the cost implications of making changes are a factor, the real consideration is justifying officer time in prioritising one set of changes over another which is why the high volume services are being given priority.

In due course we will no doubt get to a point where the website can be fine tuned at which point your feedback about the Cycling content can be considered”.

We will continue to follow this up, and hope to have better news at the next Sutton Cycle Forum on 10 January 2017.

ACTION: Charles to contact Councillor Manuel Abellan to ask if there is further news on this.

  • Telegraph Track (Carshalton South and Clockhouse): Chris Rutland had notified us, prior to the meeting, that it looks as though the gate (i.e. barrier) on Telegraph Track (NCN 24), that we would like to see removed, is situated on land belonging to Surrey Council. Tom Brake MP has been co-opted into investigating further.
  • Bikehangars: Paul Garside at Sutton Council had got in touch on 24 November to say that a Bikehangar had been installed in Dover Gardens, Carshalton (The Wrythe). Good news, we had been involved with this from the outset (about fifteen months ago, see Notes from our August 2015 meeting).
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4: New Bikehangar installation in Carshalton. (Photo: Paul Garside). 
24 November 2016

  • Quietway (Sutton Central | Sutton North | St Helier): See item 6: Morden to Sutton Quietway
  • Tharp Road (Beddington North): Residents of Tharp Road, Wallington, have petitioned the council to ask for their road to be converted to a one-way street. If Tharp Road is converted to one-way operation it will have a negative impact on cycle movements in the area. Tharp Road forms part of a signed cycle route, and is a quieter option for people cycling on local journeys than either the busy Croydon Road, A232, to the north, or the equally busy Stafford Road, B271, to the south. There are there other ways in which the concerns of the residents could be addressed, while maintaining full access for people cycling, and these include the use of a modal filter. For more on this, see item 5: Cycling Strategy one year on.

ACTION: Charles to write a blog post, and then write to Beddington and Wallington local committee with a link to the piece to highlight the issue and ask why the Cycling Strategy is not cited during discussions such as this.

  • More rides with Councillor Manuel Abellan planned: Following the series of cycle tours with Councillor Manuel Abellan between August 2015 and February 2016 (see Cycle Tour for details), John C contacted Manuel on 4 October to ask him if he would like to choose other locations for future rides. Manuel suggested meeting at Hackbridge Corner, and this is currently planned for 10 December. This will be an opportunity to talk about Felnex, and quite topically, the first Felnex crossing and Hackbridge cycle parking. It may be too ambitious to try and ride the whole ward in one trip, so perhaps visit to the east of the River Wandle (Hackbridge Corner, Hackbridge Road (Felnex), Hackbridge station, London Road (A237) up to Mill Green, Goat Road and the border with Merton) on this occasion, and then west of the river (Middleton Road, Middleton Circle, Green Wrythe Lane, Peterborough Road, Poulter Park, Buckhurst Avenue) on a future ride. Although further rides with Manuel are welcome, and we appreciate the interest and time he is giving to these, there is some disappointment that we have yet to receive feedback to our reports on the tour rides to date.
  • Roundshaw Downs (Beddington South): “Greenway link on Roundshaw Downs – Overhill Road route and Plough Lane route” was one of eight schemes Sutton Council had shortlisted in preparation for the LIP funding programme 2017/2018. Following some objections to the scheme at the Beddington and Wallington local committee on 11 October, we have reviewed our support for these Greenway links. The conclusion of this review was to ask the council to remove the scheme from the LIP 2017-2018 priority list, and focus instead on achieving the core theme of the Beddington South ‘ward ask’ (namely safe cycle routes to the five schools in the ward). However, the option to reconsider this scheme should remain open, especially if the anticipated growth in cycling results in an increase in the demand for the Greenway links. Details of a number of other improvements that could be implemented in Beddington South instead, both in the short term and medium term, are discussed in a forthcoming post Beddington South: Cycleways rather than Greenways (working title).

Beddington South is the only ward in Sutton where all three councillors support Space for Cycling, and has great potential to become the borough’s first truly cycle-friendly neighbourhood.

ACTION: Maeve to supply more information and consider writing a blog post on Roundshaw Downs.

ACTION: Charles to write to Lynn Robinson, Senior Transport Planner, Sutton council (and chair Sutton Cycle Forum), to request that the Greenway link on Roundshaw Downs scheme is removed for the LIP programme 2017-2018 priority list.

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5: Roundshaw Downs. Looking north from the grassed path on the western side of Roundshaw Downs towards Lancastrian Road.
28 November 2016 

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6: Roundshaw Downs. Approximately the same location as in (5) above, looking south towards Plough Lane.
28 November 2016

  • Redevelopment of former Felnex industrial site (Wandle Valley): On 15 November, a Hackbridge resident advised that the footway conversion to shared-use either side of the pelican crossing on Hackbridge Road (as detailed in the plan received in June, and reported in Felnex redevelopment – an acid test for cycling) had actually gone ahead. This useless, ineffectual, scheme will do nothing to get people cycling, and is particularly galling given the major redevelopment it is intended to support.
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7: Hackbridge Road, Hackbridge. From Felnex trading estate to New Mill Quarter,  disappointment that (so far) this is the type of cycling infrastructure intended to support this scheme.
21 November 2016

Meanwhile, several new cycle stands have been installed at Hackbridge Corner (taking the total to nineteen). Although the provision of additional cycle parking is welcome on one level, in this case it is really only adding insult to injury. Without providing suitable infrastructure to enable people to actually cycle to Hackbridge in the first place, the extensive provision of cycle parking is rather a hollow gesture. See Felnex Crossing, Hackbridge Parking for more on this.

It is all tending to indicate that the borough’s Cycling Strategy is not making a great deal of difference. Talking of which…..

5: Cycling Strategy one year on

It is now a year since the environment and Neighbourhood Committee approved and adopted the borough’s latest Cycling Strategy. Consequently, we are expecting an annual review from the council within the next month or two, to include an update on progress towards achieving the aims outlined within this live document. It will be of particular interest to learn whether an internal Cycling Advisory Group has been set-up (a short-term action point), and whether all officers involved with the commissioning and designing of highways, transport and public realm schemes are fully aware of current cycling design standards and best practice.

The strategy states that the council will “work closely with residents and stakeholders through local committees and the Environment and Neighbourhood committee to gain support for cycling schemes and promote the wider benefits of cycling”. It would be good to think that this aspiration was now being reflected in the day-to-day work of the committee members, and the council could be seen to be engaging with residents and actively promote cycling. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to suggest that this is happening. There will be more on this in a forthcoming post No room for bikes: how Tharp Road could show borough-wide failure over cycling (working title, taking its lead from The Guardian (21 November): No room for bikes: how one street shows the UK-wide failure over cycling).

It is hoped that the cycling strategy will not just end up on the shelf, as highlighted as a concern in our response to the consultation on the draft strategy (See Time to make the case, and rise to the challenges). Lack of funding need not be the reason for inaction. The question that needs to be asked is: if funding for cycling in the borough was increased significantly, how would things be different? Would the council be able and willing to deliver?

ACTION: Charles to write to Councillor Manuel Abellan to request news of the strategy, and cite Tharp Road (see item (4)) as a disappointing sign that the strategy is not delivering.

6: Morden to Sutton Quietway:

A comprehensive report of the Quietway ride, as part of the Sutton Cycle Forum meeting in June with representatives from Sutton Council and Sustrans, has finally been completed. The overview includes the following essential prerequisites:

  • For the successful delivery of the Quietway, a reduction in the volume of traffic on many of the roads along the proposed route is essential
  • Support from residents for traffic reduction measures needs to be realised prior to the project receiving any significant funding from Transport for London
  • In making the case for the Quietway, engagement with residents, schools and businesses over a wide neighbourhood area is imperative. This needs to be set in the context of the Cycling Strategy and related policy issues
  • In designing schemes, and considering the best options for delivery of the Quietway, it is important that research based evidence is used to inform decisions (e.g. what does evidence tell us about shared-use paths?)
  • Successful implementation of this section of Quietway will, from the outset, depend on the support of councillors representing the three wards in the area

Read the full report at Sutton’s proposed first Quietway: what is required to make it a success?

7: AOB:

  • Coast to Capital. Michael To (Croydon Cycling Campaign) gave an overview of this exciting, and potentially significant, project. If it progresses, funding would be provided from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership. The route:
    • 87km in length, linking London Euston to Brighton.
    • Links up major transport connections, including Waterloo, Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Haywards Heath.
    • Also potentially links up CS5/6/7, QW1/5 and NCN 20/21.
    • Estimated cost around £87m or under, covering a mixture of urban protected cycle tracks, rural cycle paths, cycle streets, traffic-free routes and any alterations or construction of bridges / underpasses.
    • Outline route map (developed by Michael)

The next stage will be to develop a feasibility study and business plan. Meetings with interested parties are being arranged.

  • New Sainsbury’s in Sutton (Sutton Central): New store currently under construction at the northern end of Sutton High Street by Crown Road, expected to open in December. Ben asked: Anything for cycling? Presumably cycle parking, but any cycle-specific infrastructure? Doubt it. The Harris Partnership has more: “£50m mixed use town centre development of a six acre former gas works site on Sutton High Street in Greater London. The scheme includes a two-storey stilted Sainsbury’s foodstore of 115,000 sq ft GIA, together with a lower level parking provision of 349 customer spaces. Additional accommodation includes 23,000sqft of non-food retail/ A3 space together with 186 one, two and three bedroom residential units on 12 storeys fronting the High Street, together with major public realm plaza works and pedestrian infrastructure“. Also see Love Sutton, Go Dutch presentation at Sutton Cycle Summit 2014, and how the North Sutton sites redevelopment needed to be seen as an opportunity for cycling).
  • Greenford Road | Sutton High Street | Benhill Avenue (Sutton Central): Shirley: this (LCN) link still disappoints
  • Cheam to Worcester Park signage: Colin: Details of signage design, and location required, supplied to council three years ago. Still not delivered!
  • Bikelash! Recommended listening from the Bike Show podcast (20 November) http://thebikeshow.net/bikelash/
  • London’s planned Quietways feature in this disconcerting, but telling-it-how-it-is and informative piece, from The Guardian (21 November): No room for bikes: how one street shows the UK-wide failure over cycling.
  • London Assembly Member Caroline Russell has launched a five-point plan ‘Prioritising People – How to deliver healthy streets’. This gives recommendations the Mayor should consider as he draws up his transport plans for London. At the launch of the briefing, on 16 November 2016, Caroline said: “Waltham Forest’s Mini Holland scheme has been a huge success with much less traffic passing through, and the area is now beautiful and user-friendly. This level of funding should be available for walking and cycling schemes for every borough.” We agree!

8: Date of next meeting:

Monday, 23 January 2016 from 7.45pm at the Lord Nelson, Lower Road, Sutton, SM1 4QP. Details of this, and any impromptu ‘pop-up’ meetings, on ‘Next meet-up’ page.

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