With the unveiling of Streetspace for London on 6 May 2020, this article was regulary updated throughout May.
Last updated 16 June 2020
“If you find taking a walk, a jog, or cycle ride whilst observing social distancing in your neighbourhood challenging, possibly due to constraint of space, let us know. There may be options we can introduce to help”
The sort of message that it would be good to see tweeted by London local authorities
The first version of this post was published on 20 April 2020. The original article attempted to access the level of concern and importance given by all thirty-three local authorities across London at that time in relation to easing the stress that can be experienced in the public realm during the COVID-19 crisis. Quite simply, was there any evidence, through the official Twitter feeds of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London, that local authorities where reaching out to residents, one month after the lockdown had been established, by asking questions such as: “What can we do [as the highways authority] to help you maintain social distancing when you are making essential journeys or taking exercise?”.
During the early weeks of the coronavirus lockdown (which entered its fourth week on 18 April and, even then, looked set to continue for a while), there was a fair amount of discussion in articles in the press, in journals, and across social media, by academics, researchers, and campaigners, in consideration of how to provide people with space to exercise, or the space to travel actively (to work or for other essential journeys), whilst maintaining social distancing. It was all about how councils, transport professionals and others could work together on active travel to address the impact of Covid-19. Some of these articles are referenced at the end of this post, whilst other relevant articles appear in our post Riding out a national emergency together. These discussions were in part the motivation for the decision to undertake the review.
The review started on 16 April and finished on 19 April. It was clear that local authorities were not using their Twitter feeds to ask that question at that time. The task was complete.
However, the following day, 20 April, Brighton and Hove announced that it was about to provide local residents with more space to walk and cycle during the coronavirus crisis and lockdown by temporarily closing a road to traffic. That announcement, the first such decision by a UK council, prompted the decision to continue the review a little longer.
The continuation of the review has been in useful. It has set the scene ahead of the unveiling of the London Streetspace plan on 6 May (see Streetspace for Sutton: Setting the scene), and provided the opportunity to compare the different subsequent responses by the boroughs. The extended review has also set the context for Sutton’s response (which was clearly slower than some, but not as slow as others – also see Streetspace for London: news on the streets near us).
Sections 1.1 to 1.4 below form the substance of the introduction of the original article, with an overview of the findings from the initial review in section 1.5 and fuller detail provided in section 1.6.
To put the post in context, readers may find articles from the Ranty Highwayman of interest: It’s The Least They Could Do (18 April 2020); Seeking Closure With A Maniacal Manipulation Of Movement (2 November 2014); Experimental (15 January 2017). Also, this short note from Transport Initiatives on how councils and transport professionals can work on active travel to address the impact of Covid-19. Local active transport – helping address impact of Coronavirus (Transport Initiatives, 13 April 2020) PDF.
The extended review, the part of the review that is of far more interest as it transpires, begins in section 2.
1.1 Social distancing guidelines
It is clear that, in the urban and suburban context, pavements and footways are often insufficiently wide enough for people to pass each other whilst enabling compliance with the social distancing guidelines of staying two metres apart (without stepping on to the carriageway and potentially putting themselves in danger). In many cases there may not be a lot that can be done about this, and people may chose to avoid such locations if they can. In some locations, though, there is the opportunity to implement emergency, temporary, fairly simple measures that would go someway towards resolving this issue and, at the same time, improve conditions for cycling.
1.2 Facilitating social distancing
In the context of our borough, the measures that may be more appropriate to facilitate social distancing, particularly in busy locations, could include (1) the suspension of parking (particularly in local shopping areas) where the footways are narrow (e.g. Westmead Road, Carshalton Central; Cheam High Street, Cheam); and (2) the removal of through motor-traffic where overall space is constrained (whether this is due to the built environment, e.g. York Road railway bridge, Sutton West, or due to the extent of kerb-side parking, possibly Ross Road, Wallington South), or where, despite traffic levels being much lower than would normally be the case, the number of vehicles is still inappropriate for a residential area (e.g. The Square, Talbot Road, Seymour Road, Carshalton Central).
1.3 Are local authorities taking the lead?
It is recognised that local authorities are under incredible pressure at the moment, with many competing priorities for their resources, and the current crisis is fast changing. It is also clear that the key message is stay at home. Nevertheless, our borough councils are the highway authorities with responsibility for 95% of the streets, and have an important role to play in ensuring public safety. Consequently, there would be the expectation that, at the very least, local authorities would reach out and ask their residents to feedback ideas in order to more readily support active travel in their neighbourhoods during these challenging times.
The question is, are they?
1.4 Reviewing the official Twitter feeds of London’s local authorities
In a crude attempt to access the level of concern and importance given by the local authorities in the capital in relation to easing the stress that can be experienced in the public realm during this unsettling period, this post reviews the tweets published by London boroughs over a short period of time in mid-April 2020.
The criteria set for the review is as follows: A local authority’s tweet is highlighted if it mentions walking, cycling, active travel, social distancing, staying two metres apart, or provides a reference to a strategy or policy document that looks at the bigger picture. Any mention of driving (speeding, or proposals relating to parking) are also included. Retweets are not included, and generally neither are tweets that promote the ‘stay at home’ message (noting that Tower Hamlets council was very strong on this). Every effort is made to ensure accuracy, but inevitably some tweets may be missed. Also, just because a borough does not publish a tweet relating to the criteria, does not mean the authority is not making other important announcements appropriate to its area. Importantly, Twitter does not, of course, provide the complete picture (far from it)!
On parking, it should be noted that Sutton Council suspended the enforcement of all non safety related parking restrictions in the borough on 23 March (and it likely that more boroughs did the same). Two days later, on 25 March, the Government announced that free car-parking was to be provided for all NHS and social care staff, and subsequently the NHS Free Parking Search service was launched.
This review covers just as short period in mid-April 2020, between Thursday 16 April (8am) and Sunday 19 April (around 5.30pm). The starting date just happened to be the day on which the First Secretary of State, Dominic Raab, announced that the initial three-week lockdown would be extended for a further three weeks, and also twenty-four days after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had given his important #StayHomeSaveLives update on 23 March. The end time of 5.30pm on Sunday was simply chosen because at that time there was a particularly good tweet to end on.
1.5 The findings from the review
During the four days of the review (see ‘The review in detail’ below) many local authorities posted tweets that clearly reflected the guidelines issued by the government. Stay home to protect the NHS and save lives, and keep your distance when out for permitted activities. The overall message was stay at home, but if you do go out (with the local park generally cited as the destination) you should keep two metres apart once there. Quite understandable.
What was not being seen, however, was a great deal of evidence that local authorities were recognising the challenges that many people may be experiencing as they walk or cycle locally for their essential trips or short periods of exercise outside of the environs of a park. Could this suggest that, when it comes to our public realm, you take it as you find it? Perhaps boroughs consider that any simple measures that could be taken to help people keep their distance out on the street are all too difficult to implement, or that with people staying at home anyway the pressure here would be minimal. Perhaps there was concern that by creating space for people on foot of cycle in an area would simply attract people to that area. Who knows?
Clearly, it is not helpful to be too critical at this difficult time, as there is a lot going on. There will be plenty of time to consider who did what, when, and where, when the crisis abates. That is partly the reason for this ‘moment in time’ review. Nevertheless, as noted in ‘Local active transport – helping address impact of Coronavirus’ (Transport Initiatives, April 2020), councils, stakeholders and community groups could work together in a clear framework to help reduce pressure on hard pressed council officers (as is being done in many areas to provide food to vulnerable people).
Just one tweet from each local authority saying something like “If you find taking a walk, a jog, or cycle ride whilst observing social distancing in your neighbourhood challenging, possibly due to constraint of space, let us know. There may be options we can introduce to help” would go some way to show recognition.
The government’s advice is very clear. Stay at home. Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do (as of 18 April 2020 – check updates at GOV.UK/coronavirus)
- Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
- If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
- Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
1.6 The review in detail
Thursday, 16 April 2020
Here are the full set of tweets that London boroughs posted during 16 April that met the criteria of the review. They certainly give a flavour of the social distancing message being put across. Starting with Lewisham… you need to stay at least 2 metres from others at all times ….then by way of Westminster; Southwark; Haringey; Lewisham again; Kingston; Barking and Dagenham; Camden; Haringey again; Harrow; Newham; Waltham Forest again; Hillingdon; and Lewisham one more time, …to Waltham Forest, and only leave the house for food, medical reasons, or essential work; wash your hands regularly, and stay 2m away from others.
Friday, 17 April 2020
The number of tweets that were posted today, in relation to the review criteria, increased on those posted the previous day – possibly reflecting the proximity of the coming weekend.
Barnet on relaxing parking enforcement; Haringey on social distancing; Barnet reminding people that parks and open spaces are for essential exercise only; Richmond on only leaving your home for essentials and keeping your distance to more than 2 metres; Croydon stay at home and a reminder that you should only go out once a day to either exercise, to buy essentials, or for medical needs; Islington and the borough’s Biodiversity Plan; Havering on following the government guidelines; Hounslow social distancing applies to everyone – including those on bikes; Camden stay home, save lives; Harrow remember to follow the social distancing rules; Lambeth staying fit and staying safe.
Then Bexley with a reminder that if you do visit a park for your daily exercise, walk to the local park and observe the current social distancing guidelines; Lewisham on a similar theme, stay as local as possible, only use local park once a day, don’t gather in groups, and keep at least two metres from others; Hounslow please stop speeding; Waltham Forest do not let your children use locked playgrounds; Kingston everyone’s continued efforts will save lives and protect the NHS; Camden on what to do if you are walking the dog in a local park; Westminster similarly, keep your dog on a lead; Barnet stay at home (unless for reasons stated); Greenwich stay at home this weekend; Lewisham follw the government’s advice on social distancing and help ensure the borough’s parks stay open (nice video); Lambeth, again on parks, and not spending too much time in them, be considerate and no picnics or gatherings; Lewisham and how you can play a vital role in the fight against coronavirus by remaining indoors; Islington, and instructions to help keep the parks open; Haringey and dogs on leads (and a gif to boot!); Barnet helpfully putting ‘2 metre’ markings in some of the local parks; Islington continuing the theme on parks an open spaces (importance for our physical and mental health) and keeping 2 metres apart; Greenwich noting that the cycling industry has dome together to make cycling more accessible to those who work hard to get us through the COVID-19 crisis (with a link to the Sustrans offers on cycles and bike-sharing schemes); Wandsworth keep in mind social distancing regulations; Hounslow parks, and only use them briefly once a day; Barnet and parks; Croydon COVID-19 update in a message from the leader of the council; Haringey thanking everyone for using the parks responsibly; and finally, in our round-up today, Hounslow reminding residents that you can only visit a park briefly, once a day, for exercise and, if the rules are breached, parks will be closed.
Saturday, 18 April 2020
Twenty of London’s thirty-two boroughs, tweeted on the theme of social distancing on 18 April. All in a similar vein of the previous two days.
Barking and Dagenham 1; Barking and Dagenham 2; Barnet; Bexley 1; Bexley 2; Bexley 3; Camden 1; Camden 2; Camden 3; Camden 4; Croydon 1; Croydon 2; Ealing; Greenwich 1; Greenwich 2; Haringey 1; Haringey 2; Haringey 3; Haringey 4; Haringey 5; Havering 1; Havering 2; Havering 3; Hillingdon 1; Hillingdon 2; Hounslow 1; Hounslow 2; Hounslow 3; Islington 1; Islington 2; Islington 3; Kingston; Lewisham 1; Lewisham 2; Lewisham 3; Merton; Redbridge; Southwark 1; Southwark 2; Southwark 3; Southwark 4; Tower Hamlets 1; Waltham Forest 1; Waltham Forest 2; Waltham Forest 3; Westminster 1; Westminster 2.
Sunday, 19 April 2020
From today’s review it appears that some boroughs may be more readily promoting the stay at home message rather than the keep your distance message. There is a lot of focus on the use of public parks (perhaps reflecting yesterday’s message from the government that parks must be kept open). A fabulous tweet from Richmond Council highlighting a rainbow road was a good point on which to end the review.
But nothing, as yet, that would suggest local authorities are either reaching out to ask their residents for ideas, or that local authorities are moving towards more readily supporting active travel in their neighbourhoods during these challenging times.
Merton reminded residents to stay at home this weekend, to follow government social distancing guidelines and only go out for essential exercise, food or medication, and Westminster had much the same message . Along the same theme, Lewisham shared its lovely video again.
Barking and Dagenham reminded residents that NHS staff, frontline workers and volunteers continued to do amazing work and that’s why they were being offered free parking.
Then it was back to parks and social distancing, with Croydon politely asking people to use the local parks safely and responsibly, and Camden did the same. Haringey reminded residents that dogs must be kept on leads at all times when in their parks and open spaces, Redbridge gave some recommendations for park usage, with Barnet providing some rules for park usage too.
London Councils called on everyone to follow official advice.
Kensington and Chelsea say enjoy the weekend but resist the urge to sunbathe. Islington reminds everyone only to use your local park once a day. Lewisham promotes the guidelines. Barnet #StayHomeSavesLives. Greenwich #KeepMovingSaveLives. Bexley #StayHomeSaveLives. Richmond #ProtectTheNHS. Redbridge #StayHomeSaveLives. Hounslow Please follow safety rules and social distancing #LondonTogether. Wandsworth keep at least two metres apart. #StayHomeSaveLives. Harrow keep moving in the parks, and thank you for following the rules! Havering stay at home this weekend. Greenwich please only go out for your one form of exercise today.
London Councils #LondonTogether.
Haringey thanks everyone for using the parks responsibly.Hillingdon #StayHomeStaySafe. Ealing #LondonTogether. Southwark #SouthwarkTogether. Lewisham stay as local as possible for your daily exercise . Barnet #StayHomeSaveLives. Greenwich when you go out, please take your litter home (with illustrations that showed that some people were not doing so.
It is good to see this thread from Hounslow Council, which recognises that more people are cycling for daily exercise and essential trips, and asks those who are driving not to speed and to look out for those walking and cycling.
Then Westminster, and a reminder to keep dogs on leads to ensure they can safely keep two metres away from other visitors.
Whilst welcoming everything that ensures NHS staff and key workers receive all the help they need, it is noted that Barnet Council tends to focus on free parking as a priority. This is not a criticism of the proposal to relax parking enforcement as such, and many other boroughs have made the same, or similar, decisions in the recent weeks (including Sutton), but it would be good have this balanced with the sort of messaging that Hounslow Council gave earlier today (e.g. if you have to drive, watch your speed, and keep your distance from those walking and cycling).
Then Camden, and back to keeping your dog on a lead. Havering stay home and be a #HaveringHero. Greenwich don’t sunbathe in the park etc. etc. #KeepMovingSaveLives. Tower Hamlets please shop safely #TowerHamletsTogether. Islington parks are usually quieter in the early morning or evening.
A delightful tweet from Richmond, on which to end the day, and the four days of the review.
2 What happened next? The extended review
On 20 April, one local authority (although not a London borough) took the lead. Consequently, the review of the official Twitter feeds of London’s local authorities is continuing. It will be interesting to see how long it is before any London boroughs follow suit….
Monday, 20 April 2020
Brighton and Hove Council became the first UK council to provide local residents with more space to walk and cycle during the coronavirus crisis and lockdown by temporarily closing a road to traffic from 20 April.
Then, Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst, in Coronavirus: Banning cars made easier to aid social distancing, wrote: “Barriers to imposing car-free streets are being lifted following a government decision to enable key workers to walk or cycle more safely”. Note, however, that this statement appears to be untrue….
Wednesday, 22 April 2020
A tweet from Lambeth highlighting the distribution of food parcels to residents by electric cargo-bike, another announcing the temporary widening of pavements in busy shopping areas from Hammersmith and Fulham, and tweets highlighting improvements to air quality from Harrow “making us think about the way we travel”, and from Newham “evidence for around the world highlights decreases in air pollution”, tend to indicate that the conversation may be adapting.
Thursday, 23 April 2020
Confirmation today that Hackney is looking at temporary measures to help people maintain social distancing. A respondent on Twitter posed a question for the Mayor of Hackney: “Hackney has a commendable commitment to tackling climate change and likes to lead the way. However, can [you] provide commitments that any ’emergency’ road filtering ideas crowdsourced by @jonburkeUK will undergo proper analysis and confirm that they will be under an ETO [Emergency Traffic Order]? The Mayor replies:
1/3: Some really exciting data coming through showing what we’re all seeing on our local streets – many more people out on their bikes for essential trips & exercise. The industry tells me bike shops are v busy, with people new to cycling & repairing bikes coming out of hibernation.
2/3: As we move towards planning for lockdown restrictions being eased, one thing is certain: we will need more space for cycling on busy roads, walking on our high streets & less motor traffic on residential streets.
3/3: We’re all hands on deck to ensure that Londoners who have started cycling more in the last few weeks, or want to start cycling when they go back to work, will be able to, safely, as restrictions are eased. Watch this space for more details…
Westminster Council agreed that the proposed borough-wide 20mph scheme be implemented (caught up with this news on 29 April).
Meanwhile, Haringey Council tweeted a reminder that breaking the speed limit is dangerous…. especially during this national emergency, and Greenwich advertised the LCC’s offer of free membership to #NHS workers during April, May and June.
Friday, 24 April 2020
Councillor Alexander Ehmann, ward councillor for St Margarets and North Twickenham (Liberal Democrat Party), Deputy Leader and Chair of the Transport and Air Quality Services Committee in the London Borough of Richmond, announced that he has tasked tasked officers with drafting a Post-Covid Transport Action Plan to consider options for changes to the public realm to help the council prioritise requirements to support residents health and wellbeing as we emerge from this crisis. “Richmond borough will devout considerable resource, within the budget that it has, to make sure that active travel, cycling and walking remain, and improve, as options within our borough“.
Councillor Jon Burke, ward councillor for Woodberry Down (Labour), Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm, London Borough of Hackney, along with the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, wrote to Transport Secretary Grant shapes to request clarification of the powers available to local authorities for the introduction of emergency road safety measures.
Councillor Anton Georgiou, ward councillor Alperton (Liberal Democrat), London Borough of Brent, wrote to council officers to ask if there are plans to free up unneeded road space to keep cyclists & walkers safe, adding “This period also gives us an opportunity to improve cycle routes which in the long term will help us to tackle the #ClimateEmergency & better our local air quality”.
Councillor Claire Holland, ward councillor for Oval (Labour), Deputy Leader of the Council (Environment and Clean Air), London Borough of Lambeth, agreed Lambeth council’s emergency plans to reduce road danger & enable safe social distancing. This was picked up on the Lambeth Council Twitter feed later the same day with “Important action coming soon to make sure we can keep up social distancing and travel safely around the borough“. Consequently, Lambeth was the first local authority in London to recognise, through an official Twitter feed, that social distancing and the way people travelled (outside of a park) was an important issue and that consideration was being given to address this. Therefore, as this tweet looked at the bigger picture, it was the first to meet the full criteria set for the review in this article!
Councillor Sophie McGeevor, ward councillor for Brockley (Labour), Lewisham Cabinet Member responsible for Environment and Transport, London Borough of Lewisham, said in a reply to a tweet that Lewisham was looking at options right now to the possibility of rolling out low traffic neighbourhoods, and that more details to be announced ASAP.
Saturday, 25 April and Sunday, 26 April 2020
Generally, the official borough Twitter feeds continued with the same messaging as the previous weekend. One of the tweets posted by Sutton Council reminded everyone to stay at least two metres away from others.
Monday, 27 April 2020
Lambeth Council became the first local authority in London to publish plans for reducing road danger and the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The Deputy Leader of Lambeth Council, Councillor Claire Holland, tweeted “As promised Friday, today we published plans for reducing road danger & the risk of COVID-19 transmission…. It will be a fluid process but it is essential as we are facing a public health/road danger emergency“.
Meanwhile, Merton Council announce that the temporary restrictions to parking around Wimbledon Common will be lifted but remain under review “…in the hope that people continue to stay safe and don’t travel to the common unless it’s an absolute necessity”. Kingston Council let people know that police are undertaking enforcement activity at locations which Transport for London has identified as having the greatest increase in speeds, with the reminder that, if you must travel, please watch your speed and drive safely. (The police continued to report shocking cases of excess speeding “Last week Traffic officers issued over 2,000 speeding enforcements including 65 above 100mph“). Barking and Dagenham Council reminded people that if you do go outside to exercise, make sure you keep 2 METRES APART when passing other people on pavements – let’s hope B&D takes Lambeth’s approach soon because, as we all know, pavements are not always two metres wide. Barnet Council promoted its Long Term Transport Strategy 2020-2024, asking “Have you been out walking recently and noticed how much quieter the roads are?“.
Tuesday, 28 April 2020
Hurray! Councillor Manuel Abellan, Sutton’s Cycling Champion, responded to the emails that some LCC members in Sutton had been writing to ward councillors, copied to the Leader of the Council, in which they asked for measures to make streets safer for key-worker travel and physical exercise during the Covid-19 lockdown. Cllr. Abellan said that he was already in discussions with Sutton Council officers about this, and that he would reply with a more detailed response as soon as possible. He asked for views on what specific actions and at what locations you would like Sutton Council to adopt any measures. We started to collaborate a list, and tweeted our thanks.
Update: see Help us list Streets for Social Distancing in Sutton (29 April 2020)
Lambeth Council declared, through its official Twitter feed, the news from yesterday that the authority had released the UK’s first emergency transport plan in response to coronavirus.
There was good news from Hackney Council too, with Cllr. Jon Burke, tweeting: “Delighted to announce the first pavement widening and motor vehicle restrictions as part of @hackneycouncil‘s emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic. Reallocating space to pedestrians and cyclists for improved road safety is critical at this time”. The news was presented on the Hackney Council website: Council to introduce emergency road safety measures to help maintain social distancing.
Camden Council reminded people to watch their speed when driving. Despite the reduced traffic levels, the speed limit in Camden of 20mph always applies. No one should be travelling on the roads unless they are a critical worker or making an absolutely essential journey.
It was good to see Hammersmith and Fulham Council promote their emissions-free, cargo bike delivery service. Meanwhile, Bexley Council framed the “Stay at home so you are doing your bit to protect the NHS and save lives” message with “Do not use public transport unless absolutely necessary“. Understandable, but arguably it would have been better if it had included “unnecessary driving is not recommended either”.
More good news later in the evening, when Stuart King, ward councillor for West Thornton (Labour), Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment, London Borough of Croydon, tweeted this thread: 1/4; 2/4; 3/4; 4/4.
Pleased to announce @yourcroydon emergency plans to reduce road danger during lockdown. We’ll be suspending parking at locations in London Rd & Portland Rd to allow temp widening of footway to support social distancing. More locations under consideration. 1/4
From this weekend we will start closing a number of rat runs to help reduce motor traffic in residential roads. Fewer vehicles makes for safer walking and cycling 2/4
We will also introduce a cycle lane in London Rd from Thornton Heath pond and West Croydon to help key workers & others travel to Mayday @CUH_NHS 3/4
Additional signage going in to encourage greater adherence to speed limits. Slow down, save lives, protect the NHS. 4/4
Wednesday, 29 April 2020
Caught up with the news today that, on 23 April 2020, Westminster Council had agreed that the proposed borough-wide 20mph scheme be implemented.
Just two days after Lambeth Council announced an emergency transport plan (see Monday above), the authority widened the first pavement in Herne Hill. Yes, that was quick!
Barnet Council asked residents to help develop a safe, reliable and convenient travel network that improves air quality and public health in a reminder of the borough’s ongoing Draft Long-Term Transport Strategy 2020-2041 consultation. Three hours later the council reminded everyone that it had relaxed parking enforcement to make sure residents who are self-isolating, NHS staff and other key workers are able to park.
Barking and Dagenham Council reminded everyone that public transport is vital to key workers so please avoid using it if you can – a much better phrasing than that used in a similar message by Bexley Council yesterday.
Good to see Wandsworth Council declare it was all set to operate a pop-up testing centre for those who think they may have contracted coronavirus on Friday and Saturday, and that there was to be a separate entrance for those on foot from those planning to arrive by car or on a bike.
Thursday, 30 April 2020
Good news today, with this confirmation from the official Twitter feed of Croydon Council: “New temporary schemes helping residents make better use of quieter roads during #Covid-19 lockdown are to be introduced across #Croydon“. There was a link too to Road closure scheme to help residents keep fit and healthy during lockdown on the council’s website.
Elsewhere, Greenwich Council asked “Looking for cycling-related activities for the kids?“.
It was great to see, as always, plenty of local authority tweets saying good things about helping with people’s health, providing help for small businesses, praising the bin men, carers and just generally advice and upbeat information.
Friday, 1 May 2020
The day started with Barking and Dagenham reminding residents that the council were offering key workers, and those volunteering, free parking during these unsettling times. On parking Hillingdon went further, declaring that the council had removed charges and time limits from all council public car parks and pay and display bays to provide additional parking capacity for residents and key workers.
Hounslow promoted a “Virtual Doctor Bike” session, and Barnet promoted its Draft Long-Term Transport Strategy again (declaring that it wanted better air quality & health for Barnet – see Draft Long Term Transport Strategy 2020-2041 Consultation).
Greenwich said do not travel on the roads unless you’re a critical worker or you’re making an essential journey, and watch your speed, everyone else does. Southwark had a similar message: “If you’re using a car at the moment, think before you drive – neither the police nor the NHS need the extra pressure of dealing with accidents #DriveSafe”. Meanwhile, Bexley’s focus was still on not using pubic transport.
Havering continued with the message to keep two metres apart in parks (highlighted by markers on the paths), and then later make sure you keep two metres apart if you need to leave the house. On the subject of parks, Sutton had a clever quiz tweet to help residents decide on which park to visit – it certainly kept things local!
So a lot about keeping two metres apart, but was anything happening to help social distancing outside of the parks and on the streets? Well yes, at last it was!
First some great news from Hackney: “From today, we’re temporarily restricting parking on Broadway Market and closing it to through-traffic to help maintain social distancing“. Unsurprisingly, Hackney Living Streets were very pleased about this, and then pleased again. Campaigner, and local resident, Brenda Puech posted a photo of new 2-metre markings – not in a park but on the street where people are expected to be when carrying out essential shopping and where they will be to support local businesses.
Then Lambeth announced “Our Highways team have now installed more temporary social distancing barriers at Loughborough Junction!“, later adding “Lambeth Council has become the first local authority in the country to produce an emergency plan focused on making changes to roads and pavements in the borough to improve road safety and to support social distancing whilst making essential journeys” – but this was known on 28 April as the link to Unique new plans for long term social distancing attested.
And then it was Southwark‘s turn: “We’ve provided more pedestrian space and we’re looking at other locations across the borough“, picked up by Councillor Richard Livingstone in this tweet.
But the best news of the day was yet to come.
Early in the evening, Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman posted a thread of four tweets (the first since his welcome announcements just over a week before on 23 April). (1/4, 2/4, 3/4, 4/4).
1/4: Thread Alert!! With public transport capacity reduced dramatically when restrictions area eased, up to eight million journeys a day will need to be made by other means. If just a fraction switch to cars, London will grind to a halt, choking our economic recovery.
2/4: That’s why @MayorOfLondon & @tfl are developing a Streetspace Plan to fast track changes to enable millions more people to safely walk and cycle. We’ll repurpose traffic lanes & parking spaces for temporary cycle lanes & widen footways for safe social distancing.
3/4: We will quickly build a strategic cycling network with temporary materials, create new routes to reduce crowding on underground lines, alter traffic lights to reduce crossing times, restrict roads to buses & bikes at certain times of the day.
4/4: These measures will reduce the risk of exposure to the virus whilst travelling. Ready my article here: Mayor’s Streetspace Plan could see cycling increased tenfold post-lockdown (BikeBiz).
Saturday, 2 May and Sunday, 3 May 2020
Over the seventh weekend of lockdown, Southwark provided a reminder, from yesterday, that the council was providing more pedestrian space: “You asked and we listened – following similar schemes across the city we’re helping residents #StaySafe and keep their distance when out and about”.
The issue of speeding was highlighted. Wandsworth noted that “The roads are quieter but the speed limit is the same. Please do not take advantage of the quieter streets and speed, you are putting your life and the lives of others in danger. Only travel if essential and protect the #NHS”. Kingston: “Speed is everything when it comes to a child’s chances of survival. Keep an eye on your speed. Keep your phone in the glove compartment so it can’t distract you”. (Noting that Kingston recently consulted on proposals to introduce 20mph across the borough, the results of which are currently being reviewed). Croydon: “There may be less traffic on the roads, but dangerous driving is never acceptable. Speeding puts yourself and others at risk, which can impact the #NHS. Always drive safely and obey speed limits. Keep away from the kerb, and look out for pedestrians and cyclists”.
Then Croydon said hello to the Exercise Street: “We’re introducing new measures, including some temporary road closures, to provide more space to keep fit and healthy during lockdown. To learn more and find a list of participating streets, visit our website: Parking, Streets and Transport“. (Five roads would be temporarily closed on Sunday 3 May to stop through traffic and allow residents to make better use of quieter roads for those walking and cycling. From Monday 4 May, residents living in cul-de-sacs can apply for a section of their road to be closed for an hour or two a day to create a safe space to exercise in).
Lambeth responded positively to a tweet from Lambeth Cyclists, and thanked their Highways team for moving so quickly to make this idea a reality – “helping to keep us all safe on our essential journeys”.
Meanwhile, Bexley provided a reminder that the council had made “free parking available in #Bexley for key workers during the pandemic, including those employed by the emergency services, carers & volunteers using their vehicle to help the wider community”, with a link to the details. And Barnet provided a reminder that the council had “relaxed parking enforcement to make sure residents who are self-isolating, NHS staff and other key workers are able to park”, with a link to the details. Barking and Dagenham reminded key workers of their entitlement to free parking too. (It should be noted that all council car parks are providing free parking for NHS staff, health and social care workers and NHS volunteers (critical care workers) Details from nhs-freeparking).
Outside of the local authorities sphere, Grant Shapps, Welwyn Hatfield MP and Secretary of State for Transport, when interviewed on Sky News on Sunday 3 May, spoke of how important active travel is and how it will play an important part of Covid recovery (as noted by Adam Trantor Bicycle Mayor for Coventry in this tweet, and picked up from Jonathan Kelly, Divisional Manager, #NHS Barts Heart Centre & Barts Cardiac Network in this tweet). Grant Shapps also said he would be speaking more about ‘that’ (where ‘that’ could have been a reference to active travel more generally or simply to the bicycle loan scheme) later. Let’s hope it is the former, which could mean there is going to to be some good news next week!
Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman expressed support for the wider footways provided by Hammersmith and Fulham, and support for TfL delivering more space for social distancing on its network.
Monday, 4 May 2020
The social distancing, staying two metres apart, and staying home messages were promoted by Westminster, Bexley, Lewisham, Camden (focus on using lifts), Bexley again, Lewisham again, Merton, Newham, Bexley (yet again), (unusually) Sutton, and Bexley, Lambeth, and Bexley. Westminster also advised website updated with all the latest advice. Merton added a Star Wars Day twist to daily exercise and the two-metre guidance, Southwark noted that keeping dogs on leads helped everyone. Camden on 2-metres again, to which someone uncharitably replied “Are we really that thick that we need to be constantly reminded?” Bexley thanked everyone for staying home, and saving lives; Croydon on the does and don’t in parks.
Barking and Dagenham declared that the council was working hard to keep the streets clean. Waltham Forest launched a new Business Directory for residents to see what local businesses were offering and whether they can find what they need in the shops nearby. Barnet let residents know there was an opportunity for them to get involved in a study conducted by @ucl into the psychological and social effects of COVID-19. The University College London fifteen-minute survey was subsequently shared by Lewisham. Islington reminded residents of Vision 2030, its plan to be a net-zero carbon borough by 2030, and invited them to tell the council what they think it should do to tackle the climate change emergency (with a link to the consultation). Ealing advised that Taxicard scheme members who were self-isolating or social distancing could now use the service to allow taxi drivers to collect essential items or family, friends or carers to do shopping or collect medication.
Meanwhile, Redbridge let key workers know that they could get a bike delivered to their door to help during the coronavirus outbreak as part of the council’s Try Before You Bike scheme. Hounslow announces new measures to improve Dukes Meadows will come into force this month to make it safer for people to enjoy for cycling & walking. These measures will include a trial closure of the road through Dukes Meadows at the point it passes through the tunnel under the railway bridge.
At lunchtime, Tom Edwards, Transport & Environment Correspondent BBC London, posted this tweet with a link to his report ‘London considers temporary bike lanes‘, in which it is reported that government has said walking and cycling will be part of transport plans otherwise, with many switching to cars, there will be more congestion. Plans are due to be announced for temporary bike lanes in London soon, noting that there could be a backlash from some motorists as road space is reallocated. Social distancing is changing how London looks, and how it operates. Later, this tweet from Tom linked to his article Coronavirus: Will London embrace walking and cycling?. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, says “Covid-19 is awful. It has been awful. There are very few silver linings. said that one potential silver lining from Covid-19 could be to have more people walking and cycling”.
The other big news of the day concerned Tower Hamlets and Lewisham……
During the evening, Tower Hamlets announced: “From Tuesday 4 May, a section of Old Ford Road near Victoria Park will be temporarily closed to motor vehicles to aid social distancing. Pedestrians and cyclists can cross Skew Bridge as normal and motorists can use alternative routes via Grove Rd, Roman Rd and St Stephen’s Rd“. A useful map graphic was included. The initiative received full support from Cllr. Dan Tomlinson, Labour Councillor for Bromley North, Tower Hamlets: “Super happy that we’ve been able to make this happen to support residents walking to and from Victoria Park to keep a safe social distance from one another”.
Meanwhile, and although not reported through the official feed of Lewisham Council, Councillor Sophie McGeevor, Brockley Labour Councillor and Lewisham Cabinet Member responsible for Environment and Transport tweeted: “We’re widening footpaths, installing modal filters, creating ‘pop up’ cycle lanes & school streets to help people in #Lewisham walk & cycle safely during COVID-19. To suggest changes to make your area friendlier for pedestrians & cyclists visit the website lewishamcovidtransport.commonplace.is“.
So Lewisham is actively reaching out to their residents and inviting them to suggest a scheme through a COVID-19 transport plans portal. This is exactly the sort of message that, at the outset of this review, we said would be good to see tweeted by London local authorities. Congratulations Lewisham (although it would have been good for this to have been promoted by the official council twitter feed – apologies if missed)!
Tuesday, 5 May 2020
Although the social distancing, keeping two-metres apart, and staying home messages are important, and continue to be promoted by many local authorities, from today the focus will be on what councils are actually saying and doing to provide safer space for social distancing on the road network (along with a few other traffic related items – although most references to parking are being ditched too, especially given that free parking for key workers is old news (see reference to the government’s announcement to this on 25 March above)!
One great example of what councils are doing out on the streets was Tower Hamlets, following-up its announcement from yesterday, that from today, a section of Old Ford Road near Victoria Park will be temporarily closed to motor vehicles to aid social distancing.
Meanwhile, Councillor Matt Clare, ward councillor for Eltham South (Conservative), opposition Transport & Environment spokesperson at Greenwich Council, called for advisory cycle lanes in Eltham (Bexley Road) and in Plumstead to be made mandator through removal of parking; the enforcement of the Trafalgar/Woolwich Rd mandatory cycle lane; and a safe bike commuter route from Eltham-Blackheath via Kidbrooke Park Road, and that action was needed now!
Elsewhere, Kingston noted that, as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, there had been a 47% decrease in NO2 in the borough largely due to the major fall in traffic. Richmond suggested residents could keep a ‘climate change diary’ for local group @LetOutside to record local differences that are visible in the environment (details in Keep a climate change diary during lockdown).
And finally, the tweet that had eluded us throughout the last two weeks finally arrived….thank you Greenwich!
“Once lockdown is lifted we’ll need to find a safe, socially distanced way for people to get to work. Walking & cycling are safer, but will present a challenge in some areas due to limited space. Are there particular areas you think we should pay attention to in our plans?“
We retweeted enthusiastically to give our support to Greenwich!
Wednesday, 6 May 2020
Today things continued to move on. Following the announcement made on Friday (1 May) regarding the Mayor’s Streetspace plan, the Mayor’s Press Office released Mayor’s bold new Streetspace plan will overhaul London’s streets as announced in this tweet.
The press release noted that TfL, working with London’s boroughs will make changes – unparalleled in a city London’s size – to focus on three key areas:
- The rapid construction of a strategic cycling network, using temporary materials, including new routes aimed at reducing crowding on Underground and train lines, and on busy bus corridors.
- A complete transformation of local town centres to enable local journeys to be safely walked and cycled where possible. Wider footways on high streets will facilitate a local economic recovery, with people having space to queue for shops as well as enough space for others to safely walk past while socially distancing.
- Reducing traffic on residential streets, creating low-traffic neighbourhoods right across London to enable more people to walk and cycle as part of their daily routine, as has happened during lockdown.
London Councils (possibly under a sense of obligation?) followed the Mayor’s press release (or actually preempted it) by tweeting early morning, and then tweeting again later in the morning and yet again during the afternoon with this (our emphasis):
Boroughs are pivotal in London’s response to Covid-19, using all powers at their disposal to aid social distancing and efficient movement of people. To help this:
- Don’t make unnecessary journeys
- Get on your bike
- Drive carefully and park responsibly
And so it begins!
Enfield noted that “cycling can offer a reliable transport alternative for #keyworkers“, before releasing a statement from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability Cllr Dogan on Enfield Council in preparation for the borough for ease of lockdown, and then added This says it all: “@CycleEnfield can be compared to the workplace smoking ban…it faced opposition before implementation followed by acceptance, appreciation & disbelief it had not been implemented before.” Improving the environment through active travel: Public health transformation seven years on.
No similar response from Sutton, but there was welcome notification that “there will be a Coronavirus Mobile Testing Unit at Sutton Station carpark today and tomorrow. Testing is by booking only, and all appointments for today have now been booked”, with the the request that “Unless you are attending a booked appointment, please avoid driving around the Sutton Station area“.
Waltham Forest posted the message: “This week, we’re introducing the first part of our temporary road measures to improve road safety for our residents who are travelling around the borough for essential journeys. To find out more information, take a look at our website…”. Temporary road measures during Covid-19.
Lewisham noted that only a third of car journeys in London are over three miles, and that therefore there is a huge potential to shift these journeys to walking and cycling. A point that was made in Sutton’s Sustainable Transport Strategy five years ago. Later, Lewisham went on to note that there had been a reduction in traffic and improvement in air quality in recent weeks as more people stay at home or make journeys by foot or bicycle.
Islington reminded residents that they could rent a bike, that NHS staff were being offered free secure cycle parking, and that there had been a big decrease in traffic and NO2 pollution across London since lockdown. “Cleaner air is a permanent goal” and the council was “determined that recent gains made through council policies like School Streets will continue”. A link to Dramatic improvements in air quality on London’s roads, GLA, 23 April 2020) was included.
Although council tweets on parking are not generally now reported on in this analysis (as discussed yesterday), it may be worth noting that whilst all this was going on Hillingdon reminded residents that charges and time limits had been removed from from all council public car parks and pay and display bays to provide additional parking capacity for residents and key workers in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and Bexley repeated the much aired notice (reflecting the 25 March announcement from the government) that “We’ve made free parking available in #Bexley for key workers during the pandemic … ” (and again, exactly forty-eight hours later – suggesting a scheduled notification). Clearly, these boroughs are not changing their tune. Free secure bike parking for NHS? Cycling as a reliable transport alternative for key workers? London Streetspace? Nothing to see here…
Elsewhere, there was more compelling news for active travel aficionados. Kingston mentioned some upcoming Dr Bike sessions (not just in Kingston, but and in Sutton too) with a link to Cycle Skills Training, and Croydon tweeted about a Try Before You Bike scheme.
The best news of the day from a borough was, perhaps not surprisingly, forthcoming from Lambeth, highlighting the action being taken in relation to the council’s recently introduced Transport Emergency Response at Herne Hill and then at Loughborough Junction.
Thursday, 7 May 2020
It was Lambeth that featured strongly again today too. “More social distancing measures put in place, and this time it’s Brixton. Widening pavements to help to protect people in the borough taking essential journeys“, and “we promised, we delivered“.
Islington reminded residents again of the offer of free secure cycle parking at the Finsbury Park Cycle Hub until June for NHS staff, and Croydon repeated both the issue of speeding, and the proposal for exercise streets.
The big borough news of the day came from Hounslow:
“A range of traffic-management measures are being rolled out across Hounslow to help keep pedestrians and cyclists healthy and safe during #COVID. The projects will create more space for people to implement social distancing“. A link to this video, in which Cllr Hanif Khan, Lead Member for Transport and explains the range of traffic-management measures are being rolled out across Hounslow to help keep pedestrians and cyclists healthy and safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Plus a link to New traffic measures to improve road safety and help social distancing.
Meanwhile, Leader of Sutton Council, Ruth Dombey, said (not for the first time) “Our ambition is to make Sutton the safest, greenest borough and the best place to live, work and raise a family in London“, as Sutton Council announced that it will be recommending to strengthen its leadership team with the addition of a second Deputy Leader at no extra cost to the taxpayer at its annual Full Council meeting on 18th May. Cllr McCoy will be Deputy Leader with special responsibility for Housing, Economy and Business and Cllr Abellan (Cycling Champion) will be Deputy Leader with special responsibility for Climate Change and Sustainable Transport. They will share the Deputy Leader allowance so that there is no additional financial cost to the council. Read Ruth’s statement here: Sutton to strengthen its leadership team.
Friday, 8 May 2020 – VE Day 75 years on
A bank holiday to commemorate the ending of World War II in Europe seventy five years ago, and to reflect on the sacrifice made by so many.
Despite the bank holiday, Merton released the news that the council been working with Councillor Martin Whelton to quickly introduce new measures to streets in the borough that support socially distanced travel like cycling and walking. The first phase of proposals was made available through a link to the borough’s Covid-19 Transport Strategy. ^^^
Croydon announced a that five new roads were being added to the schemes providing more space for residents to use quieter roads during lockdown… Exercise Streets (with a link to Low traffic and exercise streets)…
…. and Hounslow followed-up on yesterday’s news that a range of traffic-management measures were being rolled out across the borough to help keep pedestrians and cyclists healthy and safe during the coronavirus pandemic, with a link to a consultation (open until the end June 2020) wonderfully facilitated at COVID-19 Transport Response: Hounslow’s Streetspace (Commonplace). ^^^
Saturday, 9 May 2020
^^^ From Croydon, more on the great initiative Exercise Streets: “We’re introducing new measures, including some temporary road closures to through traffic, to provide more space to keep fit and healthy during lockdown. To learn more and find a list of participating streets, visit: http://ow.ly/Vs5J50zA4rC #CroydonTogether #StayHomeStaySafe”…
^^^ …..and from Waltham Forest a reminder that temporary road measures have been introduced at four locations across the borough including High Road Leytonstone and Higham Hill Road (see Temporary road measures during Covid-19), and then the news that Deputy Leader, Cllr Clyde Loakes had appeared twice on BBC One Breakfast live from Leyton this morning talking about Waltham Forest’s neighbourhoods improvement programme and how the council give more priority to pedestrians and cyclists.
^^^ The big news of the day came when the Transport Secretary, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, delivered the daily government briefing on coronavirus (Covid-19). In his statement, a transcript of which is here, the Transport Secretary announced a £2 billion package to support active travel to help the country emerge from coronavirus crisis (noting this part of the £5 billion package for buses and cycling announced in February 2020). The accompanying news story from the Department for Transport, “£2 billion package to create new era for cycling and walking“, is here. New national statutory guidance (Traffic Management Act 2004: network management in response to COVID-19), which includes measures on reallocating roadspace was published today too, and can be found here.
Sunday, 10 May 2020
Barnet started the day with a reminder that the closing date for comments on the borough’s Draft Long-Term Transport Strategy was today. “We have long-term plans to improve Barnet’s transport network….. We want better air quality, health & a safe, reliable, convenient transport network!”, and the link to the Draft Long Term Transport Strategy 2020-2041 Consultation. Islington had a consultation too. “Islington Council has declared a climate change emergency and has pledged to be a new zero-carbon by 2030. We’d like to know how you think we could achieve this and to comment on our initial plans: Vision 2030: building a net zero carbon Islington consultation (31 March 2020 to 31 July 2020).
^^^ From Merton, a follow-up to yesterday: “We’re working to introduce new measures to help us all #SocialDistance when travelling around #Merton. Pavement widening in town centres; Paid parking zone suspensions to widen footpaths; Temporary cycle lanes. See our Covid-19 Transport Strategy“….
^^^ …. and Lewisham (even better): “In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we want to help people make the essential trips they need to on foot or by bicycle. Find out more about measures to widen footways and pedestrian space in Deptford High Street and Luxmore Street, Brockley”, with a link to Measures to support walking and cycling during the COVID-19 outbreak. And, as lockdown eases, “Residents appear to have been walking and cycling more during the lockdown period. We really welcome the reduction in traffic and improvement in air quality in recent weeks and support these changes in the long-term“.
Camden show the love for keyworkers: “Getting our #keyworkers to & from essential roles is crucial to support the response to #COVID19. To show our support, we’re offering free parking & bikes for essential workers. Jump bikes in Camden are also free to #NHS workers” and a link to Parking and Travel.
Citycyclists highlighted possibilities in Greenwich.
Harrow, Bexley and Ealing were amongst the boroughs in repeat mode about social distancing in parks (and to stay at home). Nothing wrong with that. But, as important as that message is, it would be good to see something about making social distancing easier on the streets too, or to reach out to ask their residents for ideas and suggestions. Which street? What location?
Monday, 11 May 2020
^^^ A fabulous message from Waltham Forest “We have 40 cycles available for free use for our key workers . If you want to travel safely and sustainably at this time, then we’re here to help“. This was followed later in the day with more good news from the mini-Holland, award-winning, borough “We have introduced temporary road measures at four locations across the borough including Cann Hall Road and Wood Street E11. You can see the full list and more information here“.
^^^ Islington announced that “We’re introducing new measures to our streets to help people follow social distancing guidelines at busy locations. Pavements have been widened at two sites this afternoon: Liverpool Road – junction with Richmond Avenue; Essex Road – outside Tesco Express”. Followed by “As lockdown restrictions begin to ease we’re getting Islington moving again – safely. Protecting the health of our residents is our top priority. More locations to follow”.
Apart from those good news items, not a lot was happening on the official Twitter feeds of councils in London today that would indicate the boroughs were moving forward with either the Mayor’s bold new Streetspace plan (Mayor’s Press Office, 6 May) or the Government’s Statutory Guidance on measures to reallocate road space (Department for Transport, 9 May).
^^^ There was an important development from TfL, with the press release ‘TfL announces plan to help London travel safely and sustainably‘: “Following the Government’s announcement of an outline roadmap for the next period, Transport for London (TfL) today set out its initial plan to support this and help Londoners who need to travel do so safely and sustainably. This will be supplemented over the coming days following advice on travel to be issued by Government, and “If you need to travel, please reimagine how you do so. Walk and cycle if you can. New walking and cycling space is being created through the London Streetspace programme to further support this” (more on this the following day, 12 May).
A few other tweets worthy of mention… Engine idling received a mention with Lambeth announcing (and we really need to see more of this across London) that, from 18 May, fines would be issued to those who refuse to switch off their engines while stationary. Why? Because idling causes unnecessary pollution, and breathing in toxic fumes has harmful effects on our health. Kingston posted a reminder that the Dr Bike team would be in the Kingston Hospital car park tomorrow from 10am to 5pm, providing bike check-ups for hospital staff, and at St. Helier Hospital on Weds 13 May. and Hillingdon promoted national walking month, (keeping a safe distance of course).
Meanwhile, and unsurprisingly perhaps given the priorities shown by Barnet in relation to essential travel over the past few weeks, the best this outer London borough could come up with was the continued mantra that “We’ve relaxed parking enforcement to make sure residents who are self-isolating, NHS staff and other key workers are able to park”.
Tuesday, 12 May 2020
Today commenced with Bexley reminding everyone that there is free parking for key workers for the nth time, while Richmond advise (for the first time) that enforcement on all on-street parking will resume on the 25th May, but that free parking for NHS staff, carers and volunteers will still be in place. Wandsworth then followed with a similar announcement “Normal parking controls will resume from May 25 for most drivers, free parking will continue for NHS staff, carers and volunteers“, with full details in Important update on parking enforcement in Wandsworth.
Kingston: “TfL has announced new plans to keep travel safe throughout COVID-19. Face masks must now be worn on London bus and Underground journeys at all times, while new hand sanitiser points will be installed across the network. Read more here: http://ow.ly/2Dna50zDYDz” (TfL Press release: TfL announces plan to help London travel safely and sustainably).
From Waltham Forest “Pleased to see a @wheelsforheroes
cycle land in #WalthamForest. Thanks to our partners over at @BromptonHire
for providing 👍🏽 and on #InternationalNursesDay – thank you to all our hardworking nurses, just like Laura”.
The tweets of note today were…
^^^ … from Lambeth, “Lambeth – we need YOUR knowledge! Use our new map to tell us where narrow pavements make it hard to keep a distance. We’ve got limited resources, but we’re doing our best to widen pavements in the busiest areas. And here is the map: Tell us where it is difficult to socially distance to help us prioritise where more space is needed…..
^^^ …. and from Greenwich, “To transform our streets to maintain #SocialDistancing we’re planning to: widen footpaths; reduce through traffic on residential streets; create more School Streets; bring forward plans for the Greenwich – Woolwich cycle route. Read more: Plans to improve streets to maintain social distancing.
Meanwhile today, Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, in his statement about the new transport guidance for passengers and operators published by his Department today said “…..we are actively asking those who need to make journeys to their place of work or other essential trips to walk or to cycle wherever possible” (from All Party Cycling 13 May 2020).
^^^ From Transport for London: Streetspace for London. For borough officers, “we’re preparing guidance to help London’s boroughs, local authorities and our other partners plan, design and create the most effective and sustainable walking and cycling infrastructure possible“.
Worthy of note, but not on local authority official feeds (why not, one wonders?):
^^^ From Brent: Pavements to be widened to help people keep their distance.
Also very worthy of note, and also not from a local authority official feed, Labour Cycles (a community of Labour members committed to ensuring active travel is the for the many, not the few) published Council Covid Transport Action plans. “Councils from across the country are drafting emergency plans to protect walking and cycling. Four leading councillors joined a national webinar on Thursday 7th May to share the why, how and what of their plans”. We understand that at least two councillors representing our borough joined the webinar. Here is a direct link to YouTube ‘Labour – Emergency street planning during Covid-19 – Webinar‘, better still watch it here….
Wednesday, 13 May 2020
^^^ Waltham Forest: Good to see this tweet: “Joy Riders have put together a key worker commuter cycle route video, which shows the quickest route between Walthamstow Central and the Royal London Hospital. It also has helpful tips to travel safely at this time. Thanks to the team!” (Fabulous, but you might find viewing a little better with sound turned down a bit)! Later in the day, Waltham Forest went on to post a reminder of Cycle Confident activities for children and, of course, Walk Cycle and Enjoy Waltham Forest. In the early evening, news that “Work is now restarting on Blackhorse Junction, #Walthamstow to improve routes for pedestrians and cyclists“.
^^^ Another star of the day was Richmond. Firstly, an update on recommencement of parking enforcement, with a message explaining the situation from Cllr Alexander Ehmann, Chair of the Transport and Air Quality Services Committee. Then a post on cycling safety, including a video featuring Lib Dem Councillor for Ham Petersham and Richmond Riverside, Gareth Richards, and how to find out more about cycling in Richmond. Followed late by a news item, advising that measures were to be installed on busier roads and pavements in the borough to help people observe social distancing during essential journeys, Work to start on urgent measures to make our streets safer.
^^^ Some fabulous, and useful, information was disseminated by Camden too. Including, on parking and on speeding, then asking “Where do you think we can make changes like widening pavements, pop up cycle lanes, and restricting traffic to help you travel safely in your local area?” with a link to Making travel safer in Camden.
^^^ Greenwich announced “We’ve added more detail to our plans to transform our streets so that everyone can maintain #SocialDistancing. Work to widen the footways near the gyratory in #Greenwich will begin this week”, with a link to Plans to improve streets to maintain social distancing. Later, a reminder that May was National Walking Month.
Ealing asked people to rethink their commute, Enfield offered a fix a bike service, Havering still reminding people to keep two metres apart and Bexley getting better on avoiding public transport, adding, that if possible walk, cycle or go by car (in that order)! Kensington and Chelsea ‘North Ken News‘ June 2020 “E-bikes keep the borough connected”.
Elsewhere (not through an official local authority feed, but courtesy of Brent Cyclists, we learn that pavements are to be widened in Brent.
^^^ But the big news of the day (again not officially announced through the official feed of the authority concerned), was that the City of London publishes Covid-streets strategy – prioritising walking, cycling and public transport. (The City of London did tweet once during the day, and it was an open letter to Londoners about parks and open spaces, which was good to read too).
Thursday, 14 May 2020
From today, only the tweets that stand out ^^^ make the selection!
^^^ Southwark reached out! “COVID-19 and the lockdown have changed how we live, work and travel. How can we help make your local streets healthier and safer?“. With a link to Help us combat COVID-19 by suggesting healthier streets.
^^^ Islington put in new measures ….. to help people maintain social distancing, with more schemes to follow.
^^^ Greenwich moved ahead with plans “to improve streets to maintain #SocialDistancing, starting in #Greenwich…”.
^^^ City of London “set out transport plans to ensure the gradual safe return of people who work, live and visit the Square Mile. It will provide additional space for people walking and cycling, support businesses and manage demand on public transport” >
Worthy of note, but not on local authority official feeds, Brent briefed the borough’s Chief Executive on the proposed transport response to COVID-19 (pdf), looking at the effect on transport in the borough and plans to introduce measures in the short, medium and longer term.
London Cycling Campaign: Councils told they must prioritise cycling and walking, now.
Friday, 15 May 2020
A lot of fabulous stuff happened today….
^^^ …..notably this from the Mayor’s Press Office: “.@MayorofLondon
will create one of the world’s largest car-free areas in Central London as part of his #StreetspaceLDN Plan to enable millions more people to safely walk and cycle” with a link to Car-free zones in London as Congestion Charge and ULEZ reinstated, ….
^^^ …..and this from TfL… with the publication of ‘Interim Local Implementation Plan (LIP) 2020/21 Annual Spending Submission Sunk Cost Guidance – Covid19’ (pdf), one of a number of documents published on TfL’s Streetspace for London page.
“The financial situation has meant that TfL has also had to put most of the design, development and funding projects on pause, in addition to the safe stop on construction, with limited exceptions for safety and operationally critical expenditure. This pause has included pre-planned Local Implementation Plan (LIP) funded and other borough programmes”.
However, there may be increased funding for some boroughs, and that one of the areas for increased funding includes…
“Low traffic neighbourhoods on borough roads to give space and security for local walking and cycling, and an enhanced ability to maintain social distancing. This also reflects views about enhanced local quality of life from reduced motor traffic during the lock down”.
^^^ TfL’s Streetspace for London. In addition to the update on the LIP guidance, a number of documents for borough officers were made available on the Streetspace for London page, including Appendix 4 ‘Analysis on temporary Strategic Cycle Network’. ^^^
Meanwhile, here are the top tweets from the London boroughs (mainly, it has to be said, the same boroughs who have been taking the lead (or not as the case may be) over the last couple of weeks….
The first today was from Brent, with: “The first social distancing measures have gone down in Harlesden today, widening busier stretches of pavement to help people #staysafe” (with a link to the details as provided on 12 May).
Greenwich with “Work to install the temporary barriers to widen the pavements in #Greenwich is progressing well, and it’s expected to be finished today as planned”, followed by “More space for walking“.
^^^ And from Hounslow the tweet that we have been waiting to see, reaching out to residents: “If there is a street that you feel needs attention for distancing, safety, cycling, speed or otherwise. Have your say on our StreetSpace consultation“, linking to COVID-19 Transport Response – Hounslow’s Streetspace.
^^^ Hammersmith and Fulham published: Adapting public spaces to make travel safer and support H&F businesses.
Ealing promoted walking and cycling, and Waltham Forest announced “There will be further parking suspensions introduced from Sunday 17 May,to make sure residents can maintain safe social distancing when using our high streets.
Meanwhile, all the best Merton could do was get excited about re-building a road bridge without a care for cycling infrastructure provision. A bridge that has been closed for nearly a year already. “We’re rebuilding #BishopsfordRoadBridge and would like to hear your viewpoints on design options“. Quite disgraceful in the here and now. But worse still, potentially extremely bad news for generations to come.
Saturday, 16 May 2020 and Sunday, 17 May 2020
After yesterday’s excitement, unsurprisingly, a lot quieter over the weekend. But, nevertheless, some further good news.
Following on from Hammersmith and Fulham‘s publication on Friday, the council tweeted the news on Saturday: “We are temporarily adapting streets across H&F to make social distancing easier, walking & cycling safer, and support businesses during the COVID-19 crisis and predicted recession. Pavements will be widened, and new segregated cycling lanes installed”.
Islington also mentioned new measures that it was taking: “Action to help social distancing by expanding pedestrian space at Nag’s Head in Islington…. More council schemes will follow very soon. Read more: Action to help pedestrians with social distancing at Nag’s Head in Islington.
Meanwhile, Merton advised that all car parks at the borough’s parks were now open with the exception of Wimbledon Common, adding “EXCEPT Wimbledon Common car parks, which are NOT council run”. The emphasis placed on ‘EXCEPT’ and ‘NOT’ could, perhaps, suggest that if it was up to them they would open the lot. Barking and Dagenham continued to highlight free parking.
On Sunday, Greenwich promoted National Walking Month from Living Streets (and how to find out more), and Westminster with a reminder that staying active was important and to travel on foot or by bike.
On a less positive note, Merton mentioned the Bishopsford Road bridge again (see 15 May) without mentioning, again, that rebuilding the bridge was a rare opportunity, an opportunity that needed to incorporate a future-proofed design in order to help the Mayor of London achieve the aspirations set out in his Transport Strategy (March 2018). Future generations are relying on us! Havering ran with a story that one of its car parks was full: “The nice weather has people flocking to our parks today. Bedfords Park is particularly busy making it difficult for people to exit the full car park. If you’re planning to get some fresh air, please enjoy one of our other parks or open spaces & remember to socially distance. (On Saturday, Havering had reminded people that if they were using the parks this weekend to take daily exercise, whether as a walker, jogger or cyclist, that it was really important to keep #socialdistance from each other. There was a further reminder on Sunday. Nothing yet, though, about #StreetspaceLDN (see 15 May), but then that is true of the vast majority of boroughs).
Monday, 18 May 2020
Whilst Bexley pumped out the same parking message (published in auto-pilot mode it would seem – although, around the same time Bexley did also ask people to walk, cycle and use the car in that order if they needed to travel), an hour later Richmond provided a gentle reminder that, from Monday 25 May, full enforcement of Richmond parking controls would resume, but free parking for NHS staff and social care workers would still be in place (and, by the way, please try to avoid engine idling). Approve of the messaging!
^^^ Newham joined the growing list of London boroughs announcing measures to ensure social distancing could be more readily provided on some of its streets: “We’re extending footways & temporarily removing parking bays in some parts of the borough as part of proposals to ensure social distancing can be maintained on our high streets (with a link to Social distancing in Newham). Remember to #StayAtHome & if you have to go out to #KeepYourDistance”.
^^^ From Southwark – help make travel safe and healthy – “We’re committed to quickly rolling out schemes to make travel safe and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis. Help us identify locations in your neighbourhood that may need measures to ensure people can get about safely” and a link to Street Space Southwark (great Commonplace map again).
^^^ And then, Wandsworth announced “Far reaching package of measures unveiled to improve safety and support social distancing on roads and pavements – to be rolled out across Wandsworth in the coming weeks and months to help keep pedestrians and cyclists safe during the #coronavirus pandemic” with a link to New measures to improve safety and support social distancing on roads and pavements. Shortly followed by “Measures include potential closure of some roads, widening pavements and introducing ‘one way’ walking systems on others, improving cycling routes and fast tracking ‘school streets projects’ already subject to public consultation”. More was to follow, with a quoted message from the council’s transport spokesman Cllr Paul Ellis: [1/2] “We are exploring a whole range of measures to improve the different ways of travelling and in particular ensure that people can walk and cycle safely and more easily”, and [2/2] “We are fully committed to doing what we can in an imaginative and effective way to encourage people to adopt new forms of travel and supporting them to do so in the safest possible way.”
^^^ A little later, Kensington and Chelsea announced “Portobello Road will be closing to cars during trading hours to help keep streets safe. Read more on @standardnews
to hear how we’re making streets safer” (with a link to the Evening Standard, Business, Section, ‘Traffic-free plan for Portobello Road to help market traders‘), plus an invitation to read more on the council’s website: ‘Changes to Portobello Road to make famous market safe for visitors post-lockdown‘”. “In the coming weeks the Council will go further to support the local economy to get moving and to help people walk and cycle safely, with public transport capacity much lower than before the pandemic struck. The Council will be applying for Transport for London funding to introduce speed restrictions, new and improved walking and cycling routes and safe shopping and school streets“.
Kingston announced publication of the latest resident update. The update included a message about active travel:
Active travel in Kingston
“Kingston Council is still urging residents to only make essential journeys. When you do travel, please walk or cycle if possible to keep the roads clear for those who need to drive.
We have invested heavily in our Go Cycle network to help provide a network of safe routes for cyclists across large parts of the borough, which also provide improvements for pedestrians. Details of all the routes can be found at http://www.kingston.gov.uk/go.
We’re still fully committed to our sustainable travel agenda and are urgently looking how to deliver extra temporary streetspace to help both pedestrians and cyclists travel safely, following social distancing.
If you need to make a journey via public transport, you can find the latest advice and guidance from Transport for London (TfL) by heading to http://www.tfl.gov.uk/coronavirus.
At the Sutton Full Council meeting this evening, Cllr. Manuel Abellan became the Deputy Leader of the Council, with special responsibility for Climate Change and Sustainable Transport.
Tuesday, 19 May 2020
The day started quietly, but it was good to see Waltham Forest ask the question “Thinking about cycling to work?“. If so, “our #EnjoyWF team are here to help with free cycle hire for our key workers 👍🏿 and lots of cycling resources too! Speak to the team, …. or find out more ..” with a link to the Get Cycling page at Enjoy Waltham Forest.
Richmond reminded residents again that enforcement on all on-street parking will recommence on Monday 25 May, not, again, that free parking for NHS staff and social care workers will still be in place. “Don’t get caught out! Find out more about the changes at Transport and parking. Barnet followed suit with “Following the Government’s recent announcement to relax the lockdown rules, we are preparing to reintroduce the enforcement of parking restrictions. Details on where to park, how to apply for a permit & other options offered will shortly be available at: Parking service updates (COVID-19)“.
Greenwich advised that “You might begin to notice highway works getting underway around the borough. The government has said that highway works can resume with safe systems of work in place. Staff working on sites will strictly comply with government guidance … Highway works to recommence around the borough (dated 15 May 2020).
Cargo bikes are helping local businesses to deliver during lockdown and Wandsworth promoted a directory (Cross River Partnership); local drivers in Ealing were urged to watch their speed; and Islington reminded residents of the council’s climate emergency commitment and asked people how they think this could be achieved with a link to the Vision 2030 consultation.
^^^ Then some great news from Kingston again: “Kingston Council to introduce measures to help make public spaces safer. Read more ‘Kingston Council to introduce measures to help make public spaces safer‘, which noted “More detail on the plans will be published within the next week”.
^^^ Followed shortly by good news from Brent too: “We’re making it easier for you to keep your distance and stay safe on busy stretches. Hear more from our Lead Members @kkrupas and @ShamaTatler”.
^^^ Late in the afternoon, Richmond gave an update on the borough’s post-Covid transport action plan, and progress has been made. “Hear from @AlexanderEhmann as he talks about the work that has begun to make our roads safer. Remember you can also contact our Rapid Response Team regarding any pavement pinch points which restrict social distancing on email@example.com”, and a link to ‘Work to start on urgent measures to make our streets safer‘ (13 May 2020, updated 19 May 2020). Three key areas:
- support town centres – including measures that support pedestrian social distancing
- prepare for schools reopening – spaces for social distancing outside
- commuting – enable people to chose to commute to work by means other than the car
The council hopes people agree that it is placing priority on the key areas, but please get in touch. Good work Richmond!
Wednesday, 20 May 2020
^^^ There was some good news from Sutton today. Not through the official feed of the council’s Twitter account, but from Cllr. Abellan (Deputy Leader Sutton Council, Chair Environment and Neighbourhood Committee): [1/3] [2/3] [3/3]
The full text from Manuel:
“Thank you to all the @cyclinginsutton members & others who have shared their #LondonStreetspace ideas with us. We are considering all of these as part of ambitious new plans to make walking & cycling easier and safer by providing more space for residents to keep fit & healthy during lockdown.
The new measures are part of the Council’s response to the #Covid19UK situation & will help ensure social distancing when travelling around the borough as well as reduce rat-running and improve local air quality.
@SuttonCouncil approach will be based on the healthy streets agenda & the concept of low-traffic neighbourhoods. We are putting the finishing touches on the first set of measures that should be announced very soon”.
(Meanwhile, the Deputy Leader of Richmond Council, Alexander Ehmann, wrote to the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, Heidi Alexander, and Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman, to ask for urgent measures to support cycling and walking on TfL roads).
Sutton also featured strongly today, but in a rather bizarre, and undesirable, way. Will Gavin tweeted “McDonalds Drive-Thru opened in Sutton today, here’s the queue..“. The news was ‘liked’ eighteen thousand times and ‘re-tweeted’ over five thousand times. We ‘re-tweeted with quote‘ (which received zero likes, and zero retweets)! (Note that McDonalds ‘re-opened’ today, rather than ‘opened’, as noted by this tweet from McDonaldsUK, with 550 retweets, 3.6k likes).
Unsurprisingly, the same subject was picked up elsewhere on Twitter, including by Simon Wickers with “Queues for McDonalds in Sutton today. Truly ridiculous. Shakes head in despair……” which included an interesting aerial photo (believed to have been sourced for the Daily Mail).
Particularly interesting, because some vestiges of cycling infrastructure either side of the 1930’s by-pass are visible in the image. Which is a reminder of Major cycling schemes for TfL roads to be presented to councillors (October 2015) with the quote “One day it might be just as easy to cycle past (or cycle to) McDonalds, as it to drive past (or drive thru’) today” and the follow-up Sutton Local Committee agree that cycling proposals be presented to TfL (November 2015). All came to nothing of course (as yet).
Meanwhile, back to the official Twitter feeds of London’s local authorities…
^^^ An opportunity for Hounslow’s residents to have their say on their streets had been in place since 7 May, but today Hounslow reached out to residents, in a similar way to Greenwich, Lambeth, Camden and Southwark (i.e. the elusive tweet, the tweet we set out to find at the outset) with “Do you feel there is a street that needs attention for #SocialDistancing, safety, cycling, speed or for any other reason? Help us improve our network to ensure the safety of all our residents and for those using local streets. Have your say: Hounslow Consultation Hub > COVID-19 Transport Response – Hounslow’s Streetspace (7 May – 25 June) > Commonplace.
^^^ Elsewhere, Islington with another scheme to help people follow social distancing guidelines at busy locations, and later in the day the news that Bikeworks has now made over 380 deliveries of food and medicine for our vulnerable residents!
^^^ Southwark with a reminder that the council was committed to quickly rolling out schemes to make travel safe and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis, asking residents again to help identify locations in their neighbourhood that may need measures to ensure people can get about safely.
There were ‘walk and cycle’ messages today from Hounslow, Camden, Greenwich and Waltham Forest; ‘parking’ messages from Richmond and Ealing, and messages relating to ‘speeding’ from Haringey and Croydon.
Thursday, 21 May 2020
Yet again, Lambeth demonstrated its ability to get on with things today. There was this : “Next week Oval Triangle will become the first low-traffic neighbourhood to be created as part of our response to Covid-19! Local residents will be protected from rat-running on roads where often more than 80% of current traffic is passing through..“, followed later on by “Oval Triangle is about to become an amazing low-traffic neighbourhood!” with a link to find out more at Oval Triangle Low Traffic Neighbourhood: part of Lambeth’s Covid19 response. Earlier in the day, Lambeth had applauded volunteer super heroes making deliveries by bike, and shown delight in seeing deliveries being made by horse too!.
Meanwhile, Barking and Dagenham had some planned road closures of its own to announce, and had asked residents earlier in the day if they could consider walking or cycling instead of using public transport (which was more than most boroughs were doing, apart from Westminster with “It’s important to stay active during this difficult time….. and travel by foot or bike“).
Even Merton prompted its Covid Transport plans again, with “We’re working to introduce new measures to help us all #SocialDistance when travelling around #Merton“. However, given that earlier in the day Merton had asked, once again, for comments on the cosmetic design options for the bridge on Bishopsford Road, a bridge that has been closed for nearly a year, and for which there appear to be no proposals to future-proof for safer active travel as part of the rebuilding programme, the good intention around social distancing in the here and now was, perhaps, somewhat questionable.
Neighbouring Wandsworth declared that it’s Dr Bike team was happy to support our local #NHSheroes. Later, Wandsworth announced it had “been successful in its bid to the @transportgovuk via @EnergySvgTrust for e-cargo bikes. They will go to local businesses & council teams to help the council meet its pledge to become carbon neutral & tackle climate change #GreenerWandsworth”, with a link to Successful bid for e-Cargo bikes. Plus more on the same news.
A little later still, Wandsworth reminded motorists “that parking enforcement will resume on Monday, May 25 – but free parking will continue to be offered to our #NHSheroes and #socialcareheroes“, a message picked up by Richmond “Don’t get caught out! Find out more about the changes” > ‘Transport and parking‘.
There was some good news to end the day from Waltham Forest, with “On Tuesday 26 May work is restarting on Blackhorse Road junction with Courtenay Road, #Walthamstow to improve routes for pedestrians and cyclists“, and a link was provided for people to sign-up for updates.
Friday, 22 May 2020
^^^ The top item to note today was the good news released for Sutton this afternoon: ‘Council launches ambitious plans for safer, active streets‘.
Note that there was no mention of this through the official Sutton Council Twitter feed (where the closest travel related tweet of the day was “From tomorrow, @TfL will start requiring passengers to touch in using their Oyster/Contactless/Concessionary card Credit card on 85 London bus routes…“, and a tweet about staying two–meters apart). So, in some ways, this brings into question the way in which the council’s operates its Twitter feed. Different departments, different priorities, issues around communication? Or deliberate decision not to publicise in the way? Something to discuss at the next Cycle Forum meeting.
Today’s announcement had been eagerly awaited since the remarks made by Councillor Manuel Abellan just two days previously (see 19 May above) in this tweet, with the news that “We are putting the finishing touches on the first set of measures that should be announced very soon”.
We broadcast the news with this tweet, and then followed it up with this tweet (just to point out the StreetspaceLDN announcements today from Wandsworth and Croydon) and then with a third tweet (to highlight the announcement from Kingston).
Although today’s announcement from Sutton Council fell a little short of what had been hoped for at this time, at least it was a start (a first phase). And, although behind several London boroughs, Sutton is now certainly ahead of many more. Also, it was good to see Cllr. Abellan comment a later in the day with a little more detail of what can be expected in the next phase (1/2; 2/2):
“Today we’ve announced the first phase of #StreetspaceLDN measures for safer, active streets as part of @SuttonCouncil response to #Covid19UK. These measures are the first phase of our plans to create low-traffic neighbourhoods in the borough
The next phase will focus on proposals for low-traffic neighbourhoods. The area in and around Sutton Town Centre is the obvious place to start due to our recent Liveable Neighbourhood Bid and the ongoing work on the North/South Quietway. #StreetspaceLDN”.
As already noted, it was not just Sutton with announcements on progressing Streetspace for London today. Three other boroughs made announcements through Twitter.
^^^ Wandsworth with “Road closures and wider pavements introduced next week to support social distancing in Balham, Southfields and Tooting Bec” and a link to ‘Road closures and wider pavements introduced to support social distancing‘.
^^^ Croydon with “#Croydon Streetspace is expanding to seven new locations next week, creating more space for people to walk and cycle during Covid-19″ and a link to ‘Croydon Streetspace project creates more space for walking and cycling in seven new areas‘.
^^^ Kingston with “#NEWS: Kingston to introduce temporary protected walking and cycle lanes to aid social distancing. Read more ‘Kingston to introduce temporary protected walking and cycle lanes to aid social distancing‘. Encouraging active travel featured in news update….
Starting tomorrow (Saturday 23 May), new walking and cycling routes will be created across the borough to help make public spaces safer and aid social distancing.
These measures will be delivered as part of the London-wide ‘Streetscape programme’ designed to manage the changes to travel patterns in London and help movement as we ease from lockdown.
With public transport capacity restricted, these new measures will maximise safe opportunities for people to make journeys by foot or cycle rather than by car, as well as help people maintain social distancing in busy areas.
Then there was Hounslow highlighting work already achieved: “A road in Dukes Meadows has been closed to through traffic as the latest in a series of fast-tracked measures to prioritise cyclist & pedestrian safety goes live”… ‘Dan Mason Drive in Dukes Meadows closed in time for bank holiday weekend to improve safety and help social distancing‘. Meeting approval of Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman “Fabulous filters in Hounslow making walking and cycling safer“.
Later, Hounslow reached out again “Do you feel that there is a street that needs attention for #SocialDistancing, safety, cycling or speeding?…”
….as did Southwark: “We’re committed to quickly rolling out schemes to make travel safe and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis. Help us identify locations in your neighbourhood that may need measures to ensure people can get about safely”.
Later, Southwark declared: “We’re widening Cheltenham Road permanently to help people with social distancing. We’re also working on Denmark Hill, Artichoke Place, Sumner Street – and we’ll be adding more soon, thanks to over 1,500 suggestions from you“. And a link to ‘Southwark Council’s transport response to the Covid-19 pandemic‘ (Commonplace).
The other news from Hounslow today, was that one-to-one cycle training sessions were returning. Booking available from 26 May ‘One-to-one Adult Cycle Training for Hounslow residents returns next week‘.
Waltham Forest with two new parking bay suspensions to support social distancing because “We’re passionate about making sure you can use our high streets safely and maintain social distancing at all times” and a link to updated WALKING AND CYCLING DURING COVID-19. Later, “Great to see one of our cargo bikes being put to good use cargo bikes…“.
Camden was busy widening pavements, reducing through-traffic on residential streets, improving cycle routes and installing new pop-up cycle lanes, and you could find out more at ‘Making travel safer in Camden‘, including ability to nominate a location at ‘Making travel safer in Camden‘ (Commonplace).
Hackney: “Three more streets in Hackney are set to close to through-traffic to support people to walk and cycle more and maintain social distancing“, with a link to find out more at ‘Emergency road safety measures: Ashenden Road, Gore Road and Ufton Road to close‘.
Yesterday, Wandsworth announced successful bid for cargo bikes, and today it was Richmond‘s turn, with the news that “Following our successful bid, 14 ecargo #bikes are being given to local charities, businesses, and Council services to replace car journeys“, with a link to ‘Fourteen eCargo bikes given to local businesses and charities‘.
Finally of note today, this busy day, was a thread from Dan Thorpe, Council Leader at Greenwich Council, starting with “So another week ends and a big success for me as I have managed to cycle to and from the Town Hall every day…. As a non-cyclist it has been a bit of an adventure – some thoughts… “.
Saturday, 23 May 2020
Sutton tweeted about staying two metres apart: “If you are using our Parks or Open spaces this bank holiday weekend, please make sure you follow the guidelines and keep at least 2 metres from others. To find out more, please see our page: COVID-19 Parks“. (The two metres apart message has been, and continues to be, promoted by several other authorities. Camden is doing do so a lot too, but the key difference with Sutton is that Camden is also reaching out to residents to ask them to how they can make it easier to walk to the shops for essential shopping (see 25 May)).
Kingston a reminder that parking enforcement would be returning on 26 May. Greenwich promoted Living Streets’ Walk this May. Waltham Forest walking and cycling trails, and weekly errands by bike. Croydon speeding. Camden: “To show our support, we’re offering free parking & bikes for essential workers..” Lewisham extending free temporary key worker permits by three months.
^^^ Croydon “expanding our Streetspace programme to seven new locations next week..”
Away from the official feeds, over in Westminster Cllr. Geoff Barraclough “Okay, here’s first sight of @CityWestminster top 20 ideas to encourage walking & cycling. It’s a fuzzy pdf map with few details but it’s a start. bit.ly/3bWWFuC“.
Sunday, 24 May 2020
Richmond with a reminder that parking enforcement returns soon, but “Free parking for NHS staff and social care workers will still be in place”. Lewisham also with a message on parking. Camden consider cycling and if you are driving keep an eye on your speed
Merton with “We’re working to introduce new measures to help us all #SocialDistance when travelling around #Merton“. Some critical replies, though. Including a good question as to whether the images included were actually in Merton.
^^^ Croydon 17:00 “We’re making it easier for you to walk or cycle safely around #Croydon with our new Streetspace programme. It’s coming to seven new locations from next week – find out more at Croydon Streetspace” (which linked to Croydon’s Streetspace Improvement Programme (CSIP)).
Monday, 25 May 2020
Good messaging from Kingston: “Please stay mindful and cautious about travel and only make essential journeys. If you need to travel, please walk or cycle whenever possible in order to keep the roads clear for those who need to drive”. Good messaging too from Richmond as residents are reminded again: “Please don’t get caught out!” when it comes to parking. Arguably not such good messaging from Bexley, after all, free parking for essential workers is a given. A thumbs up to Waltham Forest with “If you’re looking to get your child cycling at the moment…”
^^^ Camden – doing things and reaching out again: “We’ve widened the pavement on Kilburn High Rd & restricted thru-traffic on some residential streets to help make it easier for you to walk, shop and visit your local parks. To nominate other locations in Camden head to http://camden.gov.uk/making-travel-safer-in-camden
^^^ Southwark once again showing its commitment “to quickly rolling out schemes to make travel safe and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis”, and reaching out again with “Help us identify locations in your neighbourhood that may need measures to ensure people can get about safely“.
^^^ Waltham Forest “Tomorrow, Tuesday 26 May work is restarting on Blackhorse Road junction with Courtenay Road, #Walthamstow to improve routes for 🚶🏽♀️ 🚶🏻♂️ pedestrians and 🚴🏿♀️ cyclists.
Lewisham consider walking and cycling and on parking “From 1 June our parking charges will resume for everyone except key workers“.
Croydon speeding again.
Tuesday, 26 May 2020
The top council award today went to Camden (a council that has featured on several days recently, and is reaching out again). There was also some good news from a councillor in Lewisham.
^^^ Camden: “We are making it safer to travel locally in Camden. Find out more about our new schemes in response to COVID-19 here ‘Making travel safer in Camden‘.
Kingston: “Our #GoCycle network provides safe routes for cyclists across many parts of the borough, as well as improvements for pedestrians. Please walk or cycle when making your journeys whenever you can. More information The Go Cycle Programme“.
Bexley and the need to travel: “If you have to travel to work because you cannot work from home, please avoid public transport – if possible, walk or cycle or go by car. Find out more ‘Safer travel guidance for passengers (gov.uk)'”. Richmond had a message on this too: “If you have no alternative to public transport, use a face covering if you can and don’t forget to wash your hands after your journey”.
Richmond on resumption of parking enforcement, Lewisham again on parking charges resuming except for key workers, and Barnet asks “Do you have a valid permit to park? We will resume enforcement of parking restrictions on Monday 8 June…..”
Redbridge with a nod towards the London Streetspace Plan perhaps: “Have you spotted the new markings in #Redbridge streets to help you stay 2m apart when out and about?”.
Good to see Hounslow remind people of the announcement, first made on 22 May, that: “Our one-to-one cycle training sessions are back! Whether you’re a complete beginner or a regular cyclist, our qualified instructors will tailor a cycling session for you!”.
From Haringey, the news that a car park had reopened with a one-way system to help visitors (users?) “enter and exit the car park in line with social distancing guidelines“.
Greenwich promoted Move in June – run, walk or cycle 50 miles for charity.
^^^ And the good news from Lewisham councillor, Cllr. Sophie McGeevor, Brockley Labour Councillor, Lewisham Cabinet Member responsible for Environment and Transport: “A car based recovery is not an option. This report sets out further details of the actions we are taking to support walking, cycling and social distancing in #Lewisham and why they are necessary“, with a link to a Lewisham Council Overview and Scrutiny Business Panel report (14 May 2020) (pdf): ***‘Implementation of temporary measures to support safer walking and cycling in response to the COVID 19 pandemic‘***. A report similar to this, is exactly what would be good to see Sutton produce.
And the Merton Tories had something to say too: “£704,000 for cycling in Merton. Let’s spend it on joining up cycle routes and making our cycle paths safer”.
Wednesday, 27 May 2020
A well-worded parking message from Lewisham: “As travel restrictions are eased, our roads are getting busier and there is increased demand for parking across the borough. From 1 June our parking charges will resume for everyone except key workers”. On parking, Barnet again with “… Please ensure you have a valid permit by then [8 June] to avoid a parking fine….”.
Wandsworth renovating bikes here and here; Kingston on the GoCycle network; Tower Hamlets parking restrictions resume 1 June, “We will continue to support NHS, emergency services & school staff to park for free with new permits“. Greenwich with a reminder that May is @livingstreets’ #NationalWalkingMonth.
^^^ Camden “Check out Goods Way. We’ve widened the cycle lane, installed new wands and orcas to make it safer. Link to Making travel safer in Camden (Commonplace).
^^^ Richmond: “A series of rapid temporary measures have been installed in Richmond Town Centre, Richmond Bridge and East Twickenham to help pedestrians observe social distancing whilst making essential journeys. Find out more: ‘Richmond town centre road safety measures now in place‘. And later from Richmond: “The Chair of Richmond’s Highways and Air Quality Committee @AlexanderEhmann has urged @TfL to introduce radial changes on its road network and has invited TfL to work with the Council on their future plans to improve temporary cycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
^^^ Hammersmith and Fulham introduce protected cycle lanes on the Hammersmith gyratory. Dr. Edward Seaton, London Dermatologist: “It is now (almost) relaxing and peaceful to cycle on Hammersmith Gyratory and King Street in BOTH directions. Few little bits to clarify but…. thank you thank you thank you thank you @lbhf @StephenCowan”.
Carshalton and Wallington MP Elliot Colburn: “Sutton Council are about to introduce the first phase of its temporary changes in the area to make space for additional walking and cycling. Take a look at the schemes and let me know your views“.
Thursday, 28 May 2020
Barnet Do you have a valid permit to park?; Kingston “Fewer cars on the road means reduced pollution and improved air quality for our borough, while walking or cycling can improve your health and wellbeing. If you can, please walk or cycle when making your journeys during #COVID19“. Richmond parking enforcement notice; Merton stay at home if you can avoid rush hours if you can’t, (and announce cancellation of a carnival scheduled for just two week time); Barking and Dagenham “Remember you should only use public transport if you have to..“; Kensington and Chelsea “Need to renew your parking permit?…”.
^^^ Southwark How can we tackle the climate emergency?…, and reaching out again with “We’re committed to quickly rolling out schemes to make travel safe and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis. Help us identify locations in your neighbourhood that may need measures to ensure people can get about safely“, with a link to Street Space Southwark (Commonplace).
^^^ Richmond “Cllr @AlexanderEhmann discusses the emergency powers we have used to ensure three local primary schools will receive ‘School Street’ status. #SchoolStreets reduce pollution, ensure a safer space for children and encourage sustainable travel http://ow.ly/meSD50zSvVA”.
^^^ Camden reached out again “Let us know how we can make it easier and safer for you to walk & cycle 2m apart in Camden, like: widening pavements; improved cycle routes + pop-up cycle lanes”, with a link to Camden Safe Travel…
Camden Safe Travel
The challenge of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on our streets
What have we done so far, and what are we planning to do next?
How can you help?
^^^ Cllr Rachael Robathan, Leader of Westminster Council: “We have just published our ambitious plans to get @Citywestminster moving & working again. Big numbers of temporary cycle lanes & making streets more pedestrian friendly will help to kick start the economy safely https://t.co/dlkOI9i9tT”.
Good to see this tweet from Elliot Colburn, MP Carshalton and Wallington, in reply to us: “Be really good to get your views on how they’re working/not working, and also about potential future schemes”
Friday, 29 May 2020
Barnet: Do you have a valid permit to park?. Sutton: “There is a COVID-19 mobile testing unit at David Weir Leisure Centre car park today and tomorrow. Testing is ONLY booked through the government website. The leisure centre and grounds are closed, so please avoid the area if possible….”; Bexley: “If you have to travel to work because you cannot work from home, please avoid public transport – if possible, walk or cycle or go by car” and link to gov.uk (goes on to mention importance of physical well-being); Barking and Dagenham “…Try to avoid public transport. If possible, please walk, cycle or go by car….”
Greenwich with a reminder that next week is #BikeWeekUK.
Kingston “Starting today, the tariffs on council owned car parks (Bittoms, Cattle Market and The Rose) will be reduced by 50%, to help those with no alternative option but to drive into the town centre for work or to access services. Read more: https://www.kingston.gov.uk/info/200287/health_and_wellbeing/1748/covid-19_coronavirus/11.
^^^ Later from Kingston: Kingston Council to introduce three temporary school streets to aid social distancing as schools return, and “We’re introducing more protected walking & cycle lanes across the borough to help make public spaces safer & aid social distancing. Today new measures were put in place under the railway bridge in #WorcesterPark to maximise space for pedestrians & cyclists”
Lewisham “From 1 June 2020 full parking enforcement will resume…”; Havering again with “If you are outside enjoying the nice weather this weekend in our parks, please make sure to #socialdistance at all times…”; Croydon with a consultation on Purley Way, and then a reminder that dangerous driving is never acceptable. Southwark “… we want your views so that we can work towards a carbon neutral 2030 together“.
^^^ Westminster “To safely support the easing of the lockdown and get the economy moving again, we’ve started to provide new and additional space for cyclists and pedestrians across the city. The first street adapted to the new measures is Villiers Street, read more: ‘Westminster prepares to fire up London’s economic engine‘.
^^^ Richmond: “As part of our measures to support cycling in light of #COVID-19, the parking will be removed outside of #Kew Gardens. Cllr @AlexanderEhmann, Chair of the Transport and the Air Quality Committee hopes all cyclists will make use of the arrangement. http://ow.ly/mh9U50zTlDg”. Richmond (Cllr. Alexander Ehmann) “Big News: @LBRUT to remove parking on Kew Road’s cycle lane“, with full support from Cllr. Katie Mansfield: “Really pleased that we are creating a safer environment to cycle along Kew Road“.
^^^ Richmond “Richmond Council has used emergency powers to ensure that three local primary schools will be the first in the borough to receive ‘School Street’ status in time for the resumption of teaching in June. http://ow.ly/AA4r50zSwl7″, with full support from Cllr. Katie Mansfield: “We have managed to create some #schoolstreets in time for school reopening, supporting safe, sustainable school transport and enabling social distancing. Really pleased that @GemsTwickenham in #southtwickenham will be one of these.”
^^^ Islington “Islington Council is taking action to create people-friendly streets – to make it easier and safer to walk and cycle, with healthier and greener streets for all, and to support social distancing. To find out more, please click here” (a link to ‘Covid-19: Islington Council takes action to create people-friendly streets‘). Later, Camden reached out with “You know your local area best which is why we want to hear from you on how we can make our streets better and safer for everyone. Use the map to highlight a problem location in your area (link to People-friendly streets).
Also from Islington: “Just some of the 167 new cycling symbols we’re adding to cycling friendly routes to make cycling easier and warn drivers to allow more space as we start to come out of lockdown..”
^^^ Hounslow “Free 1-to-1 Adult Cycle Training sessions!….”; then reaching out “Help us to improve our network so that more residents can safely walk and cycle….If there is a local street that you feel needs attention for #SocialDistancing and safety, share your views..” with a link to the consultation hub ‘COVID-19 Transport Response – Hounslow’s Streetspace‘ and in turn to ‘Hounslow’s Streetspace‘ (Commonplace). Followed-up by a message from Cllr Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member Transport and Hounslow One, “Ahead of schools opening on Monday, we have provided an affordable temporary parking solution for school key workers who have to drive, by introducing a low-cost parking season ticket to allow school staff to park near schools”, and “We do hope that school staff who can walk or cycle to work will choose to do so & that many will take advantage of our support package to help transition to cycling to work.” Links to ‘Cycling in Hounslow‘ and ‘Council provides travel support for school staff‘.
^^^ Waltham Forest “In line with our schools re-opening where safe to do so, our #EnjoyWF team are working to make sure School Streets an support safe travel for our families. We’ll be starting up Marsh Lane, Byron Road and Henry Maynard over the next 2 weeks”, and link to ‘Enjoy Waltham Forest – Schools and Colleges‘.
Meanwhile, not quite the same vibe from Havering: “Some #Havering #schools and nurseries will gradually start to reopen from Monday, June 1” with link to ‘Havering schools and nurseries set for phased return‘. No mention of School Streets, but people are asked “to walk or cycle to their school or nursery, where possible”. School Streets would, of course, make walking or cycling a better option.
Elliot Colburn, MP Carshalton and Wallington: “Pleased to join #London MPs from all parties yesterday, along with the London Strategic Coordinating Group, to discuss issues such as @TfL & rail services, plus new walking & cycling measures. Was good to raise #Carshalton & #Wallington issues when it comes to travelling.”
Late afternoon, @MPSSutton tweeted: “Collision on Malden road, Cheam. Driver arrested after blowing 95 at the roadside which is more that two times the legal limit. #dontdrinkanddrive #SuttonERPTB”. The accompanying photo shows extensive damage to traffic signals at a pedestrian crossing, and this appears to be (not yet confirmed) the location on Malden Road where a child was hit whilst crossing the road a few years ago at a zebra crossing. That former incident resulted in the zebra crossing being replaced by a signal-controlled crossing. Malden Road featured as one of was two LIP funded “corridor schemes”, intended to reduce accidents and improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, in 2015-16. Cost £75,000. Sutton Cycle Funding 2015-16. In November 2014, the Sutton Guardian asked “Is it about time they built a pelican crossing in Malden Road?” noting “Malden Road in Cheam has been plagued with crashes and near-misses over the years, with the road’s zebra crossing proving ineffective in slowing down motorists (see ‘Pelican crossing given the green light as residents reverse TfL u-turn‘, Sutton Guardian, 5 November 2014).
Saturday, 30 May 2020
No new news over the weekend as such. Saturday was a day on which many of the stories announced on Friday were reiterated (Westminster) or developed (Richmond).
^^^ Westminster “This weekend we are widening pavements, increasing pedestrian areas and cycle lanes in some of the city’s most iconic locations. This will be in place to help everyone to move safely around the city.”, and link again to ‘Westminster prepares to fire up London’s economic engine‘. Then, later in the day, Westminster tweeted “We’ve installed temporary measures in #VilliersStreet, which include new widened pavements, increased pedestrian areas and cycle lanes, to help everyone move around safely in continuing social distancing. Timed road closures are also in place, read more: (link as previous tweet ‘Westminster prepares…“), followed by “Our temporary #SchoolStreets will be implemented from Monday to support schools re-opening. We’ll increase pedestrian space & reduce vehicle movements during key school times so families and children can walk, cycle & scooter safely”, and again the link to ‘Westminster prepares…‘.
^^^ Richmond (Cllr. Alexander Ehmann): “Kew Road – Before and After (temporary measures). Breathtaking difference.“
Richmond: “To enable those who work in health services or deliver vital community support to more easily park and access people’s homes, we have suspended enforcement of our on-street and car park facilities for NHS and social care staff“.
Greenwich with a reminder that next week is #BikeWeekUK
Camden reached out yet again – Highlight a problem location, and later “Try to avoid public transport & consider alternative methods like walking or cycling…”.
^^^ Hounslow promoting Streetspace again, and reaching out: “The Hounslow Streetspace plan is making space on our local streets so more residents can safely walk and cycle. Help us to improve our network by sharing your views. We will review all suggestions don’t delay have your say…”. Link to ‘Consultation & Engagement Hub‘, for ‘COVID-19 Transport Response – Hounslow’s Streetspace‘ and Commonplace map (as yesterday).
Waltham Forest “Fancy a wander down the hill? Or what about taking a cycle along our arts and craft trail? We’ve got 6 great routes for you to take this weekend where you can get some fresh air but also learn something new about the borough you live in”. Link to ‘Enjoy Waltham Forest – walking and cycling trails‘.
Barking and Dagenham “Please only use public transport if it’s absolutely essential. If you have to use it, please try to avoid peak hours. However, you should do the following if possible: work from home, walk/cycle too work”. Link to gov.uk. Ealing “From this Monday parking enforcement officers will be issuing PCNs again to all vehicles that are parked illegally. Free parking is still available for key workers who have registered their details”, followed by a reminder the lockdown was not over.
Ealing went on to announce later in the day “We are helping shoppers in Ealing Broadway to keep their social distance by widening the pavement from Halfords to Marks & Spencer. Around 150 social distance signs have been installed around the borough.”
Barnet Do you have a valid permit to park?; Barking and Dagenham only use public transport if necessary. Havering “Today, there is no parking in Market Place, Romford. We’re putting social distancing & safety measures in place ahead of #RomfordMarket reopening next week. Parking in all our council car parks are currently free https://havering.gov.uk/info/20004/parking… Thanks for your co-operation”. So, free parking established, then, two hours later, Havering reported too many people driving to a local park: “Recently, we’ve seen increased traffic issues around the entrance to Bedfords Park. This has caused safety concerns & we ask if you are thinking of driving to this park, please remember to park safely & if you can see it’s busy, please use another park on this occasion”.
Sunday, 31 May 2020
^^^ Richmond with two reminders. Firstly, the series of rapid temporary measures that have been installed in Richmond Town Centre, Richmond Bridge and East Twickenham to help pedestrians observe social distancing whilst making essential journeys. Secondly, as part of the measures to support cycling in light of #COVID19, that parking will be removed outside of @kewgardens.
^^^ Wandsworth with a reminder that “Parents and pupils at five of the borough’s primary schools will soon enjoy traffic-free drop-offs and pick-ups after the council fast tracked plans to introduce “School Streets” schemes at their entrances. Link to ‘Green light for five Wandsworth ‘School Streets’’.
^^^ Hounslow with a reminder of its Streetspace plan and reaching out asking for views.
^^^ Southwark with a reminder of its commitment to quickly rolling out schemes to make travel safe and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis, and reaching out again asking for help to identify locations.
^^^ Westminster announced “We’ve installed over 5km of new walking and cycle space at iconic locations across Westminster this weekend. The measures will help everyone to move around the city safely”. link to ‘Westminster prepares to fire up London’s economic engine‘.
^^^ Hammersmith and Fulham “Commuting tomorrow? New temporary segregated cycle lanes to help workers, businesses and families during the lockdown have opened in Hammersmith. More than two miles of pop-up cycle lanes now run from Chiswick to Olympia. Read more: ‘Safer, segregated cycle lanes pop up in Hammersmith‘.
Elsewhere, Bexley “Your physical wellbeing impacts how you feel emotionally and mentally. Right now it’s easy to make unhealthy choices that can make you feel worse”. Good message, and active travel can help. But what is Bexley doing for walking and cycling? Barking and Dagenham “The car parks attached to our parks are open so you can travel a bit further. You can use our parks for exercise, picnics or even sunbathing but no BBQs! Please remember that the social-distancing rules still apply & we need you to act responsibly”. Somehow, the possibility of a lifestyle other than using the car appears to be missing.
On parking specifically, Tower Hamlets with a reminder that “From Mon 1 June, parking restrictions resume so motorists will need a permit to park during controlled times or may receive a Penalty Charge Notice. NHS, emergency service & school staff can apply for new free permits…”, and Barnet “Do you have a valid permit to park? We will resume enforcement of parking restrictions on Monday 8 June….”.
The best London Councils could do today, ten weeks after the commencement of lockdown and with guidelines changing, was to tweet the same message that has been tweeted throughout: “Londoners can play a vital role in the fight against coronavirus. If you are planning to exercise outside, please follow guidelines by keeping the recommended two metres away from others.” London Councils represents 32 borough councils and the City of London, and is “a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of its members and their residents”. Nothing yet from London Councils about Streetspace for London.
^^^ In the evening, away from the council feeds, it was good to see this from Sutton councillor Manuel Abellan “Glad to be partnering with @LEOacademies & @ArtsNetworkS as part of our #StreetspaceLDN work to encourage more walking & cycling to school. We’re excited to be launching 5 new school streets in the next couple of weeks. Fantastic work @dougshaw1! @willnorman @SustransLondon”. (Also see ‘Streetspace for Sutton: The timeline for implementation’).
For June updates, readers are directed to the continuation post ‘London local authorities, and Streetspace (June 2020)‘.