On the 10 May the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced an easing of the lockdown, and an encouragement for people to return to work safely or work from home if possible. A challenging for London, with its reliance on the use of public transport.
Prior to the lockdown, over 40% of Londoners used to travel to work
on public transport. Transport for London has concluded that on the Tube, for example, they will only be able to carry 13-15% of normal passenger numbers with social distancing.
The ‘London Streetspace’ plan, unveiled by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London (TfL), on 6 May, was all about rising to the challenge. Analysis published as part of this programme showed that if all car-owning households in Sutton switched their usual public transport journeys to car, there could be an increase of up to 40 per cent in the number of private transport journeys.
On 9 May, the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced a £2 billion package to create new era for cycling and walking in support of alternative ways to travel to help relieve the pressure on public transport.
On 18 May, Cllr. Manuel Abellan, Beddington South, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee, also took on the role of Deputy Leader with special responsibility for the environment and climate change.
On 22 May, Sutton Council announced ambitious plans for safer, active streets, and on 28 May the DfT wrote to London borough transport officers and Transport for London with details of the indicative allocations for the first tranche of the emergency active-travel fund (as announced on 9 May). £25 million of new Emergency Active Travel Funding was being made available this financial year (2020-2021) for London, of which £5 million would be in a first tranche.
The message ‘Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save lives‘ become ‘Stay alert, Control the virus, Save lives‘.
Many of the comments that were published through our @cyclinginsutton Twitter feed during May 2020 appear in this review. This review is a continuation of our April 2020 review.
Throughout May, our post ‘London local authorities, Covid-19, and social distancing‘ continued to be updated almost daily with assessments of the official Twitter feeds of London’s 33 local authorities, as we looked for messages along the lines of “What can we do to help you maintain social distancing when you are making essential journeys or taking exercise?”. Gratifyingly the search finally paid off on 5 May when the first such message was published (well done Greenwich). Five more authorities followed. As the month progressed, it became more interesting to also note whether boroughs were publishing messaging around the London Streetspace plan.
Three other ‘live’ posts were published during the month Streetspace for Sutton: Setting the scene (26 May); Streetspace for Sutton: The timeline of implementation (26 May); Streetspace for London: newsfeeds from Sutton and neighbouring boroughs (29 May).
On 14 May we launched the petition: Covid-19: Make safe space to socially distance on Sutton streets. This went on to receive around 300 signatories by the end of the month.
This month we also launched an email group, Get Sutton Cycling is now on Groups.io.
Discussions with Get Sutton Cycling supporters included:
- Streets for Social Distancing (map)
- TfL’s London Streetspace plan
- Streets for Social Distancing (petition)
- ‘Emergency street planning during Covid-19’ webinar
- Cycleway progress at St Helier (Newstead Walk)
- Wandle Trail at Hackbridge (Corbet Close)
- XR Sutton (proposed open letter to councillors)
- DfT’s Traffic Management Act 2004: network management in response to Covid-19 (12 May)
- Croydon Cycling Campaign meeting (11/14 May)
- Sustainable Transport Strategy 1999 (16 May)
- Carriageway resurfacing Carshalton Beeches (Woodmansterne Road) (20 May)
- Setting up a Groups.io account (27 May – launched 28 May)
- Streetspace for Sutton, phase one (28 May, 30 May)
- ‘Safer, active streets’ from supporter (31 May)
Discussions with LCC office staff included:
- Local Group coordinators meeting Trustees (18 May/19 May)
Correspondence with Sutton Council officers included:
- Social distancing measures (7 May, 10 May, 11 May)
- Use of Commonplace, and Streets for Social Distancing updates (20 May)
Correspondence with Sutton Councillors included:
- Cllr. Manuel Abellan (Deputy Leader, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee, Cycling Champion) – included the Mayor’s Streetspace plan, Liberal Democrats, public health and Covid-19 (1 May); Covid-19 Emergency Transport Plans (including 15 May); Liveable Neighbourhoods bid (27 May)
- On 5 May, we invited all Sutton councillors to register for the ‘Labour Cycles’ 7 May webinar ‘Emergency street planning during Covid-19’. The webinar can be viewed here. Also see ‘Local authorities, Covid-19 and social distancing‘, Tuesday, 12 May. It is believed that Cllr. Manuel Abellan, Cllr. Tim Crowley, Cllr. Neil Garratt, Cllr. Catherine Gray, Cllr. Amy Haldane, Cllr. Barry Lewis, Cllr. James McDermott-Hill, Cllr. Jake Short and Cllr. Chris Williams showed interest/registered or attended. Apologies were received from Cllr. Elliot Colburn (MP, Carshalton and Wallington). (Sutton’s councillors: from the class of 2014 to the class of 2018 and to date).
- Cllr. Moira Butt got in touch (20 May) to advise that Woodmansterne Road resurfacing was going ahead (24 May)
- On 22 May, Cllr. Abellan invited Marcus Howarth (Get Sutton Cycling coordinator) to an online meeting to discuss Streetspace measures. (More correspondence 23 May, meeting 26 May (see below)).
There was also correspondence with Extinction Rebellion Sutton (22 May, 25 May, 26 May, 28 May – 30 May), and Merton Cycling Campaign (28 May).
An LCC Webinar took place on 1 May, available to view here.
An LCC Local Groups Forum took place on online on 6 May.
On 11 May, Charles Martin (Get Sutton Cycling treasurer) attended Croydon Cycling Campaign online meeting.
On 19 May, LCC Local Groups ‘Meet the Trustees’ online meeting.
On 26 May, Zoom meeting with Cllr. Manuel Abellan and Marcus Howarth (Get Sutton Cycling coordinator).