After the flurry of activity to get the best bits of Quietway 1 finished in our borough, (although Childers St and the Deptford High St crossing still isn’t done; we’re keeping our eye on those,) you may think things have gone a bit quiet on the Campaigning front. Not so. We still carry on working to keep safe space for cycling a key part of both the council’s and TfL’s transport policies. It’s not an easy job, and we always welcome help with it. So do get in touch with us if you think you can help in any way, however small. Even if you can’t get to monthly meetings, there are jobs that can be done at home, such as writing responses to consultations, checking for new consultations, keeping an eye on the infrastructure local to you and keeping us informed of stuff that needs doing. Every litttle helps.
One thing we haven’t forgotten is Cycle SuperHighway 4, the segregated high quality route planned to link Deptford to the City at Tower Bridge via Evelyn St, Surrey Quays and Jamaica Rd. Councillor Ingleby, the council’s cycling champion, recently spoke to Len Duvall and asked for his help in getting Transport for London to release a bit more information about what’s going on with the plans for this. Len Duvall did indeed discuss this with TfL as well as other space for cycling issues affecting London.
We were sent the reply he got last month and have sent our own reply to that. We believe our reply states very clearly our campaign position on space for cycling in Lewisham and that TfL should not be in any doubt about what we think they should be doing.
Firstly, TfL’s response to Len Duvall’s attempts to get some current information about CS4, Lewisham Gateway and other cycling issues within London for which they are responsible:
“Thank you for your email. Please see my response to the individual concerns raised below.
We are working on the design of a number of proposed schemes to improve cycling provision on the A21 and LB Lewisham are aware of these. We do not currently have any plans to introduce segregated cycle lanes at this location.
Local Implementation Plan (LIP) funding
LB Lewisham have £2.92m LIP funding allocated to them for 2016/17, plus £1.1m that was carried over from 2015/16. This funding is to be focused on achieving Healthy Streets outcomes.
Our Strategic Cycling Analysis
Our Strategic Cycling Analysis (SCA) identifies the cycling connections with the greatest potential to contribute to cycling growth in London and will be published by the Walking and Cycling Commissioner following the general election. Once it has been published, we will engage with London boroughs, other managing authorities and advocacy groups to help disseminate the SCA and use it to guide future investment in cycling
In line with the Healthy Streets Approach, the SCA also identifies where demand for cycling, walking and public transport coincide, highlighting where investment is most needed to improve all sustainable transport modes together and where this would have significant impact on the health and quality of life of Londoners.
The SCA is an evidence-based planning tool which boroughs can use to inform investment in their local cycling network and design their overall sustainable transport strategies. The SCA can be embedded in Local Plans and will provide useful evidence to boroughs when negotiating for contributions to cycling from developers and other third parties.
In the latest TfL Business Plan (2016/17 – 2021/22), the Mayor set out a total of £770 million to be spent on cycling over the next five years, which is nearly double the amount spent by the previous Mayor. The SCA uses this planned investment as a baseline and provides the evidence to support further development of the network with a 2041 horizon, in line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. The cycling projects set out in the current Business Plan will be delivered as intended, whilst the analysis contained in the SCA will inform future delivery plans. No current projects will be put on hold in light of this analysis.
We remain committed to delivering improvements in LB Lewisham on the proposed Southwark to Canada Water route (Q14) as part of our Quietway programme. We do not feel there would any benefit in delaying or de-prioritising this work.
Cycle Superhighway 4
The designs for Cycle Superhighway 4 (CS4) have required additional time to ensure we achieve a balance for all road users and the benefits of the route are fully realised. We are currently reviewing the route to include lessons learnt from previous routes, and to ensure that design and construction activity are conducted in such a way as to minimise disruption on the network.
Through our Healthy Streets Approach we aim to promote walking, cycling and public transport to create a healthy city with cleaner air, and safer, more accessible streets and public spaces. CS4 is part of this plan and we have been working closely with a variety of stakeholders to achieve this. Public consultation for Phase 1: Tower Bridge to Greenwich is currently scheduled to commence later this year and will be widely publicised to stakeholders, residents and those that are known to travel through the area.
Experience from implementing previous Cycle Superhighways has shown that routes are easier to deliver when divided into phases, particularly due to the impacts of construction. Therefore, we have split the delivery of CS4 in to several phases and work on the London Bridge section will commence once the design and costs for the first phase have been determined.
I hope this information is helpful. Please reassure Len that we will continue to engage with LB Lewisham and other key stakeholder groups on these issues.”
And this was our response:
“Thank you for informing us of the outcomes of Len’s attempts to secure more information for Lewisham residents about the development of safe space for cycling in the borough. Thanks also to Len, for taking the time to listen to our concerns and approaching the authorities on our behalf.
We are extremely appreciative of his efforts for Lewisham residents.
The information TfL disclosed however, was lacking in the detail that we would need in order to involve local people in any meaningful way in developing any strategy to increase cycling in our borough.
We would have liked to have seen the A21 scheme that we have developed, and that the council has also adopted, acknowledged, as it fits so well with the new policy of Healthy Streets and Liveable Neighbourhoods. Although the letter mentions the £2bn for Healthy Streets, across London, only a fraction of this will be allocated to Lewisham. What we need is to elevate the priority accorded to Lewisham’s Cycling Strategy, and especially the A21 scheme, which would transform the numbers of people making the shift to sustainable transport, reduce congestion, improve health, and enhance the liveable spaces around the main spinal route in the Borough
The work to develop the Quietway 14 from Southwark to Canada Water should not be regarded as a high priority for Lewisham. We would of course support it, but it will have only a limited impact on cycling numbers.
We were interested to to see mention of a proposed “Analysis to Deliver a Strategic Network” process, which seems promising. However, we would ask for assurance that beneficial projects already identified in the borough would not be put on hold while this analysis is carried out, bringing further delays to the implementation of safer cycling here. We’d also expect that Lewisham Cyclists would be involved in any relevant meetings regarding the analysis, in order to bring our perspective and experience to bear on how it could include cycling, and especially how to increase the numbers of Lewisham residents choosing this form of active travel.
There is also a mention of meetings with LBL Officers to discuss potential Liveable Neighbourhoods in the borough. We would also expect that Lewisham Cyclists representatives be invited to attend these meetings to provide constructive input into any initial plans for neighbourhoods in the borough. We have a large number of members from all areas in the borough, with extensive local knowledge and believe our input is constructive, considered and very necessary.
We are concerned that CS4 seems to be subject to further delays and would like to know the source of the delay. Given that we were told that the original plans went back for review and improvement, especially of the Lewisham section, (which was good news as they were not originally to the standard we expected) we would like reassurance that key stakeholders, such as ourselves, would have the opportunity to view the new plans as well and offer advice before the final public consultation, in order to reduce the need for further review and improvement and consequent further delays in implementation. We, along with a number of local community groups with whom we have been working closely on joint projects in the Deptford area, believe CS4 is crucial to the transport plan for this area, which has seen a huge increase in housing development and will see a large population increase as a result. Public transport links are already busy and the area already has a problem with the movement of private motor traffic at peak times. Local groups have welcomed and used the new Quietway. It has proved extremely popular and has shown a clear need for such provision. Indeed we are assisting two with projects designed to get more local residents cycling already. It is crucial that CS4 is delivered to a high standard as quickly as possible to build on these initiatives in the community.
We do feel very positive about the potential to develop cycling right across the Borough, including the Heritage Trail, which is great example of a community based local initiative that will make a terrific east-west link that will benefit many neighbourhoods and enable more healthy opportunities. However, achieving a significant change to more sustainable transport choices will require a scheme like the A21 segregated cycleway, running right through the borough. This would really enable large and significant numbers of people in Lewisham who currently will not consider cycling or even walking through these heavily trafficked and polluted areas to shift their transport choice to active modes. It would bring additional benefits by tackling congestion, improving community health and enabling liveable streets.
Once again, thanks to Len for helping us. We sincerely want to develop a useful relationship with all the transport authorities who make decisions that affect us as Lewisham residents as well as cyclists, and who share our commitment to making Lewisham a more liveable borough for all who live and work here. We appreciate all his attempts to help us communicate more effectively with those authorities.
Jane Davis, Lewisham Cyclists Coordinator