London Cycling Campaign News

  • LCC takes on Urban Hill Climb
    on 16th September 2019 at 1:50 PM

    Photography by Tom Hosking. On Saturday 28th September, the 9th edition of London’s very own Urban Hill Climb returns to Swain’s Lane. Over 300 riders will battle it out against the clock as they tackle the Capital’s only closed road hill race. The iconic route is nestled between Hampstead Heath and Highgate Cemetery - those competing to win will complete the race in under two minutes. But Urban Hill Climb is more than just a hill race - the cult event includes categories for folders, cargo-bikes and e-cargo-bikes too. Rollapaluza’s Caspar Hughes, who produced the event until 2018, is moving to Extinction Rebellion full time. Before making the move Caspar wanted to find a new home for Urban Hill Climb and approached London Cycling Campaign about taking it over. Caspar said: “I’m really proud how much we’ve grown Urban Hill Climb over the years – the combination of sheer competition and absolute fun make it a unique event and I’ll definitely miss it.  I wanted to find a new home for the race before shifting my focus to full time transport, ecological and climate campaigning with Extinction Rebellion. I couldn’t be happier that LCC have agreed to take it forward from here.” Here at LCC we didn’t want to see such an iconic event disappear from London’s cycling calendar and we’re planning to build on the work done by Caspar and the team at Rollapaluza. While LCC’s main focus will always be on making sure Londoners can enjoy cycling safety, we think there is room for a bit of fun in the calendar too, and we’re always on the lookout for new ways to encourage even more people to get out and about on their bikes. With this in mind we plan to make sure Urban Hill Climb remains a fun event for the local community and evolves to further promote inclusivity and diversity in cycling. Everyone is welcome to take part or come along and watch. Register to race here or find out more at www.urbanhillclimb.com Saturday 28th September 2019 from midday, Swain’s Lane, Highgate, London.

  • Campaign groups call on Mayor to scrap Silvertown
    on 13th September 2019 at 11:30 AM

    Press release sent from London Cycling Campaign and six other active travel and environmental organisations today: A group of seven campaigning organisations wrote to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, last week to ask him to use the current enforced pause on the four lane Silvertown road tunnel between East and South East London, due to the legal case around contractors, to look again at the £1 billion project. They call on him to scrap the scheme outright, or at least pause it to consider alternatives, in the light of recent developments. All seven organisations have publicly opposed the Silvertown Tunnel project before, but suggest the new legal developments offer an opportunity to avoid committing to a hugely expensive and problematic and damaging project. Campaign for Better Transport London, Cycling UK, Friends of the Earth, Living Streets, London Cycling Campaign, Mums for Lungs and Sustrans say that the Silvertown Tunnel project is “incompatible” with the Mayor’s own Transport Strategy and “completely inappropriate”. They have written to the Mayor to say: “Given the scale of London’s air pollution and climate crises, their impacts on residents and your own policies, we believe all new transport schemes should properly contribute to addressing these problems rather than ignoring them, or even risk exacerbating them.” The group raises concerns that the scheme risks simply redistributing congestion and air quality issues which would be unacceptable; that the scheme will actually likely increase overall motor traffic volumes in London; and that such a large infrastructure project (that at best maintains current motor traffic levels) stands in contrast to the Mayor’s Transport Strategy that aims to reduce overall car use by millions of journeys daily in just over 20 years. The group further points out that the emerging evidence on the climate crisis means the Mayor will have to go further and faster in cutting motor traffic than his strategy aims for anyway. Instead of the Silvertown Tunnel, the group says the Mayor has alternatives, which would help address current problems, but that Transport for London has so far failed to assess a proper package of these. For instance, holding back traffic so it doesn’t build up at the Blackwall Tunnel approaches, further tolling of the existing Blackwall Tunnel, and bringing forward London-wide road-user charging have not been part of any alternatives assessment. And that allowing the tunnel to move forward while the proposed walking and cycling bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf is paused due to costs, despite both being set out as part of the same package, seems additionally problematic. The full text of the open letter, sent to Mayor Sadiq Khan on 3 September can be found at: http://bit.ly/scrapsilvertown

  • CW9 takes another big step forward
    on 6th September 2019 at 1:38 PM

    Image credit: London Borough of Hounslow Great news this week - Hounslow council have formally approved Cycleway CW9 to move forward into detailed design and construction. It looks very much like west London will finally get decent cycling provision into construction this year! Coordinator of our Hounslow Cycling Campaign borough group, Michael Robinson, has penned the guest blog below on how we’ve got this far... The original cycle superhighway programme was launched in May 2009 and CS9 was the longest of the routes, intended to run from central London to Heathrow. Long in distance, long it turns out in gestation. The consultation for CS9 took 8 years from that point to come out (and only for the section between Brentford and Olympia). It has since been another two years, including another consultation, before Hounslow council made a decision on 3 September 2019 to approve the plans in the borough, for the by then renamed Cycleway 9. If nothing else, cycle campaigners in outer London need patience and persistence! While there aren’t yet shovels in the ground, and there is always the possibility of a judicial review by opponents, the decision was an important milestone for our team of campaigners. The most important aspect of any campaign is political support. The likely date was known in advance as the council calendar is published a year ahead and the decision was going to be made by the council cabinet. So we had time to prepare. But so did the scheme’s opponents. Their main tactic was to launch a “Stop CS9” petition with a finish date of 3 September. While they stood on the street we organised using apps like WhatsApp and Slack to keep in touch and to talk to other locals not directly involved in the cycle campaign.   We made sure their public petition and ongoing releases on social media didn’t happen without any form of rebuttal (although it’s all too easy to get drawn into grudge matches with folks who will never shift their view!). Knowledge of local media contacts, deadlines, preferences and being able to generate content quickly proved essential to pre-empt or rebut stories from opponents. And online document sharing stopped any confusion from emailing multiple versions of documents. The pace began to quicken the closer we got to the decision date.  The results of a previous consultation came out and while it wasn’t everything we wanted, we could see why compromises had been made. The cabinet briefing papers came out in August and this was better than we could have expected. Clear, comprehensive and rebutting all of the main points of the opposition and laying out the benefits of the scheme.  Everything we had been saying, in fact, except with the authority of transport professionals rather than a bunch of cycle campaigners.  The format of the meeting became known.  10 minutes for speakers for and against the scheme and the Mayor’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman was going to be one of the speakers “for”. With so many points that could be mentioned and so little time available, it was vital to focus. I’m a professional engineer and can quote data and statistics for hours but we needed the human angle as well. We asked a local resident who had been in a collision if she would read a statement. We also were lucky enough to have some very high profile supporters who live and cycle in the area. Jeremy Vine created a video he sent to cabinet councillors a few days in advance, along with a personal note. We decided to release it publicly on the afternoon before the meeting too, to give it a bit of a public boost too. At the meeting, the opponents went first. With four speakers - too many for just 10 minutes. One quoted casualty figures we knew were incorrect. And facing questions from cabinet, it was clear that while the opponents were united in what they didn’t want, there was no common view of what they did want. We were up next. I needed to change my talk slightly to rebut the incorrect data but the rest is a bit of a blur. Some Q&A and the head of transport gave his responses to questions. Then it was the vote, and it was unanimous in favour of approving the scheme. Our preparation, and combination of human stories and accurate evidence helped. Not surprisingly, no one wanted to stick around for the rest of the agenda with items like “Contracts for provision of parking services” so it was on our bikes for a ride back to the pub in Brentford where we’d arranged to meet. It’s mainly slightly downhill from Hounslow through Isleworth, Syon to Brentford and with a tailwind on a cool evening followed by an evening in the pub full of gossip about “did they really say that?”, it was an evening to remember.   With a big campaign like this, it’s all about the team. While as coordinator I ended up speaking, and I’m writing this blog, there are many many others who did far more than me. Some had been involved in campaigning for this project for a couple of days, others for 10 years.  I’d like to thank Ed, Jeremy, Ruth, Karen, Rebekah, Tran, Tom, Kieran, Michiel, Nick, Casey, Paul, Darren, Angela, Les, Matt, Beta, Laura, James, Winston, Ken, Alzbeta, Will, Brian, Tim, Simon, Peter, Chris and I’m sure I’ve left out some people so apologies in advance.

  • Action on Cycling = Action on Climate
    on 27th August 2019 at 9:56 AM

    Inspired by the school strike activists, Fran Graham looks at how London must act quickly to become a decarbonised, zero-emissions city. ******Global Climate Strike Update******** Join the Global Climate Strike on 20th September It’s set to be one of the biggest climate actions yet, with events taking place around the world. In London, LCC will riding from City Hall to Parliament Square to join them, adding our voice to the call of urgent action on the climate crisis. Click here for details on the ride and to let us know you are coming.  ************************************ When I stood in front of the crowd at our ‘Climate Strike on a Bike’ on 24 May, I hadn’t expected my emotions to overwhelm me. For someone who’s been involved in the climate movement for years, the sight of so many people joining the call for urgent action to avert the climate emergency was incredible. We’d woven our way through London, the bike bells ringing out, to meet the thousands of school strikers in Parliament Square. They were energised, passionate and organised — an awe-inspiring sight. One that was replicated around the world during the biggest school strike yet. I finished the day with renewed hope. Hope that has been growing in recent months. Hope that we can finally start to see the kind of action needed to transition our lives away from fossil fuels. Hope that was sparked by Greta Thunberg and her solitary Skolstrejk för Klimatet (‘School strike for the climate’), which has grown into a global movement of schoolchildren, with millions now demanding climate action. Hope that was bolstered while watching Extinction Rebellion’s peaceful, colourful and joyful protests shut down parts of central London in April, which helped put the climate crisis back on the front pages. It feels like the hope and resolve is still growing, demonstrated by the dramatic shift in public attitude on the issue, with nearly 70% of British people wanting urgent political action to tackle the climate emergency and protect the natural environment. This hope is important, because sometimes it is too easy to feel despondent when it comes to the climate. Late last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — the world’s leading climate scientists — issued their starkest warning yet: if we keep emitting carbon at the same rate, by 2030 we will have used up all the remaining ‘sub-1.5 degree carbon budget’. In other words, we have 11 years to avoid locking in warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius. This might not sound like much, but we are currently on track to reach 3-4 degrees by 2100. A 3-degree world would lead to droughts, floods, extreme weather, refugee crises and the resource wars that come with it. Even 1.5-degrees of warming would leave millions of people displaced, hungry and impoverished. The 1-degree of warming is already making itself known. In the UK, we’ve seen wildfires ripping through Yorkshire during the hottest February on record earlier this year, followed by another recordbreaking heatwave at the end of June. Globally, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and devastating — in March and April this year, Mozambique was hit by two powerful cyclones — the first time in recorded history that strong cyclones have reached landfall twice during the same season. Cyclone Idai alone is thought to have killed over 1,000 people and left 400,000 homeless. The climate crisis is already claiming victims, causing damage and misery, and the world’s poorest countries — who bear the least responsibility in causing climate change — will suffer the worst of the impacts. So it’s not overstating when I say that this is the greatest challenge facing humanity right now. Which is why seeing all the energy and passion to advert this crisis, especially from the young activists, is so inspiring. They know we need urgent action, and they know that no technology currently exists to ‘repair’ the climate . There needs to be a concerted effort at all levels of government to curb emissions — that means halting fossil fuel extraction and transitioning our economy away from oil. We must lead the way As a global megacity, the example London sets will be noted and replicated around the world. With 68% of the world’s population predicted to live in cities by 2050, what the cities do will have a huge bearing on the global response to the climate emergency. In London, the Mayor has already taken the positive step of declaring a climate emergency, but his target of net zero by 2050 is too far away — London must decarbonise faster than that. The main sources of carbon emissions in London are from homes, workspaces and transport. But while the Mayor has few powers directly over private residential housing, there are many more that cover transport. As do borough councils, who control 95% of London’s roads. And with 20% of all carbon emissions coming from road transport in London, decarbonising our roads will be a vital and achievable step towards a net zero-emission city. To get there, two things will need to happen... Rapid construction of a high quality cycle network Cycling and walking are zeroemission modes of transport. It’s also cheap, efficient and keeps you healthy. But despite the many benefits, it is still not seen as the obvious choice for most people moving about the city. People are fearful of cycling, and until the streets feel safer to cycle on, that is a choice we are denying many people. London needs to be a city where everyone who wants to cycle, can. So while we’ve seen strides towards making the city a ‘byword for cycling’, we still have a long way to go. To enable many more people to choose carbon-free transport, we need to rapidly accelerate the construction of a high-quality cycle network. That means lots more high-capacity cycle routes, such as Cycleway 4 currently being constructed from Tower Bridge to Greenwich, all over London. But we know that it’s also not appropriate or necessary to put a cycle track on every road, so that needs to go hand in hand with more low traffic neighbourhoods. These are residential roads where a few well-placed bollards or planters mean that the streets are accessible for motor traffic, but ratruns are blocked, creating a more pleasant, healthier environment. Rather than wait for a magic technology (such as the long promised and much-hyped autonomous vehicle) to cut carbon emissions in transport, the quickest, cheapest and most efficient way to reduce emissions will be to make the streets much better places to walk and cycle. A cure for our car addiction London is plagued by short car journeys. Two-thirds of car trips made by London residents could be cycled in less than 20 minutes. It’s lead to the damaging and illegal levels of air pollution, to a congestion problem that’s predicted to cost London an eye-watering £9.3 billion by 2030, and a significant contribution to our carbon emissions. These issues won’t be solved by a wholesale switch of every car in London to electric vehicles (EVs). For one, there are significant concerns about the mining of all the precious metals needed to create the components for this volume of replacement cars. Plus, switching one for the other still leaves us with a congestion problem, air pollution issues and road danger from collisions. So although EVs will have a part to play in decarbonising the road transport system, it is also vital that we switch the unnecessary car journeys to more sustainable methods — mainly walking and cycling. Alongside providing a high quality cycle network, the most effective way to do this will be by introducing smart road user charging. London is already seen as a pioneer on road user charging, having introduced the Congestion Charge 15 years ago. Covering central London, there is a flat rate for anyone entering the zone between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. This has recently been joined by the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which also charges a flat rate for entering the central London zone, but is applied 24/7. The plan is to expand the ULEZ to cover the area inside the North and South Circular roads by 2021. However, a smart road user charging system would work slightly differently — the pricing system would adapt based on, for instance, the time of day (so it was more expensive at peak times) and emissions (more expensive for more polluting vehicles). It would ensure that the vehicles causing the most damage are paying the most, with the money generated going towards sustainable travel projects boosting walking, cycling and public transport. A network of high-quality cycle routes and a smart road user charging scheme would work hand in hand to transform London into a place where walking and cycling become the natural choices for everyday journeys, cutting air pollution, helping people stay healthier and, crucially, drastically cutting London’s carbon emissions. Our next big campaign With the upcoming mayoral elections in May 2020, we will be asking the candidates how they intend to step up to the challenge. Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity, and at LCC we have a plan for the rapid and achievable way to decarbonise London’s road transport. It’s a necessary stage to a zero carbon city, paving the way for other megacities to follow, creating a better city for everyone — one with fewer cars, less pollution, greener streets and much, much more high-quality cycling infrastructure. And helping to protect the future for the planet and millions of its inhabitants. Want to keep up to date with thecampaign? Sign up to our mailing list at lcc.org.uk/climate.

  • Let’s be "Not Stupid"
    on 27th August 2019 at 9:34 AM

    The school climate strikers will hold our generation to account if we don’t take action says Ashok Sinha. ******Global Climate Strike Update******** Join the Global Climate Strike on 20th September It’s set to be one of the biggest climate actions yet, with events taking place around the world. In London, LCC will riding from City Hall to Parliament Square to join them, adding our voice to the call of urgent action on the climate crisis. Click here for details on the ride and to let us know you are coming.  ************************************ I have a blue metal water bottle with ‘Not Stupid’ printed on the side. A souvenir from a past life, the slogan occasionally elicits curious glances: exactly who or what is not stupid? It dates from the premiere in Leicester Square of Franny Armstrong and Lizzie Gillet’s film The Age of Stupid in 2009. Intended to shake us from our collective, ‘stupid’ torpidity in the face of the existential threat of climate change, the event was livecast to 10,000 people in cinemas across the country. My job, as the then Director of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, was to address what was a world record audience for a cinema premiere with a call to action: to exhort people and governments to wake up and be ‘not stupid’. I’m glad that we seem to have transcended the age of stupid, but wisdom will be needed to avoid the Age of Complacency. On the plus side, the days are long gone when seemingly every media interview was a battle with climate change deniers or contrarian journalists. Key figures across all sectors of society now comprehend that climate change is real, driven by human activity, essentially irreversible and the greatest of threats to civilisation. But on the debit side is the worrying indifference seen towards the humanitarian catastrophe caused by Hurricane Idai, the blistering heatwaves in Australia, the widespread retreat of glaciers, and the accelerating loss of global species — all of which (and more) comprise a pattern of worsening climate impacts that is absolutely consistent with predictions. The blitheness with which these impacts are described as the ‘new normal’ suggests a collective complacency about the severe threats they present to billions of people — not to mention the resulting political-economic instability and conflict by which no-one will be untouched. School strikes Thank goodness then, for the schoolkids. I am sure, like me, many readers of London Cyclist have accompanied their younger children to protest against stupidity and complacency at a school climate strike. Many will also have been led by their children, whether of school age or young adults, to join one of the extraordinary Extinction Rebellion protests. We would be wise to realise that these young protesters are deadly serious: they will hold our generation to account for an irreversible screw-up, one that will hit them worst of all, if we don’t rouse ourselves to action. LCC has been organising action on two wheels to support the strikers. We were born out of the environmental movement of the late 1970s, and that heritage remains part of our DNA. We will continue to strive to reduce the dangers that prevent people from being able to cycle as their everyday mode of transport — not only so that they can enjoy the flood of happy hormones that getting around by bike brings, but to play our part in rapidly eliminating carbon emissions. I’m an optimist. I remain confident that humanity will prove itself neither stupid nor complacent. LCC will do its bit; we will assure the school strikers through even more determined lobbying and campaigning that we are, and will remain, on their side and on the right side of history. They are demanding wisdom from us, and we owe it to them to show it — to be ‘Not Stupid’.

  • Take action: “Safer” junctions not safe enough
    on 20th August 2019 at 9:43 AM

      A year ago, LCC held a demonstration at the deadly Holborn gyratory, following a fatal collision there to highlight the lack of action on road danger. Given that the Mayor’s Transport Strategy promises rapid action to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on our roads – of which there were 111 and 3,954 respectively in 2018 – to zero by 2041, he needs to get a move on! To give him some impetus we are asking everyone to sign our new petition to not only deliver “safer junctions” to a higher standard, but faster too. Please click here to sign. In the last year, and in response to our protest, pressure from the London Assembly and our petition run at the time, signed by nearly 3,000 LCC members, we have seen some positive steps. Camden Council won funding to fix issues around Holborn (including for removing the gyratory), and Greenwich and TfL are bringing forward work on the deadly Angerstein junction too. Both of these are very welcome steps forward. But far too many other dangerous junctions have seen no improvements, and perhaps even more worryingly, the vast majority of the junctions where alterations have been proposed under Sadiq’s Safer Junctions programme are nowhere near good enough. We have been studying the junctions that have already seen “improvements”, and most that we have looked at have seen further serious injuries and even fatalities since the junction was changed. For instance, Ludgate Circus in 2017 alone saw both a pedestrian fatally killed and another seriously injured, both on the south side of the junction, while Hackney’s Manor Road/Stamford Hill junction saw a pedestrian hit with serious injuries, and the junction of Southwark Bridge and Queen Street has seen two serious injuries to motorbikers since changes. Now a spate of new Safer Junctions proposals have come forward that retain “critical issues” in TfL’s own Healthy Streets Check – these are objective measures of design for safety, and represent the absolute no-nos for designing safer streets and junctions. Safer Junctions consulted on recently include Edgware Road and Harrow Road junction. This horrific multi-lane junction is an underpass of the A40 with complex turning movements. The revised design adds pavement width, early starts for cyclists on some arms, bans a turn, but also retains 3 “critical issues”. The crossing of East India Dock Road scheme retains 2, the Kingsland Road/Balls Pond Roads scheme has 2, and Clapham Road at Union Road and Stirling Road has 1. The prize however goes to the Holloway Road Safer Junctions scheme, which retains 5 major safety “critical issues”! (At least it cuts 1 from the previous 6!) The catch seems to be that these aren’t Safe Junctions, but Safer Junctions. They’re not “Vision Zero” but “Vision A Bit Better”. The concerns around delays to buses, and even private motor traffic, are trumping the safety of people walking or cycling through them. This simply isn’t acceptable – people’s lives and limbs are more important than a 30 second delay to drivers or bus passengers. These junctions also represent hostile barriers that keep many more people from ever cycling in London. That’s why we’re asking everyone to sign our new petition calling on the Mayor and his deputy to deliver better Safer Junctions, and faster too. Please click here to sign.

  • LCC Volunteers Lead Riders to Freecycle 2019
    on 6th August 2019 at 11:00 AM

    After weeks of heat waves and rain storms we had some wonderful weather this Saturday 3 August for the annual Prudential RideLondon Freecycle event, where over 1800 people were led by LCC volunteers to the day's festivities and got to enjoy traffic-free roads in central London. The day was enjoyed by parents with their children, community groups, less confident riders and avid cyclists. We’d like to thank the volunteer marshals, ride leaders and LCC local groups who make this possible year after year. This couldn’t happen without all your help as, believe it or not, a lot of work goes into planning the led rides. From ride leaders take their marshals on rides to check the route, to those who participated in our ride leader and marshal training to strengthen their skills, it was a sound effort overall to deliver yet another day of car-free riding in central London.  This year we had 40 separate rides with new pickup points along the way to make the event even more accessible. There was at least one ride from every borough (except the City of London), and Tower Hamlets even had four, including rides from Bromley by Bow (a first for this year!) and Poplar HARCA. One rider from Poplar HARCA says she was inspired by the ride and is looking forward to gain the skills to ride confidently on the road by herself. After the ride, marshals gathered in Green Park where they enjoyed their lunch, had a chat and relaxed. Some enjoyed the course themselves, then met back at their arrival points to lead everyone back home. Meanwhile the rest of the LCC staff were at St. Paul's speaking with cyclists about LCC, providing valuable information on everything from how to get more involved with cycle campaigning to top tips on using cycling infrastructure as well as taking guesses for their Tyre Lever Guessing Competition, which wins the lucky guesser a brand new Brompton! If you missed out the fun, the next Freecycle will be on August 15th 2020. Keep the date open and stay tuned for how you can get involved next year. This is a great event that inspires people to take up cycling and we hope to see you there.  If you had a good time and want to join more group rides, check out more LCC-organised events here. If you’d like to help out on LCC’s family and community rides then get in touch with your local group here or get in touch with us at volunteer@lcc.org.uk. Support cycling in London As an LCC member you’ll help improve cycling across the whole city, in every borough, for everyone.  Join today and support work to make cycling safer; to get more Londoners cycling, and to bring more high-quality space for cycling to London. Join LCC today &nbs

  • Canary Wharf Group: time to answer questions
    on 2nd August 2019 at 11:34 AM

    The news this morning from The Guardian is that Canary Wharf Group (CWG) appear to have paid Lynton Crosby’s firm CTF Partners to construct several fake, “astroturf” campaigns, with the ultimate aim of removing the East-West Cycle Superhighway (CSH) CS3 from the Embankment. One of them was the mysterious Square Mile Cycling campaign, apparently in support of more and better cycling in the City, but it looks likely that instead it was setting up an alternative route to the EW CSH, not an additional one… Questions CWG must now answer… publicly Did CWG fund Lynton Crosby’s firm CTF with the purpose of creating and running the Square Mile Cycling campaign? As CWG was also involved in funding Unblock The Embankment, are there any other campaigning groups relating to cycling which have been funded by CWG but they are yet to publicly acknowledge? Has CWG privately expressed any opposition to TfL’s proposed cycle route from Hackney to Isle of Dogs? If so, why? And has CWG blocked any suggestions by TfL to extend the scheme into Canary Wharf? Beyond providing cycle parking, in what ways has CWG concretely supported more people to commute by cycle? Does CWG think it acceptable to secretly create and fund activities aimed at scrapping protected cycle lanes?  If you work in Canary Wharf, or know anyone who does, scroll to the bottom to see how to take action on holding CWG to account on these issues… The background to these questions The Canary Wharf Group’s support for the Unblock The Embankment campaign is now public, listed on the Unblock website, after it was revealed by former Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan, who has had previous tussles with the CWG. Until it was revealed, CWG had not publicly associated itself with the campaign. At the time, the coordinator of the campaign, Tony Halmos, was employed by lobbying company Newington Communications, whose clients also included taxi organisation the LTDA, which has a track record of opposing new cycle safety schemes. Indeed Unblock and the LTDA are commonly found opposing cycling schemes in apparent concert. However, it now emerges that CWG weren’t just supporting Unblock the Embankment. The Guardian article says “Sources within CTF said that Canary Wharf Group was funding” Londoners for Transport and Square Mile Cycling. The Square Mile Cycling campaign - ostensibly calling for another Superhighway directly through the City - is perhaps the most interesting. It seemed to be formed by a city worker, Henry Dunn as a grassroots initiative. Yet the campaign had sufficient funds from the start to hire a substantial team of professional staff to hand out its leaflets across the City. LCC was initially supportive of the campaign, as we generally would for any campaign for more protected cycle lanes. But as our suspicions grew, LCC asked Dunn repeatedly where he was getting funding from: we didn’t get a clear answer. Square Mile Cycling’s social media accounts have since been deleted. Canary Wharf Group and Square Mile Cycling At first look, this would seem to be a campaign in opposition to Unblock The Embankment. However, Unblock’s proposition has always been that it is just against routing the CSH along the Embankment, and that they would support another route, nearby. Curiously, their route and Dunn’s route appear closely aligned. This also is what Canary Wharf Group maintain – that they don’t oppose cycling, just where exactly and how exactly the East-West CSH has gone. So, it would seem the Square Mile Cycling campaign was there to establish a viable alternative to, and then provide cover for a campaign to rip out the current Superhighway. Now it emerges that “Square Mile Cycling group was overseen by the same CTF staff who were also looking after two astroturfed pages named Londoners for Transport and Unblock the Embankment.” The same staff secretly worked on all three campaigns, despite them being radically different in tone and approach. Canary Wharf Group’s Managing Director, Howard Dawber, said on twitter in 2017 “We have never lobbied against CSH or cycling” and followed that the objection from the group to the East-West CS3 CSH “was to design and route not to the principle”. Chief Executive of CWG, Sir George Iacobescu, also said in 2016 CSHs, and specifically the East-West CS3 was a “20th-century solution to a 21st-century problem”. Such public statements however have been rare from CWG. Most of their opposition has been behind closed doors. For instance, in 2014, The Guardian said they were distributing an anti-CSH briefing document calling the proposals “extremely damaging to London” and even likely to lead to a “significant increase in traffic in the outer boroughs… such as Hounslow”, among other secretive lobbying actions. CWG and cycling Dawber has also said in repeated emails to us that CWG supports more cycling, including in a May 2016 email “we have been supporting the… cycle bridge proposal across the river.” However, the reality is CWG actually are doing the opposite. While publicly maintaining a paper-thin pretence of support for cycling, CWG have over and over attacked cycling schemes and/or attempted to weaken them behind closed doors. CWG appear to be the landowner responsible for putting in a ludicrous number of anti-cycling barriers where the National Cycle Network passes Canary Wharf. CWG also now oppose the Canary Wharf – Rotherhithe bridge crossing, as detailed in their submission to The London Plan’s examination in public, calling it “very expensive and environmentally intrusive”. Finally, CWG appear to be opposing TfL’s “Hackney to Isle of Dogs” route in private. Consultation responses to the scheme have yet to be made public. But the route consulted on earlier this year does not reach the Isle of Dogs – it stops short of CWG land. In addition, the current plan uses the lower roundabout at Westferry Circus – which is controlled by TfL, not CWG. And despite the route clearly being key to get workers to the Wharf from both south of the river and Hackney and beyond, the proposed scheme includes no direct improvements into CWG land, where people are actually going to be riding to and from. Of course, the roads in Canary Wharf are also infamously car-oriented – with wide lanes, sweeping turns, fast straights, and minimal enforcement. For CWG, whose Dawber said in 2017 “we love cycling and we love Cycle SuperHighways,” this seems a very crazy kind of love. Work in the Wharf? Take action now We don’t think it’s acceptable that CWG can continue to day in, day out, oppose cycle schemes in secret while maintaining a paper-thin veneer of support. Obviously, we don’t think their opposition is acceptable at all, but particularly not done by using secretive lobbying firms and skulduggery. If you agree, email your HR and building services people today. Why not add in info@canarywharf.com and George.Iacobescu@canarywharf.com? Ask in your own words why cycling inside Canary Wharf is so difficult, why getting to and from Canary Wharf is also so difficult, and ask CWG to stop opposing cycle schemes publicly and privately. One email today would really help!

  • Take action: Cycleways too weak
    on 31st July 2019 at 4:00 PM

      A slew of new Cycleway schemes, including two directly coming from TfL, fail to deliver the quality of cycle route needed to make London “a byword for cycling” as the Mayor promised he’d do, and point to serious flaws in TfL’s new Quality Criteria assessment of what Cycleways need. Please take action today and send a message to TfL, the Mayor and the boroughs to buck their ideas up… If you cycle in or through Hackney or Waltham Forest… Spend two minutes today and click here to tell TfL its Lea Bridge – Dalston Cycleway proposals will only inspire a limited number of people to cycle, and in the comments box, in your own words (this is very important!) ask for more improvements: more modal filters to block out ratrun motor traffic, more improvements at the crossings of St Mark’s Rise and Cecilia Road, and at the connection to Cycle Superhighway CS1 at Boleyn Road. Then give your details on the following pages and you’re done! Full details on proposals here. If you cycle in or through Barking and Dagenham or Redbridge… Spend two minutes today (consultation closes 5 August!) and email consultations@tfl.gov.uk to tell TfL its Ilford – Barking Riverside Cycleway proposals need more work. In your own words (very important!) please let them know there are way too many sections where nothing more than paint and signs are proposed – many of these streets feature no traffic speed calming measures, some include blind bends and are used as ratruns. Even where changes are proposed, such as under the A123 Ripple Road overpass or on Ripple Road before the “pedestrian zone”, they’re not enough. Full details on proposals here. Cycleways to nowhere? It’s not just TfL that’s letting cycling down. It’s also passing too many borough schemes that are too weak too. Of late we’ve seen several Cycleway schemes put forward by Kensington & Chelsea, Barnet and Hounslow, for instance, that feature wiggly routes down residential streets that are also ratruns and using shared space crossings of main roads, putting those cycling into conflict with pedestrians. These are reinforcing LCC’s view that TfL’s Quality Criteria isn’t tough enough to ensure schemes can be ridden by a far wider range of people – and this means too many schemes coming forward will fail to fulfil the potential TfL’s own Strategic Cycling Analysis has identified or create the network of high-quality routes the Mayor has committed to and needs to fulfil his Transport Strategy and pledge to make London “a byword for cycling". Our Infrastructure Advisory Panel is considering what improvements to the criteria are needed, but already volume of motor traffic, directness of route and use of shared space at main roads are all major concerns. Junctions too It’s also not just cycle routes where the Quality Criteria and TfL are letting cycling down. The “Safer Junctions” programme has also recently thrown out several utter howlers of junction design that will not reach the Mayor’s ambition of “Vision Zero”, no serious or fatal road collisions by 2041. Nor will these make cycling more comfortable in these locations – where motor traffic still seems to come first. The worst recently? Edgware Road/Harrow Road in Westminster, Balls Pond Road and Kingsland Road in Hackney and Clapham Road at Union Road and Stirling Road in Lambeth (although at least this is badged as an “interim” scheme). Our consultation responses to these (and all other schemes we respond to) are here. We will continue to press the Mayor, TfL and the boroughs for not just more urgent action, but bolder and better schemes for safe cycling and walking, on this issue – poor cycling schemes don’t result in more people cycling. Watch this space for more soon.

  • New Cycle Parking Strategy for London identifies the problems but under-estimates future demand.
    on 12th July 2019 at 4:46 PM

    New Cycle Parking Strategy for London identifies the problems but under-estimates future demand.   Having a safe place to leave your bike can be as vital to a making a cycle journey as having a safe route. The widespread lack of sufficient cycle parking stands is a barrier to cycling, as TfL’s new cycling parking strategy makes abundantly clear. Without more parking cycling growth will be stymied. Announcing a welcome £2.5m of funding for parking in the next year, TfL estimates that we need an additional 36,000 more on-street cycle parking spaces, on top of 145,000 existing ones, just to satisfy existing demand. But, , TfL then forecasts an additional requirement by 2025 of just 12,000 spaces even though the Mayor has a target of doubling cycle trips by 2026 from 720,000 to 1.5m. We don’t think this number of additional spaces is anywhere near sufficient to help meet the Mayor’s trip target, and LCC has asked TfL for an explanation of how the 12,000 figure was arrived. We’ll post the response here as soon as we get it. LCC agrees with Christina Calderato, TfL's Head of Delivery Planning, when she says: 'Enabling more people to cycle is vital if we are to tackle London's air quality and inactivity crises, but many people can be put off cycling to everyday destinations such as their workplace, the shops or the station by a lack of space to park their bike.’ To achieve the Mayor’s cycling targets we need accurate assessments of where parking currently exists and where it is needed. L LCC is helping TfL to address this by contributing to its comprehensive survey of all London’s cycling infrastructure. Stations – 30% spare capacity outside Zone One In a welcome, and essential, commitment in the strategy TfL say they plan to have a minimum 20 cycle parking spaces within 50 metres of every underground and rail station outside zone one, and 30% spare capacity. Ten stations will be tackled in the coming year. The key point about the promised 30% spare capacity is that it will ensure that riders to stations will have the confidence that they can park their bike near the station and catch a train rather than find all stands filled and have to search far beyond the station to secure their bikes. Large parking hubs are promised for major London termini. The potential for growth in trips to stations is enormous: in the Netherlands 40 % of trips to stations are by bike compared to just 2% in the UK. TfL reports that out of the 516 stations audited outside Zone 1 in 2015, 339 do not meet the new benchmark for cycle parking. Cycle hangars – 1,400 new spaces by 2020 Another commitment is the increase in so-called cycle hangars on city streets to house the bikes of residents who do not have space in their homes for bike storage.  Hackney and other boroughs have long waiting lists for hangars even though residents are charged for the facility. Currently there are 7,000 spaces in 1,200 hangars across London – that is set to increase by 1,400 spaces across London. A step in the right direction but that’s fewer than the number on the waiting list for hangar spaces in Hackney alone so delivery still needs to be stepped up. Parking for 82 Schools and Colleges Medical specialists constantly highlight the importance of active travel by children. In Holland half of education trips are by bike, in London it’s less than two percent. Safe routes are an obvious requirement but cycle parking is also essential. Eighty schools and two universities are to get cycle parking this year under TfL’s plan.   Theft In London more than 20,000 cycle thefts are reported each year and unreported thefts could be three times higher according to the police. According to the TfL cycle parking strategy:  “Twenty-five per cent of people who cycle, and 22 per cent of people who don’t, are put off cycling in London for fear of cycle theft. When theft occurred, 34 per cent of victims said they had stopped cycling altogether, or temporarily, as a result.” Secure cycle parking at home and at destinations is the obvious answer. TfL has identified the problems and its proposed solutions reflect LCC’s longstanding advice, as well as international best practice. New developments will benefit from the improved minimum cycle parking standards in the London Plan that LCC and TfL have backed, but retrofitting existing buildings is necessary as demand grows and incentives for employers have worked before and could prove an answer again.       You can find the TfL Cycle Parking Strategy here.   &nbs