Who is sticking up for pedestrians?

Brian Benjamin, Queens Crescent, Chalk Farm, writes:

In ‘Haverstock Hill’, Cllr Adam Harrison attempts to justify the cycle lanes which we now learn will definitely be installed there.

Can we all agree that cycling is to be encouraged, BUT only if not to the detriment of others who have a greater claim to priority?

Here are three questions for Cllr Adam Harrison-

  1. In the consultation documents, was there any mention of the fact that traffic islands, sometimes rightly known as ‘refuges’, are being removed? And if not, why not? And, please don’t say that the traffic islands are a detail. They are desperately important to the young, the old and the less abled – assuming we matter.
  2. Did anyone represent us pedestrians? I have seen a claim that the cycle lanes have the support of Living Streets. That organisation was formed as the Pedestrians Association, whose sole purpose was to advance the interests of pedestrians. When it changed its name to Living Streets, over 20 years ago, it expanded its purpose to also support cycling - which probably sounded fine at the time. However, the cycling campaigners have largely taken it over, so that when the interests of pedestrians and cyclists conflict, it is the cyclists who claim to represent Living Streets. We have even seen Living Streets supporting traffic schemes that allow cyclists to share pavements with pedestrians as recently happened at the Haverstock Hill – Prince of Wales Road junction. Fortunately, someone closely reading the scheme’s small print picked it up and we managed to have it removed.
  3. What was the point of having a consultation through Commonplace and then ignoring the result, thus discrediting the process both for the Haverstock Hill scheme and for future consultations?

Ham & High: A lorry prior to passing a family bicycle on Haverstock HillA lorry prior to passing a family bicycle on Haverstock Hill (Image: Paul Allen)

I see that Cllr Harrison tries to make political capital for his schemes. The implication is that in common with the general perception of Labour, the schemes advance the interests of the weak over the powerful: Cyclists being the weak, car drivers being the powerful. He should be careful. Most Labour members I know see it differently, with the cycling campaigners being the strong, indeed being bullies. The weak are those who are deprived of traffic islands and so have to look in eight different directions before feeling safe to embark on crossing the road, and that includes when crossing on a zebra crossing.

Many I know will not be voting Labour next May unless it is for a candidate who has stood up against the Harrisons in power.

Please don’t assume you have a right to govern because this is Camden. We have been here before. Remember Tony Blair? Remember the Lib Dem/Conservative coalition we had for a few years in Camden?

LTN consultations are engaging

Ham & High: A pop-up cycle lane in Goods WayA pop-up cycle lane in Goods Way (Image: Archant)

James Aufenast, lead, Bounds Green Living Streets, writes:

I am writing in response to a letter by Vicki Leonard on July 28 (Letter on Proposed Low Traffic Neighbourhoods).

My experience contrasts to what Vicki reports. Haringey Council has been extremely proactive in requesting feedback from local residents regarding its proposals for reduced traffic in and around certain neighbourhoods – known as LTNs.

The level of engagement is remarkably high considering that other councils have implemented these measures immediately under emergency traffic orders. Traffic reduction is crucial – based on levels of pollution locally, climate change targets for the council, requirements for active travel and the need to reduce childhood obesity in the borough.

In February and March the council delivered an online survey for local businesses and residents, which gave people the chance to pinpoint exactly which areas they would like to be looked at. An online meeting with residents in the proposed LTN area was also held in which the council outlined the principles of an LTN and why it was being considered. The council also conducted meetings with local schools, emergency services and disability services.

In the next stage in May, Community Design Workshops were held where the chosen partner for traffic planning in the area, Sustrans, consulted residents on potential plans to reduce traffic. Two designs were offered as an option and based on feedback, one was selected for consultation.

The full consultation is now in place. A letter has been sent out along with background information explaining LTNs and School Streets and a form for resident feedback. This has been accompanied by an email announcing the mailing and process. Once the traffic reduction measures are in place, residents will have a chance to feed back on the designs according to how they are impacted.

We have supported the council throughout the process to date and will continue to do so while this level of engagement is maintained.

Pavement cycling a growing concern

Ham & High: A cyclist riding on the pavementA cyclist riding on the pavement (Image: PA Archive/PA Images)

Antony Porter, full address supplied, writes:

Revisiting London’s parks after a couple of years we were horrified at the amount of pavement cycling now commonplace. We were often obliged to walk upon the lawns and verges for safety. Furthermore, the cyclists were people of all ages and varying speeds, thereby adding to our anxieties.

So what will come next? Will the general public eventually demand cycle-free days, perhaps once a month, as well as safe places where wheel users can be legally banned?

Cycling now poses serious problems for the elderly and disabled, also for children and dogs. Cycle abuse can also be observed in one-way streets, upon station platforms and even in cemeteries.

Post-Lockdown we are witnessing the beginnings of the Age of Rotations, whereby the old divisions between pathways, pavements and roads largely disappear and wheel users just speed around, sometimes aimlessly.