A vision for cycling

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Making streets safe and pleasant for cycling and walking is central to our vision for Southwark. This single achievement would address health problems like obesity and air pollution, help with the cost of living when fares and petrol costs are rising, boost trade in local shops, and reduce the number of people injured or killed on our streets. Above all, cycling is fun and friendly – we want more people to be able to enjoy it.

We fully support the Space4Cycling campaign, and Green Party politicians and members have been active in promoting its principles. We would aim for 10% of trips to be made by bike by 2018 and 25% by 2025, with an emphasis on areas with good cycling potential and poor public transport like north Peckham.

We would achieve our aims in Southwark with the following policies:

1. Make active travel and air pollution reduction the borough’s public health priorities.

2. Introduce 20mph speed limits on all streets in Southwark (lobbying TfL where necessary). Engage with the police and communities on enforcement. Develop a public education programme for drivers through council media such as websites, Southwark Life and community meetings.

3. Provide safe, dedicated space for cyclists on main roads, including converting advisory cycle lanes into semi-segregated lanes. Put pressure on TfL to adopt adequate standards for Cycle Superhighways and fix problems on existing routes.

4. Work with TfL and Southwark Cyclists to re-engineer dangerous junctions, reallocating road space from cars and car parking to ensure a safe design that can cope with much higher volumes of cyclists.

5. Apply the ‘filtered permeability’ principle to all transport projects, transforming the borough over the next four years to reduce rat running and provide low-traffic routes for less confident cyclists.

6. Encourage schools to take up the cycle training to which pupils are entitled by publicising the scheme to teachers and governors. Involve parents and help them find good routes to school, shops and friends.

7. Expand on-street cycle parking, taking space from car parking where necessary, to ensure people in flats have somewhere secure and covered to park their bike. Increase the budget for secure cycle parking on housing estates. Simplify the planning process for householders and landlords willing to install front garden cycle lockers and introduce a bulk-buy scheme (similar to that for compost bins and water butts).

8. Create an integrated network across the borough that includes the Quietways, Central London Grid and Cycle Superhighways and roads on the existing London Cycle Network so that cyclists are not limited to specific routes. Set targets for making roads progressively safer so that they can be used by all ages and abilities. Integrate these into the Transport Plan and local planning policy, reinstating policies removed by the current administration.

9. Work with TfL and Network Rail to provide secure parking stands in adequate numbers at stations and bus hubs to allow people to mix and match walking, cycling and public transport.

10. Provide in-kind support to cycling community projects such as those that combine health, cycle training and social rides (e.g. by printing leaflets and providing storage space).

Latest articles about our cycling campaigning

Read on for news about Southwark Green Party's campaigning to make Southwark better for cycling.

The Movement Plan approved by Southwark Council in 2019 (download here) claims to be a bold vision to change how we get around the borough over the next 20 years. How does it measure up in the light of Southwark Council’s declaration of a climate emergency at the end of March 2019?

Let’s start with the good news. We’re told that 77% of Southwark people who were surveyed support reducing traffic. And there’s an  exciting sounding policy to introduce street closures to reallocate space for people.  But as we read on, what sounded like a commitment to deliver more healthy streets turns out to be a commitment to ‘explore’ acting – is this code for commissioning more studies from consultants? In fact the whole document falls down on a lack of detailed commitments and deadlines.

Will the Movement Plan really help us to walk and cycle more?

Many more people would like to cycle if only it felt safe, rather than having to jostle with drivers cutting through residential areas.. Similarly, many people hop on the bus for a short journey because the alternative – perhaps a noisy, polluted, grubby street with a pavement that’s a bit too narrow for comfort – just isn’t appealing. Imagine how different it would be if you positively chose to walk those ten minutes because it gave you a chance to go through a small park, pick up groceries or walk side by side, chatting with friends. (This is called, in the jargon, ‘suppressed demand’ for walking and cycling).

It’s cheering to see here a map of the full cycle network proposed in 2015 in the accompanying Local Implementation Plan (under 'Action 4'). But no quality standards, funding or delivery deadlines are proposed - so about as useful as a freshly painted cycle logo on a rat-run. Nor does it show TfL's proposed routes, including the flagship Rotherhithe Bridge. (The Mayor pulled the plug on the Rotherhithe Bridge in June - Caroline Russell has called for a free ferry crossing to be put in place quickly instead).

There’s a new walking network map, but it lacks routes, particularly in the southern half of borough and on the Rotherhithe peninsula. And with funding focused on 'fun' interventions and promotion, maybe this will be a 'virtual' network, something you will only see with an Augmented Reality app?

It’s great to see that the council plans again to allow contraflow cycling on all one-way streets. Initially proposed in 2015, the only thing that has happened since is that the council lost the money it had earmarked for this. But there are no actions related to equality in cycling – making it possible for all ages and abilities to cycle safely. And the text is far too vague when it comes to promises to extend 'the cycle hire schemes' across the borough. Maybe that’s because the clear commitment to do so in Southwark Labour’s 2014 manifesto still hasn’t been met. We all know there is a massive hole in the availability of Santander hire bikes in London – and that hole is in Southwark!

TfL map of docking stations showing red dots over north and west London but no stations south or east of Elephant and Castle

Transport for London map showing  hire bike docking stations in red. (Interactive version here)

So tell us, Southwark Council, will you invest in getting TfL hire bikes installed all the way to Rotherhithe and Camberwell? We don’t want another debacle like the Mobo and ofo bike hire schemes, which had to be abandoned after a less than a year. We want to be part of a reliable, London-wide scheme. Tell us where and by when we can expect them!

You’ll never miss a target if you never set one

When it comes to targets, the Movement Plan is seriously disappointing. There is still no target to reduce motor traffic before 2041. With Southwark Council having passed a motion to ‘do all it can to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030’, and emissions from the transport sector being the biggest single source,we need real leadership on the actions that will make that possible.

The Movement Plan does include a target to reduce 10% morning peak freight traffic by 2026. In other words taking seven years to reduce traffic by 3% for three hours per day! The Belgian city of Ghent reduced all rush hour motor traffic by 12% in just the first year of its 'filtered permeability' plan.

Progress in reducing collisions on Southwark streets has stalled since 2013 and has now gone into reverse. But there are no new actions proposed on road safety other than ‘working with the police’ and installing moped anchors to secure powered two wheelers safely’.

What would we do? Read our proposals for cutting carbon through changing the way we get around.

 

 

 

In March 2019, Southwark Council passed a motion to ‘do all it can to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030’. Transport is the biggest single source of carbon emissions in our borough, so  we need real leadership on transport to change the way we get around and deliver goods.

Here are some proposals from Southwark Green Party for the kind of interventions we will need to meet the target of going climate neutral by 2030.

1. Green our streets

Southwark's own reports show that the borough has lost 1,000 street trees in the last ten years.

Derwent Grove before and after the commuters go home – photo courtesy of @edstnparkingDerwent Grove before and after the commuters go home – photo courtesy of @edstnparking

If you live in Peckham West or East Dulwich, you will have received a consultation survey from Southwark Council, called “Parking zone and healthier streets.” The Peckham West consultation closes today; the East Dulwich one on 28 February.

The council explains the reason for the consultation: they have received many requests for permit parking from residents in East Dulwich since 2015 and they expect parking pressure to increase.

Please respond to the consultation. Here are some points you may wish to consider.

We've just responded to Southwark Council's consultation on proposed changes to streets between Burgess Park and Commercial Way. Some of our members took part in the three public walkabouts and workshops last year to identify problems in the area.

Eleanor said: 'It was the first really integrated transport consultation process I'd taken part in - thinking about walking, cycling and parking together. There was also valuable input from Dutch transport consultants who brought a very positive attitude and some new ideas.'

Problems identified included:

  • the dangerous crossing of Peckham Road from Kelly Avenue to Lyndhurst Way, where cyclists get no clue as to when it's safe to cross,
  • the hostile atmosphere for cyclists on Commercial Way - especially noticeable when other sections of the route (Kelly Avenue, Chandler Way) are pleasant for walking and cycling because there's access for residents and deliveries in motor vehicles but no through traffic,
  • lack of capacity for an increase in the number of people cycling via Burgess Park - and thus the need for safe routes on the parallel roads (East-West on St George's Way and North-South on Wells Way),
  • the need for cycle routes that are safe 24 hours a day, i.e. benefitting from the 'eyes on the street', rather than being directed through Burgess Park,
  • commuters parking on St George's Way early in the morning before heading into central London, with vehicles blocking parking for local residents,
  • vehicles for sale parked up on Wells Way.

It's really good to see how the proposals have taken on board the observations made by people on those walkabouts.

What's more, the council is making use of an 'experimental' approach with its suggestion for changes to St George's Way. The changes will be open for public comments for 18 months before a decision is made whether to make a permanent change. This is a really welcome approach. Local residents can experience the difference, rather than having to make a decision based on drawings.

You've got till Friday 11 January to respond - do send in your comments if you live in this area or walk/cycle through (or would, if only it was safer). It doesn't take long, and you can choose just to answer on sections relevant to you.

Read on for details of our response ...

When Caroline Russell first became a transport campaigner in the early 1990s, she was courted by both Labour and the Lib Dems to stand in local elections. But, she says: “I knew I always trusted what the Greens said on transport.” 

Twenty-five years on, Caroline is a councillor in Highbury East ward, Islington – the only Green on a council that is otherwise 100% Labour. With Sian Berry, she is also one of two Green members of the London Assembly and chair of the assembly’s environment committee, holding mayor Sadiq Khan to account to ensure he delivers on promises to reduce air pollution and make travelling around London safer for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Caroline works tirelessly for environmental and social justice, and we were delighted to welcome her as our guest speaker at Southwark Green Party’s AGM, held on 15 November at the Albrighton Centre, SE22.

We support the Liveable London campaign and are pleased to see the London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets working together, showing that we have common interests as people who want safer, more pleasant streets, whether on foot or on cycle.

If elected as councillors, we will do everything we can to implement policies to make it easier and safer to walk and cycle.

Southwark Greens have been working for more action on air pollution in Southwark since 2011. Our actions include:
• triggering the first full council debate on air pollution
• putting up nitrogen dioxide pollution monitors near schools in Peckham, Camberwell and Dulwich
• taking a 500+ signature petition to the Mayor for cleaner buses through our area
• running a free Travel Clinic at Brunswick Park summer fete to help people work out how much they could save by giving up a private car
• planting a pollution screen round Goose Green Primary school playground

More details here.

Southwark Greens have opposed Southwark Council’s plans to demolish Peckham Arch and asked the Mayor to look at how these plans fail to take into account TfL’s identification of a high potential for walking and cycling in Peckham.

We support CS4 - a cycle route going between Tower Bridge and Greenwich - and would like Southwark Council and TfL to work together to fill in the missing pieces. We support the idea of a new bridge across the river for pedestrians and cyclists - the Brunel Bridge. 

Why do councillors ignore residents' views?

Last year, Southwark Council ran a consultation on its proposed 'Southwark Spine' cycle route. Local people and road safety experts said the designs would make cycling more dangerous, especially around Bellenden Road. In fact, 63% of people who replied opposed it.

But just before the election was called, one of the Labour councillors for this area, Ian Wingfield, signed off the scheme.

Eleanor Margolies says: "This makes a mockery of the idea of consultation. The Southwark Spine was meant to make cycling safe for all ages, from 8-80. Hundreds of people took the time to write in with their concerns. I can’t believe Cllr Wingfield has ignored us all. I will listen to residents and fight for a better scheme that reduces motor traffic and is safer for everyone."

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We asked Southwark Greens what they've been up to to keep the streets tidy...

What do you do when you see a bike rusting away on the street or on a council estate?
Eleanor: It's sad to see an unloved bike! I do a quick check that it really is abandoned. Rusty chains and missing wheels are a good clue. Then I report abandoned bikes on the Southwark Council website. The council cleaning team puts a note on the bike, giving a week or two for it to be claimed by its owner.

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What happens next?
Eleanor: After a further month in storage to allow owners to get in touch, unclaimed bikes are passed on to local charities like the brilliant Bike Project on Champion Hill. They refurbish old bikes and donate them to refugees. Someone gets a bike of their own and the freedom to get around locally. A bike parking space is freed up for other people who need to use it. And we all get rid of a trip hazard and eyesore. It’s win-win-win!

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Southwark Council has received funds from Transport for London to create Quietway 7 from Elephant and Castle to Dulwich. The Quietways are designed to be safe and pleasant for people aged 8-80, of all abilities, for trips to school, work and shops. No lycra required! The changes will also improve the streets for people on foot, including new crossings along the route, and wider pavements outside Brunswick Park on Benhill Road.

But contractors working for Notting Hill Housing on Edmund Street put in two new humps along the Quietway route – and made them the wrong shape!

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Southwark Council is consulting on the status of Camberwell Grove. The road goes over the railway via a bridge, just south of the junction with McNeil Road. This bridge has been closed to all motor traffic since October 2016, due to structural failure.

The council website says: 'Repairs to the bridge will soon be completed by Network Rail, which will allow it to be reopened for small motor vehicles (under 3 tonne) with traffic lights allowing alternate one-way flows to cater for both north and south-bound traffic'. The council wants to hear your views before taking a final decision on reopening the bridge. The consultation page is here (closing Monday 30 October).

We encourage Southwark residents to respond. Read on for our comments.

[See all articles related to this campaign...]


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