Cabinet Report 21 October 2014 (attached)
6.1 Councillor Mark Williams, the cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transport, introduced the report. The chair, Councillor Gavin Edwards, commented that the cycling strategy brought together best practice from across the country and internationally. He sought clarification of the status of the document. Councillor Williams explained that the strategy included concrete plans, schemes that were already underway and future proposals. The final strategy would be adopted in March of next year and the new Southwark plan would make reference to the strategy.
6.2 The vice-chair, Councillor Rosie Shimell, queried the funding that backed the strategy. She highlighted the £2 million ring-fenced for cycling (page 60 of the report) and asked what this was intended to deliver. Councillor Williams explained that this was a discretionary fund set aside prior to May 2014. It was intended to fund projects identified in the strategy, especially changes to the road network which would make up the Southwark Spine cycle route. In Councillor Shimell’s view, the Spine was the priority. She asked how much the Spine might cost and what would be left over to deliver the rest of the strategy. Councillor Williams replied that the final route of the Spine was not set in stone but it was being costed at the moment. Other funding would be available through planning gain for instance at the Elephant & Castle.
6.3 Councillor Tom Flynn commented that he was particularly impressed by the Exchanging Places and cycle loan schemes. At the same time he pointed out that the Spine route skirted around Camberwell and asked what measures would encourage people from Camberwell onto this route. The current route was very much north to south and he asked what was intended for the routes from east to west. Councillor Williams replied that there were existing plans for one of the mayor’s quietways to run through Camberwell. There was also a quietway running east to west, from Greenwich to Waterloo. He added that he wanted to make the proposed cycle super highway as safe as possible. He hoped that TFL would bring forward a scheme.
6.4 Councillor Adele Morris asked what the council was expecting people to do with the consultation document. She commented that Cathedrals and Chaucer ward was very lucky in that it had two cycle routes including a quietway and the Spine route. She asked the cabinet member for his views on the super highway and the Elephant & Castle including residents' concerns. Councillor Williams explained that the purpose of the consultation document was to invite views about the strategy including any ideas and anything that had been missed. In terms of a cycle super highway, £2 million funding was being put into Blackfriars Road towards improvements for cyclists and pedestrians and towards public realm benefits. There had been lots of views contributing to the Elephant & Castle, including from Southwark cyclists, and he wanted to make this area as safe as possible and to have by-pass routes. Councillor Morris asked the cabinet member how he had dealt with issues raised by, for instance, Southwark cyclists. Councillor Williams reported that the council had worked closely with Southwark cyclists and agreed with them on a lot of points. There was some disagreement about the best solution.
6.5 Councillor Karl Eastham asked what evidence existed in terms of what worked best to encourage cycling. Councillor Williams explained that a lot of work had been done in other countries including Holland and Denmark. Successful solutions included direct safe routes, bike storage and the normalisation of cycling. Safe and secure routes were based on a mix of segregation, filtered permeability, and home zones where cyclists and pedestrians had priority. Normalising cycling was seen as the key thing.
6.6 Councillor Jasmine Ali congratulated the cabinet member and officers on the strategy. She was concerned that as many in the community as possible take advantage of the consultation and asked how it had been communicated to the widest audience. She commented that councillors should lead by example and asked what percentage of the council workforce cycled and whether there could be more incentives to do so. Councillor Williams replied that the council held up to date details of many people interested in cycling and worked with schools, tenants associations, faith groups and other groups including the Dulwich Safe Routes to School programme. The director of planning, Simon Bevan, stated that there had been no recent survey of staff. Councillor Williams said that he wanted as many staff and councillors as possible to cycle.
6.7 Councillor Anood Al-Samerai commented that there was not much in the strategy that could be disagreed with. Her main concern was that there were no segregated cycle lanes. Another concern was that Crystal Palace Parade and East Dulwich Grove were existing schemes. There was not much that was new other than the Spine. She asked if there would be segregated lanes on the Aylesbury. Councillor Williams welcomed the broad buy-in from all political parties. He reported that he was looking at whether the bike to work scheme could be brought back. In terms of segregation he stated that this was not the only answer to pushing up cycling rates. Segregation could be considered on roads where there were fast moving or high volumes of traffic for instance on Blackfriars Road and some roads around the Elephant & Castle. Slowing down of traffic could also be achieved through design, for instance by home zones which were seen as places for people rather than for cars. Hackney had achieved huge success with filtered permeability schemes. The council was reviewing all the roads in the borough and it was possible that there would be segregation on some roads. Albany Road would be significantly transformed from the road it was now to look more like a park road. Councillor Williams stated that he would welcome any suggestions as to specific roads where members would like to see segregation. In terms of timescale, the strategy would be adopted in March of next year and it was hoped to deliver the Spine in two years' time.
6.8 Councillor Dan Garfield was concerned that any decisions relating to the Aylesbury would involve residents. The Aylesbury was going to be one of the biggest regeneration projects in the borough and needed individual consideration rather than being seen as part of a borough wide push for segregation. Councillor Garfield also reported that there had been complaints in his individual ward about quietways and the use of the most direct routes. Councillor Williams responded that it was essential to ensure that the infrastructure worked for residents. Proposals for quietways needed to reflect residents’ views but maintain the directness of routes. Councillor Adele Morris stressed that the important point about the regeneration of the Aylesbury was to afford residents with consultation on and around the TFL super highway. Councillor Williams confirmed that officers were already meeting with residents. He welcomed any suggestions as to who else to consult with.
6.9 Councillor Claire Maugham highlighted objective 3.3, secure cycle parking, and was concerned that this was an issue on estates. Councillor Williams responded that in terms of new build the new Southwark Plan required a higher provision of cycle parking. It also required parking provision where people were visiting for instance shops, leisure centres and work. In terms of existing estates, the council was looking at solutions such as bicycle hangers and central stores.
6.10 The chair stated that cycling provision around Peckham Rye Park and common was non-existent. He believed that space was available for a cycle path on both sides and asked whether there was a commitment to look at this. Councillor Williams indicated that he would investigate. He also identified a need to look at the route from Nunhead Lane to East Dulwich.
6.11 The chair summarised the committee's comments in response to the cycle strategy:
- the council to look again at its bike to work scheme for staff
- the strategy to consider the use of segregated cycle schemes
- any decisions about the level of segregation around the Aylesbury to take account of the views of local residents
- consideration to be given to bike security at home
- the strategy to consider retail and business gain as a result of increased cycling
- the strategy to look at cycling provision around Peckham Rye