Good Turnout For Visit By Mayor's Walking And Cycling Commissioner

Updating locals on cycle highway and liveable neighbourhoods scheme


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There was a turnout of about sixty local residents and interested parties, to the recent visit to Chiswick by Dr Will Norman, the Mayor's representative for walking and cycling in the city. He was invited by Hounslow Cycling Campaign to speak at The Pilot pub in Wellesley Road and the free ticketed event was sold out on Eventbrite.

Attendees included Hounslow councillors Katherine Dunne, Riverside ward councillor Sam Hearn, cllr Guy Lambert, leader of the council Steve Curran, Brentwood and Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury, officers from Hounslow and Ealing and residents from Chiswick, Hounslow, Richmond, Ealing and Hammersmith.

Will Norman has been the Mayor's public face on the plans to build the cycleway 9 in Chiswick and beyond, but the visit covered other aspects of his brief, which is to improve the quality of life for local citizens by tackling air pollution by decreasing the use of cars and increasing the levels of cycling and walking.

On the Cycleway9, which has seen work commence at Kew Bridge, he said there would be a consultation in the autumn for the extension of the route from Brentford town centre to Hounslow town centre. Some of the points he made in his presentation include;

*Putting in cycle facilities is transformative, for example in routes through Greenwich you can now hear birds singing and children playing in school. There is an overwhelming need to tackle air pollution and inactivity - about 80% of children in London are inactive.

*We need to create a strategic network.
All cycle routes have increased in bike traffic by at least 80% once opened. We need to design Cycleways for those who are not cycling now, not for the currently confident.

*There are 3 requirements for success:
political leadership, good officers, supportive stakeholders/critical friends. Hounslow had all three. He wants to work with supportive councils, where the money will be best spent.
The Mayor’s Transport Strategy has a target of 80% walking and cycling for all journeys.

There were many questions sent in advance, including on the proposed Liveable Neighbourhoods scheme for Chiswick South (Grove Park area and beyond) Dr Norman was asked what chance
of success did the Liveable Neighbourhoods programme have, given any restriction to motor vehicles leads to objections and councillors may not “be brave” when faced by objections?

Dr Norman responded by saying that funding is awarded on the basis of quality and this includes deliverability. "There are no blank cheques and project gates to get access to funding. TfL can withdraw funding." He advised that work should continue on the scheme to ensure funding was put in place by the relevant deadlines.

He was asked how should buses be part of Liveable Neighbourhoods. In his reply he said that Buses are essential. There may be 40,000 users on some major roads. If buses stop the public will not all go on bikes or walk, lots will take Uber and this was not what they wanted to see.

A question from a Hammersmith resident asked if a cycling/walking bridge could be built over the railway at Olympia? Dr Norman responded that the Mayor only controls 5% of all London roads.

He was also asked about the possibility of reducing speed limits to 15mph and responded that currently there was no appetite for that, and they were working to what is legally possible which is 20mph.

Another question related to Heathrow and the need for a cycle lane through the site. He agreed and said 8km is a cycleable distance for most people and the Heathrow perimeter is longer than that. 80% of the workforce don’t work in central terminals. Staff needed permeable transport, and needed it now. However, he added he has limited influence over Heathrow.

Another question said 'In order to meet your targets by 2041, isn’t the closure of Hammersmith Bridge a godsend? He replied: "It is not my remit, but it is encouraging more walking and cycling."

Asked about the Uxbridge Road, he said 'It’s a big void, but we need to complete CW9, and the A40. The priority is to get current projects completed first.

Councillor Steve Curran commented that he agreed with the need to progress existing projects before taking on more.

Cllr Katherine Dunne commented: "We need your support to push through changes, we are very committed to safe cycling and walking. On Monday the draft climate emergency plan will be issued. It is important to support your Council when they are doing the right thing, not just complain when unhappy. Parking and business permit changes are currently out for consultation, please look and respond."

Written in conjunction with information supplied by the Hounslow Cycling Group

February 8, 2020

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