Cllr Scott Ainslie gives us a Space for Cycling update for St Leonards ward, Lambeth

We hear from Cllr Scott Ainslie, Green Party councillor in St Leonards ward, Lambeth about their progress to deliver Space for Cycling in his ward and beyond.

Before being elected in 2014, I was a founding member of Sustainable Streatham (2009). Our aim was to make Streatham a more sustainable and beautiful place to live. I put on several pedal powered cinema events & I have been a cyclist all my life. Also, when we changed our name to Transition Streatham, we pushed TfL for a cleaner, greener High Road, which included our vision for Dutch style cycle lanes along the High Road in Phase II of the Mayor’s Outer London Fund. (See word document attached.)

We highlighted concerns for cyclists safety on Streatham High Road back in 2012, using data from cyclestreets and since 2006, Greens have been campaigning for 20 MPH and we have finally persuaded the Council to get on with its implementation

Since being elected, my colleagues & I have been working directly with officers such as Richard Ambler (Lambeth’s cycle programme manager) & have also been dealing directly with TfL over quietways and sustrans.

We have also been trying to make progress on the specific "asks" which LCC made (and which Jonathan Bartley was involved in setting when he met with them before the local elections in 2014) around safe routes to schools.

Specifically:

  • Mitcham Lane: One of the blocks is the fact that schools like St Leonard's are on red routes, and therefore under TfL control.  We have therefore been working with Tfl to try and get Mitcham Lane 20mph (another of the specific asks) and have run a petition to make the junction there safer. TfL have now come forward with specific proposals to do so. This is a result of our three year campaign.
  • Barrier at the bottom of Mt Ephraim Lane to be more permeable:  We have been working with officers (specifically the new road danger reduction manager) around this barrier, which was a specific ask.  The situation is difficult because residents are very worried that the barrier might be removed, and so we are having to negotiate with them.
  • Tooting Common: we have been exploring options with Friends of Tooting Common & Tooting MAC, who, as well as local cycling groups, are concerned with cyclist safety crossing from "Tooting Bec Rd (Bridleway)" to Riggindale Road and in crossing Bedford Hill on the other side. We need to make this safe for ALL cyclists – especially school children - as there are 3 schools around this area, which if made safer, would hopefully see more children/families getting to their schools by bike. In my conversations with local residents, they want signage at the Bedford Hill crossing to flag up to motorists to slow down as it is a school area.
  • We are glad that the Tooting MAC have implemented 'shared space' plans on their cycleways through the Common and put up signs requesting that cyclists are considerate of other users, by removing the dividing lanes on tarmac through the Common. And we have been pushing to allow cyclists to be allowed to cycle through the Northern part of Tooting Common from Drewstead Road through to Emmanuel Road - again, as long as they are considerate to other users.
  • Tooting Bec Gardens permeability should be addressed by the quietway, as it comes out of Riggindale.
  • Becmead and Prentis we feel will be best addressed by mobilising residents around the NEP, as officers will listen to the residents and the NEP needs to be resident led.  The NEP has just begun and is a two year process.
  • I have put in a Member’s Enquiry (ref: 368396and asked for cross party support in requesting that Lambeth’s Cycle Programme Manager, Richard Ambler (who is taking voluntary redundancy in December 2015…. Has his job replaced in order to show that Lambeth is serious about being ‘the most popular Borough for cyclists from 8-80.’

The Greens are committed to genuinely working cross party on implementing all of space for cycling’s recommendations asap.