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Cyclists deserve more than slogans

06 October, 2017

• COUNCILLOR Claudia Webbe, Islington executive member for the environment, would not be out of place as leader of the Conservative Party when it comes to repeating meaningless slogans.

When people attend the “Democracy” night at the full council meeting to ask about the environment, as I did the other Thursday, they probably do not want to hear over and over again, time after time and year after year that Islington was the first borough to adopt the 20mph speed limit.

All the Islington councillors already know this, and the public have learned it at the previous 12 meetings (and it is not implemented anyway).

A sceptical observer might think Cllr Webbe is trying to fill up the allotted time because she has no meaningful reply to give. And, concerning cycling provisions, would they be wrong?

Islington has the lowest amount of overnight lockable bicycle parking of all Labour boroughs in London. And the fact that there are any at all (Have we achieved 18 yet? 75 in Hackney last time I counted) is because I walked into the full council meeting a number of times, enduring the laughter of all Labour councillors, and made a big fuss.

People who live in flats have nowhere to park their bikes, yet it never occurred to Islington Council that doing what other Labour councils in London have been doing – providing on-street, lockable, overnight bike parking that can be rented the same as car spaces, but with six bikes in place of one car – might be a good idea.

Quietways for people who move on bicycles, as London Mayor Sadiq Khan is trying to implement, require the closure of rat-runs, or segregated cycle lanes, depending on the type of road.

What is Cllr Webbe’s reply to that? No answer at all, nothing, zero, as people who live in Gillespie Road and Thornhill Road – two of the worst rat-runs – know very well. Cllr Webbe, it would seem, can single-handedly scupper the Mayor’s plan to make London a cycling city.

The council has started only one significant infrastructure project since the last local elections in 2014, Clerkenwell Road/Old Street. This has been in design for more than three years and it’s not clear if consultation will occur this side of the 2018 local elections.

Islington transport policies have not been updated since 2011. So, this is my question (and please no repeat of the 20mph): what actual, high-quality, large and materially significant schemes for cycling does the council propose?

Wedmore Gardens, N19


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