Central government have decided to roll back their red tape and give power back to the people! In reality, this is power going to the county and borough councilors (who don’t have the budgets needed to do anything productive with their new powers), or in some cases it could amount to less power for the councilors to resist the pressures of developers. It is now more important than ever to keep an eye on local developments: to provide the local opposition that the councilors will need if they are to justify turning down bad proposals, and the local support that they need to get funding for good proposals.
For those who don’t care about London (or care about more than just London), I’ll compile another post.
London boroughs Local Implementation Plans
The London Authority requires the boroughs to periodically outline their transport plans for a forthcoming timespan, to compliment the Mayor’s own transport strategy. The last set of plans were written five years ago; it’s time for the boroughs to produce new ones and consult with their “stakeholders”. These plans will include specific detailed initiatives for the next few years, but also propose high-level policy directions for the next few decades. The boroughs should make these plans available for everyone to read, and any of you can give feedback if you think you hold any stake in the future of transport in that borough. You don’t need to be a resident — you could comment on a borough that you work in, commute through, or even which you never visit, but whose transport plan you think could have knock-on effects on your own borough’s transport situation (I never visit the northern or western outer boroughs, but it is their pro-car policies that help make much of the central area a nasty place to be).
When reading the LIPs, check what the council plans to do to make the city livable — their plans, if any, for calm residential streets, pleasant high streets, and cycling infrastructure that actually works. And watch out for failed fantasies like “congestion relief” and “smoother traffic flow”.
Here are a few LIPs that might be of interest:
- The City of London — Cyclists in the City have an excellent series of posts on what is wrong with this car-centric plan, and resources to help with sending your feedback.
- Camden — traditionally one of the more bicycle-friendly boroughs, and don’t forget that it includes a reasonable chunk of the central zone. They have a helpful form to make sending your feedback really absurdly easy — you have no excuses.
- Southwark — another more progressive central zone council. They have a survey too, it takes seconds to fill in.
- Other inner boroughs that you might need to travel through: Lewisham, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, Kensington & Chelsea.
I couldn’t find anything for Hackney, Islington, or Westminster — perhaps those are not ready yet. I also searched for Waltham Forest, for a laugh, but they too have nothing obvious available for comment so far. If you can find those, or any other LIPs that are worthy of comment, do let us know. So far I haven’t looked at the content of any the LIPs except the City, Camden, and Southwark — if you do look at any of the documents and spot anything outstanding or outrageous in them, let us know.
Other stuff that needs action
Email Lambeth Council to oppose the removal of one of the few off-road routes we have in central London — the riverside path:
Subscribe the TfL’s consultations — they include major streetscape changes on the red routes, Bus routes, taxis, etc.
Find your borough’s streets & transport consultations web page — e.g. Lewisham’s is here — and subscribe to it (if the council are too useless to have provided their own feed, you can improvise one with tools like this). Look out for changes to speed restrictions, official approval of pavement parking, poorly designed one-way systems, etc. Most consultations are small and dull so get very few responses, and proposals easily go through unopposed — but this means that when people do speak up, they can potentially get noticed more easily.
Also keep an eye on the major projects in the central boroughs — especially Westminster and The City, since these are usually designed to support our current car-centric mess. Westminster’s transport/streetscapes consultations page was particularly difficult to find, but I believe this is it. It includes their proposals for half of the grubbier eastern end of Oxford Street, to be built later this year: more car parking spaces and loading bays; helping pedestrians by, erm, pushing them onto other “under-utilised streets” (shove ‘em round the back by the bins — that’s gotta be good for business); and no mention of cycling at all. (Of course, what Oxford Street and its traders desperately need is proper pedestrianisation — but then, this same observation was made in the 1963 Buchanan report and it hasn’t happened yet.) You have two months to send Westminster your comments on that one.
I must stop the list there, else I won’t have time to respond to any of these plans myself…