London Cycling Campaign in Hackney

7 Navarino Grove


E8 1AJ

0171 241 1255

To: 6 July 1999

Robert Biggs

Land Use and Transportation

London Borough of Hackney

161 City Road




Dear Mr Biggs,

Re: Interim Transport Plan 2000/2001

Thank you for sharing the above document with us, which we have now had an opportunity to read and wish to comment on in detail.

We are delighted with your vision of developing "safe, clean, accessible, and integrated transport" in the borough, your commitment to motor traffic reduction, and the necessity for a "modal shift from four wheels to two feet and two wheels." As you acknowledge, Hackney's low levels of motor dependency are an opportunity for the borough, and, with the right policies and planning could enable us to avoid repetition of errors committed by planners in other authorities.

Plainly your thinking has been influenced by the Hackney Agenda 21 process, but we are concerned at your failure to adopt plainly the conclusions of that process. We would like to see a clear statement of support for a new hierarchy of road usage in the ITP.

In other words the introduction should read:

All transport planning for the borough will take place within a framework that prioritises user needs as follows:

  1. Emergency vehicles;
  2. Children, elderly people, people with disabilities;
  3. Other pedestrians;
  4. Cyclists;
  5. Public transport vehicles;
  6. Public services;
  7. Local business collections and deliveries;
  8. Residents cars;
  9. Non-local motor traffic.

Holding this framework in your minds as you work would for example, have led you to the right decision on the Seven Sisters Road rather more quickly than was the case. The initial proposals for a cycle lane on the pavement plainly contradicted the needs of groups (2) and (3), and the initial failure to prioritise bus (4) and cycle (5) traffic plainly contradicted cars (8) and (9).

This hierarchy should be used for determing transport priorities when considering the 5 unifying objectives in the Introduction, section 2.3. For example, action to combat congestion may not necessarily make the streets healthier and safer for pedestrians unless the road user hierarchy is at the forefront of your planning. We would like to see an explicit statement that this will universally be the case.

Note: this is a different concept from the present hierarchical classification of roads according to their current function (Managing the road network Section 2.3) and should replace this section.

We are also disappointed at the lack of recognition of the adverse effects of speeding vehicles on the use of the road network by priority groups. A clear commitment to reducing motor traffic speeds would be the single most cost effective policy that the council could adopt to achieve its safety and modal shift objectives. The borough should adopt a universal 20 mph speed limit.

We welcome the commitment to road traffic reduction targets. However, achieving this will mean more than the reduction of "non-local traffic" (Managing the road network Section 2.2) . As you know, the majority of journeys made by car are short (less than 5 miles) and eminently suitable for a conversion to other modes. This means that plans must be made to reduce local motor traffic as well.

We welcome the commitment to cycling as a low cost means of travel. We judge the facilities for cyclists according to the "sensible 12 year old test." (Could a sensible 12 year old successfully complete this journey unsupervised?)

Cycling in Hackney requires that all roads become part of a cyclable network. Whilst all of the individual measures in the Cycling section of the document are welcome, all projects must be considered for their cycle accessibility, (and also pedestrians). We expect the Council to follow the published procedures in the 1998 DETR/IHT document Cycle audit and cycle review. While the cycling campaign should be consulted for each scheme, we expect the council to lead on the proper design of all schemes with regard to cyclists' needs. No doubt this will come much more naturally than it has in the past when the council's policy to encourage employees to cycle more is successful (Cycling section 5.6)

We would like to see the interim transport plan address the issues of funding and priorities much more clearly. There is no overall figure for the total transport budget of the borough, and the totals and yearly applications for other monies are far from transparent. For example, what is the relationship between the funding for the LCN in Hackney and funding for the Lee Valley Cycling Strategy? From a cycling perspective, the cycling budget of 80k. is patently completely inadequate to address even the rather unambitious objective of completion of the London Cycle Network in the borough any time in the near future, never mind any of the the 31 points of difficulty for cyclists in the borough we communicated to you in 1996. The authority should quickly address this cycle deficit and communicate that clearly to the funding bodies.

Yours sincerely,




Douglas Carnall, Charlie Lloyd,

On behalf of the London Cycling Campaign in Hackney