Yes – stuff is happening outside of the elections across the nations but not London – and tonight it was off to the Crouch End, Hornsey & Stroud Green Neighbourhood Assembly. The big issue of the night is the proposals for improving Parkland Walk. Now – you have to realise that this linear park / nature reserve is loved and there is an army of people who fight to protect it against all harm (even when well-meaning). There are clearly areas which could do with a bit of improvement – as David Warren, Chair of the Friends of Parkland walk made clear: the drainage, signing and repairing broken steps and improving access for people with disabilities and mothers with babies.
The deep suspicion that was voiced by many in the packed meeting was that the funding for the improvements comes from Transport for London’s cycling improvement budget. And what was crystal clear from the meeting, was that whilst recreational / occasional cyclists are just about welcomed (who don’t speed, are polite and aren’t commuters), a significant increase in cycling would be absolutely terrible. Spend the money on cycle lanes on roads – that’s where it’s needed to improve cycling shouted the crowd.
Whilst officers tried to reassure the public that the improvements would not ‘widen’ the path, the meanders would be left in and that there would be no attempt to create a ‘smooth cycle way’ but only patching the path where necessary – the public did not seem reassured.
And I wasn’t convinced either. So I will be writing to Transport for London to ask what they believe from Haringey’s bid will be provided for improvements for cycling on Parkland Walk – and to Haringey for sight of the bid itself.
To turn it into a cycle path or encourage more or faster cyclists would be completely wrong. Yes – we want more cycling in London – but we want proper cycle lanes on roads for commuters – not bunging them off road to spoil the idyll of this woodland nature reserve and the rights of pedestrians to enjoy it without fear of being hit!
UPDATE: You can take part in my online survey now at http://www.libertyresearch.org.uk/take/103