Thursday, 31 December 2009
Review of a really crap year
The new year had an exciting beginning when I was unlawfully detained by a PCSO for taking photographs. In 2009, harassment by PCSOs and police officers became a common experience for amateur photographers, bloggers, tourists and newspaper photographers.
In January it also emerged that Waltham Forest Council had broken the law – repeatedly. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 required all Councils to publish a Rights of Way Improvement Plan by November 2007. Waltham Forest Council didn't bother, even though this was a statutory legal requirement. Even today it's impossible to get hold of a map of the borough's public footpaths and rights of way.
The first Olympic facility for cyclists opened in the borough!
I came across the aftermath of a spectacular crash on Grove Road E17. There was nothing in the local paper and this episode remains a complete mystery. Just one small example of London's hidden street violence. In 2009 I stumbled upon other spectacular crashes, including a fatality on Forest Road and a destructive smash on Wood Street. For the second time in 12 months a car driver 'lost control' and careered on to a local off-road cycle lane at the same location.
The Metropolitan Police’s hostility to people taking photographs reached a new level of absurdity when an Austrian tourist and his son were stopped at Walthamstow bus station for photographing double-decker buses and made to delete all their holiday photographs. This became national news and provoked a local protest.
The Council’s failure to maintain its infrastructure was revealed by contrasting publicity from 2003 with the reality some six years later. There are 36 vehicle-activated advisory speed signs in the borough and most of them are broken. How many exactly? The Council neither knows nor cares, and is in no hurry at all to repair them. Many haven’t been working for years, several are twisted round and pointing in the wrong direction, and one has vanished, no one knows why or where to.
As cyclists continued to die with dreadful regularity under the wheels of left-turning lorries, this blog broke the news of the death of the latest young woman cyclist to be crushed to death -a death subsequently not reported by any newspaper or by the BBC. The relationship between cyclists and lorry drivers was once again under the spotlight. I discovered the purpose of lorry sidebars. And a police driver ran down and killed an elderly pedestrian in Chingford. Four police drivers crashed in the borough in just a few weeks. Protected and sponsored by the Met, G4S and other outfits, obstructed pavements with great regularity. Inconsiderate parking by police drivers remains commonplace.
The Waltham Forest Green(wash) Fair was subjected by this blog to its usual annual critique.
This blog turned its attention once again to the car-sick National Health Service, provoked by the cycling-unfriendly Leyton Polyclinic.
My disenchantment with on-road cycling grew. My local cycling experience is summed up by this scene
An acclaimed local through route for cyclists was subjected to analysis.
The Council announced five cycling and walking hostile "Neighbourhood Improvement Schemes", and this blog kicked off a critique of each one with this study of The Forest Road Corridor Scheme
More criticism of the crap London Cycle Network.
Grossly inadequate cycle parking remains one aspect of the crap Waltham Forest experience, highlighted by conditions in Leyton and at Blackhorse Road station. Cycle stands continued to disappear, never to be replaced, like this one which said goodbye in June. And this cycle stand in Hoe Street was removed in September 2008 and 15 months later has not been put back – the perfect symbol of this crap Council’s spectacular contempt for cycling.
This blog will be back on January 2nd.
Happy New Year! Onwards to twelve more months of complete crap!