Saturday 28 February 2009

I went down to the river

The River Blyth

There’s probably no safe street in London

On the way home from the gig I came inches from being brained by a bendy bus, and, I confess, I felt little consolation that the would-be instrument of my death had the words “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy life” written on the side of it.

100,000 crimes occurring throughout the day on Britain’s roads

Motorists who talk on hands-free phones are more dangerous than drink-drivers, experts have warned. Drivers using the legal alternative to hand-held mobiles are 30 per cent slower to react than those slightly over the limit, tests found. And for up to ten minutes after a conversation their reflexes remain dulled, according to the Transport Research Laboratory.

Its study suggests that millions could be unwittingly risking their own and others' lives while obeying the law on phone use in a vehicle.
The road safety charity Brake said the findings reinforce its calls for a complete ban on all phone use while driving.

The AA's research shows that at any one time, 100,000 motorists are flouting this law, risking a minimum penalty of three points on their licence and a £60 fine.

She’s right, you know

Lest we forget, it was Gordon Brown who imposed PFI on the London tube system, against the wishes of the elected mayor, Ken Livingstone.

Joan Smith gets fed up of waiting for her District Line train and let’s rip:

the Tube has been under-funded for years and the Public Private Partnership scheme imposed on London Underground by the Government has been an unmitigated disaster. The Prime Minister has much to answer for in this respect, and each time I hear Gordon Brown talk about bailing out failing banks I wonder why he's so reluctant to put money into London's failing transport system.

Me, I can’t believe the Victoria Line STILL keeps shutting down for complete weekends.

Not that I can ever forgive Ken for allowing TfL get away with installing 47 steps instead of an escalator at the Walthamstow Central underpass to the bus station. Apparently the peasants of E17 don’t deserve the expense of an escalator.

Friday 27 February 2009

St Pancras International


The gift of clairvoyance

I don't like to talk about it much but I can see into the future.

Let me stare into my crystal blog and see what will happen tomorrow...

I see Saturday afternoon drawing to a close in Walthamstow High Street. I see the fruit and vegetable stall by the library being dismantled. I see the stallholders dumping all the frames behind the cycle stands outside the library. I see the frames obstructing the cycle stands. I see this obstructive metallic clutter still there on Sunday. Monday comes and it is still there. I see Tuesday morning arrive. The fruit and veg men come along and remove their frames from the cycle stands and reassemble them.

I see a shadowy figure begging the Council to do something about this. I see the Town Hall. But now a mist sweeps down. All I see is a vague haze, paralysis, inaction...

Fled is that vision. Do I wake or dream?

Flood risk

6,788 homes in the London Borough of Waltham Forest are at risk from flooding

Velorution in Blackburn

Ian Kay, who manages Ewood Bikes on Bolton Road, Blackburn, said: “I have not heard of anything like that before. You would have to be brave to use it”.

Lancashire Telegraph cycling columnist Dave Brown said: “It’s a good thing - but Blackburn is a very difficult town to get around for a cyclist. There’s no structure”.

Judging by the photograph, this is an exemplary contraflow system - at least a couple of metres wide and distinctively marked out. Quite a contrast to this.

Appeal court judges sympathetic to drunk hit and run killer of cyclist

A drink-driver who mowed down and killed a cyclist after an all-day Bank Holiday pub session had his sentence slashed by judges.

Chandler, of Arthington Lane, Otley, received four and a half years at Leeds Crown Court after admitting causing death by careless driving in December 2007 while under the influence of alcohol. He also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. The Appeal Court heard Chandler attempted to cover up damage to his car in the accident. He also escaped to Wales the following day to avoid being breathalysed.

The judges concluded his sentence was too long.

The jail term took insufficient account of Chandler’s early guilty plea and the assistance he ultimately gave to the authorities, the judge concluded, cutting his sentence by a year, to three and a half years.

Chandler’s original 10-year driving ban was also halved.

Thursday 26 February 2009

Orient Way again

Two days ago I went down the Black Path and along the entire length of the award-winning cycle route which is collectively known as Orient Way. I was last this way during the second week in December.

A few years ago the London Cycling Campaign gave the council a prize for Orient Way, naming it 'best cycle route' in London that year. Unwise, I think. Orient Way and Argall Road formed a new link road between a southern fringe of Leyton and an industrial estate in Walthamstow. Marshall Road extends it to an estate of superstores.

This new link road was opposed by local environmentalists, partly because it introduced a road into the Lea Valley, partly because projects of this sort simply increase the number of journeys made by car, and partly because it laid the possible foundations of a much bigger road in the future, continuing up the valley. The new segregated cycle route had all the hallmarks of a cosmetic add-on, designed to give the new road a Green gloss.

Arguably, the Orient Way cycle route has little strategic significance, and it is far too unattractive ever to attract leisure cycling. My impression is that few cyclists use it, though it is hard to say what the true picture is since, oddly, the Council has never taken any cycle counts on it. I suspect the results of a cycle count might be embarrassing. And a comparison of vehicle and cycle use would surely show that cycle use is only a tiny fraction of one per cent of the equivalent driver use.

In the years since the Orient Way route opened various access roads to new businesses have been built across the cycle lane, resulting in that classic phenomenon, the off-road cycle lane where cyclists have to keep stopping for crossing motor traffic which has priority. The effect of this is to make it more convenient and quicker to cycle in the road. But then if you get run down by a speeding driver - and Orient Way, though nominally a 30 mph road, is a race track - you will be regarded as being partly at fault for wilfully declining to use the off-road cycle lane. In such ways do organisations like the London Cycling Campaign, with their segregationist philosophy, make cycling worse.

As usual I didn't meet a single cyclist on this supposedly brilliant cycling route. I went all the way to the superstores at the Leyton end. Approaching Ruckholt Road I have learned from experience to abandon the cycle route and its laughably circuitous and interminable signalled cycle crossings in favour of the roundabout and the through route for motor traffic under Ruckholt Road.

On my ride I took these snaps.

(Below) Argall Way E10, close to the junction with Lea Bridge Road. Evidently a driver 'lost control' here recently and took out a section of the railings. Luckily no cyclist was riding by at the time. And naturally no one has bothered to deal with the bent railings which lean across the cycle lane.

(Below) Orient Way E10. Beautifully maintained.

(Below) Two-way cycle lanes on the left, pedestrians on the right. Marshall Road E10

Another enviro-crime culprit identified

It is an offence for any lorry or heavy goods vehicle to park on the pavement in Greater London. What's more this scaffolding lorry is parked in a double-yellow 'no waiting at any time' restricted area. The scaffolders were doing some work on a property proudly identified as being in the care of Ascham Homes. Who are, of course, the Council's chosen outfit for running its housing stock. Milton Road E17, yesterday.

G4 again

Walthamstow High Street yesterday. More sensitive parking from regular local offender G4.

Crime and punishment

A footballer who celebrated a goal by making a gesture in support of a friend jailed for killing two children in a car crash has been prosecuted for a motoring offence, it was disclosed today. Ipswich midfielder David Norris, 28, was fined £400 yesterday after admitting driving while using a mobile phone.

Meanwhile, having pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving Lord Ahmed will soon be back on the roads, since the judge imposed a one-year driving ban .

And now for the really serious offender. A drug addict who broke into more than 100 commuters' cars at stations across London and the South-East was jailed for 20 months.

Crap policing

One of the many problems of British policing is that when a top cop remarks "The perpetrators and their violence plague local communities.” he doesn’t mean lawless drivers.

Cable TV box horror

This attractive item of street furniture on beautiful Somers Road E17 has recently suffered a bash from a motor vehicle, which has partly ripped it from its foundations, dented the side panel, and caused the cupboard-style steel doors to fly open. We must pray that no one's cable TV reception has been affected.

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Lee Valley VeloPark plan published

Doesn't it look nice? It's so GREEN. The M11 Link Road (as we surly locals prefer to call the sanitised "A12") and the East Cross Route and the A106 Eastway just sort of fade away into the green haze to the mid-left side of the plan.

The VeloPark has parking for 190 cars. The plan indicates no cycle parking. I suppose there will be some but presumably the architects didn't want to spoil their tasteful picture with minor secondary features.

It looks as if it will be accessible by multiple fast road options. Whereas anyone who chooses to cycle there from the London Borough of Waltham Forest will have the option of a subway in what is currently Temple Mills Road or an off-road cycle lane alongside an upgraded Quartermile Lane, leading to... perhaps another subway. How cyclists will get across those junctions is far from clear.

Anyway we all know how much cyclists like subways and how beautifully clean and well-maintained local councils keep them.

Any notion of a traffic-free dedicated cycling/walking bridge leading directly from the Lea Valley across the M11 Link Road to the VeloPark has plainly been ruled out.

I wonder how many local cyclists or local cycling organisations were consulted in designing cycle access to the VeloPark?


THE number of children walking to school has dropped by 10 per cent in the last 20 years, an obesity expert revealed today.

Excellent news, as the fewer pedestrians there are, the more pavement space can be devoted to what really matters: parking of motor vehicles.

Below: Stanley Road E4, The Risings E17, Byron Road E17.

Serious offender jailed

Every week, killer drivers breeze out of court, often getting off with a fine and a short driving ban.

Now here’s the case of someone who did something much, much worse. He briefly nicked a footballer's Ferrari. He didn’t use violence. He didn’t cause any damage. He abandoned the car soon after nicking it.

A joyrider who took a Premier League footballer's £150,000 Ferrari as the player paid for fuel at a service station was jailed today.

Middlesbrough midfielder Gary O'Neil is understood to have left his keys in the ignition of his 200mph black Ferrari F430 Spider F1 after he filled it up at a garage on Ripon Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, yesterday morning.

Phillip Andrew McNamara, 28, from Hull, was arrested shortly after and appeared at Harrogate Magistrates Court today. McNamara admitted aggravated vehicle taking and was jailed for 10 weeks.

The British judicial system frequently treats the killing of cyclists and pedestrians as a fairly trivial offence which often merits a small fine. Whereas stealing a car or damaging a motor vehicle is taken very, very seriously indeed, and merits severe punishment. Let’s not forget the case of the cyclist who flipped, maliciously punctured 1,728 tyres, and was jailed for 16 months.

Naturally in a car supremacist society no one is asking why it is that the police are not raiding everyone involved in the manufacture and distribution of a deadly weapon expressly designed to encourage reckless and excessive speeding. Some lethal addictions are perfectly acceptable and speed is one of them. And detaching an addict from his drug can, after all, cause exceptional hardship.

Crap walking in Texas

Currently, Texas has laws restricting cell phone usage for drivers under 18 and for those driving school buses. The rest of the state, however, is still free to potentially mow down civilians they can't see or to whom they aren't paying attention.

According to, there were 70,000 pedestrian injuries in 2007, the most recent year with available information.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Cycle paths: Boris Johnson discriminates against outer London boroughs

Jenny Jones, from the London Assembly's Green Party, said: "We have a zone one cycling mayor who is giving far less money to the London Cycle Network in outer London, despite the advice from experts who tell him that four fifths of the potential new cyclists come from the suburbs."

Analysis of the money provided to the boroughs for the LCN+ shows that a total of 383 schemes have not been funded in the coming year, 260 of them in outer London boroughs.

Jenny Jones claimed: "The mayor would not be forced to make cuts in the budget for safer cycling schemes if he hadn't scrapped the plans for emission charging. Revenue from that would have paid for finishing off the LCN+. He has put the interests of the owners of 'Chelsea Tractors' above the safety of suburban cyclists."

Another driver ‘loses control’

The crash happened in Bush Road, Leytonstone, just after 9.30am this morning.

Crap cops sponsor Loomis lawlessness

This Loomis driver was either delivering cash or collecting it from Sainsbury's in Walthamstow High Street yesterday, 10.55 am

This Sun-reading Loomis yob drove on to the pavement (an offence) and obstructed it (another offence). Just behind the Loomis van is a police car containing two police officers. Evidently these days the Met is lending out its cars and officers to provide extra security for private security companies. This is a regular occurrence. The patrol car follows the bullion van around as it makes its deliveries/collections, and the officers park behind and sit in their cars chatting. This strikes me as not a good use of police time but helps to explain why so many people complain that when they phone the police, they won't come.

The dim plods in the patrol car (a WPC driver and her skinhead male companion) plainly regarded this sort of parking as perfectly acceptable, but then that's hardly a surprise as the Met is institutionally car supremacist and hostile to the interests of pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users. (See also this, this and this.) In this context it's hardly surprising that Loomis yobs are contemptuous of pedestrians and cyclists. Some days I'd like to get hold of that rotating triangle outside New Scotland Yard, with its smug and completely untrue mission statement that the Met is WORKING FOR A SAFER LONDON and stuff it down the throat of the new Commissioner, who is yet another top cop whose only traffic anxiety is that speed cameras upset some people.

I decided not to take a pic of the cops in their car as last week a new law came into effect making it an offence to unlawfully photograph a police officer, which as Henry Porter dryly notes surely will be used by every policeman parked on a double yellow line.

Let's say it again. The Metropolitan Police is institutionally corrupt and colludes in anti-social and lawless behaviour by drivers. It has no interest in protecting the weak and the vulnerable on London's lawless and dangerous roads. It is part of the problem, not part of the solution. It is rotten to the core and its own drivers display driving behaviour which is as bad as any on the streets of the capital.

Unlawful obstruction of the footway

These builders on Byron Road E17 have unlawfully blocked off the pavement, just to make it easier for them to fill their skip. The ubiquity of this type of obstruction testifies to the absence of effective enforcement. Yesterday.

A black box in every vehicle

The judge said it would never be known exactly how fast he was driving.

Which once again shows why every motor vehicle should carry a simple aircraft-style black box capable of recording vehicle speed at the time of a collision.

It is perfectly feasible, and all kinds of black box technology for cars already exist, including this and this. But as one manufacturer of black box technology conceded the only problems were political.

Monday 23 February 2009

Cycle to the Olympics

ABOUT 385,000 spectators are expected to travel to the 2012 Olympic Games in London on foot or by cycle, under plans unveiled today.

The red route to the Olympics goes by way of this and the ultramarine route incorporates this. Enjoy.

Enviro-crime update!

Serial offender caught red-handed again.

A van driver speeds across a pedestian zone

The Town Square, yesterday, 11.20 am

I was walking towards the entrance to The Mall when I saw this van driver speeding across the Town Square, taking a short cut from the High Street to Selborne Road. I managed to get this shot of it whizzing past the children's play area.

I have blogged about this before, and I shall hold Councillors Clyde Loakes and Bob Belam responsible when a pedestrian is eventually knocked down by one of these lawless drivers. The council has turned a blind eye to the gradual removal of the bollards which once prevented vehicle access from the High Street, and appears indifferent to the danger which pedestrians face by vehicles intruding in a space which is supposed to be strictly for pedestrians.

Kier give cyclists the brush off (2)

There used to be five cycle stands here, outside the Bhs window in the Town Square, Walthamstow High Street. Because the contractors rooted them in powdery, not properly mixed concrete, four of them came loose and mysteriously vanished. Needless to say no one in the London Borough of Waltham Forest gave a toss. Not the Council, not the cycling officer, and not the local branch of the LCC. You can see the same process happening at the stands across the square, outside the library. The end cycle stand has been loose for months and is not long for this world.

And now the Kier workers have positioned two wheely bins beside the only remaining stand. And the street cleaners regularly park their sweeper carts here while they slope off for a cup of tea.

Like I've said before, Kier need to train their staff to exercise some minimal common sense and not obstruct cycle stands, pavements or dropped kerbs. But plainly I am banging my head against a brick wall in making this simple request.


An Olympic Sustrans project bites the dust

Green hypocrisy

SCOTLAND'S top environmental watchdog, which urges citizens to fight global warming by reducing the amount of climate-changing gases they produce, has blown an embarrassing hole in its own attempts to curb emissions. The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) takes a leading role in trying to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from homes, businesses and transport, but it now admits that its own emissions rose by a total of almost 10%, or 200 tonnes, last year.


A global protest against UK plans to build new coal power plants is being launched by campaigners from more than 40 developing countries accusing the government of being a "climate criminal".


Greenland is losing enough water each year to cover Germany a metre deep. “We’re in the midst of a climate catastrophe and glaciers are the epicentre of that problem.”

A violent society

Politicians, police and the mass media want us all to be terrified of KNIFE CRIME and TERRORISM. Me, I am far more nervous of DRIVERS. You probably didn’t notice that Valentine’s Day and the day after involved a weekend of carnage on the roads which claimed at least 17 lives.

If hoody-wearing teens had stabbed 17 people to death, or if some fundamentalists with home-made rucksack bombs had blown up 17 people that weekend, it would probably have been dubbed the Valentine Weekend Massacre. Instead not a squeak from any politician or senior police officer. The ongoing massacre on Britain's roads is just one of those things. It has nothing to do with cars designed to break the speed limit twice over or the massive reduction in traffic policing or a judicial culture which allows convicted killers to stroll out of court and continue using their four-wheeled weapon.

Sunday 22 February 2009

The fishmonger's bike

Blackshore, Southwold Harbour.

Twisted logic

CCTV enforcement cars will become a more common site on Waltham Forest's roads next year - as the council is to double the size of its fleet. The number of vehicles, which are used to catch people committing moving traffic offences such as driving in bus lanes and stopping in box junctions, will increase to six. Cllr Matt Davis, Conservative council group leader, described the move as "another example of the council oppressing the people of Waltham Forest."

Really, Councillor Davis? In the first place not everyone in Waltham Forest drives a motor vehicle. Four homes in ten don’t possess any kind of vehicle. These sad and impoverished individuals are reduced to walking, cycling or using public transport.

In the second place, most drivers don’t drive in bus lanes or selfishly block box junctions for other drivers.

It’s curious how the Conservative Party is the friend of yobs and anti-social behaviour when the offender is a motorist.

Another killer driver walks free

Miss Howden, 43, was at the end of long calls to her boyfriend and a work colleague when she lost control of her Mercedes CLK 220, swerved across the road and crashed.

She received a paltry 12 months driving ban and showed no remorse whatsoever.

Miss Howden said: "I am a responsible, cautious driver. It is entirely legal to use a mobile phone with a hands-free kit. I regularly make and receive calls while driving. My car is effectively my office.''

Killer yobs like Howden enjoy the complete protection of the Brown government and the Association of Chief Police Officers, who are not unduly concerned about the major form of violent death and injustice in British society.

Saturday 21 February 2009

The massacre goes on

Three women were hit by a Citroen Saxo which mounted the pavement on Foxhall Road in Ipswich, Suffolk, shortly after midnight.

The car hit the women and the wall so hard that bricks were hurled against her house leaving gouge marks on the brickwork. "It was just a horrendous scene. A woman was dead in her garden and another had been thrown next door. The car landed up a short distance down the road, but its engine was ripped out and lying on the other side of the road. Wreckage was strewn everywhere."

Dr Bright said she had recently written letters calling for a 20mph speed limit to be introduced to combat speeding drivers in Foxhall Road. She said: "I complained to the council several months ago about the speed that cars go down here. The road is empty and quiet at night and it is very easy to speed."

Motorbikes in London bus lanes

...make cycling more dangerous

The cart

Spotted on Blackshore, Southwold Harbour

Left-turning lorry revelations

A SKIP truck involved in an incident that caused the death of a college lecturer was in a dangerous and defective condition, an inquest heard yesterday.

Barbara Ann Gill (49), Yew Cottage, Damerstown, Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, died of shock and blood loss due to multiple injuries on April 19th, 2007, after the bicycle she was cycling was in collision with the skip lorry.

The incident occurred at the junction of Wolfe Tone Quay with Temple Street West in Dublin city centre while the truck was making a left-hand turn, Dublin City Coroner’s Court heard. The driver, Ricordas Valaitis, an employee of DMC Trans, who was in possession of a fake driver’s licence, did not see Ms Gill.

Road rage motorist who drove into cyclist ‘an exemplary person’

A road-rage driver who mowed down a cyclist in a “moment of madness” and left him injured on the street has been spared jail. At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Mark Slack pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, failing to stop at an accident and failure to stop and report an accident.

Ian Johnstone, defending, said: “This is a man who is a pillar in his local community. He is a foster carer for children, goes to church and is involved in the local rugby team. He was an exemplary person.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Answer to fun royal question

It was Princess Margaret. Evidently she was visiting a local factory. I expect once back home she shouted at the servant, 'Get me a quadruple G and T, at once! I've just come back from the most frightful place in the world. It was simply appalling.'

This memorial is next to the entrance to Silver Birch House. Shockingly, someone has put a Coke can in the hole in the middle.

Where's the respect?

I blame the council.

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Kier give cyclists the brush off

The driver of this dinky Kier pavement sweeper took his coat off, parked in front of a cycle stand on Pretoria Avenue E17, and went off for a cup of tea. But then Kier workers are experts in cycle stand obstruction and footway obstruction. Last Thursday morning. Some awareness training needed, I think.

How well do you know Walthamstow?

A member of the royal family visited Walthamstow, and their visit is commemorated by this magnificent concrete cheese.

Where is it, when was it, who was the royal, and what was this royal personage up to?
(Answer tomorrow.)

Yet another example of dangerous yob driving

Drivers as a social group are the most lawless, anti-social, violent and pampered group in British society – but don’t expect the media to say so, since much of it is devoted to selling cars and 4X4s, and journalism as a profession is in thrall to flat earth news (do get the book, by the way, which is now out in paperback).

The number of cases of motorists taking dangerous and illegal risks at UK level crossings is at a four-year high. Figures released by Network Rail show there were more than 3,400 cases of level crossing misuse last year, disrupting thousands of trains. An extensive television and radio advertising campaign seems to have failed to make much of a difference to the problem.

(No surprise there. Asking drivers to be considerate and law-abiding has been repeatedly proven to be a failed strategy. Which is why those who seek to perpetuate the blood-soaked status quo are so keen on ‘education’ and ‘codes of conduct’ rather than enforcement and driving bans.)

"Every week we see people who ignore warning signs and lights or drive round barriers at level crossings just to save a few minutes. This behaviour has the potential for massive damage, disruption and death. We think that the judiciary penalties received need to reflect the seriousness of these crimes and are calling on the judiciary to consider all these factors when handing down sentences."

But probably some of those reckless yob drivers ARE members of the judiciary!

Remember to sing ‘Happy birthday’ if you’re passing

Water is still pouring out of the pavement and into the cycle lane, which makes this leak One year old today!

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Cyclists and one-way streets

CYCLISTS will be allowed to ride the wrong way up one-way streets in the City in a new scheme to encourage more people to ride to work in the Square Mile. The Corporation of London has agreed permission to allow cyclists to ride against the traffic in seven streets in a £45,000 project beginning in early summer.

The streets involved in the project are: West Smithfield - connecting to Giltspur Street; Salisbury Court; Throgmorton Street; Cloth Fair; Finsbury Circus - at Moorgate; Creechurch Lane and the east half of Fann Street.

Anyone have a bad word to say about this? Yes, it’s him again!

Edmund King, president of the AA, warned of a potential danger to pedestrians. "On a number of one-way streets we have witnessed problems with pedestrians checking traffic in the one-direction, stepping out on to the road, and then nearly being hit by cyclists riding illegally the wrong way."

But as I’ve argued before, in connection with Selwyn Avenue, Highams Park, every new one-way system represents the theft of road space from cyclists. What’s more, the London Borough of Waltham Forest is now converting even dedicated cycle routes, recommended by Transport for London and the London Cycling Campaign, into NO ENTRY roads.

Dedicated contraflow systems on one-way streets are to be welcomed, but do not in my view address the much bigger problem of the proliferation of one-way streets in Greater London. The solution is perfectly simple: allow cyclists to cycle the ‘wrong’ way on ALL one-way streets.

Here are five examples of how one-way streets in Waltham Forest actively discriminate against the convenience of cyclists by denying them safe, direct, quiet routes. The one-way streets featured below all actively obstruct direct cycling routes, by prioritising on-street parking and motor vehicle flow.

(Above) Stand here and you'll see scores of cyclists riding 'the wrong way' down this short section of one-way street on Milton Road E17. The reason is that this forms part of a popular, if 'unofficial' straight-line cycling route, linking The Drive with Hatherley Road. If the council knew anything about how cyclists actually behave they'd convert the very wide alleyway between Howard Road and Aubrey Road to shared use, and introduce a contraflow lane here, which would be very easy in view of the double-yellow lines which run the whole length of the one-way section.

(Above) A direct route from Walthamstow Village to the dedicated cycle crossing lights to Selborne Road on Hoe Street is obstructed by this NO ENTRY sign on St Mary Road E17. On-street parking (quite light on this occasion) is a higher priority than a direct cycling route to a dedicated cycle crossing. Cyclists, ludicrously, are expected to turn right on West Avenue Road, go down Church Hill, then left along Stainforth Road, in order to rejoin St Mary Road. Naturally they don't bother, and either cycle against the traffic flow or on the pavement. And as I now know, even Walthamstow Labour Party's prospective parliamentary candidate sins here.

(Above) A direct route to Grove Green Road E11 and the nearby junction with Cathall Road has now been obstructed by the London Borough of Waltham Forest, which has made this short section of Elm Road one-way, with NO ENTRY to cyclists using this route via the dedicated cycling facility at the Twickenham Road/Francis Road junction.

(Below) Brookdale Road E17. Recently converted to a one-way street, denying cyclists a direct route from Winns Ave/Diana Road.

(Below) I used to cycle along Peterborough Road E10 and cross Forest Road into this road (Western Road E17). But at the Forest Road junction it has been made NO ENTRY, denying cyclists a quiet back street route in the Village area.

Monday 16 February 2009

The search for Silver Birch House

The local rag has picked up on the saga of the Council’s desire to rid itself of Leyton County Ground.

I went looking for bucolic Silver Birch House. The first time I wandered around the industrial estate off the unfortunately named Hookers Road without finding it.

Undeterred I went back the following day. Trying to find Silver Birch House is a bit like trying to return the ring in that interminable Tolkien epic. My quest entailed cycling along the terrifying Formula One race track known as Blackhorse Lane. Eventually I found it. It is tucked away here.

As a Council office used by the public I naturally looked for the cycle stands for visitors put there by the most progressive cycling authority in Greater London. Gosh, you can just imagine how surprised I was when I discovered there weren’t any. Just reserved car parking for council staff.

A charming person at reception explained I was only the second person who had succeeded in crossing the great Plain of Futility, fought off the Orcs, slayed the fiery dragon, and visited to ask for a copy of the plan.

I should have had that Franz Kafka with me. The plan turns out to be a single sheet of paper showing the perimeter of the playing fields. Yes, I could just have stayed at home and looked at an A-Z with a magnifying glass. The accompanying planning papers, which can be read on a notice board, were equally sparse and uninformative. In fact you'd find out more reading this blog than the Council's anal-retentive dribble of arid and impoverished data.

Unfair! The site plan did contain a statistic. Apparently the gross volume of the site amounts to 39,246 square metres. Well, you can see why any property developer might be gripped by uncontrollable salivation.

The Council seems to have paid a consultancy to produce this utterly useless, uninformative and redundant sheet of paper, as the small print says ‘Produced by School Organisation, Partnership and Development.’ I expect it was a bargain costing not much more that fifty grand. So much cheaper than photocopying the A-Z.

You now have just three days to lodge an objection to the de-designation of this land as public open space, so if you haven't done so already, do it now.