Minutes of Camden Cycling Campaign Business Meeting on 10th April 2006
Present: Stefano Casalotti, John Chamberlain, Jean Dollimore, Meade McCloughan (minutes) and Helen Vecht (chair).
Apologies: Jane Boardman and Paul Gannon.
• Stefano to find out if and when the Hampstead Heath Open Day is on this year.
• Meade to get the festivals lists from the Council website.
• Stefano has been asked if we would participate again in the Somerstown Cultural Festival (a day in June) – it was agreed that this was a good thing to do (at a cost of a £10 booking charge).
• On a related note, the local police have contacted Stefano to see how things are going with the cycle route through Somerstown. At present, there don’t appear to be problems, but we know that the summer is when things are liable to deteriorate. Stefano to meet the local police officer sometime soon to discuss matters further.
Safer Routes to School: Phoenix School
• Other groups have expressed concern about this scheme, particularly as they did not appear to have been consulted.
• Doug Amer (LB Camden) has said that there would be another opporuntity for groups to register their views about the Phoenix School scheme when the relevant Traffic Order is issued, following which this is a six-week period in which further responses can be considered. Doug did say that he would let us know when this happens. However, as we have already protested once about the proposals, any subsequent arguments or suggestions we might want to raise will have to be new ones.
Judd Street one-way proposal
• We are still waiting for an approach from the Council about the re-consideration of this scheme.
• Jean has done some work recalculating the traffic flow projections used by the Council and is in touch with and due to meet the local residents association.
Cycle Route Implementation and Stakeholder Plans (CRISPs)
• The Link 28 Cycle Route Inspection Meeting (CRIM) went well – for a summary, see
Link 28 CRIM
• The final draft of the Link 27 report is due out shortly. We have been advised that the alignment is more or less as we wanted it, except that the Cardington Street – Gordon Square route has not been adopted, but will instead be signposted as a temporary route. The official alignment will continue to follow Tottenham Court Road – Hampstead Road, even though this won’t be able to serve as the LCN+ route until Tottenham Court Road reverts to two-way working. When this is being implemented, the LCN+ team will seek to ensure that suitable provision for cyclists is built in. We will want to check that some work is done on the ‘temporary’ Cardington Street – Gordon Square route – signposting by itself will not be adequate.
• There is talk of lots more CRISPs being undertaken in 2006-2007. How many can we realistically cope with? Maybe three? Jean to raise this issue when she and John meet with Dave Stewart (LB Camden) this coming Wednesday.
Regent’s Park and Hampstead Heath
• Regent’s Park: The Royal Parks Authority (RPA) has established a working group on cycling in its parks on which LCC is represented by Tom Bogdanowicz and Rik Andrews. Rik has now finalized the report going to the RPA which Stefano and Colin Wing helped with. In parallel LCC has Park and Canals Working Group and Stefano is on its mailing list.
• Hampstead Heath: Stefano is still plugging away at this…
Bike Week 17-25 June
• Jane has agreed to organize the breakfast (Wednesday, 21st June) – we could invite Raj Chada (currently the new leader of the Council) to come along.
• James will do his usual West Hampstead Dr Bike (12 – 5, by the library), probably on Saturday 17th July.
• Transport for London will probably hold a big event in Trafalgar Square on the first Sunday again (which will be the 18th June), though no information is available yet. If this goes ahead, we should organize a feeder ride – perhaps with something to make it more interesting, e.g. start with picnic, take in the Heath/parks – aiming to arrive around 2 pm. People might like to lead their own mini-feeder rides to join in with the main one. Jean to ask Richard Fletcher if he would like to co-ordinate this.
• The possibility of an evening ride was also raised – Jean to put this idea to Richard.
Minutes of Camden Cycling Campaign Annual General Meeting on 10th April 2006
Present: as above, plus Anne Boston, Paul Braithwaite, James Brander, George Coulouris, David Hill, Colin Murphy, Mayer Hillman, Alex McKinnell, Pauline McKinnell, Vivien Gambling, Bea Wober, Mallory Wober, Rebecca Wober, Emma Featherstone, Charlie Lloyd, Lionel Shapiro, Daniel Glaser and others.
Co-ordinators Annual Report April 2005 – March 2006
• Jean spoke briefly about the CCC’s achievements over the last year as outlined in the Annual Report circulated to those present (and e-mailed earlier to the newsgroup)
Financial Report February 2005 – January 2006
• James directed the attention of the meeting to the Summary of the Accounts for the last year, copies of which had been circulated.
• Meade referred those present to the draft new constitution which had been drawn up on the basis of the LCC model and helps to clarify our relationship to LCC as well as updating and improving other aspects of our rules. This new constitution was adopted unanimously.
• On a related note, Meade relayed Richard Fletcher’s suggestion that we change our name from ‘Camden Cycling Campaign’ to ‘Camden Cyclists’, a change which might help reposition ourselves as a more social organization and thereby promote greater membership involvement. Much debate ensued, in which the following points were made: we are primarily a campaigning organization, so should keep ‘campaign’ in our name; if we want to develop our social activities, we should do that before altering the name; our existing name is well-known – changing it could cause confusion and lose us the recognition factor we currently benefit from; ‘CCC’ is a good acronym – ‘CC’ not (and already taken by City Cyclists); the existing name helpfully conveys the link with LCC; we could use ‘Camden Cyclists’ as the name under which we organize social events and see how that goes. (NB our website address is www.camdencyclists.org.uk .) It was agreed that we stick with Camden Cycling Campaign but that if Richard or others wanted, the issue could be revisited at the next AGM.
Election of Co-ordinators
• Jean Dollimore and Stefano Casalotti were unanimously re-elected as Joint Co-ordinators.
Election of Committee Members
• The following existing Committee Members were willing to stand again: Jane Boardman, James Brander (Treasurer), John Chamberlain, Meade McCloughan (Secretary) and Helen Vecht. In addition, Anne Boston and Richard Fletcher had indicated their willingess to join the committee. All the above were unanimously elected.
• Richard Fletcher will be Rides Co-ordinator and that has said that he wants people who would be willing to lead rides to contact him. George Coulouris has offered to lead two rides (May 14th and July 2nd).
Speaker: Lynn Sloman
• Helen then introduced Lynn Sloman, our speaker, to the meeting. Lynn has been a transport campaigner for fourteen years, involved with organizations such as the Camden Transport Forum, Transport 2000 (where she was Assistant Director for ten years) and most recently Cycling England. Her book, Car Sick: Solutions for Our Car-Addicted Culture, has just been published.
• Lynn sits on the board of Cycling England – http://www.cyclingengland.co.uk/ – which has been going since May 2005, replacing the National Cycling Strategy Board. It is funded by and reports to central government. Its job is to get more people cycling, more safely and more often.
• The problem is that far too little is spent on cycling. The figure for the UK as a whole is about £1 per citizen per year, whereas in the better continental European cities, such as Freiburg, it is between £5 and £10 per citizen per year. The nearest we get in the UK is somewhere like York – about £4 per citizen per year – whereas London is only just starting to get up to £3-£4.
• The difficulty is that local authorities don’t have enough to spend on cycling and the Department of Transport isn’t prepared to ring-fence funds for them to spend on cycling. Cycling England’s role is to get round this by providing specific funding for local authorities.
• There are three main areas where CE is directing its money (£5 million a year):
• (1) youth projects – to get more young people cycling, as unless they get going before they’re 20, they’re very unlikely to take it up. This involves funding Sustrans to promote ‘safer routes to schools’ and working with CTC to increase the number of instructors trained to the new ‘National Standards’.
• (2) generic local authority support, replacing the work of the English Regional Cycling Development Team, which was disbanded eighteen months ago.
• (3) cycling demonstration towns, six of whom have now been selected to receive special funding to show (it is hoped) what can be achieved if spending is raised to the better continental figures. The lucky six are Brighton, Darlington, Derby, Exeter, Lancaster and Aylesbury. They will get £1½ million each from CE and then have to match-fund this, bringing average spend per citizen per year to about £10. The funding is so far due to run for three years, and it is obviously hoped that it will continue after then, but also be increased to include more locations.
• Lynn then turned to talk about her new book, Car Sick: Solutions for Our Car-Addicted Culture. In this she emphasizes that car dependency is a very recent phenomenon – since the 1950s there has been a 1500% increase in traffic levels. This hasn’t just happened by accident, but is rather a direct result of specific policies and government actions, in particular motorway building and the development of out-of-town supermarkets, retail parks and multi-plex cinemas (i.e. and not because people love driving). Transport professionals now recognize the pernicious effects of car-culture, but are prone to throw their hands in the air and say that nothing can now be done about it, because people have to use their cars and in any love using their cars. Lynn thinks both claims are false.
• Researchers at Aberdeen University have classified car-drivers into four groups: (i) die-hard motorists (Jeremy Clarkson et al); (ii) complacent car-addicts; (iii) aspiring environmentalists (who also cycle and use public transport etc); (iv) malcontented motorists (who find driving stressful and unpleasant). So how do UK motorists divide up? Studies have shown that there are roughly 25% of drivers in each category – which means that 50% of motorists would prefer to get out of their cars, but need to have realistic alternatives. Are such alternatives providable?
• Other researchers have looked at the actual journeys drivers make, and have found that these fall into three categories: (i) stubbornly car-dependent – e.g. taking relative to hospital, transporting heavy loads; (ii) perfectly possible to do by alternative means; (iii) could be done by other means if services and facilities were improved. The percentage split tends to come out at 20%/40%/40%. So it is only a small fraction that can’t be changed – and these we should simply not worry about. Of the remaining majority of journeys, the first 40% can be addressed by ‘soft’ or ‘smart’ measures designed to change transport behaviour (such as the TfL cycle maps – Lynn had other examples as well) and the second 40% by small-scale adjustments implemented on a locality-wide basis and with local community involvement.
• Lynn concluded on an optimistic note: she believes that the kind of social change she is advocating is possible and can come about through a combination of top-down initiatives (e.g. Cycling England) and bottom-up enthusiasm and endeavour (e.g. CCC and the rest).
• Following Lynn’s packed and stimulating talk, there were many questions:
- how to deal with the fact of car-addiction, given that addicts are usually reluctant to recognize they have a problem? Lynn felt it was important to emphasize that it is society that is addicted, more than individuals, and that when engaging individuals, the best thing was to stress the positives of using the car less rather than trying to make them feel bad.
- what is the role of technology in enforcing speed limits and such like? Transport for London are currently experimenting with using cameras to enforce 20 mph zones (in Camden). Lynn added that she in on the panel considering the road pricing proposals for the West Midlands, and will see how it unfolds, but didn’t think that it would get off the ground for fifteen years or so.
- in terms of campaigning priorities, Lynn felt that arguing for road space reallocation was a better bet – about 1/3rd of urban landspace is taken up with roads, forecourts, parking areas and such like, made unusuable for the rest of us by motor traffic.
– Mayer argued that Lynn’s strategy was too long-term to address excess carbon consumption and that more drastic action needed to be taken more or less immediately. Lynn replied that she was not just recommending ways of making existing journeys differently but also suggesting that fewer journeys ought to be made. If carbon rationing is to be brought in (and she does address the issue in her book) it will be important to get people to agree to it, and her approach would help with this.
- a final question picked up on Lynn’s reference to Cycling England’s ‘capacity building’ endeavours with cycle training organizations – what about with groups like ourselves? Given the importance of local community involvement in designing the kind of small-scale improvements that would encourage people to use their cars less, is Cycling England thinking of ways to support groups like CCC in their dealing with the plethora of cycling initiatives they face? Lynn agreed that this was something it should think about.
• Lynn was thanked by all present for an excellent talk and the meeting came to an end.