Hackney People on Bikes reject the new Wick Road scheme proposals by Hackney Council

Hackney People on Bikes have rejected new plans for Wick Road proposed by Hackney Council. As part of the scheme, Wick Road would be turned into a two-way street. The new proposals also include plans to add more bus stops and inset parking bays into the pavement.

Whilst we welcome the council’s commitment to spend this post Olympic legacy funding in a much needed part of the borough, the scheme is deeply flawed as it stands. The council has confirmed the new layout would lead to a significant increase in the number of vehicles using the road per day. From 9000 to 12,000 PCUs (passenger car units) a day – a 30% increase, undoubtedly leading to worsening of already-illegal air pollution levels. The new scheme would also see the removal of a well used and much needed link for north-south cycling.


Hackney Council should be radically redefining this part of the borough, and reducing the number of vehicles rat-running through these residential streets.  There is currently no safe route for people to cycle across South Hackney from east to west.

We call on the council to re-examine the plans and provide a new scheme which allows all people to safely and comfortably cycle between the lively centres of central Hackney and Dalston and the QE Olympic Park. This is in accordance with the Council’s own 2014-2024 cycling plan in which it is stated that Hackney should be

A place where it is second nature for everyone, no matter what their age, background or ethnicity to cycle“.

In accordance with the evidence-based policy of London Cycling Campaign, this should be done by cutting the amount of motor traffic by more than 80% (to less than 2000 PCUs) or by providing physically segregated lanes for cycling.

Merely re-creating another busy main road here, as the current plans do, will have a detrimental effect on air quality and general health and do little to encourage more people to cycle around the borough.

Greater priority should be given to pedestrians, especially those trying to cross Wick Road. The current plans make it more difficult to do so, and without formal crossings (ie zebra crossings or traffic lights) the road will remain dangerous and intimidating for many residents.

Finally, it is critical that Hackney Council develops an overall plan for how South Hackney’s congested roads will be transformed from rat-runs for through motor traffic, into space which is safe and pleasant for people walking, those on sustainable modes of transport and healthy for local residents, rather suggesting piecemeal changes for individual roads, without an overall strategy.

Our statement on the borough’s 20 mph aspirations can be found here.

A petition by local residents rejecting the proposals can be viewed here.

Please fill in the online consultation which can be found here.




Wick Road consultation

You may have come across Hackney Council’s inexplicable decision to remove a useful cycle lane on Wick Road and make the whole road two way for motor traffic. If you haven’t, the background is well summed up in several blog posts: by Rachel Aldred, Harry Fletcher-Wood (here and here) and Andy Clarke.

Your next question may well be what can you do to oppose this scheme?

First up you can fill in the Council’s consultation: it’s a simple one page survey. HPOB recommend you answer NO to the first question and detail why you feel this in the free text, plus what you think should be done. HPOB would like to see removal of all through motor traffic and a feasibility study for “Wick Walk” – a linear park as detailed in Harry’s blog post. (Scroll down to the bottom of the post for details of suggested response). If this is deemed impossible we would support two way bus operation with two protected cycle lanes (one in each direction). Either way, there should be safe, inviting facilities for people on bikes, separate from motor traffic.

HPOB also have plans in the works for an online petition, leaflets and a possible demonstration. If you are able to help with any of these or have other ideas for opposing the scheme, or what the Council should do instead, please get in touch! We are on HackneyPOB@gmail.com, alternatively join our email discussion group (drop us a mail at the same address asking to be added) or find us on Twitter or Facebook.

Thoughts on Wick Road Proposals by Andy Clarke, E9 resident and POB Member

I think the current Wick Road proposals illustrate just about everything that’s gone wrong with Hackney Council’s cycling policy over recent years. Its expectation that the majority of cyclists want or are indeed happy to share road space with large and fast moving vehicles, such as encountered on Wick Road, is simply incorrect. Any gains for road-borne cyclists in returning  this road to two-way running are more than offset by the fact that narrow lanes will be introduced which, together with the natural response of drivers to move to the left in the presence of oncoming traffic, mean cyclists will passed at much closer quarters and so be pushed further towards the parked cars and where they risk being knocked off into traffic by opening doors. In any case sharing the road with this kind of traffic is just plain horrible. Sadly, this is yet another manifestation of the Council’s faith in ‘vehicular’ cycling. And I hesitate to use the word ‘faith’, because that indicates belief without evidence, but in this case it is in the face of overwhelming evidence from mainland Europe which shows that cycle safety is enhanced (and indeed cycle usage is stimulated) only when the cycling experience is supported by well-designed infrastructure and that people feel is comfortable to use. In the case of busy main roads this means segregation. Such segregation is now slowly appearing elsewhere in London, and Hackney just isn’t keeping up – in fact it’s going in the opposite direction.  It’s strange how in just about every other sphere of its activity Hackney Council strives to accommodate minority interests, but with cycling there is absolutely no yielding to the concerns of the nervous cyclist, or would-be cyclist or children or their parents; in short, it is operating a de facto exclusive and uninviting cycling policy.

There are two additional factors to this proposal that are really disappointing. One is the removal of a short section of cycle track that is currently used to transfer cyclists on an established cycle route from one side road to another without forcing them to use the busy main road, as will now be the case if the proposal goes ahead. It’s absence will introduce another barrier to cycling and represent yet another downgraded and damaged route. The other disappointing aspect of this proposal is one of lost opportunity. The whole length of Wick Road has a very wide pavement, part of which the Council is now going to convert to on-road parking. When you have a pavement 6 ot 7m wide you can easily accommodate parking, pedestrians and a cycle track. (I should imagine that the only other authority in London that wouldn’t look at this consider using that to provide segregated cycling would be the notoriously anti-cycling Westminster.) A segregated cycle track here could, in addition to being worthwhile in its own right, be part of a route that extended to Victoria Park village and the Regent’s Canal, directly if contra flow cycling were permitted in the market segment of Well Street and Terrace Road, and to Central Hackney via Brooksbank Street and Retreat Place. In the other direction it could be extended eastwards beyond the junction with Cassland and Kenworthy Roads all the way to the Eastway interchange, either by removal of the central reservation to facilitate tracks or even provision shared space on the lightly used pavement. Of course, the Eastway interchange is another site that’s already fallen victim to Hackney’s ruthless and unsympathetic vehicular-cycling policy; infrastructure that protected cyclists, in the form of segregated tracks connecting Wick Road and Easyway, was ripped out to accommodate more car parking and provide greater road capacity, and a splitter island which protected cyclist from vehicles turning left into Victoria Park Road from Wick Road was removed only to be replaced by a huge salient of pavement that pushes cyclist out into the traffic. Why? I was told by a Hackney Council Officer that it was because the residents at the end of the Victoria Park Road felt it contributed to their vehicles being damaged and a couple of successful court claims were made. It’s quite astonishing that such considerations were put above the safety of people – it’s a shame you can’t claim against Hackney Council for damage to cyclists in the same way you can for property.

One would have hoped that, given the new climate in London of embracing European-style infrastructure, Hackney Council would have reviewed its cycling policy on main roads, but it appears that their contempt for such infrastructure persists unabated, much to the detriment of Hackney’s cyclists and the potential for growth of cycling in Hackney in general.

We want Wick Walk

Better Cycling London

It’s worth going back to Hackney’s transport strategy, and thinking a bit about the competition here.  Hackney promise us:

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 12.44.20

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 20.13.52Councillors have suggested that there is ‘no chance in the next decade’ of getting all the money to sort out the Victoria Park one-way system properly.  So we have to get this road right now, not wait for possible changes we may not live to see.

At the very minimum, there is no reason to remove the current segregated cycle track.  We would like to see this track extended the length of Wick Road (from Morning Lane to Kenworthy Road).

However, why stop there?  Wick Road is an unusual road with amazing potential:

1) It has several parallel routes dedicated to taking large numbers of motor vehicles.  (At its narrowest points, the Victoria Park one-way system has one westbound lane (Cassland Road) and two eastbound lanes (Victoria Park Road and Wick Road)- a clear imbalance).

CIMG9117 Cassland…

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Hackney Council: making Wick Road worse?

Better Cycling London

Wick Road is not an appealing environment.  It’s designed for people in cars.

It’s probably not very appealing in a car either.

I’ve got any number of photos like the one below, but let this represent all of them.  Wick Road is a fast, wide race track, with parking on one or both sides of the road.  It’s extremely unattractive for pedestrians (there’s a reason you can only see one in this picture) and has nothing at all for people on bikes (unless they want to either share the road with dangerously fast drivers, or cycle on the pavement).


Last week, Hackney brought out proposals to change Wick Road.  I was excited to see how they promised to make it better for people living here.

I was disappointed.

The last thing I’m going to do is defend the current design.  Yet Hackney managed to offer something which will make Wick Road worse.  The…

View original post 1,440 more words

Next meeting – Wednesday 29th April, 7.30pm at the Clapton Hart

Following a short break, after submission of our CS1 consultation response, the next Hackney People on Bikes meeting will take place on Wednesday 29 April 2015, in the Clapton Hart.  All are welcome.

Items for the agenda include:

  • Middleton Road (filtering/Quietway works) & chasing up the rest of the Quietway route (including Mare Street plans);
  • Wetlands Route – safari with Cllr Feryal Demirci;
  • Car Free Sundays;
  • Going forward with HPOB – what do we want to achieve next, and how;
  • Setting a regular monthly meeting date.
Please let us know at hackneyPOB@gmail.com if there are any issues you would like to discuss, or simply come along to the meeting.

Infrastructure Safari – Report

What makes a decent cycle route?  Can the people of Hackney and Haringey have one?

On a smoggy day in London Town, Hackney People on Bikes set out on safari up the proposed ‘Cycle Superhighway 1’ route to answer these questions.  They were delighted to be joined by two people who can make our answers reality: Andrew Gilligan, the Cycling Commissioner, and Feryal Demirci, Hackney Councillor and Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods (which includes transport).  Additionally many of the people the route is supposed to serve: Hackney residents, and neighbours from Waltham Forest, Haringey and Islington, attended too.

While we waited for Mr Gilligan, in foul air at the route’s start, the first issue became clear: where on Earth were we?  The route begins and ends somewhere in the back streets between Liverpool Street and Finsbury Circus at a junction overwhelmed by taxis.  We were pretty surprised that the route hadn’t been pushed on, to link with the East/West Cycle Superhighway.

P1020591 P1020592

We set off north….

P1020615 P1020616 P1020617 P1020619 P1020626 P1020629 P1020630

…up to the Apex Junction where the route crosses Old Street.


While we agreed that the plans were a big improvement on the current arrangement, in which pedestrians and people on bikes muddle across three junctions together, we wondered whether swapping pedestrian crossings and cycle crossings would make it a little easier to cross.  We also questioned whether people on bikes would be able to cross in one go: Mr Gilligan said we would, but the plans we’d seen seemed less certain.

From there, the group set off at a gentle pace up Pitfield Street – and immediately came across one of the route’s main drawbacks.  While many of us are used to cycling at speed to try to stay one step ahead of fast drivers, we had lots of ordinary people with us – a mum and her children in a box-bike, another was on a Boris bike.  At a relaxed pace, people in cars quickly became frustrated, revving impatiently or sliding past with inches to spare.


Although this route is meant to be on quiet back streets, most are in fact busy rat-runs unsuitable for safe and pleasant cycling.  We asked Mr Gilligan and Councillor Demirci if they could offer more filters – which would allow through-traffic for bikes and access to residents, but block outsiders from cutting through residential areas – they seemed willing to consider it.  Key locations to do this include the roundabout outside St John’s Street and some of the roads further north on the way to De Beauvoir.

Crossing Ball’s Pond Road was, as usual, a long wait followed by a rush.

There are a couple of suggestions here – advisory cycle lanes being one, and a two-way protected track on the north side of the road – which would use a redundant bit of bus lane.  We were sure it was redundant because in the evening peak time, none of the buses we saw in fifteen minutes used it!

We didn’t think either of TfL’s suggestions did the job: we’d like to see protected tracks on either side of the road – either raised from the road surface or segregated by kerbs.

Continuing north, again we found ourselves beset by large numbers of fast moving drivers as we struggled to cross from Boleyn Road into Wordsworth Road.  Mr Gilligan called for suggestions – thankfully, Tom Harrison from Islington Cyclists Action Group had an excellent proposal to filter the whole area – allowing buses and people on bikes through, and stopping drivers from rat-running to the A10, which would create a healthier and more pleasant environment for local people on foot and on bikes.


Reaching Stoke Newington Church Street, we were disappointed to learn nothing was planned at this junction – where two people on bikes have been seriously injured in the last ten years.  We weren’t sure whether a junction with traffic lights or zebra crossings would be best – but we want TfL to take another look at it.  The same issue affects the junction with Manor Road.


Continuing up towards Haringey, we found what should be a pleasant high street in the area around Fairholt and Dunsmure Road filled with cars.  This area could be significantly improved, and we’d hope to see this happen.  We were pretty unimpressed with St Ann’s Road – which is also very, very busy.  Somewhere around here, the route enters Haringey and returns to the A10, wending its way to Tottenham.

At this point in the evening, the A10 entered our conversation too.  One person was unfamiliar with this end of the borough and wanted directions home.  Our advice was simple: go east to the A10, it’ll take you straight home.  This is the route’s biggest problem: it follows wiggly and winding back streets.  It misses out all the shops, cinemas, restaurants and bars people want to visit along the A10.  Most people will continue to use this – and continue to get hurt: 28% of people killed or seriously injured on bikes in Hackney are hurt on the A10.  So, while we’re delighted to see these roads improved – if done properly in line with our suggestions – we still want ot see protected space for cycling along the length of the A10.

Please get your response in to the consultation – you have until Sunday, 29th March!

Harry FW

Infrastructure Safari with Andrew Gilligan – 17 March 2015

CS1 Old Street visual

Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner, has agreed to cycle the length of the proposed route of CS1 with members of Hackney POB & others, starting at the junction of Sun Street and Wilson Street in the City at 17:00 hours, on Tuesday 17 March 2015.

This is the Cycle ‘Superhighway’ (or should that be ‘Superquietway’?) that will run through Hackney, Islington and Haringey and is currently open for consultation at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/cs1 .  We will be setting out the group response in due course.

All are welcome, come along to investigate the new route and have your say, the more the merrier!

****** Now confirmed the ride will extend into Haringey ********