Just a quick heads-up post to let you know that some work on the junctions of Capel Road, Woodford Road and Chestnut Avenue that was put on the back burner for a while is now due to be completed.
You might remember about 3 or 4 years ago we had the first round of consultations on the ‘Quietway’ route that runs through Forest Gate North ward. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t until I ventured off on a Santander Bike one afternoon to take a Quietway tour from Bloomsbury to the Olympic Park that I really finally got my head around what they offer. I had previously envisaged lots of separate cycle lanes (and indeed there is an argument that segregated cycling routes are the best option for encouraging cycling, and some quite lively debate about the value of Quietways) but as we cycled along roads and across junctions, some of them really quite central, but all of them peaceful or clearly signed, I realised that the key is in the name: The Quietways are intended to be a quiet network of routes to get across London from different places, where the roads taken are peaceful ones that avoid the busy routes; whenever there is a crossing with a main road, this is clearly signed and guided. The guide who took us on the tour said, “In effect, whenever you hear traffic, start looking for the signs to tell you how to get across the junction.” In many cases there are marked out cycleways on the pavement for a short way, a cycle crossing, then the route takes you back onto another quiet road.
Which brings me to Quietway 6, which I had not realised has been unfinished, and therefore un-signposted, because of a crucial missing bit of the route, at the junction of Capel Road and Woodford Road, up to the junction with Chestnut Avenue. In fact, slightly embarrassingly, when I met with Will Norman who is in charge of cycling and walking for Transport for London, in my cabinet role for transport across Newham, he told me that Quietway 6 was unfinished, and asked me, “Do you know Capel Road?” and I was forced to say, “Um… yes I do actually. A bit.” And he basically pointed out, very pleasantly, that this Quietway runs from Victoria Park to Barkingside, apart from a bit that we didn’t complete, which I realised is not only in my borough but in my ward.
We consulted on the changes to this part of the Quietway some time ago, and have adapted the scheme to take on board comments. In particular, the scheme now includes a pedestrian crossing that will help the children from Chestnut Nursery (among others) cross the road safely onto Wanstead Flats. It also includes a cycle way on the road on the western part of Capel Road, after we found quite definitely from the Corporation of London that routing cyclists onto the southern side of the Flats really wasn’t something that was going to happen. This does involve sacrificing some parking spaces. I believe that the ones being lost are those that haven’t been in use recently because they’ve been storing materials for the Forest Gate public realm works, which does perhaps make it a little better, although I know that some residents have been waiting impatiently for the return of those spaces, and for this I am sorry.
What I particularly wanted to flag up was that we’ve also managed to include some elements that we hope will help to ‘design out’ some of the issues of ASB and dangerous driving that happen periodically on the junction of ‘big Chestnut’ and Capel Roads. Even if residents didn’t keep me informed, you can see all too clearly scrawled upon the tarmac the evidence of drivers doing ‘doughnuts’ in the road, which is hugely dangerous and causes disturbance to neighbours. The widening of the pavements will not only slow down traffic to make it safer for people on bikes, but will also narrow what is currently a large wide section of road making doughnutting, at least, impossible.
The last thing to flag up is the road humps on Capel Road need replacing. I have to admit I am a little sad about this, as listening to speeding cars hitting the bottom of their vehicles on these humps is one of my guilty pleasures. However, I am told that these humps do not meet current standards for speed bumps, and that renders the Council liable for damages to cars, so out they all go.
I have linked below the letter that is going out to the immediate residents in the next few days, along with the plan of the work that will be undertaken. As always, if you have any questions, please do drop me a line. I’m on twitter and facebook but the most reliable way to get hold of me is to email me on Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org