Waltham Forest “Mini-Holland” forces business to close

The owner of a kitchen furniture business in Lea Bridge, Leyton has shut his store because of the works to construct cycle paths on the main road.

49-year-old Spiro Nicholas, owner of My Dream Kitchen, believes the council has put the needs of the 800 cyclists who pass through the main road every day before the survival of the struggling stores along the route.

Mr Nicholas has been forced to close his showroom due to the high levels of noise and lack of customer parking and says he is unsure he will be able to reopen once the works are finished.

“The drilling was so loud that I couldn’t hear my customers speaking and I couldn’t take calls on my phone,” he said.

“There was nowhere for delivery drivers or customers to park so it is pointless paying staff and keeping it open.

“It shows that the local authority have no regard for the local businesses – doing all this work for 800 cyclists a day. It’s beyond belief.

“We speak to locals and have yet to come across anyone who is in favour of all of this. It just winds me up.

“There’s a good chance I’ll have to close it for good.”

Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for the environment at Waltham Forest Council, said businesses were consulted about the scheme to improve the road.

He said the council has written to business owners to warn them about the “temporary disruption” caused by the construction work.

Cllr Loakes said recent research has shown that infrastructure which encourages cycling offers a “boost” to the local economy.

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Embankment congestion harming London’s competitiveness, study finds

Congestion on the Embankment is causing serious economic damage to East London businesses, a new study has warned.

The report, from transport economists Volterra Partners, found the removal of a traffic lane on the A3211, which runs between Westminster Bridge and Tower Hill, has significantly increased journey times.

The route is the main east-west road link between Central London and the Docklands. A traffic lane was removed in 2016 to make way for Boris Johnson’s flagship £47 million East-West Cycle Superhighway, which has since been criticised for attracting relatively few cyclists.

Volterra said increased congestion has meant that 15,000 east London businesses are no longer within a 30 minute drive of Westminster during the morning rush hour. This rises to 18,000 businesses during the evening peak.

The authors said the increased travel time “limits hiring options, increases delivery costs and is off-putting to investors.”

A spokesperson for campaign group Unblock the Embankment, which commissioned the research, said: “This study provides clear evidence that this ill-thought through scheme is causing real economic damage to London.

“With Brexit looming, we need to improve traffic flow on this vital arterial road.”

No Christmas shopping for Londoners

Tube workers have announced another strike on the Central Line and will walk out for 24 hours on December 21st this year.

Industrial action by RMT workers will hit London on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year with the dispute surrounding a driver who failed a drugs test.

Earlier this month there was another strike which caused chaos for commuters clogging up the roads with congestion. This Christmas strike is, according the RMT totally unjustified as they have a zero tolerance on drugs.

Roads will be congested, yet again due to unnecessary and unjustified industrial action which needs to be combatted to avoid delays for Londoners.

Furious commuters, on the Piccadilly Line, again!

Commuters are slamming London Underground for failing to acknowledge poor performance on the Piccadilly Line, with Transport for London consistently claiming there is a “good service”.

One furious traveller told the Evening Standard: “the main issue I have is that the updates supplied by the official channels are always incorrect, tfl.gov.uk reports good service and train times for services which simply aren’t running.

“I always check train times ahead of leaving home, but the amount of misinformation from what should be a reliable and ‘live’ service means I’ve almost missed several important appointments in the last week, been late for work, and had to spend around £60 on cabs.

Over the last two weeks there have been frequent problems on the Piccadilly Line between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge, with complete denial from TFL.

Leaves on the line have caused trains to slip, according to the RMT union. According to the RMT: “London Underground Limited has refused to put honest and accurate information out to members of the public, leading to front line staff being confronted by angry passengers and total ridicule on social media from hundreds of members of the public who are sick and tired of being misled.

“RMT representatives, along with some line managers, have brought these concerns to senior management but they still refuse to put out honest information and insist on showing the Piccadilly line running a good service when it isn’t.”

New Tubes on the cards for Londoners

New_Tubes

Transport for London has confirmed this week that contracts have been signed for new tubes. Although they will not be delivered until 2023 and not used by the public until 2024.

The new tubes will cost a whopping £1.5billion and may be too little too late to ease the growth in London. Unfortunately, the new tubes will only have an impact on the Piccadilly line, with the intention of having them on the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City Lines, however, this has not been confirmed.

The crumbling Piccadilly Line tubes are from 1973 and are unreliable, overcrowded and cannot cope with London’s growth. 2024 is a long time to wait for new stock, with the whole fleet not being ready until 2026, which according to reports will be more frequent and have wider doors and air conditioning.

Khan’s Quietways programme lambasted by cyclists

Cycling campaigners have attacked Sadiq Khan’s “Quietways” programme as a “substandard distraction” from his failure to deliver on key cycling pledges.

Responding to the opening of new Quietways routes in Southwark, Newham and Redbridge, the London Cycling Campaign said that all three schemes “exhibit significant flaws which highlight the ongoing failure of the Quietways programme to deliver continuous, end-to-end routes that are quiet and direct enough to encourage many more people, and a far wider range, of people to cycle.”

The Quietways programme is a network of backstreet cycle routes designed for less experienced cyclists who want to go at a more leisurely pace. They’ve come under fire from cycling activists who say that the schemes do not do enough to slow down vehicles or discourage motorists from making rat runs.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has previously pledged to “triple” the number of protected cycle routes by the end of his term. But critics say the Quietways are a distraction from the more expensive and controversial segregated cycle superhighways that are needed to meet that target.

Simon Munk, the London Cycling Campaign’s infrastructure expert, said:

“On current rate of progress the Mayor is already set to dramatically undershoot the promise he made to triple the mileage of segregated cycle lanes in London. Now it seems that TfL are offering a substandard Quietway programme as a distraction. A proper network of both segregated lanes and genuine Quietways are essential to meeting the Mayor’s promise to make London a ‘byword for cycling’. Unless the Mayor urgently gets a grip on this, his cycling legacy will be one of promises unfulfilled.”

TfL planning to add noise to electric buses in a bid to improve safety

TfL have announced plans to improve the safety of London buses, as part of a TfL goal to ensure that no-one is injured on or by a London bus by 2030.

TfL are some way off this target. Figures show that last year there were 363 casualties involving London buses, including five fatalities.

The latest plans involve different technologies it now wants to bus operators to phase in on new buses by 2024. These include automatic braking, speed limiters, crumple zones on the front of vehicles and better mirrors to eliminate blind spots.

Most eye (or ear)-catchingly of all is a plan to introduce sound to electric buses in order to make them more audible to pedestrians.

Lib Dem chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee Caroline Pidgeon was unimpressed.

“There is clearly a pressing need for action right now beyond technological enhancement in the future, ” Pidgeon told the BBC.

“TfL should set safety targets for bus operators. We suggest the best way to do this is to integrate safety targets in the contract performance target structure as soon as possible.”

The news comes at a time of crisis for London’s bus fleet, with passenger numbers falling and bus bosses forced to cut bus numbers as a result. Some commentators have suggested that London’s congestion problems are causing more people to stay at home, putting further pressure on the bus network’s revenues.