Sustainable Communities Act

This act enables residents to indetify and suggest ways to improve local areas. Only 1/3rd of local councils took part. 293 ideas were proposed of which 8 came from Southwark.

These have been short listed to be discussed by government ministers and 7 of Southwark’s 8 have made it to this final list:

1. Southwark camera partnership – Transfer of funding to a Southwark camera partnership, which would redistribute revenue towards services such as road calming measures and have the power to move existing cameras.
2. Relax the requirement for 20mph zones – It should be at the discretion of the council whether there are self enforcing calming measures and what form they take
3. National plastic bag free day – No exchange of plastic bags between retailer and customer on a given day.
4. A duty on Network Rail and any other rail operators – A duty to be imposed on Network Rail and any other rail operators to work in partnership with local authorities and local communities to safeguard and improve the environment directly relating to railway land and infrastructure
5. Smooth leaseholder repair bills – Change in the rules to allow councils to take deposits and prudently invest leaseholder funds, on a voluntary basis, to help smooth leaseholder repairs bills.
6. Unlawful use of properties – Penalties for unlawful use of a property, with the council having the ability to impose civil penalties on the freeholder to cover the costs of planning enforcement.
7. Permaculture design principles – A permissive regime that enables Council to prioritise permaculture design principle in local planning policy.

All great ideas (the first was my idea) that would make a real difference to Southwark.

Fingers crossed they don’t get lost in the general election period but that most proceed.

Mayor Boris closes HGV cycle unit

London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced the closure the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit. This group of 3 Police sergeants and 9 Police constables specialise finding defective lorries and taking them off the road and working with haulage companies to reduce collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.

Not enough was being done to reduce such collisions. HGV lorries are the number one killer for cyclists in London. Even less will be done going forward.

The announcement was almost exactly nine years to the day when a previous treasurer of Southwark Cyclists, while I was the chairperson, Brigitte Robinson, was killed by a left turning lorry whose driver had a young child in the cab and had been working 12+ hour shifts 7 days a week for many months.

Loosing a close cycling friend was incredibly distressing. How many more people have to die to HGV’s before the few exempt from sideguards are no longer exempt and the limited resources are withdrawn from educating lorry drivers and cyclists.

East Dulwich 20mph…

The East Dulwich councillors have been campaigning for our streets to be safer. Many residents have contacted us about speeding vehicles. We’ve provided the local Police with a state of art speed gun and display. But on some streets the speed limit is excessive.

Just before the summer holidays traffic and speed counters were installed for a fortnight on 22 of the 65 streets in East Dulwich. On some streets several were installed.

The governments rules to make a street 20mph is that the mean average speed must be lower than 24mph. The results of the counters are below. The next step is for officers to meet the police and other emeregency services and agreed that their happy for these streets to be made 20mph in principle. Local residents are then formally consulted. Then we have to by law advertise this in the local papers (now you know why lots of council tax money on publicity goes), then the signs go up and we should see an average speed reduction due to the signs of 1-3mph. Then local Police can enforce such reasonable speeds on wholly residential roads in East Dulwich. Read the rest of this entry. Read the rest of this entry.

Sinusiodal humps

Lots of debate about traffic calming measures – speed cushions are often  ignored by larger vehicles and 4WD cars, humps are painful and dangerous for cyclists and painful for vehicle occupants even when taken at less than 20mph. Until the Labour Government finally approves average speed cameras or changes insurance laws physical measures have to be installed to calm peoples behaviour behind the wheel.However, one type of hump doesn’t seem to have this problem – sinusoidal humps. They’re curved like a wave. Not quite as effective at traffic calming as regular ’round topped’ humps but boy are they more comfortable for vehicle occupants and safer for cyclists.

With the executive councillor Paul Kyriacou agreement it is now Southwark Council policy that all new humps will be sinusoidal.  I also expect when old humps get replaced during maintenance that they’ll be replaced with sinusoidal humps.

Sustainable Community Act – speed cameras

For some time I’ve been following this Act from its initial proposal onwards. It aims to give communities the opportunity to take back powers for things pointlessly decided by central government or its quango’s.

As part of this Act I applied to Southwark that its asks for Southwark to have its own Safer Camera Partnership – speed and red light running cameras. Effectively opt out of the London wide scheme. Full council agreed to approve this and it is now with the next filter organised by the Local Government Association. If they agreed it, then it is formally lodged with central government. They then decide whether to implement this change or not.

My idea relates to the fact that for several years no new cameras have been installed in Southwark by the London Camera Partnership.

The idea came from attending a Southwark Living Streets presentation where they showed that virtually all collisions on our roads occur on major roads and that the primary cause is speeding. They also explained that lots of research that such fast roads, such as the Old Kent Road, result in deprivation via ill health, injuries, noise, social dislocation (not knowing your neighbours).

Hopefully, I’ll get to present my case to the LGA soon.

What do you think – more cameras?