Gazette letters: Cycling, TfL and beggars

Islington Green Party wants a boost cycling. Picture: PA

Islington Green Party wants a boost cycling. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

I am pleased to see secure bike hangars springing up all over Islington over the last few weeks, writes Natasha Cox, Islington Green Party.

There is, undoubtedly, a need for them but I am disappointed that most of the hangars seem to be empty.

The Green Party pointed out that a space for one bike is more expensive than parking for most cars in the borough and this is definitely an issue. But I think the reality of cycling on the roads is putting people off using bikes at least as much as difficulty in storing them. At the moment cycling in London is like an extreme sport. There are very few bike lanes, cars and large vehicles rule the road, and there are regular stories about serious injury and death to people riding bikes.

I used to cycle regularly but, having had a few years off to push a buggy, I have lost my nerve and so my bike remains unused, waiting for me to feel brave enough to get back on it. Really though, I shouldn’t need to feel brave but I should feel protected. My children would love to be able to cycle to school but we don’t feel they would be safe on the roads despite them having taken part in the bikeability schemes.

Given the air pollution crisis, our expanding waistlines and low exercise levels, and the fact 70 per cent of Islington residents don’t even own a car, TfL and Islington Council need to actively roll out new, properly safe, dedicated cycle paths directly leading to the places people visit.

I read the Gazette article regarding the ongoing shenanigans of the 277 bus route no longer serving Highbury Corner resulting in a 50 per cent reduction in buses serving St Paul’s Road, writes Mr J E Kirby, Clissold Crescent, Stoke Newington.

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I would like to point out that I have several times suggested that the 277 bus could be diverted along Holloway Road and terminate outside the college in Camden Road which is already a terminating point for buses in that area.

TfL in reply, has come up with all manner of excuses as to why it can’t be done including needing extra buses and drivers. It appears that TfL has a “can’t be done” attitude, another example of this is that the no 73 bus runs empty to and from its garage in Stamford Hill to its northern terminius at Stoke Newington Common.

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I suggested it could pick up passengers when it turns into Stamford Hill on leaving the garage and also take passengers on its northbound run from Stoke Newington Common to the garage terminating at Stamford Hill. TfL’s reply, the route development team says it can’t be done so they would rather have an empty bus running for at least a mile in either direction to and from the garage.

As to the extra buses on the no 30 route to compensate for the loss of the no 277 past Dalston, apparently a token three extra buses run west bound in the morning rush hour and a token one east bound in the afternoon rush hour. I don’t agree with the statement that there were some 18 buses an hour on the no 30 route – if you look at the time table it says between eight – 10 minutes or there abouts, so, if it is a 10 minute interval it would be six buses an hour and seven buses if the interval was eight minutes.

I also agree that it is scandalous that you see convoys of no 38 buses running up and down Balls Pond Road. Often I have stood outside the church in St Paul’s road waiting for a no 30 seen five or six no 38 buses all going towards Victoria, ie a headway of less than one minute between each bus.

I notice TfL also use the excuse of road works in the Baker Street area that have now finished.

I also read the article by Sam Gelder in the same issue of the Gazette on page 4 regarding “Road closures on the way as Highbury Corner work nears completion”. I trust that this article is in someway an April Fool’s joke, the reason, I travel through Highbury Corner some two or three times a week and to me these works seem far from complete, for instance, the pavement between Highbury Place and along past Corsica Street on that side of the road ahs again been reduced to be so narrow that people cannot pass each other.

Are both St Paul’s and Canonbury Road going to be permanently closed where they join the current roundabout? If so, where will the traffic and more importantly the bus routes that use these roads go instead?

As far as I know, these works outside the Marie Curie Cancer Care shop will not be finished until some time in August 2019, hardly in my view being almost finished, so how does it appear that these works are almost finished according the writer of the article.

The reason I ask if the road closures of St Paul’s and Canonbury roads are permanent is it says the switch to two-way traffic is planning to be overnight between 8pm on Saturday, April 20 and 8am on Sunday, April 21.

It’s a pity that Sadiq Khan, who is by the way also chairman of TfL as well as being Mayor of London, can’t get a grip of TfL’s management and if they can’t do the job then sack them and appoint people who can do the job, simple.

Can beggars be arrested? asks Jamie, Islington, full name and address supplied:

Fake ones surely can and there’s none less genuine than the chap who uses crutches to garner fake sympathy. The speed with which this “invalid” moves around the N1 Centre and along Upper Street on a Friday night (at least) is on a par with any fit youngster. No limp whatsoever, both feet happy to hit the floor with no reaction, crutches occasionally hitting the floor in an attempt to maintain the out-patient image.

Dare I say the rare sight of a policeman pounding the beat would have an easy arrest on their hands were any of the local constabulary actually in range on one of the busiest nights of the week.

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