Gazette letters: Cycling, roadworks, and NHS

Islington Green Party want fairer changes for all road users. Picture: PA IMAGES

Islington Green Party want fairer changes for all road users. Picture: PA IMAGES - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

This year Islington Council was featured on Channel 5’s Do The Right Thing, hosted by Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford. Eamonn, apparently a keen cyclist, asked Islington Council why Islington is the most expensive borough to to securely park a bicycle in England, writes Roderik Gonggrijp, Islington Green Party.

Islington charges £104 per year to park a bicycle in a secure cycle hangar, plus a £25 key deposit.

The second most expensive place in England to securely park a bicycle is in Kensington and Chelsea, who charge £71 per year. But closer to home, Camden, Haringey and Hackney all charge only £37 per year for exactly the same facility.

Islington’s annual charge of £104 to securely park a bicycle in the street is also more than it costs to park a small car or any electric vehicle, for which no parking fee is charged at all.

The councillor’s reponse when questioned directly by Eamonn was that Islington needs to charge these amounts to cyclists in order to pay for care for elderly.

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The Green Party’s suggested budget amendment should be adopted to increase fees in all parking bands for residents by £104 per annum. This would reduce car use and ownership and ensure the cost of parking a bicycle in Islington is never higher than the cost of parking a car. This should include the electric vehicles (EVs).

Based on current trends for residential permit sales, this would provide surplus income to the council of £2.7m until such a time when motorist behaviour changes.

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The additional income from this new policy should be used for transport related council activities as governed by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

Has anybody got a logical answer to why it appears that the local area of north London is so plagued by roadworks? writes Mr J E Kirby, Clissold Crescent, Stoke Newington.

The reason I ask this is that during January, the junction of St Paul’s Road and Newington Green Road had its annual digging up just inside Newington Green Road for a gas leak. This took about a week and caused both bus stops in St Paul’s Road and the north bound stop in Newington Green Road to be closed – that is three out of five stops in the area.

A week or so later St Paul’s Road was closed for a week, this time for a burst water main further up, causing the no 30 bus to be diverted along Essex Road and up Canonbury Road in both directions, not withstanding Canonbury Road itself just past the Essex Road railway station which had roadworks on both sides of the road with only one lane open and alternate traffic lights.

We now have fresh roadworks opposite the station in Canonbury Road again controlled by four-way traffic lights giving alternative lanes in both Essex Road and Canonbury Road, as well as the pavement torn up near the post office in Essex Road. As well as this the westbound bus stop in Essex Road is coned off so that vehicles being used in connection with the Canonbury Road works have somewhere to park. I went through there on a bus at around 3pm one afternoon going to the Angel, coming back about an hour later. Guess what? They had packed up for the day and gone home.

My question is this, if these roadworks are so urgent why are they not being carried out 24/7? I’m sure the people who live there would be glad to see these works done and got out of the way instead of dragging on for weeks on end.

Also, we still have the works at Highbury Corner being out at the proverbial snails pace. It seems to me that these roadworks which, by the way, at Highbury Corner have been going on since the start of January 2015, seem to have no end in sight, why?

With all the attention focused on Brexit, the state of our NHS seems to have faded into the background, writes Ruth Cohen, Islington Keep our NHS Public.

Yet lack of adequate funding from the government, along with its policies of privatisation, are bringing this wonderful service to the brink of collapse.

Waiting times in A&E are the worst since first recorded 10 years ago, and the same is true of waits for hospital appointments. Overstretched hospitals simply don’t have enough beds to cope with the demand, and it’s becoming more and more difficult even to get an appointment with your GP. Meanwhile private companies like Virgin Care are grabbing more and more NHS contracts and hard-pressed NHS trusts are rasiing money by selling off NHS land to private developers.

And it gets worse. There are new policies to save money by withdrawing funding for some types of treatment and rationing it for others. For example, your GP will not be allowed even to put you on the waiting list for knee replacement till you have been in “debilitating” pain for at least six months.

To find out more, come to a public meeting at Islington Town Hall on Monday, March 11 at 7Pm. Hear from doctors, campaigners and the leader of Islington Council about what is happening here in Islington and what we can do. The meeting is organised by Islington Keep our NHS Public.

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