Sunday, 7 February 2021

Pathways in crisis - an appeal for action

In the year of the Covid lockdowns, we’ve seen walkers and cyclists  take to the many motor traffic free paths of Merton in unprecedented numbers in search of fresh air and exercise. But they’ve found their way hampered by overgrown vegetation, poor surfaces and bottle necks.

This issue was highlighted as early as 2012, and went unheeded by the Council, creating a crisis un-der Covid where motor traffic free public pathways offering the promise of physical and mental well-being are made uninviting by lack of maintenance and neglect. 

So that the full potential of existing motor-traffic-free shared-use routes can be fully unlocked and exploited Merton Council must start to prepare pathways for Spring 2021 now. MCC have prepared a report for Merton Council on the current state of some key paths, calling for action to be prioritised to make these pathways accessible to all for the welfare of all under Covid in 2021. The report has not highlighted the effect of obstructed pathways on the mobility impaired and vulnerable and the target must be that all public pathways are accessible to all.

To maximise the use of paths for promoting active lives for as many people as possible requires

  • Vegetation cut back 
  • Surface maintenance 
  • Surface construction 
  • Alleviation of bottlenecks 

With good husbandry, and good management from the beginning of 2021, public expectations can be met with attractive, clipped, clear, comfortable, coherent paths which meet the Council’s Policy commitments to Active Travel and promote an active life through cycling and walking.

How you can help 

Submit examples of overgrown vegetation, poor surfaces or bottlenecks to Publicspace [at] merton.gov.uk or for routine operational matters contact the maintenance service provider, idverde:  slwpenquiries [at] idverde.co.uk

Write to your ward Councillor with the same examples asking them to make sure that the Council takes action to ensure that everyone can safely share the space available to cyclists and walkers and make more journeys in these covid-secure ways. You can find your ward Councillor here. 

Cycle Buddies

 Our Cycle Buddies program is now live! 

Monday, 2 November 2020

LTN 1/20, Merton Council FAQ and the Planning Application Process for Bishopsford Road Bridge

On 22nd October Merton Council's Planning Committee approved the proposals for Bishopsford Road  (Mitcham) Bridge. Like many local groups and residents we have concerns about the design and layout and whilst we want a re-constructed bridge as swiftly as possible we also think what is built should be fit for purpose far into the future, and meet the Council's own policies to tackle the Climate Emergency and promote active travel. 

Many of our concerns stem from the ways in which the designs don't meet the Department for Transport issues Local Traffic Notes (LTNs) to guide Council’s designs.  The latest of these is LTN 1/20 which was issued in July 2020 and covers Cycle Infrastructure Design. (Local Traffic Notes are different to 'Low Traffic Neighbourhoods / LTNs.) We believe the LTN 1/20 Guidance was misrepresented to the Planning Committee. 

Monday, 7 September 2020

Bishopsford Road Bridge - MCC objects to planning application

Bishopsford Road Bridge is being rebuilt. However the plans fall short of Merton Cycling Campaign's expectations for active travel, and we have a number of objections to the plans.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

MCC responds to Merton Council's Covid-19 Transport Plan June 2020

We welcome Merton’s updated Covid-19 Transport Plan which has been submitted to Cabinet and takes on board many of MCC's previous comments, but we still have concerns that the reality of delivery won't match the ambition. You can read the Council's updated plan here. https://democracy.merton.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=146&MId=3689&Ver=4 

In proposing rapidly implementing 7 key cycling routes, 10 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and 20 school streets, Merton Council is displaying a level of ambition in relation to walking and cycling that we have never seen before, but there are still serious concerns. As ever the devil is in the detail and we have concerns in relation to timing, funding,  the proposals to support pupils safely walking and cycling to school, and an under-estimation of the scale of change that is needed in relation to cycle routes and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. The existing cycling facilities in Merton have been so woefully under-invested in over the years that we are concerned it will take all that is proposed and more to meet the demand for walking and cycling that we expect to see in the coming months. 

Monday, 8 June 2020

Active Travel - for everyone, for ever, we hope!

On the 7th of June we wrote to the National Trust asking for their support with ensuring there's safe space for walking and cycling in response to Covid-19 but also in the (slightly) long-term for support with the widening of the new Bishopsford Bridge to accommodate cycling lanes by the Council. 

We've been heartened to hear back from Jim Foy, the National Trust's Assistant Director of Operations for the London & SE Region. He says in his e mail today:

'We would be prepared to consider the use of Watermeads to accommodate a wider bridge if the additional width was for cycle lanes'.

An abridged version of our initial letter follows...