Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cycle Lane Consultation A127 to M25

TfL and Havering Council have revealed plans for a dedicated cycle route which will follow the Southend Arterial Road (A127) from Gallows Corner to junction 29 on the M25. this will form part of the London Cycle Network.

They are consulting on this proposal until 16th November, responses please to or leave a comment on this thread.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Security on Transport

Tomorrow our Transport Committee launches its review of security on London's public transport. In particular we will be considering the buses - following the Mayor's introduction of free travel for under 18s - and also the major interchanges, for example the bus and train stations at Stratford.

Are police on buses effective?

How about the CCTV?

Would you like to see conductors brought back?

Do you feel safe on our trains and buses?

We are interested in your views and experiences, so please email me at or write to me at City Hall, The Queens Walk, LONDON, SE1 2AA.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Peoples' Question Time

The big moment arrived last night. Nearly six hundred people crammed into Ilford Town Hall to raise local issues with the Mayor and assembly Members. It was a lively and good natured meeting with several public votes taking place. These snapshots showed:

66% of the audience felt no safer on the streets despite a visible increase in police numbers.

75% were opposed to congestion charging in Ilford.

75% felt that Redbridge didn't need any more housing.

66% were still pleased we were hosting the 2012 Olympics. Although there was a lot of dissatisfaction about the spiralling budget.

Those are rough figures and the audience was self selecting, so perhaps not representative of the wider electorate.

Serious reservations were raised about bendy buses following the tragic accident that occurred recently in Ilford.

Users of the Eastway Cycle Circuit turned up to demand a venue closer than the one they have to use at Hillingdon whilst the Olympic Velodrome is being constructed.

There were a large number of younger people in the crowd, which is encouraging. One girl was upset that she got fined when she left her Oystercard at home, but there wasn't much sympathy, perhaps because the same rule applies to everyone - it's called responsibility so get used to it...

And my newly selected Labour opponent was there. I made a point of congratulating her on being chosen. Her reply - Who are you? - was either the best put down in history or reveals a steep learning curve.

The next PQT is in six months time at Richmond Theatre.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Petition Presented

Following on from the Mayor's refusal to reinstate the footbridge over the A12 at Mawney Road, I presented a petition from local residents at the Assembly plenary meeting today. Four of the lead petitioners turned up to make their point:

They don't want a crossing at road level which will force pedestrians to race the lights - the other main junctions on the A12 all have either bridges or subways.

The original bridge (removed by TfL) had wheelchair ramps - a fact seemingly lost on TfL who claim that there is no space for a bridge with ramps to be built...

Have ramps got longer in the last two years?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Final Call for PQT

A last reminder that Peoples' Question Time is taking place at Ilford Town Hall on Thursday night. Come along and question Mayor Livingstone and other Assembly Members about their plans for our area. Tickets are going fast but there is still time to grab a place - just click on the top link on the right...

See you there...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Transport Select Committee Investigates PPP

In what I think is a first for the London Assembly, I will be giving evidence before the Transport Select Committee tomorrow.

The committee are investigating the circumstances around the collapse of Metronet and they will also be taking evidence from the PPP arbiter, the tube unions and the other PPP company, Tubelines.

The whole episode will be available to enjoy on the Parliamentary Channel.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Redbridge Pensioners' Forum

I've just got in from a meeting with the Forum, answering questions about transport issues. There were 76 people there - a fantastic turnout. The main issues were:

Bendy buses - very unpopular, because of fare evasion, accidents etc.

Under 18s Free Travel - also unpopular, because of anti social behaviour, the buses seen as no go areas when the schools finish.

Bad Driving - still a problem and the wheelchair ramps aren't being used.

Passenger Behaviour - need to get passengers to be more considerate, take feet off seats, give up seats for older people, fold buggies, take litter home.

Freedom Pass - cross party support for keeping it, despite the Mayor issuing scare stories about a mythical threat.

I have also agreed to visit Havering Gardens to see the issues around the extended 499 bus route.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ilford South Supper Club

I was the guest speaker at the Ilford South Conservatives' supper club on Friday evening. this was my third visit to them so instead of telling them about London government - again - I spoke about 'a day in my life'. The speech provoked a lively discussion about the fate of bendy buses and the chances of Boris beating Ken...

I'm speaking at the Redbridge Pensioners' Forum on Monday.

You can book me to speak for a group by calling the office on 0207 983 4359 or emailing me at .

Friday, October 12, 2007

Still Some Seats...

Available for Peoples' Question Time on 25th October at Ilford Town Hall. Come along and pose questions to the Mayor and Assembly Members.

Booking a place is easy - just click on the first of my links, down on the right.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Olympic Newts Are Coming

According to the BBC:

A colony of endangered newts is being relocated for the 2012 Olympics, it has emerged. About £450 - the equivalent of renting a double room for a month in the area - will be spent on moving each newt to make way for a new circuit.

The great crested newts will be placed in a safe area within the new facility at Hog Hill, Redbridge, east London. The LDA had to ensure the newts' safety as the creatures are protected by law. The new circuit will replace the Eastway Cycle Circuit in Stratford, which will become the Olympic Velopark.

So now we know what Redbridge is getting from the games...

UPDATE: According to the BBC again (featured on ) the newts are already on site and are just being moved locally, so we will have to keep asking what Redbridge is getting...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

New Links Added

I have added new links to Barkingside 21, The Greater London Authority, Havering and Redbridge Councils and of course, Boris Johnson's campaign site.

Wherever you are going, it is now a bit easier to get there...

Crossrail to go Ahead

I have issued the following statement as Transport Committee Chairman:

Crossrail is long overdue and will make a major contribution to strengthening London's position as the key financial centre of the 21st century. It will link up the four powerhouses of the City, Canary Wharf, the West End and Heathrow - and will improve the quality of life of Londoners and regenerate the capital. All parties must work together to ensure that the delivery of this vital project does not slip further.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Temporary Staff at City Hall

No doubt because of the high turnover rate, we also have a high spend on temporary staff:

Sally Hamwee: What was the total spend on temporary staff recruited through agencies in 2006/07 by the core GLA?

Ken Livingstone: The total spend on agency staff for the GLA in 2006/07 was £2 million.

There's a good chance that Boris could identify some savings here...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Back from Conference

A good few days in Blackpool with some rousing speeches. The party is in the mood for an election, but who can tell...

I took a trip on the tram to Fleetwood (the home of Fisherman's Friends), just to see if we could learn anything for London's transport. The system is good fun, but not really suitable for carrying loads of commuters - especially the open topped trams made to look like boats.

I stayed at the Norbreck Castle Hotel, which was friendly, but two miles from the conference centre at the Winter Gardens. I also discovered that the door to my room didn't lock, when a strange bespectacled man burst in at two in the morning. I'm not sure which of us was most surprised, but he apologised profusely and departed. The receptionist smiled nicely and told me that there is a special way to lock the door - keys work pretty well in other hotels...