Wednesday 23 May 2012

Construction lorries may use E&C cycle bypass for next four years

(See bottom of page for update - well done to the local residents who voiced their concerns in the consultation meeting; as soon as I know of a date for the second meeting I'll publicise it)

Yesterday I went to a meeting for locals to feedback on ideas relating to the construction schedule and methods for the replacement E&C Leisure Centre (ahem, and accompanying new 36 storey tower block with 280 flats).

Unbelievably the developers, Balfour Beatty and Lend Lease, didn't show the demolition and construction lorries entering the site from the adjacent E&C gyratory, where you'd expect lorries to be, but instead showed them using quiet residential streets and, I kid you not, Cycle Superhighway 7 (Brook Road and Churchyard Row) to access the site. That's right, lorries on the bit of CS7 intended to allow cyclists to bypass the heavy traffic on the gyratory. They envisage the cycle bypass being used for major construction vehicles on the mega building project. For four long years.

As you'd expect the locals living in these back streets, on which primary school kids are just starting to cycle around after school and during the holidays, couldn't believe their eyes and ears. An emerging culture of adults and children sharing the road is about to be bludgeoned by thousands of tipper truck movements.

The developers told us they're meeting TfL this week to discuss ideas (which may have been additional rather than alternative) for a layby off the gyratory for lorries to unload, but didn't seem at all sure that TfL would think this acceptable for some reason (let's guess, keeping the motor traffic flowing?).

I am told that today, during Mayor's Question Time,  BJ again reiterated his belief that the E&C gyratory is fine to cycle around if you keep your wits about you.

He may turn out to be absolutely right. After all, if all the heavy traffic is on the Cycle Superhighway E&C  Bypass, the gyratory can be made freely available for all cyclists, including the primary school kids from the formerly quiet back streets.

Watch this space.

UPDATE Thursday 24th at 6.30pm

I have now had an email from the consultation managers to let me know that the developers,
"have now met with TfL and it was a very positive meeting. They discussed the residents' concerns, many of  which are shared by TfL and the project team. The team is now working  hard with TfL to find a much improved solution and are hoping to have an alternate access proposal next week.
We are of course aware that people will want to express their  reactions to Tuesday's meeting, but would like it made known that the  concerns are being taking extremely seriously.
We are in the process of scheduling a follow up meeting with residents in a couple of weeks time to review the alternative proposal and will be in touch shortly with further details."