This is the page for Commentary on Current Topics. Please let us have your views on issues that you would like us to bring to the attention of the cyclists of Harlow.
Harlow Cycle Paths – “I want to go from A to B, not to A&E” – Update 8 Sept 2020
On Friday 4 September along with Peter Spring of Harlow Cycling Group and Geoff Longster of Hub & Spoke, Yasmin our Vice Chair met Robert Halfon MP to show him the poor and dangerous condition of the cycle paths in Harlow. We concentrated on the small area around the Stow which took a good hour due to the numerous defects and poor maintenance of the section. Robert’s Parliamentary Researcher and Assistant took photographic evidence to support our campaign which Robert will use when he writes to both Harlow Council and Essex County Council.
Robert has asked for a further meeting so that we can show him a different section of the cycle paths infrastructure. We will keep you updated of any progress via the HCC and Saveour CyclePathsinHarlow FaceBook pages.
In the afternoon Yasmin, Peter and Geoff met with Essex County Councillors. Unfortunately, only one of the four Harlow County Councillors could make the appointment even though we had accommodated a change of time to later in the day. Cllr Michael Hardware agreed that the cycle path from the bottom of Market Street in Old Harlow was in a serious state of disrepair and posted the defects on the Essex County Council link. Interestingly, it was established that the Inspectors merely look at the photographs submitted before deciding the seriousness of the reported defect and whether it requires fixing.
The news earlier in the week that Essex County Council had pledged funding to repair the cycle paths only emphasised the need for Harlow residents to contact their County Councillor with proof of defects that require attention. There is a deadline of 23 September for the Cllrs Garnett, Hardware, Johnson and Souter to submit their final list. We will be reaching out once again to the Councillors to ensure that work on the cycle paths is carried out before the temperatures drop too low.
There is a map available of all cycle routes in Harlow however it is date stamped January 2011. We have requested a more up to date version from Essex Highways and will publish it here as soon as we receive it. Yasmin says: We are still waiting to hear of ANY progress on this, please do not hold your breath.
The tarmac has been laid and lines have been painted. The colourful cones form a mesmerising sight as you make your way with the traffic through to the designated cycle path where you hop on and off your bike with the pedestrians. We are welcome to suggestions as to how planners, decision makers, and scheme approvers can be made to understand that the pedestrian has different requirements to cyclists.
The Government’s July 2020 Cycle Infrastructure Design is an interesting read. Chapter 14 (page 153) Integrating cycling with highway improvements and new developments and Chapter 15 (page 163) Construction and Maintenance are definitely worth looking at for all future works. It was disappointing to say the least that this guidance is not being followed. I have inserted part of Ch 6 regarding shared use for your information.
Cycling is the way forward!
Since the announcement by the UK government that £2 bn was to be invested to boost cycling and walking during and after the lockdown we have all be waiting to see what will happen next. The £2 billion plan starts with £250 million to enable local authorities to pay for “pop-up” cycling and walking infrastructure to cater for physical distancing during lockdown.
Harlow CC are actively lobbying our MP Robert Halfon together with the Local and County Councillors to ensure that Harlow receives as much of the funding as possible. We have a solid infrastructure which can be improved with the ability to grow with each major development that’s taking place close to our town.
An Action Plan has been published by Essex Highways with page 33 of the 81 page document identifying the potentials of cycling in and around Harlow.
@YazzyG has been reminding Essex Highways on Twitter on a regular basis that Harlow is part of Essex and needs urgent investment. Robert Halfon MP has been corresponding with Cllr Kevin Bentley, Dep Leader of Essex County Council asking where the funding is for Harlow and how much is coming our way. This investment will help to ensure the safety of all cyclists in Harlow.