This week Barnet Green Party members have two letters in the Barnet Times. One is from Phil Fletcher, and appeared also the Barnet Press two weeks ago. Although not signed as a member of the Green Party – the party is mentioned in the letter. Here is the text as it appears this week. Below it is my comment on the hostile reply it sparked.
Great news for cycling in Barnet
The London Borough of Barnet has received over £717,000 for cycling, which is great news. Around £400,000 of this will be spent on improving cycling along Dollis Brook and the Silkstream. This money is being granted in accordance with the Local Implementation Plan (a plan involving stakeholders to decide what should happen in an area).
It is also excellent news about the £300,000 from the Air Pollution Fund to be spent on a cycle hire scheme in North Finchley.
However, two questions spring to mind: 1. Is more than one docking station planned? (Ideally there should be ones in nearby shopping centres such as High Barnet, East Finchley and Finchley). 2) How much money is allocated for long-term upkeep?
The timing is interesting. About three months before the coming local election. A sweetener for the electorate? If so, it’s certainly an interesting choice of sweetener.
Not long ago, for several years running, Barnet spent on cycling about a tenth of that spent by either Haringey or Enfield. Heady days when cycle routes and cycle racks were big routinely removed and the the then cabinet member responsible for the environment announced that all cyclists need baths. But times and attitudes have changed a this sweetener seems to indicate.
The improvements along Dollis Brook are especially welcome, as this would be near several schools. A possible cycle route at least to the Totteridge Academy, for example?
Unfortunately, if not all of this could be off-road, then at the very least there should be a 20mph speed limit along those sections shared with cars.
In any case, Barnet Green Party are calling for a borough-wide 20mph speed limit in all residential areas and roads near schools. However, these plans are not set in stone.
If any of your readers have suggestions then please email firstname.lastname@example.org (officer in charge of cycling).
Signed Phil Fletcher.
The earlier appearance of this letter in the Barnet Press, prompted a furious repost from the walking campaigner in Windsor Open Space.
The hostile belligerence against cyclists expressed by that campaign seems so sad and unnecessary. Divide and rule pedestrians and cyclists seems to serve no one but the car lobby. Surely, we walkers and pedallers can reach a working modus vivendi. My suggestion? Cyclists yield to pedestrians everywhere (except on roads that are not a pedestrian crossing). Is that too much to ask?