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NEED HELP - Politicians response to a cycling query - long(11 posts)

NEED HELP - Politicians response to a cycling query - longMJ
Nov 13, 2001 4:35 AM
SUMMARY - I got this email from my cycling club/interest group. It concerns budget provisions in London for cycling infrastructure. Below attached is my initial email, the politician's 'reply' and a follow up from me. Anybody who wantrs to send Brian Coleman, the politician in question, an email (brian.coleman@london.gov.uk) concerning this issue - please do so. Sorry it's so long.

http://www.lcc.org.uk

___________________________________________________________________________________________________
THIS IS AN URGENT EMAIL ASKING FOR YOUR HELP

Dear London Cyclist

I am emailing you today to ask for a bit of your time to help save the London Cycle Network. You may be aware that London Cycling Campaign has been fighting for years for the London Cycle Network to be given the resources necessary to bring it up to a high standard. Despite our hard work, next year's budget is due to be cut to a share of a measly £2million (compared with £8million for 2001/2). We're now trying to make them realise that the Mayor's Transport Strategy includes lots of cycling stuff, after our successful lobbying.

We have been busy trying to get £12million in the 2002/3 budget for cycling projects, including the London Cycle Network. We've had some success with Bob Kiley (Ken's Transport Commissioner) and Transport for London Board members - they have made a public promise to review cycling in the budget process. Our local groups have also been lobbying your council to get them to argue for funding as well.

What we really need now is your help to stop London's cycling budget being cut: PLEASE SEND THIS EMAIL AND WRITE TO YOUR LONDON ASSEMBLY MEMBER (addresses below). We know that they listen to individuals and we need as many letters and emails to London Assembly Members as possible. They are due to question Ken on the budget on NOVEMBER 15 - they will only do so if they are made to think Londoners care about cycling.

Below you'll see a draft email to your London Assembly Member. All you need
to do is:

1. SELECT YOUR LOCAL LONDON ASSEMBLY MEMBER, CUT AND PASTE THEIR EMAIL ADDRESS INTO A NEW EMAIL

2. COPY AND PASTE THE DRAFT (see bottom of email) INTO THE EMAIL

3. CC IT TO BOB KILEY AND KEN LIVINGSTONE AND LCC (bobkiley@tfl.gov.uk, ken.livingstone@london.gov.uk, campaign@lcc.org.uk)

4. FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO ANY SYMPATHETIC CONTACTS THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE

5. COPY AND PASTE THE LETTER INTO A LETTER AND ADD A HANDWRITTEN, PERSONAL NOTE (this will ensure that is gets past the PA)

Thanks very much for your time.

Peter Lewis, Director
London Cycling Campaign

**************************************************

SELECT YOUR LONDON ASSEMBLY MEMBER AND PASTE THEIR EMAIL ADDRESS
INTO A NEW EMAIL (others deleted from this post)

CAMDEN & BARNET
Brian Coleman (Con)
brian.coleman@london.gov.uk

**************************************************

2. COPY AND PASTE THIS TEXT INTO THE NEW EMAIL AND LETTER (please feel
free
to
make amendments. Remember to add a handwritten, personalised note)

[relevant Assembly Member]
Romney House
Tufton Street
London SW1P 3RA

Dear [relevant Assembly Member],

I was dismayed to hear that the Transport for London's draft budget for the year 2002/3 did not include a budget for the London Cycle Network, and only included a share of £2million form cycling initiatives.

I urge you to use your influence within the London Assembly to reinstate and increase all cycling budgets to reflect the priority and commitments made in the Mayor's Transport Strategy. I believe the urgent completion of high demand, high quality cycle routes (Proposals 4J.3 and 4J.4 of the Mayor's Transport Strategy) as part of the London Cycle Network is vital to get more Londoners onto bikes, as are initiatives such as on-road cycle training for all London school children (Proposal 4J.8).

I understand that although you, as an Assembly Member, will not have formally approved the Mayor's budget until next February, Transport for London will issue letters to boroughs in mid-December setting out their allocations. Such allocations will include any spending on cycling infrastructure. It is therefore imperative that you get involved in the budget debate now, and ensure that a budget is included for spending on a strategic cycle networkfor London.

You'll remember that getting more people cycling will not only improve the efficiency of the transport system through reducing demand for scarce space on roads and public transport at peak hours with very small capital outlay. It will also improve the quality of life of all Londoners through the related health, community and pollution benefits.

If you need any further briefing, please contact Peter Lewis, Director of the London Cycling Campaign on 020 7928 6112.

Yours sincerely

[signed]

cc. Bob Kiley, Transport Commissioner for London, Windsor House, 48-52
Victoria Street,
London SW1H 0NW

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Brian

Well Brian - what do you have to say about this budget news (outlined below)?

I cycle everyday to work in the City from NW5. My law firm makes adequate provisions for cyclists - showers, secure bike storage etc. - my wife works for the NHS and they have a bike policy and loan scheme (as does LB Camden) - it seems that the London Assembly/local government should also be resourcing with necessary cycling provisions.

Cycling should be made safer so more people can commute. We're not all death defying two wheel thrill seekers running red lights and scaring people in zebra crossings - most of us are just 'normal' people avoiding the creaking, uncomfortable tube and other transport options. If more people begin cycling then obviously London's traffic problems would be greatly
addressed. In order for more people to cycle they have to feel safe.

In order to feel safe there must be provision for cycling infrastructure in the budget. More cycling infratructure makes cycling safer which gets more people on the road on two wheels which reduces traffic. It's a virtuous circle which you can help complete.

Imagine for a moment if all the people I pass everyday sitting alone in their cars in a stationary traffic jam on the way to and from work - imagine if they were all on bikes. Think about the difference in the quality of life in the capital; think about emergency services being able to respond quicker; think about the economic benefit to newly pedestrianised areas
of the city; think about the cleaner air; think about the health benefits to your consitituents; think about being able to drive your car, when you do/must, without massive congestion problems; think about riding with your children in to the centre of town to see a film, get something to eat and shop. All of these things are in our reach - you hold the (purse) strings
and I look forward to seeing what you do with them...

You can see the attached draft email below for the legitimate LCC viewpoint. My own viewpoint is that while I may not have voted in the last election (sorry Ken) - I will vote against you if you do not support cycling in London. BTW I've copied in some of my friends in the hope that they'll concur and drop you a line as well.

I look forward to your response and to your report regarding 15 November.

Jason

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: "Brian Coleman"
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2001 2:34 PM
Subject: Re: Attention Brian Coleman

Thank you for your e-mail of 8th November regarding London Cycle networks.

It is true that the Transport for London budget for the year 2002/3 does not include a budget for the London Cycle Network.

I am not, however, prepared to make any representation to the Mayor over this for the simple reason that I consider cycle lanes to be an unnecessary obstruction to cars, for which of course, roads were built.

I do not intend to be facetious over this matter, however many motorists are thoroughly tired firstly of the delays caused by the building of cycle lanes, followed by the further delays when the completed lanes encroach on road space, coupled with the fact that they are so drastically underused that they regularly provoke outrage at the pointless wastage of public money.

I hope that this is an adequate expression of my views.

Yours sincerely,
Brian Coleman

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Brian

Your logic seems to be faulty. Roads were not built for cars they were built for transport. A cursory review of history would reveal that roads existed long before the automobile.

As you may be aware, according to the Highway Code, cycles are considered vehicles with respect to traffic laws, privileges and responsibilities. With that comes the need for an equivalent provision and protection. I understand that the Metropolitan Police concur. Furthermore, you may have noticed that the roads in London were never designed to cope with the amount of traffic that they do - in fact they could never cope with the number of people who live in London. Should you have ever visited a city on the European mainland, considerable efforts have been made to make cities places
for people rather than places for automobiles. The idea being that cars don't live here - people do and some hopefully rational body (the London Assembly in this case) musrt regulate how public space, roads and infrastructure are used and built. As mentioned previously, it is nor practical for London's 8 million people to drive into Leicester Square on the weekend to see a film.

Can you please identify any motorist who has been obstructed by the building of any cycle lane in London - I am unaware of there being significant delays in painting lines on streets. It strikes me that you are not dealing with my (genuine) query with the consideration which it is due. I do not believe that you have any actual examples of cycle lane construction delaying
motorists. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

Furthermore, can you identify how a cycle lane encroaches on road space and delays traffic. In my experience, cycle lanes are ony about two feet wide and would not allow enough room for a full sized car lane if they were removed. Once again I consider that you are not speaking with any authority and in fact are dealing with my query from a position of ignorance.

Perhaps the underuse of bike lanes of which you speak can be attributed to the lack of a comprehenisve network. After all two miles of cycling provision does not help very much if it is part of a 6 mile route/journey. The budget which you have indicated you will not question seeks, in part, to redress this very point. It is criminal waste of (my) money that the job
has only been halfway completed.

I think the views you expressed are without merit or consideration of any evidence or objective information. For that, it astounds me that you would dismiss my opinion without undertaking any research. In fact, it is very alarming that you would dismiss something as self evident as the need for cycling infractructure. I wonder what your approach is to more complex
matters. Hopefully, your normal deliberations are based upon information from someone knowledgeable. It frightens me that you would dismiss my concerns so casually and without basis.

Finally, in light of what I consider to be your unproffessional, certainly facetious and almost negilgent approach in dealing with a constituents query, I will be forwarding this to the press unless you adequately respond. Therefore, I look forward to a reasoned and considered response from you regarding this matter. I understand you may not ultimately decide to
support cycling infrastructure and a related budgetary provisions but nevertheless I would appreciate you providing a reasonable and literate explanation as to your position.

Jason
SpeechlessJofa
Nov 13, 2001 6:28 AM
That response from Brian Coleman is a gaffe of exquisite proportions. I never thought a current politician-even a Tory- would leave himself quite so vulnerable to public attack by authoring such a litany of rubbish, about a sensitive metropolitan topic. Your reply was admirably controlled and cogent, and I think that you should uphold your threat if he refuses to take this any further: I'm sure the press would be quite interested.

I haven't written to him yet- there is nothing like a barrage of heated letters to convince somebody like that that their 'attackers' are crazed obsessives... however, I certainly will lend support in this if you'd like. I'll send the form letter to my MP.

Astonished

Jofa
SpeechlessMJ
Nov 13, 2001 6:48 AM
I think every little bit helps really - he must be a rookie politician. you have an LA representative as well - email him/her - BC's response really is incredible

BEXLEY & BROMLEY
> > Bob Neill (Con)
> > bob.neil@london.gov.uk
> >
> > CAMDEN & BARNET
> > Brian Coleman (Con)
> > brian.coleman@london.gov.uk
> >
> > CITY & EAST
> > John Biggs (Lab)
> > john.biggs@london.gov.uk
> >
> > CROYDON & SUTTON
> > Andrew Pelling (Con)
> > andrew.pelling@london.gov.uk
> >
> > EALING & HILLINGDON
> > Richard Barnes (Con)
> > richard.barnes@london.gov.uk
> >
> > ENFIELD & HARINGEY
> > Nicky Gavron (Lab)
> > nicky.gavron@london.gov.uk
> >
> > GREENWICH & LEWISHAM
> > Len Duval (Lab)
> > len.duval@london.gov.uk
> >
> > HARROW & BRENT
> > Toby Harris (Lab)
> > toby.harris@london.gov.uk
> >
> > HAVERING & REDBRIDGE
> > Roger Evans (Con)
> > roger.evans@london.gov.uk
> >
> > NORTH EAST
> > Meg Hiller (Lab)
> > meg.hiller@london.gov.uk
> >
> > LAMBETH & SOUTHWARK
> > Val Shawcross (Lab)
> > val.shawcross@london.gov.uk
> >
> > MERTON & WANDSWORTH
> > Elizabeth Howlett (Con)
> > elizabeth.howlett@london.gov.uk
> >
> > SOUTH WEST
> > Tony Arbour (Con)
> > tony.arbour@london.gov.uk
> >
> > WEST CENTRAL
> > Angela Bray
> > angela.bray@london.gov.uk
Don't be shy...muncher
Nov 13, 2001 7:08 AM
There also nothing like a mail box melt-down to let this idiot know that his votes are off down the wind like CO fumes either.

A letter to your MP would be great - but if you can find the time to e-mail an erudite reply too, that is sure to assist in letting him know how far off the mark his views are.

And everybody else - a little international incredulity would be great too - please help.

Thanks.
Thank you for great post!!rollo tommassi
Nov 13, 2001 8:53 AM
I think Mr. Coleman will get a little tweak from oversees, just you wait and see!(sound of Rollo cutting and pasting his email addy....)

Kudos on your excellent response to him - keep up the good work!!

I am fortunate to live in a city where Da Mayor is very much behind cycling, being an avid cyclist himself. Perhaps I forward this on to the Mayors' Office, they may add their 2cents (or shillings, or euros!)
Thank you for great post!!MJ
Nov 13, 2001 10:20 AM
glad you enjoyed it

that'd be great if you circulate it as wide and as far as possible - paste in campaign@lcc.org.uk to any emails - I'm sure they would love the ammunition - headlines of 'US Thinks London Cycling Policy Is A Joke' etc. would be great

I hope some other people drop in some choice comments too...
Wait a minute?Kristin
Nov 13, 2001 10:20 AM
Daley is a cylist!? LOL. I would never guess that by looking at him. I wonder if he has a light bike? Anywho, I'm glad! I like anyone who rides a bike.
Wait a minute?rollo tommassi
Nov 13, 2001 2:43 PM
He actually rides a run-of-the-mill Trek (820? Hybrid or similar); He always presides over the Bike Week Commuter Challenge - bike s. car race from northside to Daley Plaza. My teammate Mike has won the 'race' for the past three years (no problem) and Daley fawned over his OCLV...

Despite the usual complaints and worries, riding in the city here is pretty damn good. The headwinds are still worse than the drivers!!

If I may toot our own civic horn:
http://www.chicagoaa.com/news/Bikeaward01.html

http://www.chicagocriticalmass.org/media/suntimesletter.html

http://www.bikewinter.org/pastevents.html (this one has the best link about the Car Show Protest)
re: NEED HELP - Politicians response to a cycling query - longMJ
Nov 13, 2001 12:01 PM
having just arived home - this is Brian Coleman's response - and my reply - what a moron

_________________________________________________________________________________

From: "Brian Coleman"
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2001 2:21 PM
Subject: Re: Attention Brian Coleman

> I note your views

_______________________________________________________________________________

Brian

that is not an adequate response - you have not answered any of my queries
or provided any examples of your points - it appears you are not fulfilling
your duties as an Assembly Representative - a copy of our exchanges will be
sent to the press

Jason
last chanceMJ
Nov 14, 2001 9:42 AM
BTW - alot of people have evidently emailed Brian Coleman - which is great - he deserves it - anybody who hasn't can simply ask what his policies are concerning cycling provisions in London and ask for his outline/proposal

just to keep everything together in one thread - watch this space
http://forums14.consumerreview.com/crforum?viewall@@.eee70d6
re: NEED HELP - Politicians response to a cycling query - longMJ
Dec 5, 2001 2:32 AM
Thanks for everybody who sent an email to our friend Mr Coleman - the cycling budget was approved for £8 million - the London Assembly relented to lobbying by the LCC (http://www.lcc.org.uk/) and a 'deluge of emails'

just for fun we decided Brian needed his own website - have fun voting
http://www.brian-coleman.org.uk