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NEED HELP - idiot politician and his stupid response (long)(5 posts)

NEED HELP - idiot politician and his stupid response (long)MJ
Nov 13, 2001 5:53 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
go to a meeting?Dog
Nov 13, 2001 7:11 AM
Can you show up and speak at a town council (or equivalent there) meeting? Take many supporters with you.

You'll need to overcome the bias against cyclists, spending money for them, and the inconvenience of motorists in the construction and use of the lanes. Those are somewhat valid points.

We don't have a God-given right to ride bikes. We need to develop compelling arguments and evidence of the need to ride. We are such a minority (relative to motorists), that I think it will be difficult to convince authorities to spend a disproportionate amount of public funds on cycling interests. Why don't you try out your compelling arguments and evidence on us, first? If you can't convince us, you'll have a difficult time with the officials.

Then, I'd go to a public meeting and make your pitch. Maybe invite some more prominent or eloquent cycling supporters to attend, too.

Doug
go to a meeting?MJ
Nov 13, 2001 8:11 AM
compelling arguments (below) from the LCC website - http://www.lcc.org.uk - there's considerable reasoned support and argument that cycling is good (and a right) not all listed below - it's a particularly poitical argument as it concerns public infrasturcture in what is a very crowded and congested continent/isalnd nation - the arguments are given a voice via the LCC

I like the meeting idea - maybe I'll throw in with that though the LCC who was copied in (along with the mayor) to the email will have articulate representatives present in a lobbying/questioning capacity - so in the meantime it's about influencing the politicians

the problem isn't bikes - it's cars - it's not possible for everyone to drive in a city whose road system dates to almost 2000 years ago - it's not right to think about iner city transport in ternms of the automobile - it's just not feasiable/practical

cycling seems a self-evident argument, but may need to be appropriately 'located/placed' to those outside London
___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mayor publishes Transport Strategy

An initial skim through the 460 pages of the Mayor's Transport Plan shows significant
improvements to the draft put out for public consultation. LCC's views have been
incorporated into the Plan:

Traffic reduction targets are now included (15% in Central London, zero growth in
inner London, and reduce growth in outer London by a third)

It includes stronger proposals in relation to removing key obstacles to cycling

Auditing all new traffic management and infrastructure schemes

Safety auditing all schemes vis-a-vis cycling

Encouraging greater provision for people who cycle at workplaces, interchanges
and local amenities

Cycling's role in enhancing disabled people's mobility and independence is also
clearly laid out in the Accessibility Action Plan

However, on the negative side, strong lobbying by the motorcyclists has led to a
commitment to consider trials of motorcycles in bus lanes.

Ken's key priorities remain the same: firstly improving public transport through increasing
bus and tube capacity (once he has successfully fought off London Underground's
current version of PPP) and secondly, introducing the congestion charge to reduce traffic
in Central London. These, alongside his direct proposals to improve the cycling
environment (including setting up the Cycling Centre of Excellence, early completion of
the LCN, more cycle training etc) should lead to improvements for people who cycle.

We should also note his vision for London as a whole is to make London an "Exemplary
Sustainable World City". To achieve such vision he must surely need to make London a
world class cycling City.

LCC's full analysis of the Mayor's Transport Strategy will be available soon.
E-FLAME THE LIMEY BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!the insultan
Nov 13, 2001 10:53 AM
re: NEED HELP - idiot politician and his stupid response (long)MJ
Dec 5, 2001 2:38 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