Category Archives: news

canal 5

Angel Canal Festival 2014

This was the 26th Canal Festival;  we’re sure we’ve been at the last 16! We won’t be able to attend the Gillespie Park Festival; it didn’t happen this year as the volunteer organisers were overcome by red tape and didn’t feel equal to the task.  The Cally Festival was on the same day as the Canal Festival and we couldn’t do both!

Alison makes Jono laugh; we're showing off our new banners.

Alison makes Jono laugh; we’re showing off our new banners.

We are at last “on brand” with the new banners showing our new logo which harmonises with all the other LCC local groups.  We were also handing out our new business card, which also sports the new logo and the new ‘strap line’ – safer streets, cleaner air, happier people.

Once the sun came out we attracted lots of interest.

Once the sun came out we attracted lots of interest.

As always maps were in demand although they are over 2 years out of date.  We look forward to new maps that will show the Central London Grid and Quietways in Islington – although Quietway 38 (which is parallel to  the route of the 38 Bus) is slated to be one of the first, we’ll have to wait some years before it’s all completed.

Anita and Alison are giving infomation and more...

Anita and Alison are giving infomation and more…

We were pleased that many of the people who stopped were already LCC members.  But we were able to let many people know about the training the Council offers - see this page.  Some people had just bought a bike and were enjoying the reliability of their commute.  We let them know that it’s important to have a  good lock and where not to lock their bike up!

There was lots of chat about what ICAG,  LCC, TfL and the Council could or could not do.  We understood that there is a petition ‘going the rounds’ that is asking for cycling to be banned on the canal where it passes through Islington.   Clearly something we need to take action on!

We’d like to thank Alison, Anita and Jono for running the stall.  Thanks also to John who made a cameo appearance, bearing cake!

We hadn't seen this sign before - let us know where the rest are!

We hadn’t seen this sign before – let us know where the rest are!

Have you seen these signs?  Do you know the routes?  Use the comment form below, please!





Our feeder ride to RideLondon Freecycle

in_contentPoster design by Eliza Southwood –
Like other LCC Borough Groups, we will be running a led ride to RideLondon Freecycle.  It may be hot on Saturday so you may want to bring water and/or sun protection.

Gather this Saturday August 9, from 10.00am for a 10.30 start at Highbury Fields – War Memorial End. We will lead a safe ride for families and inexperienced cyclists to St Pauls. You’ll be able to explore the extra attractions in the city (new this year) and a slighty longer traffic free journey passing many famous London sights. See the pdf here PRL_FreeCycle_Route_Map_2014. There’ll be a return from St Pauls at 3.00pm.
If you haven’t used your bike for a while have a look for some hints here.
A few tips about cycling with lots of others…
o stop at red lights unless directed through by marshals
o leave enough room to stop, a bike distance apart from each bike
o give way to pedestrians
o no overtaking
o no need for signalling (handled by leaders and marshals)
o cover brakes at all times
o Children (with accompanying adults) and slow riders will be asked to be at the front of the ride
o We will try to keep the ride wide and short – think elephant not cheetah!

Thank you to Oliver O'Brien and the wonderful

New census data argues for more active street designs.

Our roads are designed for driving, but we walk and cycle far more.

Last week, new census data was released highlighting where people work and how they get there. Then the wonderful people at CASA.UCL made a map for us simpletons to easily see what is happening.

The data is quite extraordinary. Having crunched the numbers, its clear that the overwhelming majority of Clerkenwell and Bunhill residents walk and cycle than get the bus or drive.

  • 6483:   Walk or Cycle
  • 3335:   Bus
  • 234:      Car or Taxi

Of course, this isn’t a completely full travel picture: we all vary our travel routines, and it’s just working age adults commuting, but it is undoubtedly indicative of general trends.

There are two lessons from this fascinating data set:

1. Many journeys by bus and car could easily be walked or cycled (proven by our neighbours making the same journeys).

2. There is now an overwhelming argument to use TfL’s £2m to make cycling and walking the most convenient, obvious modes of travel in the area. Islington Council pioneered 20mph zones, and now they have a strong mandate to develop the most liveable streets in London.

With careful planning and a few planters or “modal filters”, we could cheaply and easily re-focus our streets to reflect the growing demand for active travel. Our planned layout can be seen here:

Please get in touch to add your voice of support for our plans, or to hear more about our work, please do get in touch through or






Whitecross St / Beech St

A constructive solution for Beech St

Beech St. Cyclists Dismount

Dear Messrs Simmons and Presland,

I am writing to you regarding the current changes to the street layout at the Beech St/Silk St junction. The aim seems to be to widen the pavement and simplify the pedestrian crossings outside the new Barbican cinema, according to your website;

As a member of the Barbican, I welcome these changes to what has been a very unsatisfactory street layout. It is quite a positive step in creating a more attractive place.

However, I can’t help but notice that the worst bits of Beech St will remain: the ear splitting noise reverberating around the tunnel, air pollution that drips from the ceiling, and pavements so narrow that I am frequently forced onto the road at busy times when walking between the station and gallery. So a while small fragment of the street-scape may become more attractive,  it really seems a missed opportunity for creating a pleasant, healthy, or “liveable” environment

More dispiriting and perplexing though is that the pavement changes come at such a high cost to cycling along Beech St.  Whereas a month ago, people could cycle in their own, dedicated cycle lane all the way to the Whitecross St junction (going east), they will now be dangerously squeezed into the motor traffic as we can see in the picture below.

Beech St Cycle Lane End

So my 60 year old dad will probably no longer be willing to cycle along Beech St – which up to now has been one of only a handful of routes he is happy to use, precisely because he isn’t required to share the road. Having finally persuaded him to get back onto his bike after 30 years of driving, this is a blow to my skills of persuasion and to his health.

This damaging impact on the cycle lane is important. Beech St provides the only east-west cycle route through the city. The Central London Cycling Grid,  London’s vision for a network of quiet, welcoming cycle network really does rely on this route as seen in TfL’s map of the grid.

Grid with Beech St

More bizarre still, is that Beech St cycle lane has been so successful. As Mr Gilligan wrote in 2007, the City won an award for the lane from TfL. And the scheme was improved further in 2012 to much acclaim as seen in this blog and this video .

Indeed, this bike lane has helped Beech St see cyclists make up 20% of traffic and 30% in peak hours (almost certainly understimated), and these numbers would probably be higher if Chiswell St (immediately to the east of Beech st) had any provision for cyclists.

You may have seen that others have criticised your scheme here and here.

Without wanting to add to their flames too much, I urge you to consider a constructive solution. There is a way for the City of London to go beyond these aesthetic changes and create a more environmentally pleasant environment that is genuinely conducive to walking and cycling.

My solution? Keep doing what you are doing right now: keep the road closed.

During the building work, we have all seen how little traffic there is on Beech St and the other roads that spoke out from the junction. Indeed, it was bliss to walk through the tunnel, for the first time being able to hear my friend speaking about the gallery as we walked to the station. Cycling along Chiswell St felt safe and civilised, such was the transformation.

I hope you agree that the benefits of closing the road to through traffic permanently are extensive. Only a bus bollard is needed to let the 153 through, to filter other motor traffic out. The traffic could use London Wall instead, which according to DFT traffic counts, has seen a reduction of c.30% traffic since 2004.

Although this would only be a small change, I appreciate there may be concerns about the impact of traffic displacement from such a modal filtering scheme, but I hope you agree that with the road closed now, we have the perfect opportunity to do a trial and gather empirical evidence for what the effects would be.  My own hypothesis, would be that it would greatly improve traffic flows around Moorgate, Smithfield, and north into Islington which all suffer from too much traffic and high pollution.

I look forward to discussing my constructive proposal to this scheme and other quietways at the City Cycling Forum, 31st July.

Yours faithfully,


Tom Harrison, Committee Member for Islington Cyclists

The junction of two quietways. Amwell St and River St. There is so much potential to create something that benefits cyclists and the Amwell village residents.

Getting the Quietways underway for a more liveable Islington

Getting the Quietways underway for a more liveable Islington


The junction of two quietways. Amwell St and River St. There is so much potential to create something that benefits cyclists and the Amwell village residents.

Those of you who were at our ICAG meeting with Andrew Gilligan, or heard him speak at the end of the London Cycling Campaign’s Big Ride last month will be eagerly awaiting a new network of quiet routes. Aimed to attract a more comfortable, less lycra intensive cycle style across the capital.

As the grapevine buzzes with speculation about what we can expect from these “quietways”, we wanted to share what we know so far in order to start a discussion around what changes we want to see to attract “inclusive cycling” and ensure the proposals benefit all residents, whether or not they are regular cyclists.

Before diving into the detail, it’s worth bearing in mind a few extra principles:

  • Transport planning like this poses a wonderful opportunity to add value to the wider public realm than just being cycle friendly: by re-routing traffic, we can make streets quieter, create public spaces in the heart of residential areas, reduce pollution. With the right measures, streets can become nicer for everyone, especially local residents, cafes, pubs, and shops. In short, with the right imagination, these schemes aren’t just for cyclists, but promise to create more liveable streets for all Islingtonians.
  • It would be good if we can get to the route: far more people can benefit if the “quiet” route can be comfortably accessed by streets not directly on the route. We therefore need to think not just about the route itself, but the area surrounding it too – often known in the jargon as a “cell.”
  • We, as members of The London Cycling Campaign recognise that for a cycle route to be adequate it needs to be separated from other traffic, either by kerb segregation, or by reducing the amount of traffic on streets.

So, what’s the plan so far?

There are two routes that we expect to be developed first. The first, currently called “Quietway 38” is set to run between Southgate Rd/Northchurch St in the east to Calthorpe St in the west.The second, (as yet untitled) will go between Finsbury Square and up through Penton St.

No detailed plans have emerged so far, but initial suggestions from the council were for

  • traffic signal alterations
  • traffic management improvements
  • cycle facility upgrades
  • surface repairs
  • cycle contraflow lanes

A map of the the first route is below:

View Quietway Route 38 in Islington in a larger map

We’ve colour coded where we think the priorities are for changes to make the routes acceptable.

  • Red shows streets which dont need any change.
  • Light Blue denotes the route is pretty good but could be better.
  • Dark blue shows where there is currently too much traffic and changes are required.
  • Green highlights where other desire lines or planned routes intersect Quietway 38, such as on Amwell St for the route from Finsbury Square.

Since there probably isn’t the space to install segregated tracks, a few strategic “filters” or planters to close through traffic would be all that is needed make a much more pleasant walking and cycling environment. This approach is tried and tested already along the route, helping De Beauvoir to be one of the most pleasant places to live and travel through in London.


Image borrowed from Vincent Stops,

London’s most famous and successful 4 way road closure creates bliss for residents, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. This scheme in Hackney is also part of Quietway 38, and we could do something similar in Islington.

For more detail on what changes we suggest are made, click on the link for the larger map. If you agree or disagree , please get in touch and join the debate.

Two really exciting, innovative changes for us are the potential to create public squares in the heart of both Amwell and St Peters. By installing cheap bollards, “pocket plazas” can quickly appear, as recently occurred in Exhibition Row (pictured below). What’s more, done correctly, traffic does not need to be pushed onto other residential roads.


Closing small sections of streets to through traffic allows a liveable public area to grow as happened here in Kensington.

Could this come to Amwell St and St Peters St? Closing small sections of streets to through traffic allows a liveable public area to grow as happened here in Kensington.

Best of all for Islington Council, are proposals are incredibly cheap: TfL have allocated £1m/mile for the quietway network, which works out at £1.5m for Quietway 38 in Islngton. But our measures would probably cost less than £50,000.

We would love to continue the discussion, with cyclists and “non cyclists” alike, so please get in touch by commenting below, or through facebook or twitter @IslingtonCycle
clkwll 1

Something’s got to change

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The idea of this post is to show the volume of cyclists using Old Street – Clerkenwell Road route.  Seeing is believing – 22 slides to support improvements for cyclists along this route…

But we have a man with a plan – Andrea Casalotti – who has a scheme called Clerkenwell Boulevard.

Seeing as you ask…these shots were taken between 6.10 and 6.35pm on June 25 2014 at the traffic lights, junction Old Street, Helmet Row and Whitecross Street. I included only shots with 6 or more cyclists – with one exception; I’ll leave someone else to count the total!


Bike Week 2014

Great to be working with LCC members from Haringey and Hackney last Sunday

Great to be working with LCC members from Haringey and Hackney last Sunday

We had a steady stream of visitors during the day

We had a steady stream of visitors during the day

They found plenty to interest them

They found plenty to interest them

Haringey Council had a stall, but Islington didn't

Haringey Council had a stall, but Islington didn’t

But we were visited by four Islington Councillors; here Nick is talking to two of them - Gary Heather and Caroline Russell

But we were visited by four Islington Councillors; here Nick is talking to two of them – Gary Heather and Caroline Russell

Islington Cycling Club is going from strength to strength – a handful of members last year and around 240 now – with a significant number of women cyclists.

There was a long queue for Doctor Bike all day and the Police “Changing Places” was popular too.  (“Changing Places” lets cyclists sit in the driver’s seat of a huge lorry and to see how much (or how little) the driver can see of cyclists on the near side of the lorry.)

For the first time, we ran out of membership application leaflets.  Normally we have to cajole people to take them; instead people were coming to the stall saying, “I’d like to join LCC.”   We must be doing something right!

It looks like this event will be a regular fixture on the calendar – it could be bigger and better next year.


Pavement Artist - Olly Kenyon

Pavement Artist – Olly Kenyon

As usual, plenty of interest...

As usual, plenty of interest…

Bent backs courtesy of the bike mechanics

Bent backs courtesy of the bike mechanics



Family commuters - with croissant!

Family commuters – with croissant!

Another cyclist has been croissanted!

Another cyclist has been croissanted!

Numbers are up!

Numbers are up!

Only 17 in this shot - Suzy works the queue

Only 17 in this shot – Suzy works the queue

Micheal listens...

Micheal listens…

The joys of security marking

The joys of security marking

Pastries by Euphorium

Pastries by Euphorium

A police information bike outside the Town Hall

A police information bike outside the Town Hall


CYCLE SAFETY AND SECURITY OPEN DAY Islington Police Station, 2 Tolpuddle Street, N1 0YY at 10am-4pm on Saturday June 21
- Free cycle security marking and registration
- Cycle security and safety advice
- Recovered bicycles display

Our warm thanks to everyone who made all this happen.