The office of the Mayor of London has approved the Garden Bridge, despite continuing doubts about funding and maintenance. Transport for London is putting £30m towards the Garden Bridge across the Thames which will not be a public highway and will not allow public access between midnight and 6am. It will also be restricted on many days during the year for commercial events. The Department for Transport is also putting £30m towards the bridge.
Darren Johnson, Green Party Member of the London Assembly, has responded to TfL’s consultation on its planned changes to Deptford Broadway junction.
Whilst welcoming the fact that TfL are looking at this dangerous junction that currently has no signalised pedestrian crossings and is a big danger for cyclists, Darren has raised numerous concerns about TfL’s current proposals (1).
The Mayor has said that the seven cycling ‘Quietways’ to be completed by 2016 will be the start of a £120 million network covering 31 boroughs. As Andrew Gilligan said at Transport Committee this morning:
“A little bit like the London Cycle Network [LCN] but better quality.” He added that a problem with the LCN was that it “used to give up at the difficult places.”
The Mayor dropped funding for the borough led LCN+, which was about to deliver changes to deal with difficult junctions and dangerous links. The Mayor said in 2010:
Darren Johnson, Green Party Member of the London Assembly, has responded to TfL’s announcement today that the first tube ticket office closures will begin in February 2015. The first stations to be affected will be Shepherd's Bush, Theydon Bois, Upminster Bridge, Chigwell, Roding Valley and South Wimbledon.
Darren has previously called on London Underground to carry out trials before pushing ahead with the full closure plan.
Darren Johnson AM commented:
Boris Johnson “talks big, but little delivery” on car free days
The Mayor has said he will review the plans for regular car free days in London after taking part in a mass bike ride in Jakarta. However, he rejected doing something similar in London in 2010 when Jenny Jones asked him about importing the idea from Bogota, who also have car free days on a Sunday and public holidays.
Scientists are to warn the government that air pollution may be to blame for up to 60,000 early deaths each year around the UK. The figure has emerged from analysis of the impact of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas emitted mainly by diesel engines whose effects are not included in the official 29,000 annual deaths currently blamed on air pollution.
Darren Johnson, Green Party Member of the London Assembly, has tabled a formal question to the Mayor of London urging him to work with the London Borough of Islington to make Highbury Corner safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
Darren’s formal question to the Mayor:
Transport for London is putting £30m towards a bridge across the Thames which will not be a public highway and will not allow public access between midnight and 6am. That is, if the current proposals are agreed without significant amendment by the Lambeth planning committee on the 11th November. The Department for Transport is also putting £30m towards the bridge. Public access will be dependent upon a separate travel plan agreed between the owners of the bridge and the local authorities.
The London Assembly has lambasted Mayor Boris Johnson for his failure to fulfil his promise to use ’Thermonuclear weapons’ against the Government’s proposals to allow a planning free for all in converting offices into housing.
A motion agreed today  warns that the permanent adoption of these proposals on permitted development have the potential to undermine London’s economic recovery.
Andrew Dismore AM, who proposed the motion, said:
The London Assembly has called on Mayor Boris Johnson to lobby Government to settle the industrial dispute about firefighters pensions in England.
A motion agreed today  accuses Fire Minister Penny Mordant of failing to work towards a negotiated settlement with the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) over proposals to increase firefighters retirement age from 55 to 60.
Fiona Twycross AM, who proposed the motion, said:
New figures from Transport for London have confirmed that the Boris Bus is using almost twice as much fuel on some routes and therefore emitting almost twice as much climate change gas (CO2), than the Mayor previously claimed. The Mayor said in 2009 that the New Bus for London would be “15% more fuel efficient than current London hybrids” and added that these buses would be “slashing pollution and fuel consumption”. (1)
Darren Johnson AM has backed the Mayor’s plans for two new superhighways, going East-West and North-South.
Figures published today show a comparison between the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured by Heavy Goods Vehicles, compared to major injuries and deaths caused by buses. Lorries cause far more fatalities, but the figures suggest that some years, buses are causing more major injuries to cyclists per km.
TfL figures suggest that bus services are nearly half a billion km per year, whilst HGVs cover over a billion km per year. In 2009 lorries accounted for more KSIs than buses per km, but in 2010, 2011 and 2012 buses were linked to more deaths and major injuries per km.
Peppering London’s skyline with increasing numbers of taller and taller residential buildings will not solve London’s housing shortage, the London Assembly Planning Committee was told today.
In a wide-ranging hearing about tall buildings and London’s skyline, architect Sunand Prasad told the committee “It is not true that we need to build tall to accommodate people. There are many, many models that can fulfil density requirements without going over 20 stories.”
Darren Johnson AM has welcomed comments by the Mayor’s cycling adviser that Old Street Roundabout will be scrapped, possibly as soon as next year. Darren spoke to local cycling and pedestrian campaigners, along with local business owners, during a visit to the roundabout on Friday.
Darren concluded his tour by visiting the nearby junction of Great Eastern Street, Commercial Street and Shoreditch High Street. This junction featured on TfL’s original list of 100 junctions with safety concerns but was subsequently dropped from its Better Junctions review programme.
London Assembly Members will tomorrow question Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
Subjects for questioning during the two and a half hour session include:
- Cost and availability of ‘affordable’ home ownership
- Spending on road safety and junction design improvements for cycling in 2014/15
- Private rented sector
- Reform of the justice system to reduce reoffending
The meeting will take place on Wednesday, 11 June from 10am in The Chamber at City Hall (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1).
How will the growing number of tall buildings impact on London? Are Londoners being informed and consulted enough on the changes taking place in many parts of their city? Are the Mayor's planning controls enough to manage the impact of tall buildings on the capital's skyline?
There are over 230 skyscrapers in the pipeline, and nearly 80 per cent include residential provision. Who are these homes for, and what role will they play in solving London’s housing shortage?
In response to questioning from Darren Johnson AM, London Underground’s Managing Director Mike Brown has confirmed that tube station ticket offices will close without a deal having been reached with unions.
During his appearance at this morning’s London Assembly Transport Committee meeting, Mr Brown stated that the closures would begin at the end of 2014.
Darren Johnson AM will meet with pedestrians and cyclists this Friday morning at Old Street roundabout to demand that the Mayor acts on the concerns of both sets of road users as it draws up plans to re-design this busy junction. He will examine the option of abolishing the roundabout altogether.
TfL’s proposals are currently at the planning stage and will go to public consultation later this year. The Mayor is the Chair of the TfL board.
17 cyclists were killed or seriously injured on the roundabout between 1994 and 2012.
How will falling public subsidies and the introduction of new technology reshape London Underground services over the next decade? What can London learn from the modernisation of underground networks in other major cities?
The London Assembly Transport Committee will tomorrow review the performance of the Tube and the quality of service it delivers to passengers.
Transport for London (TfL) yesterday announced that the standard daily congestion charge will increase from £10 to £11.50 per day.
The announcement follows a March 2014 report published by traffic analysts Inrix which ranked London as the second most congested city in Europe. Ten of the most congested roads in the country are within what Inrix define as the London commuter zone, according to the report (1).
Darren Johnson AM commented:
What safeguards are in place to protect the £4.6bn London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA) from directors' conflicts of interest?
The Greater London Authority Oversight Committee will tomorrow question LPFA Chairman Edmund Truell and Bob Scruton, Head of Public Sector pensions, The Pensions Regulator, about governance arrangements to avoid conflicts of interest at LPFA.
London has by far the highest rates of overcrowding in the country, with the number of overcrowded homes increasing by 23 per cent since the Mayor came to power in 2008 .
The London Assembly Housing Committee today warned the Mayor that his Draft Housing Strategy is not ambitious enough and that his house-building target falls short of the capital’s assessed needs.
How will the Mayor’s draft budget for 2014-15  affect London’s public services and economic development in the capital?
The London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee will tomorrow question the Mayor about the tax, transport fare revenue, and spending priorities in his proposed £17bn budget for the financial year ahead.