Responses to our Manifesto for London Mayoral candidates

CarolinePidgeonLibDems  Sian Berry

We have received responses to our London Mayoral candidates Manifesto from Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrats) and Sian Berry (Green Party).  We show them below in the order received: in  orange (Caroline Pidgeon) and green (Sian Berry) fonts. UPDATE: November 18th see response from Independent candidate Rosalind Readhead in purple UPDATE March 2016. She has now stepped down from the election

We hope to get responses from the Conservative and Labour candidates soon. UPDATE: April 25th 2016. Despite repeated requests we have not had a response from either of them.

We ask the new Mayor to support our calls for reducing danger at source, for the safety of all road users as part of implementing a sustainable transport system:

  1. ENFORCEMENT: A substantial increase in law enforcement based on a harm reduction approach –targeting rule and law breaking known to endanger or intimidate other road users. Careless driving and driving offences in general should be treated as a priority by the Police. Behaviours such as close overtaking of cyclists (Highway Code Rule 163), not giving way to pedestrians (Rule 170), and car collisions not involving personal injury and speeding in 20 mph areas are typical examples of under-policed rule and law breaking. Driving offences should be properly treated as crimes and included in MPS and MOPAC crime statistics, strategies and community consultations.

I fully support this recommendation.

The Green Party in London is strongly committed to making road danger reduction and enforcement of traffic rules a much higher priority for the police, with an increase in resources to make this possible.

Close overtaking of cyclists is both terrifying and dangerous, the ignoring of rule 170 makes walking less attractive and adds to social isolation amongst older people, and the lack of reporting of all car collisions reduces our understanding of where dangers lie and leads to a sense of lawlessness on our roads. All the rules identified by the RDRF will therefore be prioritised for action. I would also extend 20mph speed limits to all TfL red routes and enforce speed limits rigorously.

Policing of traffic law would be a key performance indicator for the police with a Green Mayor, and this would mean recording of these statistics would be automatic and would help in making sure adequate resources were allocated

I totally endorse full enforcement of law breaking offences on the road and inclusion in MPS and MOPAC crime statistics. I also believe we must prioritise active travel such as walking and cycling above motorised road transport. By prioritising, we make this police work a priority too. We have public health crises of air pollution, obesity, urban diabetes, inactivity and severe congestion (the unenviable title of most congested city in EU). Prioritisation of motorised traffic is hampering efforts to increase truly zero emissions active travel which will address these urgent crises.

 

  1. TRAINING OF MPS and TfL PERSONNEL: Unconscious bias in officers’ attitudes, including victim-blaming and seeing driving offences as minor should be strongly challenged/ addressed. The MPS has confronted commonly held attitudes amongst officers with regard to gender, sexuality and disability – it should similarly change/ address/challenge attitudes which stem from a culture where driver misbehaviour is routine.

I fully support this recommendation.

You have rightly identified that unconscious bias amongst officers, whether in the form of victim-blaming or perceiving traffic offences to be minor, is a significant issue that has yet to be addressed. We agree that training is needed throughout TfL and the police at every level. As Mayor I would include representatives of walking and cycling groups on the TfL Board to help bring their perspective to many aspects of transport planning and policy, and we believe that training and attitudinal reform programmes should be devised in collaboration with these groups too.

Car culture has dominated our city for more than half a century. Victim-blaming goes back to the early days with ‘jaywalkers’ ridiculed by the propaganda of the motor industry in the1920s. Crossing a road to go about daily life was demeaned for ‘impeding traffic and causing too many accidents and deaths’. Today in London, flow of traffic is still given precedence over safe cycling infrastructure, realistic /comfortable pedestrian crossing times and planning. Much of TFL modelling ,MPs attitudes are completely out of step with the need to make space and time for active travel. A sea change in attitude is required and not pandering to a minority of loud, vocal motor lobbyists who value their own convenience over the wellbeing of Londoners.

 

  1. MEASURING DANGER PROPERLY: Road safety targets need to be set correctly indicating level of exposure to danger. Current road danger measurements use aggregate numbers for reported casualties, which can be low simply because of low levels of pedestrian, and particularly cyclist, traffic.

I fully support this recommendation.

This is a very important issue to have highlighted. Using a risk exposure model to measure safety is crucial for making our streets less dangerous and encouraging more people to get about our city under their own steam. Measures that discourage cycling and walking could otherwise be justified on safety grounds, and this is absolutely not the way to reach a sustainable transport system.

I totally endorse re-balancing road safety targets to reflect the level of exposure to danger rather than aggregate numbers. Ambitious projections of 40% cycling modal share are totally in keeping with the reality of reducing air pollution below EU limits, reducing greenhouse emissions, cutting obesity, diabetes and inactivity as well as road casualties.

 

  1. EVEN SAFER LORRIES: The September 2015 requirements for HGVs in London by TfL should be upgraded by September 2016 to require full guards, infra-red sensors and design features such as transparent door panels retro-fitted on lorries, or else new design (low cab) lorries, and extend the CIRAS system to FORS fleets. While lorries are a small part of overall danger in London, reducing their danger at source can achieve demonstrable benefits for pedestrian and cyclist safety.

I fully support this recommendation, indeed I would like to see a real push to minimise the number of lorries on our roads, for example by making greater use of the River Thames to move construction materials.    I also believe we could reduce the number of HGVs on our roads during the day.   I support a trial of all HGVs being prohibited from central London at rush hour, although it is vital to ensure that the policy actually works and does not redistribute collisions during the day.

I completely agree with this. A heart-breaking number of deaths and injuries are being caused by the inability of drivers in large vehicles to see cyclists and pedestrians around them. All public vehicles should be replaced with low cab designs as quickly as possible, along with retrofitted safety measures on all vehicles entering the city. I would also specifically ensure that all TfL and GLA procurement specifies low cab lorries.

Through the London Plan the Mayor can also ensure that conditions on safe construction vehicles are put into all new planning agreements, and create an ambitious scheme of incentives and regulations for the freight industry, including freight consolidation and switching to smaller vehicles, as well as new designs for HGVs.  

The CIRAS confidential reporting system is at last being brought in for buses and would be very effective for freight too. I am very happy to commit to extending this to be included in FORS.

HGVs must be required to update to the safest possible design in London. Freight must be rationalised and if alternatives such as river /barge transport are possible, these must be seriously incentivised. We must also encourage and incentivise cargo bike delivery where possible.

  1. SAFER BUSES: End TfL’s Bus performance contracts based on measurement of excess waiting time targets.

I would be reluctant to entirely end all performance targets for excess waiting times as a reliable bus service is important to ensuring bus travel is well used and provides practical alternative to many car journeys.   However it is vital that any targets do not have adverse effects on drivers’ behaviour.  I support a full investigation into this issue to ensure robust policies are in place.   In the meantime I welcome the recent publication of bus collision data.    I have supported for a long time the adoption of the Confidential Safety Reporting system for London’s bus fleet.

I agree that time pressures on drivers can be an important root cause of poor driving and we support the efforts of campaigners to highlight this discrepancy. Greens are committed to ending this practice and will work hard for this as Assembly Members or if I am elected Mayor.

As well as making sure such performance contracts on the buses end, and introducing safety requirements instead, we can do more to cut down on speed incentives of all kinds in London. For example, within the GLA, we can make sure that no contract we procure ever specifies time-based targets for driving on the roads, and we can also work with boroughs and other public authorities to reduce the practice there too and talk to the freight industry about more constructive ways to improve their performance by reducing traffic than by putting pressure on drivers.

I believe performance contracts are leading to poor driving and an increase of deaths and serious injuries. This is wholly unacceptable. Safety must come first with public transport.

  1. TRAFFIC REDUCTION AND MODAL SHIFT: TfL to set targets for reduced motor vehicular traffic throughout London in order to reduce danger, emissions and congestion, with local authorities required to show how shift to sustainable modes is to be achieved as a condition for Local Implementation Plan funding.

I not only support this recommendation, but advocate a number of policies that would help ensure there was a modal shift, such as the adoption of a workplace parking levy on employers who provide parking spaces in central London.   I also believe much further advances are necessary in the provision of segregated cycling lanes in London.  I also advocate the extension of the cycle hire scheme, especially further into Southwark and South East London.

For further information on my views on cycling I hope these articles on the London Cycling Campaign and Stop Killing Cyclist websites are useful:

http://lcc.org.uk/pages/2016-mayoral-election and http://stopthekilling.org.uk/direct-actions/10-by-2020-cycling-safety-challenge/responses-to-10-by-2020-cycling-safety-challenge/#CarolinePidgeon

I further believe London should be made far more attractive for walking, such as through the provision of a pedestrian and cycling bridge linking Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf and through the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street.  I would also like to see London adopt from New York a series of Summer Streets traffic days in many parts of the capital, so that people can take ownership of their streets and look to pedestrianise more streets across the capital where appropriate, such as in parts of Soho.

TfL’s recent policies for more road building, particularly in planning new road crossings and prioritising driver time savings when planning junctions, have seemed more and more to be going back to outdated ‘predict and provide’ policies. It’s not that radical to talk about setting targets for traffic reduction, and I strongly support this call, and would aim to do it by taking more road space away from cars in London and prioritising investment for other ways to get around. In fact, traffic has fallen on most of London’s roads (inner and outer, and by about 10% on average) over the past decade. We need to work with this positive trend away from driving and car ownership among our citizens, putting infrastructure funds into more safe cycling routes not expensive road tunnels and bridges.

To help make this a reality London urgently needs to replace the creaking Congestion Charge (which first started 12 years ago) with something much more sophisticated, covering all of London not just a small central zone. As candidate for Mayor I am committed to start consultation on these plans straight after the election, and to develop a set of fair new charges based on three principles: how far you drive, how polluting your vehicle is and the time of day.

It is essential and pressing that we start reallocating road space away from vehicular traffic. We have some dieselgate cars emitting more than a bus or HGV. With nearly 10,000 dying from air pollution every year, childrens growth stunted, diesel must be banned from London.

Private cars are an economically illiterate use of prime road space, parked on average 95%, taking up the space of 10-15 bicycles. We cannot afford the so called ‘convenience’ of personal motorised transport, it is not appropriate to an urban environment. In Dublin they understand that projected congestion is not sustainable and are banning private cars from the city centre by 2017 . In Oslo they intend to ban all private cars from the city centre, including electric, there is simply not the space and they want to reduce emissions significantly. London is behind the curve. We must ban private cars in central London and reallocate road space to active travel throughout.

  1. RIGOROUS INVESTIGATION OF ROAD DEATHS AND INJURIES: A transparent, accountable and effective system to be implemented

I fully support this recommendation.

The Green Party in London and our leader Natalie Bennett are both on record supporting the introduction of presumed liability for drivers in cases where cyclists are killed and injured, and I fully support this change in the law. Within London, and within the Mayor’s powers, we can do much to improve things without waiting for this to happen.

Road collisions need to be investigated with the same attitude and – as much as possible – the same rigour as is devoted to rail and aviation incidents, where the emphasis is placed on learning quickly from mistakes and preventing future dangers, and lengthy judicial processes are not allowed to delay these investigations and implementation of what is learned.

My personal preference is for an independent London road safety investigation office to be created and suitably resourced, tasked with making recommendations for changes to streets, bus operations, policies and incentives for freight, cars and public transport vehicles  to highways authorities, the London Mayor and Assembly and Transport for London as quickly as possible after incidents occur. They should also be responsible for gathering information on ‘near misses’ and devising ways to improve safety pro-actively not merely in response to deaths and injuries that could have been foreseen.

Road deaths and injuries must be regarded as serious failures in infrastructure and society. Investigation must be vigorous and accountable. Lessons must be learned and acted upon effectively.

In addition Caroline Pidgeon made the following  comments:

 I would also like to take this opportunity to say that I have long championed greater road safety in London and the need for London’s roads to be much safer and attractive for pedestrians and cyclists.  For example I took the lead on exposing the problem that many pedestrian crossings in London were not meeting the 2005 Department for Transport standard for the minimum time that should be granted to pedestrians when crossing the road at a traffic signal.   Following my intervention I am pleased to say all these standard crossings have been upgraded.

I have also championed the need for every pedestrian crossing to meet the 1995 Department for Transport standard for blind and visually impaired people.   All these sub-standard crossings will finally be upgraded by March 2016.

I hope these links are useful.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8048961.stm

http://glalibdems.org.uk/en/article/2014/0893446/why-are-blind-and-partially-sighted-people-waiting-25-years-for-london-s-pedestrian-crossings-to-meet-minimum-national-safety-standards-caroline-pidgeon

As part of my work on the London Assembly Transport Committee I also produced a report on how walking could be made safer and more attractive in London.   The report Walk This Way can be seen here:

https://www.london.gov.uk/mayor-assembly/london-assembly/publications/walk-this-way

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Responses to our Manifesto for London Mayoral candidates

  1. telentnet

    Bear in mind that what the mayoral candidates say and what your local candidates for assembly members say may not be the same thing: for example, the local Green party here in Walthamstow have gone decidedly lukewarm on our mini-Holland scheme https://wfrb.greenparty.org.uk/news/2015/11/16/mini-holland-our-response/ describing it as “increasing community severance” and claiming that the closing of access roads to motor traffic has caused “a sense of ‘bereavement’ which needs to be properly addressed”.

    Reply
  2. Dave H (@BCCletts)

    Pleased to see some key comments on safety. London has a huge potential to bring change to the way our roads are managed, through the devolved powers of GLA on Transport. Sian rightly picks up on investigation of crashes, and the model of air, marine & rail shows how this can be done, in a far more open and accessible way than the current legally mandated duty for TfL and London Borough under Section 39 (.3a) of Road Traffic Act 1988. RAIB publishes their reports online for everyone to read, and learn from AND makes recommendation to the regulator – who then directs operators and infrastructure providers to take action, usually as a time-limited change. With Section 39 TfL investigates and the TfL tells itself what action to take … Dear Mayor….quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    Occasionally RAIB investigates incidents where road & rail come together, and in the absence of a coherent regime of road regulation, settles for writing letters to DfT, Councils, and “Those responsible for operating buses in London” (2008 fatal crash between bus & tram in Croydon). Paragraph 21 of the Bulletin made a recommendation that a key safety detail was addressed to prevent any future death of an upper deck passenger. 8 years later has this been delivered? Have the London Buses fleet, and those other services with London Bus Permits been checked and signed off as ‘safe’ in this respect? Perhaps a good question for outgoing Mayor Johnston.

    Noting that the current AAIB, RAIB, and MAIB operate with linked resources, indeed RAIB and AAIB have shared premises at Farnborough, where crash debris can be reassembled for forensic study, so my suggestion is that the new London Mayor underwrites staff and resources under the RAIB/AAIB umbrella to provide a Highways AIB (London) as a starting point that can in time integrate with a UK wide delivery of independent and objective road crash investigation freed from the perceived influence that attaches to Police investigations which may well be objective and independent but are not published, and have akey role in deciding whether or not to prosecute, and the level of offence committed.

    Coherent and complete regulation of transport resources and their use is essential in a city where every square metre of land needs to be used to best effect, and the economic returns on land for storing cars – parked for 95% of the time is the worst use of space in a busy city. Road space too sits empty or seriously under used for 80-90% of the time, as does street space for loading & unloading – very delivery not only in part load on a much larger vehicle but the vehicle is joined by similar large part-loaded vehicles all trying to deliver at the same time, and blocking the streets because the loading bays are filled. We proved it in 2012 when TfL restored a freight management operation – consolidating loads from 6+ vans to 1 delivery (or collection) for the hotel or retail premises. We gained through the logistics skills of ex-armed services personnel, for whom the logistics of supplying troops trumps having the most sophisticated of weaponry – useless without the ‘ammunition’. We have several clear challenges on the agenda as organisations which are not transport operators effectively become the controlling entity for drivers and vehicles (which that controlling entity is effectively ‘the employer’ – … and remind the likes of Uber, Addison Lee, Deliveroo(?), and the owners of pedicabs) of their role in preventing harm from transport operations that they essentially orchestrate, and should balance the imperative of making a profit, with the vital measures of good governance, and a duty of care to ’employees’ and third parties that their operations generate.

    Remember too that this is not solely an election for London Mayoral position and GLA seats, but 3 devolved Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where we can delver road danger reduction measures through devolved legislation. Scotland for example has NOT removed the 40mph speed limit for HGV on single carriageway roads, and the Transport Minister has clearly stated “In Scotland it stays”. We’ve also seen a closer connection between Police, and Traffic Commissioner than ensures any vocational driver stopped for a traffic offence with a fixed penalty fine has their details reported back to the office which can revoke Class C D and E licences where a driver is considered unfit to drive HGV’s or PSV’s.

    We already have London Lorry and London Bus permits (for HGV’s and PSV’s) which can be developed – eg to obtain a permit all vehicles must have a basic CCTV and route recording (GPS/enhanced tachograph) – Bus Permits already require the timetable and route details, why not Lorry Permits? Drop the banned periods and work with those making regular deliveries to make best use of the roads. Scheduled freight can ensure driver and vehicle time is not wasted in traffic jams (formalising what already happens – HGV’s almost vanish from main routes in to London after 07.30 to avoid the costs of making no progress with a delivery). There may even be a premium or market for timetabled slots where roads are still ‘busy’ but not full. The established and tested ANPR cordon, and other ANPR installations can be used to manage this.

    ANPR might also be used with car parking – which should be removed from streets wherever possible – there is no requirement for a roads authority to spend public money to provide roads for storage of private property, do parking should be placed off street and street space used for moving traffic – or returned to botanical use (flood and climate management, air purification etc). Space for loading and setting down where a vehicle is momentarily stopped to transfer freight or passengers would remain. Car parks – and a clear function in creating congestion should also have their ANPR (most use this now for measuring duration of stay) used for price regulation – vehicles which arrive and leave at periods when they enhance congestion pay a premium – a detail which may also be added to the C Charge – pass the cordon point/cross the bridge when additional traffic will overload the system and pay more, use the system outside overload period and pay less or nothing.

    An example of why car parks need regulation can be seen at any major retail park when the stores ‘shut’ and everyone tries to leave at the same time at Bluewater 13,000 spaces would take around 22 hours to empty with just one outlet and (optimistically) getting every car away in 6 seconds. with say 2 lanes to each point of the compass we find the 2-3 hours of waiting actually experienced when this happened.

    Remember though is isn’t just London that can have such initiatives through devolved legislation get the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland candidates to take the Road Danger Management agenda on board.

    Reply

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