Monthly Archive for June, 2010

URGENT: All who cycle in Camden: 19 June deadline for Huntley Street consultation

Apologies for the impossibly short notice but the London Cycling Campaign has just sent out the following action alert. I encourage all who cycle in the UCL/Bloomsbury area to respond immediately.

Deadline 19th June for letters and emails regarding a) Cycling contraflow in Huntley Street, Camden b) Cycle Hire docking station in Huntley St, Camden

We understand that both the proposal for a cycle contraflow in Huntley Street and the bike hire docking station in this street may be rejected because of resident objections. We understand there have been very few letters of support for either the contraflow for cycle users or the docking station. Many local cyclists will be unaware of this important consultation. We urge you to express your view immediately.

As you may be are aware local residents, and the many students, hospital staff and patients who use this street are currently forced to use the very busy Tottenham Court Road gyratory system to avoid the one way arrangement along a short (Torrington Place to University Street) but critical stretch of road. Huntley Street, as many people know, is directly linked to one of the busiest cycle routes in Britain – along Torrington Place. Making a small section of Huntley Street two way for cyclists will enable the many thousand of users of the busy cycle route to access University College Hospital and other buildings in this area without having to use the Tottenham Court Road gyratory system. Huntley Street itself has very little traffic and the northern stretch of the street is already two way for all vehicles – in terms of safety this contraflow is not problematic and it will only require minor works .

It would be most regrettable if a useful facility and a reduction in road danger to cyclists will be rejected when funding is available to carry out the necessary works. We understand the funding will be returned to TfL if the proposal is rejected.

The location of a cycle docking station in Huntley Street would be a great convenience for local residents as well as patients who wish to go to University College Hospital. It would unfortunate if this station were rejected. The contraflow in Huntley Street would make the short journey to the Torrington Place cycle route or UCL Hospital legal in both directions.

We understand that the council is consulting on the two matters separately in the same document. All local cyclists whether local residents, users of UCL Hospital. UCL students, Camden Cycling Campaign members, LCC members, CTC London members or any others are urged to write immediately to Dave Stewart, principal engineer, making their views clear on either or both proposals. The deadline is Saturday 19th of June. His email is dave.stewart {at} camden.gov(.)uk .

The consultation can be found at www.camden.gov.uk/consultations.

What one cyclist wrote to Camden Council:

“Dear Dave Stewart ,
I would like to show my support for the measures outlined in the consultation on a) Cycling contraflow in Huntley Street, Camden b) Cycle Hire docking station in Huntley St, Camden.
I am a regular cyclist in the area and I would find these facilities very useful.

Yours sincerely,
Alix Stredwick”

BCS Transformation – just what is going on?

Last week I received my calling notice for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the British Computer Society (BCS). It seems that there is a bit of a fracas going on over the future vision, strategy and direction of the BCS and it’s “Transformation” programme. The motions on the agenda at the EGM include no-confidence resolutions in the Trustee Board and the Chief Executive – pretty serious stuff!

The petitioners, which include a past President, have set-up a blog to argue their case, whilst the BCS Trustees and management have a slicker site for their official response. There’s also a health debate in the blogosphere and on Twitter via #bcstransform and #bcsegm.

It’s clear to me that the petitioners feel the Trustees have not adequately consulted. An argument I have some sympathy with since I didn’t realise there was any major transformation programme going on. However they also express concerns about the direction of the society and this is where I’m less clear as to what’s going on.

The petitioners make vague complaints about ‘the membership’ being marginalised in favour of ‘the business’. I can’t really make a judgement on this. Unfortunately the official, glossy BCS response is full of nebulous waffle and impregnable ‘business speak’ which leaves me none-the-wiser as to what the vision, strategy and direction is that the society is going down (and which the petitioners are apparently opposed to).

I joined the BCS two years ago, as an engineer, because of it’s learned society activity. I joined the IEE (now the IET) over 10 years ago and still see it as my primary professional body. I didn’t join the BCS at the time because everyone advised me it was a bit of a joke. However, of late I had discovered the Special Interest Groups and found some really useful events which I now see as a valuable complement to my IET membership – even though I’d rather the two would just merge.

I’m not really sure what’s going on with the BCS, in terms of it’s future direction. Hopefully someone reading this blog could throw some light. I guess things like the Chartered IT Professional (CITP) qualification indicate that it wants to be more of a body for business-folk involved in corporate IT than computing practitioners such as engineers and scientists. I can see a need for the former, but fail to see how it would not undermine the latter. Perhaps the learned society aspects of the BCS ought to transfer to the IET allowing the rump BCS to complete it’s transformation into a “Chartered Institution for IT” – if that’s what they want to be.

The only thing I’m fairly sure about is that the Special Resolution put forward by the Trustees to raise the threshold for calling an EGM must be resisted. There may be a case for raising the threshold, and I’m very sympathetic to that, but that could be done at the next scheduled AGM. Doing it at this meeting smacks of shutting down opposition and re-inforces a sense of a dismissive attitude to members expressing their right to use the society’s properly constituted governance process to challenge it’s leadership and management.