Just out.  Ones to watch:

Question No: 2697 / 2008
Jenny Jones
How many LCN+ borough cycling schemes put forward for 2009/10 were unfunded in the Transport for London settlement with the boroughs? What is the total number of schemes which have either gone, or are going, through the LCN+ CRISP study process, and now remain without funding?

Jenny’s strategy of embarrassing the Mayor by demonstrating that he isn’t the cyclist’s friend he claims continues.  More to the point, the London Cycling Campaign aren’t happy with Boris.

Question No: 3014 / 2008
Victoria Borwick
As a Christmas present to Londoners and in view of the current economic situation would the Mayor consider using his powers to bring forward by a week the advertised free period for the Congestion Charge which currently runs from 25th December to 1st January?

Nothing says ‘Happy Christmas’ like a bit of gridlock and air pollution.  Of course, the CC only operates during the week, so I’ve no idea how this is supposed to help, particularly given the success of the VIP day where banning *everything* on Oxford Street except pedestrians led to a massive Happy Christmas to the street’s shopkeepers.

Question No: 2737 / 2008
John Biggs
Would it be a fraud on Londoners to claim that 1:1 replacement of rented homes in estate redevelopments counts towards the new homes target? If not, why not?

Ranging shot from Biggsy.

Question No: 2739 / 2008
Valerie Shawcross
What are the objectives of the independent review on the planning and contractual arrangements concerning the bus network?

Labour have long suspected that the Tories want to ease off on the bus companies.  Reminder – David Ross was, until his recent difficulty, Chairman of the bus company National Express.

Question No: 2741 / 2008
Len Duvall
Given your membership of the Olympic Board, can you update us on the position of the LOCOG Board and its Board Members work programmes?

Can you think of anything embarrassing recently involving the LOCOG Board?  Can you?  Naughty Len!

Question No: 2924 / 2008
Dee Doocey
Can you explain why the draft Policing London Business Plan 2009-12 shows an increase of 353 officers next year, but then a reduction of 326 officers between 2010/11 and 2011/12?

The Tory Troll Memorial Question.  Nice one, AdamB.

Question No: 2734 / 2008
John Biggs
Will you submit yourself, and your advisers to the same regime as the Parliamentary front bench of the Conservative Party? If not, why not?

Biggs attempts a not very well disguised haymaker.

Question No: 2740 / 2008
Valerie Shawcross
Are you satisfied that your transport and planning strategies will be aligned?

Clever one.  As we saw with the previous post, Boris is storing up all sorts of contradictions that will eventually come home to roost in the Strategies, which statutorily have to be coherent.

Question No: 2654 / 2008
Richard Barnbrook
Bearing in mind the Mayor’s unfortunate track record filling major public appointments, how
does he justify recruiting Mr Doug Oakervee to oversee the first feasibility study into the
proposed ‘Floating Airport’?

The Mayor is on record as saying he wants this airport modeled on the Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok airport, the opening of which involved Mr Oakervee’s project team.  The Hong Kong Legislative Council’s Inquiry strongly criticised Mr Oakervee’s numerous failings on the project.

London’s pet fascist in ‘asks decent question’ shock.  Has someone been putting something in his tea?  Mind you, he needs to look up ‘Floating’ in his dictionary.

Question No: 2656 / 2008
Darren Johnson
Please list the environmental projects and environmental budget lines which have been cut since you took office, and those that will be cut as a result of your budget plans for 2009/10.

This and numerous other questions suggest that Darren Johnson is looking at the real money available for environmental work and finding that the cuts required to meet the Mayor’s precept freezing are coming straight of green initiatives.  I’m interested in how this fits with the Mayor’s apparent conversion to environmentalism, too.

Question No: 2686 / 2008
Darren Johnson
Has TfL carried out any studies into the feasibility of a monorail transport option in London? If not, would TfL consider assessing the feasibility of a monorail in London as a potential transport option?

Darren, please, no, step away from the 1950s utopia projects and work out what really works in cities.  Hint: short, frequent underground light rail systems require less land take, smaller, cheaper stations and don’t intrude into the public realm or get clogged up in traffic.  Think DLR Bank and Woolwich extensions.

Question No: 2720 / 2008
Jenny Jones

Can you explain the apparent contradiction between scrapping the Victoria Embankment Garden project which was due to deliver a cycle track along Embankment and your statement in ‘Way to Go’ that it is a disgrace that there is no cycle track there?

Nice spot, Jenny.

Question No: 2735 / 2008
Navin Shah
In response to my question 2254/2008 regarding the new Metropolitan Line rolling stock, you responded “Although there is a reduction in the number of seats per train, the line upgrade means a more frequent train service and thereby a greater number of seats available to passengers on the line. “. Is the Mayor aware the line upgrade, including the signalling upgrade necessary to run more trains on the line, was delayed by the collapse of Metronet. What does the Mayor intend to do for the three year period where the new trains are in operation without the signalling upgrade, with a resultant overall capacity drop of 29%? What measures will you take to alleviate this congestion?

Another good spot – given the bendy jihadists think you should have more seats in buses operating short routes out of Waterloo, I’d like to see Boris’s explanation of why you need fewer coming in from the suburbs on the Met Line.

Question No: 2756 / 2008
John Biggs
Did you consult with cyclist groups when developing this initiative? Please, if so, describe the extent of your consultation and if not why not?

See the LCC for details of how they were consulted (and ignored, in the end).

Question No: 2762 / 2008
John Biggs
Why did no Labour borough (apart from Waltham Forest, a hung council) see an increase in transport funding allocation? What conclusion should Londoners draw from this?

I presume the answer will be ‘my predecessor discriminated against Tories’, or something.

Question No: 2771 / 2008
Valerie Shawcross
What is the current average traffic speed in a) the central congestion charge zone and b) the Western Extension zone?

Useful to keep this kind of statistic handy.

Question No: 2780 / 2008
Valerie Shawcross
How many fatal and serious accidents involving cyclists and non-articulated buses have there been each year since 2005/06?

Important question – I see what you’re trying to do there, Val.  I’m aware of one fatality this year, on Park Lane, involving a 74 double decker.

Question No: 2791 / 2008
Valerie Shawcross
Why have Harringey, Tower Hamlets, Bromley, Merton and Hounslow councils suffered over 20% cuts in their LIP funding settlements?

!!! Need to check this one out.  Bromley is a Boris Borough, the rest aren’t.

Question No: 2803 / 2008
Valerie Shawcross
On 10th September 2007 you said articulated buses “wipe out cyclists, there are many cyclists killed every year by them”. Given that there have been no fatal incidents and only four serious incidents involving articulated buses and cyclists since they were introduced, on what evidence did you base this claim?

The howitzer question.  Keep asking it until you get an answer, Val.

Question No: 2804 / 2008
Valerie Shawcross
If the government does not fill your £15m funding gap will you drop plans for phase 2b of the East London Line Extension to Peckham, Camberwell and Clapham or will you find this sum from within your £39b budget – perhaps from the £19m you have “saved” by dropping plans for a Tram service to Peckham, Camberwell and Brixton?

Another good one – £15m isn’t much in the scheme of things.  As we saw yesterday, Boris is currently engaged in ping pong (or whiff-whaff) with the DfT with a barrage of proposals, while postponing the start date for a construction project that will keep people in jobs during a severe downturn in construction.  Sort it, the pair of you.

[At this point Val asks about 900 questions about the various areas deprived of transport investment after the CRT etc. were scrapped]

Question No: 2827 / 2008
Valerie Shawcross
Are the additional buses on the existing x26 route the fulfillment of your manifesto aspirations for orbital bus routes?

I’ve not covered this one, but the frequency increases on the X26 are miniscule, involving a tiny number of buses.  I don’t think it counts as fulfilling manifesto aspirations at all, although it’s being spun as such.

Question No: 2830 / 2008
Valerie Shawcross
Have you set a date, agenda and invitation list for your “Emergency Public Rail Summit”? If so, what are they? If not, why not?

Cut/paste, every month.  See yesterday’s coverage of TfL Board minutes for a bit of movement on this.

Question No: 2849 / 2008
Len Duvall

Can the Mayor update me on the discussions he has had with Ministers, Local Authorities and TfL concerning the Blackwall Tunnel and the removal of the tidal flow and the Silver Town link?

Covered months ago here – Boris tried to get the credit early for this, but it’s the Met that controls whether tidal flow is allowed, and they don’t allow it and Boris has no operational control over them.

Question No: 2856 / 2008
Jennette Arnold

At least 136 people were killed trying to cross the Berlin Wall to flee from East to West Berlin. In that perspective, do you agree with me that it was rather distasteful of the leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council to compare the western extension of the congestion charge zone to the Berlin Wall?

The (cross-party) disease of Inappropriate Totalitarian Comparisons strikes again.  What’s the betting Boris resists the temptation to answer including his favourite phrases ‘Stalinist’, ‘Tractor Factory’ or ‘Pyong-Yang’?

Question No: 2863 / 2008
Navin Shah

In your response to my question 1961/2008 (September) about environmental improvements on the North Circular/A406. You responded with information about improvements in Bounds Green. Please note I am the Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow and that the A406 is an orbital road. Why would the AM for Brent and Harrow be asking about improvements in Haringey? Could you revisit your answer with reference to my constituency, Brent?


Question No: 2889 / 2008
Caroline Pidgeon

If you are unable to secure from central Government the additional money needed to close the funding gap for the second period of the London Underground PPP, what will be the effects on the planned programme for upgrading the Tube network?

Serious question.

Question No: 2895 / 2008
Caroline Pidgeon
Having cancelled several significant transport schemes that have major regeneration benefits for the less advantaged areas of London, you seem prepared to spent time and taxpayers’ money exploring a project for a Thames Estuary airport for which there is and will be absolutely no Government funding. How can you justify such expenditure?

Serious question again.

Question No: 2903 / 2008
Caroline Pidgeon

You claim to be very keen to get more people cycling in London, but have cut funding for cycle schemes by half. Given that the Chief Executive of the London Cycling Campaign has strongly condemned this funding cut, why have you disregarded the views of cycling organisations in London?

Serious question again.  She doesn’t muck about, does she?

Question No: 2940 / 2008
Caroline Pidgeon
If TfL go ahead with a revision to the Congestion Charging Scheme Order abolishing the western extension, is it envisaged withdrawing or reducing any bus services in the area, in particular route 31 to Shepherds Bush Green or 452 to Wandsworth Road Station via Kensington?

Bus services were increased to take advantage of the traffic reduction, paid for by the extra income.  Without the traffic reduction and income, what happens to them is an important test of Boris’s shaky public transport credentials.  On which note:

Question No: 2969 / 2008
Richard Tracey
Will the Mayor include in his instruction to TfL to remove the Western Extension a request to boost bus use in the area?

Er, hello?  Earth to Richard.  Come in please.

Question No: 2974 / 2008
Richard Tracey
Could you explain how your drive to smooth traffic and improve the bus service reconciles with the increasing surface transport journey time targets set in Appendix B of the recent TfL Business Plan?

That’s a better question.  Invites a bit of research, actually.

Question No: 2996 / 2008
Roger Evans

Now that 86% of businesses and 67% of individuals have voted against the continuation of the Western Extension to the Congestion Charge, what was the cost of developing the WEZ, including all the original consultation, implementation (despite public opinion), advertising and contract extensions?

Novel interpretation of the word ‘vote’, Roger.  Clue: that wasn’t a vote, it was an ‘informal non-statutory public consultation’.  Votes are, by definition, rather formal, statutory affairs.

Question No: 2999 / 2008
Roger Evans
How much was spent by the previous administration on consultation and planning work for schemes that had no funding in order to be built? How much has been saved in 2008-09 by not continuing with consultation and planning work for schemes that have no funding?

‘How much money is saved by doing nothing about London’s future transport needs?’.  Nothing, Roger, in fact it *costs* money.  Roger’s far from the worst Tory in town, but questions like this just go to show why the chances of me putting a cross next to the Conservative candidate in any election are infinitesimal.  He’s also spinning his arse off.

Phew.  That’s that for this month’s MQT Preview.

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