Navin in the News
Navin's News for August 2010
1300 Demand Better Access At Stanmore
I first became involved in the issue of step-free access at Stanmore London Underground Station in 2009. I was proud to present a petition of almost 1266 signatures to the London Assembly in July of that year demanding upgrades to the station to make it truly step-free.
The petition was organised by Jacqueline Raynaud of the Elm Park Residents Association, with the backing of Harrow Association of Disabled People. Asif Iqbal of HAD presented the petition to me at City Hall.
The petition read:
We the undersigned urgently request the installation of a lift at Stanmore Underground Station, as an addition to its current enlargement. The existing "disabled access" is completely inadequate. It is a long steep path which is almost impossible for the disabled, people pushing wheelchairs and also people with luggage to negotiate.
The usual entrance/exit (via 42 steep steps) can be difficult even for the able bodied, particularly the elderly and those with small children, baby buggies etc.
At a tome when all public buildings are required to have proper disabled access, this should surely be a priority at a tube station, particularly one that serves important venues like the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and Wembley Stadium, and which will be used by people from all over the country during the forthcoming Olympics and Paralympics.
In August, the Mayor responded to the petition:
Re: Step-free access at Stanmore Station
Thank you for the petition presented to the London Assembly plenary meeting on 22 July about step free access at Stanmore station. On receipt of your letter I asked Transport for London to look into the matter.
I can appreciate that the current step-free access to Stanmore station, accessed via the station car park using a ramp, is not ideal, given that it is quite a steep path. Furthermore, TfL are aware that this is not always clear to customers arriving from the bus station and main entrance.
Ideally, I would like step free access at all of London's key rail and tube stations but, as you will be aware, TfL is under severe financial constraints following the collapse of the Metronet contract and the larger economic slowdown. In addition, Metronet's station programme was already significantly over-spent due to the previous administration and work has had to be done to pare back Metronet's spending plans to align with available funding.
Given there is already a step-free route at Stanmore, albeit far from ideal, I am afriad that funds are unavailable to install lifts or escalators at the station. However, I have asked TfL to provided improved signange at the station to the step free entrance, which I hope will assist some customers.
Thank you again for writing to me.
Mayor of London
While running a city's transport services does of course involve difficult decisions, I think the Mayor is telling only half the story. Blaming Metronet's overspend on the 'previous administration' shows a wilful misunderstanding of the PPP arrangements as they stood, originating from central government before London Underground came under the Mayor of London in 2003! It also suggests the current Mayor's priorities and projects do not affect TfL's finances, while of course he plans to abolish the Western zone of the congestion charge, has spent £100m on a new bus and has raised fares every year!
Nonetheless, the Mayor does acknowledge problems exist at the station and I welcome the new signs in providing improved information, particularly for new visitors, though of course this does nothing to improve access itself.
Do you have difficulties at Stanmore? Do you think the signs have helped? If you have any comments or questions why not contact me?
Published by NeonHorizon. Promoted by Keith Ferry on behalf of Navin Shah, both at 20 Byron Road, Harrow, HA3 7ST