Jamie Wake 2014 Independent Candidate for Whitley ward in the Reading Local Elections
  • scissors
    April 15th, 2014jamiewakerdgcycling, kennet island, reading, whitley

    Cycling in WhitleyWidely advertised, it seems we have our very own bike hire scheme coming to Whitley.  Labour’s Whitley News (Posted 25th March 2014) states that the ground works for the hire locations are programmed to be undertaken over the next 5 weeks which I make as being completed by 29th April 2014.  The site also confirms that the locations in Whitley will be on Basingstoke Road, Kennet Island, Green Park and at the Madjeski Stadium.

    The docking infrastructure has already arrived in Reading and Whitley News confirms that it will be installed in a rolling programme throughout April and Early May

    Having seen Reading Labour and Reading Conservatives both claim this a victory recently, I was intrigued by the scheme and started to look at the facts to share with residents.

    The first report on the Get Reading Website dated 18th September 2013 announces that the council has been a procurement process and will be announcing the successful bidder soon.  The second report dated 16th October 2013 announces that Hourbike are the successful bidder.  It confirmed that Annual Membership will be £50 per year which includes the first 30 minutes free as part of the rental.  The price will then be £1 per hour.  The next article dated 27th January 2014 gives the name of the scheme as readybike confirming that 200 bikes will be available across 29 docking schemes.  Then on 29th January 2014 Reading Tories announce that they welcome the scheme and remind readers that they proposed a cycle hire scheme for the Greater Reading area in 2008 in their Cycling Strategy which was published before the 2008 local elections.  Their scheme was to be called Readibike.  The same article reminds readers of the price and that all they need to do to rent a bike is to tap in their membership number and PIN at a docking station, select a bicycle and peddle away.

    The articles refer you to the webpage where you can find further details of the scheme here.  The locations in Whitley are listed as:

    • Academy Sport on Northumberland Avenue (to the right of the main building though this is technically in Church Ward)
    • Basingstoke Road (Just outside Morrison by the Bus Stop)
    • Green Park – Brook Drive (Opposite building 300)
    • Green Park – Lime Square (Just off South Oak Way in front of Lime Sq)
    • Green Park – Longwater Avenue (Outside entrance to building 100)
    • Kennet Island – On Rushley Way (side of Circle Hospital)
    • Madejski Stadium – In corner of car park on Hoops Way

    The website also states that helmets are not available “…Helmets are not provided as we are unable to guarantee the safety of the helmets provided. We do however encourage cyclists to wear a helmet and safety equipment and will be teaming up with local bike shops to help make purchasing any equipment easier…”

    Whilst I havent been on a push bike since my accident (Compound fracture with fractured spine and now left arm not as long as my right arm) I can see how a cycle scheme is both good for the environment as well as assisting the issue of congestion on our roads – though its unlikely to do anything for Junction 11!  It’s a shame the docking stations are not located near places where you can get cycle helmets as well.  I worry that people will use them without suitable protection otherwise.  I’m guessing that the dock on Kennet Island would be more suited for those working at the Circle Hospital though I’m yet to see how much space the dock will use up – especially as residents there are crying out for parking spaces.  I also note that there are no docking stations in West Reading.

    I guess we will have to see how successful the scheme is when it is launched.  I personally would be put off by the annual price of £50 when I see that at Halford that you can get a basic bike for £79.99.  Also, what happens if the Bike has a puncture?  I’m guessing like many of the things that the website states, it’s the hirers responsibility whilst they are hiring it. I am concerned about the safety of users with limited access to helmets by the docking stations and hope that Hourbike and Reading Borough Council work with local businesses to provide a supply of helmets.

    I of course do wish the scheme the very best and look forward to some of my concerns being addressed.

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  • scissors
    April 22nd, 2011jamiewakerdgcycling, kennet island, kira, local candidate, six to fix, whitley

    For those of us who don’t always explore our backyard, I was almost dismissive when the Chair of Reading Pride suggested a bike ride through Whitley.  Knowing that she rides a bike, I sent her an innocent text to ask where to go for a bike ride.  Having brought a bike recently in an attempt to start a keep fit regime without the costly expense of a joining a gym, I thought today would be the perfect day to ride it.  Within seconds of sending a text message, I received a call describing a route that she and her partner had cycled last week and I had not expected her to suggest a route within the ward of Whitley.

    Cycling in WhitleyRather nervously I set off via the Piazza on Kennet Island and I was rather pleased to see the buzz that the new cafe has created on there.  Members of the Kennet Island Residents Association greeted me as I cycled through and told me more about the May Day Celebrations that are coming up.  As a resident I will be of course be going and whilst I understand that other parties may be distributing ‘non political’ literature, I personally would not use this community event to seek voters.  Mainly as KIRA can not be compromised politcally and as the previous chair, I helped write the constitution to ensure that the association always remains impartial.

    Listening to what the new Vice Chair, Gavin Turner has achieved for the event so far, I also put them in touch with someone that might be able to help with gazebos for them too. 

    It was also nice to bump into the person behind KIRA kids club who has been campaigning for the Kids Play Area on the island.  She said she was disappointed to read in recent literature that had arrived through her door that others were taking credit for the play area and I assured her that residents of Kennet Island knew it was KIRA that pushed for the play area.  She’s not the first person to tell me that they were a little annoyed at the literature and I have blogged about my disappointment previously.  Once everyone had had a laugh at the idea of me with helmit going on a bike ride, I set off in search of adventure!

    Within minutes of Crossing the A33 and following the pathway running alongside the canal, I found myself in a beautiful natural surroundings viewing boats, swans and locks – how comes I had never discovered this before?  I’m rather cross with myself that having lived in Whitley for a number of years that I had never realised how close I was to this and I would recommend this little trip to any other resident – either walking or on a bike.  I guess we all miss what’s beyond our backyards and unless you live in an area, you don’t always have the opportunity to discover more.  This is the same with local issues.  Thankfully, living in Whitley, Im aware of many of the issues that residents face and I have made a promise that I will Continue to Listen to Residents and be accessible at all times.  This is a promise that lasts all year around – not just at election time.

    I could tell a porky and state that the cycling was a deliberate act of mine as part of my launch in Whitley of one our ‘Six to Fix’ – ‘A Cleaner and Greener Reading’.  It wasn’t but it does tie in rather nicely!

    • This year 12 local centres will receive a deep clean after years of neglect. Going forward we will ensure that local shopping areas are not overlooked in favour of the town centre.
    • Reducing fly-tipping, litter and graffiti remains a priority for the Lib Dems and we will use the tools and powers available to the Council to keep local areas clean and green.
    • We will look to increase the range of materials residents can recycle on the doorstep wherever possible.
    • We will promote schemes and initiatives that help residents cut carbon emissions and fuel bills in their own homes.
    • We will actively promote walking and cycling to reduce carbon emissions and ease congestion.
    • We will work and improve rail transport, including Reading Station upgrade.
    • We will fix pot-holes and continue to invest in improving roads and pavements in Reading after years of underinvestment.

    Well, having only cycled to Burghfield and back (right up to the Cunning Man but I forgot my wallet!) my body is starting to ache.  I have just called Lorna of Reading Pride to thank her for the route and to confirm that I will be there tonight at the Fundraiser held at the Granby.  In the meantime, I think I deserve a nice soak in the bath!