We Support Mini Holland Press Release 15 February 2017
Waltham Forest residents, a disability charity and a leading transport academic have hit back against a petition presented to the Mayor of London which calls for residential streets to be reopened to through traffic.
The petition, put forwards by Jennette Arnold AM, calls for all roads closed to through motor traffic in Enfield, Waltham Forest and Kingston due to the Mini Holland walking & cycling schemes to be reopened so people in motor vehicles can use them as through routes again.
Carly Hayes, a member of the 800-strong We Support Waltham Forest Mini Holland residents’ group, said: “I’d be devastated if the streets around me were reopened as shortcuts for cars, vans and HGVs. Children from the local school can now walk in safety and without as much pollution, but we can still drive in and out of our road when we need to.
“This petition doesn’t propose any sort of alternative to the status quo in this city. Too many unnecessary car trips which are polluting our air and slowly killing us all. I’d beg the Mayor and my local council to be brave and leave our streets as they are. Despite what this petition says there are actually thousands of people already reaping the benefits of quieter, cleaner, safer streets.”
Roughly half of households don’t have access to a car in Waltham Forest, and recent figures showed that an area in Walthamstow which had been given the Mini Holland treatment had seen traffic fall by 56 per cent, meaning 10,000 few er vehicles a day – including on surrounding main roads.
Isabelle Clement, Director of disability cycling charity Wheels for Wellbeing said: “Opening roads that have been made safer for pedestrians and cyclists would definitely be a step backwards. Only by keeping improving the safety of our local roads for people on foot and on cycles will we ensure disabled and elderly people have equal access to active travel and all its benefits.”
Rachel Aldred, Reader in Transport, University of Westminster said: “”Over a hundred Londoners are killed on our roads every year and thousands more seriously injured. Thousands of us die prematurely each year due to air pollution.
“TfL has estimated that across London, a fifth of current car trips could be walked and two fifths could be cycled. This would substantially improve our health, but it won’t just happen. A key reason why people don’t walk and cycle, and don’t let their kids walk, cycle or play locally, is that they are scared by traffic danger or put off by pollution. So one way of encouraging walking and cycling is to reduce the amount of motor traffic using residential streets, so they become calmer and safer.
“In London prioritising sustainable modes of transport works – bus priority in the 1990s and 2000s helped shift large numbers of people out of cars, by making bus use more attractive. Creating streets that encourage walking and cycling can continue this process and ensure everyone who wants to has the opportunity to walk or to cycle.”
We Support Mini Holland is a group of more than 800 pro-Mini Holland Waltham Forest residents who want to show their support for the planned traffic filtering and cycle lanes while finding ways to positively influence the design of the project. We want to create a space where people can share their stories about how the Mini Holland schemes are improving their lives, streets and communities.