Waltham Forest council is in the running currently to win up to £25 million funding from TfL, in a bid to transform central Walthamstow into a “mini-Holland”, an area radically transformed to boost cycling and walking. Eight outer London boroughs have been shortlisted, including Waltham Forest, four will receive funding. And the final bid document recently went to TfL, in early December – with the Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign actively involved and participating in shaping the bid document.
The eight mini-Holland schemes proposed include an ex-railway line public space scheme and riverbank boardwalk in Kingston, the removal of the Stratford gyratory in Newham and cycle lanes along unused railway land in Richmond. Waltham Forest’s bid includes: a proposed new Cycle Super Highway along the length of Lea Bridge Road, with a radical rework of the Whipps Cross roundabout; “home zone” or “Woonerf” style residential “quarters” of Walthamstow transformed by almost completely removing rat-running and through traffic for quieter, living streets; and key north-south and east-west linking routes completed to a high standard.
The Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign is proud to say it enthusiastically backs the Waltham Forest bid… with a few caveats. Firstly, it’s vital to point out that despite the scheme being called “mini-Holland”, we’re not going to see Walthamstow transformed overnight into a cycling utopia. The bid document, due to the constraints of the funding, doesn’t tackle all of what you might think of as central Walthamstow – nor does it tackle every street within the central area.
That said, following on from the ambitious Cycle Action Plan in 2012, even with some caveats, the mini-Holland bid represents a massive step-change in the council’s aspirations for cycling and road use in Waltham Forest. And they’re fully aware that the Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign intends to use the bid as a new benchmark for what is planned and done in the name of cycling in the borough going forward!