Below is our response to the consultation for the re-developement of The Mall site. Details of the proposals can be found on this link: http://walthamforest-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/pa/171355themall
Dear Mr Gavin Chinniah,
Extension of The Mall, Walthamstow E17 (application number 171355)
I am writing to you on behalf of Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign regarding the development of The Mall, planning application reference 171355.
The proposed site includes the cycle path down Selbourne Road and an established cycling route across Walthamstow Town Square Gardens. The two routes are linked by the cycle and pedestrian ‘tiger’ crossing on Selbourne Road and are well used by local residents to pass through the area and to access the shops, library and the market. In addition, the site includes dedicated cycle parking and railings which are used by cyclists visiting the area. We are concerned that these routes and facilities may be affected.
This area of Walthamstow is benefiting from the £27m TfL funded Waltham Forest Mini Holland project, which seeks to encourage greater use of active travel modes, and a reduction in the use of private motor vehicle use. Even though the scheme is only half complete, it has already won a large number of awards for its visionary aims and innovative designs, with a surge of interest in cycling locally.
We have identified some concerns regarding negative impacts on cycling in the construction phase and have identified measures needed for the scheme facilitate increased cycling in the longer term.
The importance of cycling and walking
Physical inactivity directly contributes to 1 in 6 deaths in the UK and costs £7.4 billion a year to business and society. In London, one third of residents do less than 30 minutes of moderate exercise a week – just a fifth of the recommended minimum.
Cycling and walking are key to improving health through physical activity and also have benefits to society and the environment. Public Health England emphasise that building walking or cycling into daily routines is the most effective way to increase physical activity, for instance cycling/walking to work or to the shops.
Within Waltham Forest increased cycling and walking is essential to boost levels of physical activity, reduce transport related air pollution and provide affordable transport for many.
All cycling provision must be inclusive and cater for a range of abilities and bicycles. Too many schemes only cater for fit, able bodied cyclists on conventional bikes without shopping or passengers (often children). It is important that all routes and parking are designed for use by tricycles and cargo bikes to maintain access to shops and services. In particular access to inclusive cycle parking should not include steep ramps, auto-closing doors or steps!
This is especially important to with the site including the main access for parents to take children to the library and for people shopping at the market.
During the construction the building works are likely to generate significant additional heavy goods vehicle movements in the local area, including on roads which currently have little heavy traffic currently. This will need to be managed to minimise risk to cyclists and pedestrians.
In addition, it is important that the works minimise disruption to cyclists, pedestrians and the local businesses by maintaining established routes and access to services. Where cycle parking is removed (including railings and other places often used by cyclists), temporary cycle parking should be provided to maintain or increase the current capacity
- To minimise the risk to cyclists and pedestrians it is essential that the site manages traffic in line with recognised guidance such as ‘CLOCS’ construction logistics and community safety, http://www.clocs.org.uk/.
- Both the cycle track along Selbourne Road and the established cycle route across Walthamstow Town Square Gardens should be maintained throughout the project. In particular the access across the site should direct cyclists to the shared ‘tiger’ crossing so they can safely access the Selbourne Road tracks throughout.
- Temporary/relocated cycle parking should be provided to replace any parking not accessible during the works to maintain access to local businesses and services throughout the works.
Comments on the proposals
Currently interest in cycling locally is surging, in response to the improvements being introduced by the Mini Holland Project and other local improvements bought in by the council. Once the scheme is finished cycling in the borough is likely to further increase and increasing numbers of people are likely to access the shops, market and library by bike.
The proposed scheme has the potential to positively contribute to cycling in the borough and enable more people to take the opportunity for active travel if designed with this in mind. This should also include provision for people living and working in the new development.
We have the following recommendations:
- The proposed scheme should maintain the existing established routes to a high standard, separated from motor traffic and with access to safe crossings and links to the surrounding areas. It is essential that a safe route is maintained from the current shared ‘tiger’ crossing through to the Town Square and library.
- Footway and cycle track access across the Town Square and into Selbourne Road should conform to section 4.5 (‘offroad design principles’ for public spaces etc) in the London Cycling Design Standards (LCDS) and be designed on the basis of high volumes of people walking & cycling. Note that this implies an absolute minimum width for pedestrians and cycle flows of 4.5 metres, and more if formal separation between flows is employed. Furthermore, the route for cycles & pedestrians should offer excellent sightlines to reduce the risks of collisions between foot and cycle traffic.
- The new scheme should provide plenty of high quality, convenient and inclusive cycle parking with spare capacity to allow for at least a doubling of the current number of cyclists. There should be inclusive cycle parking provision to accommodate cyclists coming from each direction on Selbourne Road and also outside the library.
- There should be plenty of cycle parking allocated to residents which should include provision for cargo bikes and tricycles. It is important that if these are provided at a basement level there is a suitably sized lift for those unable to cycle up steep ramps.
- Dedicated inclusive cycle parking for those working in the complex should include access control, access to showers and lockers, a bike pump and tool station, a hair drier and drying racks for rainy weather. The bike parking should be well signed in the back of house areas with information on for employees on to access it.
I hope you find this feedback useful and productive.
Fred Smith (Chair)
Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign