What is Mini-Holland?
In 2013, all 18 outer London boroughs were given the opportunity to apply for funding from the Mayor of London’s Mini Holland programme that had set aside £100million for cycling infrastructure improvements. Waltham Forest was one of just three boroughs (Enfield and Kingston being the others) selected to share the pot of money, with 30million earmarked for structural changes to the layout of roads and pathways in the borough.
What does the programme aim to do?
The main aim of the programme is to make Waltham Forest a better place for local residents, businesses and people who work or study here, as well as making the borough a place people want to visit.
The programme will do this by:
1- Improving the residential areas around Walthamstow Town Centre by proposing changes that slow down vehicles on residential streets, discourage non local traffic from cutting through the area, prioritise pedestrians at junctions, improve community interaction, provide a safer route for people to cycle through, and allows local people to drive through the area without congestion.
2- Improving the town centres in the borough by proposing changes that allows pedestrians to access shops and facilities safely, attracts visitors to these areas to boost business, and provides public spaces and meeting points for people to enjoy.
3- Improving key routes in the borough by proposing changes that provides protected separate space for people to cycle in, provides facilities to benefit public transport users, new crossing points for people who walk and cycle, and provides public spaces turning the route into a 'place'.
4- Increasing the number of people choosing to walk, cycle or use public transport, by improving road safety through new crossing points, pedestrianised areas and segregated cycle lines.
5- Reducing congestion on the roads by making cycling and walking safer, so that people who are likely to cycle feel safe to do so.
6- Improve air quality across the borough by encouraging more people to cycle for local journeys.
7- Providing free initiatives to schools, businesses, and residents to encourage active travel in the borough.
8- Working with the communities, residents groups to understand what improvements they would like to see in the area.
Cycling is a major mode of transport in the Netherlands, and represents 27 per cent of all trips (urban and rural) nationwide. It is successful and popular in Holland as they have many cycle friendly factors such as; bike-friendly infrastructure, and bike-friendly public policy, planning and laws.
Is the programme only for cyclists?
The Mini-Holland programme is for everyone who lives, works, and spends time in the borough.
By making changes to the infrastructure in the borough we are able to make improvements to the borough as a whole. These changes are going to significantly improve the borough, creating more pedestrianised areas and making huge improvements to public spaces.
Introducing pedestrianised areas will make getting around on foot easier for people, lower congestion on the roads and increase footfall in areas to boost local business. Improving the cycling infrastructure and facilities will make cycling safer and more accessible for all, which will encourage people to cycle instead of drive for shorter journeys. Improvements to local public spaces will make the borough a more enjoyable place to live and instil a sense of pride in the community.
What are the benefits of the project?
- The borough will be safer for all road users
- An increase in cycling among residents will ease congestion on the roads
- Less traffic will reduce emissions, improving air quality and creating a more pleasant environment for all
- The uptake of cycling will improve the health and fitness of residents
- Pedestrianised areas and improvements to public space will make the borough more attractive
- Increase in footfall in areas creating a boost for businesses in our town centres
- Residents will be able to connect better to the borough’s town centres and to neighbouring boroughs
- More opportunities to allow play streets, temporary road closures for local community events
- A joined up network of cycle and pedestrian friendly zones to make cycling easier and more accessible
- Segregated cycle tracks to make cycling safer for all cycling abilities
- Increase in cycle facilities such as cycle parking to make cycling more accessible and lessen barriers to cycling.
How will you increase the number of people choosing to walk and cycle for local journeys?
By improving the roads, making them safer and more enjoyable, as well as making cycle routes more sympathetic to where people want to go, residents will be presented with a better alternative to using their car.
Complementary measures will be a fundamental aspect of the programme and will encourage residents to take up cycling and walk more. Residents and businesses will be encouraged to take part in events and activities to help them see the benefits of the programme to themselves and the borough. These activities include; cycling initiatives for schools and workplaces, HGV cycle safety training, improved facilities for cyclists and community events.
When will the work start?
By winter 2015 we will have consulted on eight schemes and be planning the engagement for the remaining schemes. Before any work takes place the Council will consult with residents in the scheme area to gather their thoughts on where they live and the proposed improvements. Full details on each scheme and dates can be found in the Work near you page on this website.
Will it affect the whole borough?
The Mini-Holland Programme aims to make significant improvements across the borough. The programme is separated into the following schemes, Villages (Walthamstow Village, Hoe Street and Wood Street area, Blackhorse Village and Markhouse Village), Town Centres, (Chingford, Higham Park, Leyton, Walthamstow and Leytonstone), network of cycle routes (Leyton-Chingford and Leyton-Blackhorse Road) and the Lea Bridge Road 'street for everyone'.
How can residents feed into the programme and the proposed changes?
There are a number of stages the individual schemes will go through before any permanent changes are made.
- Perception survey – before designs are developed a perception survey is conducted with residents and businesses in the scheme area to find out what local people think about the area and the the type of improvements they would like to see.
- Co-design workshop – the perception surveys results are then used to develop a concept design for the area which is taken to local resident workshops for feedback.
- Consultation - the results from the co-design workshop are used to develop a detailed design for the scheme area. Households in the scheme areas will be notified about the consultation and invited to have their say on the proposals. During this time, all comments received will be considered and feed into the design for the area where possible.
- Implementation – should a scheme be approved by local households the agreed plans will be implemented over an agreed timescale.
How can I have my say on the scheme and how will you use my views?
We want to build a genuine dialogue with local residents and businesses to help inform and shape the proposals. There will be lots of opportunities for people to have their say on the scheme and we will consider comments extremely carefully and feed these into our designs where possible. Suggestions and questions can also be emailed to us .
How will the scheme affect businesses?
There is a growing body of evidence from London and other cycling cities that shows people who cycle (along with public transport users and pedestrians) are loyal supporters of local shops and services. They tend to use local shops and services more frequently and spend more money per month than those travelling by car. By improving the look of the area we hope to attract new customers and increase business opportunity. Throughout the programme we will work with businesses to makes sure they can take advantage of the opportunities the proposed changes will bring.
How have emergency services been consulted?
It is important to note the role of emergency services - the ambulance services, police and fire brigade - in any road changes. When the Council makes any changes to road layouts, the emergency services are referred to as statutory consultees. This means that the Council has to consult with them, and if they raise objections about proposed schemes the Council has to reconsider the plans. All changes brought about by the Mini-Holland Programme have been through this process, and to date the emergency services have not raised objections. The Council also provides the emergency services with regular updates, with six weekly liaison meetings taking place with all local emergency services.
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