Until Friday I hadn’t really given the Mini Holland project much thought. I knew about it, I knew it was about cycling and I knew a trial period was coming, that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge. I was away with work at the beginning of this week, so I paid less attention to the impending start of the trial than I probably would have done if I’d been at home. In short, I didn’t really have any strong opinions about the project, I thought it was probably a good a thing, and that was as far as my thinking had gone. On Friday though, Mini Holland came kicking and screaming to life, suddenly it seemed to be the single most important thing happening in Walthamstow, and it became pretty unavoidable.
I had walked past the sign on Hoe Street warning of road closures in the Village a few times, and I was out on Orford Road for a drink on Thursday, but twitter gave me my first real (virtual) exposure to Mini Holland. Or should I say, it gave me my first exposure to what people thought about Mini Holland. A lot of People had very strong opinions about the project, and blimey, they seemed to be very angry. As I read through my time line I could see tales of traffic chaos, gridlocked roads and businesses worried they would have to close. It reminded me of a book I had when I was a kid, the book was called Chicken Licken. The story is about a chicken who is convinced the world is ending, and on Friday night, thanks to Mini Holland, it did seem like the sky was falling. My problem was, I still didn’t have an opinion about it, so I did what I always do, I asked the internet about Mini Holland, because the internet often knows the answer.
In brief, the Mayor of London ran a competition for London boroughs to bid for money that could be used to transform town centres in to areas much more suitable for cycling. Walthamstow won some of that money for its Mini Holland Proposal. The project aims to create safer cycle routes through Walthamstow to other areas of the borough, build a cycle super highway along Lea Bridge Road and to radically change road layouts in central E17 in order to prevent rat running. It is the change of road layouts that is being tested in the Village for the next couple of weeks. After my brief bit of internet research on Friday I had another look at twitter, and it was still in a state of melt down over the project. There’s only one thing for it, I said to the dog, we’ll have to go and have a look at this tomorrow.
As we wandered towards the small closed section of Orford Road we saw a few drivers who seemed confused and unaware of the road closure. This did result in some vehicle ballet as they tried to turn around and find a new route. I wouldn’t call it chaos, but it did cause a little congestion at the junction of Orford Road and Wingfield Road. We sat for a while outside the Village Bakery and other than a few lost drivers, it didn’t seem like Wingfield was any busier than usual, of course, I don’t live on that road so I could be wrong. There were more people out and about than usual, but I expect that’s because they were having a nosey the same as us. Walking through the closed off section, I can honestly say that I liked it. The big benches outside the cafes and restaurants and lack of cars made this section of Orford feel more like a town square than a road. I saw a couple of cars and a white van drive through the barriers but the stewards seemed to do a great job of explaining to them what was happening and getting them off the closed section. It did seem a bit of a risk though to still have the W12 bus running along the road. With no cars it is easy to take your eye off the ball and forget that buses are still driving through which could be dangerous, especially for kids.
At the top end of the closed off section is a great bike rack in the shape of a car, again a temporary feature for now, but a nice addition to the project and a reminder of how many bikes can fit in the space taken up by one car. The closed off area of Orford road is very short and ends before the Village Kitchen. From what I could see there was still plenty of parking on the road at the top end of Orford Road which is important for those that need to drive. We chatted to a number of people as we walked around the roads effected by the scheme. A mix of residents and non residents, and their opinions about the project were mixed. Concerns around disabled access, bus routes, access for delivery drivers and many worried that journey times for car users would increase. Some were also worried that restricting vehicle access to the Village would do irreversible harm to local businesses and make the life of residents difficult. A major concern was about traffic volumes on the surrounding main roads, people worried that traffic would increase on the likes of Forest Road and Hoe Street because vehicles couldn’t drive through the Village. And that is a very real concern, if traffic increases in other areas then the problem is simply being moved from one place to another. There were also people who were very positive about Mini Holland. Residents who were looking forward to lower traffic levels on their streets, and safer streets in general. I also chatted with a couple of business owners who didn’t think the scheme would put customers off, they thought the safer and quieter roads would encourage more people to visit. This is such a massive project, and there are so many factors to be considered, I can see why people were getting angry and passionate about it on twitter. Even after my wander I still don’t know if Mini Holland is a good thing or a bad thing. But I think it is worth giving it a shot.
It’s a bit of a complex one this isn’t it? There are too many cars on the roads, and in built up areas like E17 building more roads isn’t possible. Something has to change, and that change is going to need to be radical. Often change is painful and requires a degree of trial and error to get it right. And change as significant as this scheme does need to be right for everyone, Village residents, drivers, cyclists, walkers, businesses and the wider population of E17 all have a stake in this. I think it will be interesting to see how the project works out, it could be brilliant or it could be a disaster, the only way we will know is by giving it a chance. Whilst I don’t yet have a firm opinion either way about Mini Holland, one thing I am sure about is this. Mini Holland isn’t about the Village and making it more exclusive, it isn’t even just about cycling. This project is a starting point to finding a different way of using and managing our streets. It is far from perfect, it is far from finished, but it is needed. Change is coming and hopefully this project gives us all the chance to help shape it.
Hi Bill, I guess the jury is out on this one. But I agree with you that for good or ill, changing the way people move about is absolutely essential. The UK government is about to be hit with very large fines (hundreds of £millions per year) from the EU for failing to meet pollution targets – hence in my view why there is now the political will to try radical solutions to reduce car use. And for once, I’m going to credit LBWFC with some foresight and vision – in 25 years’ time every urban council in the country will be doing what they can to move people from private cars and on to foot, bikes, buses or whatever and they will be “incentivised” by central govt to do so. As you point out, change is not comfortable and will take a lot of readjustment – but people will adapt and cope.
Perhaps it should also be remembered in the excitement generated by the trial in the village that there are plenty of existing and permanent traffic schemes around E17 that prevent rat running and essentially restrict roads to residents only – the area around Queens Road, or the blocks at either end of Brookscroft Rd and Sturge Avenue spring to mind. The world hasn’t stopped turning, and I think that most residents in those areas are happy that their roads are no longer used as shortcuts by through traffic trying to avoid major junctions. The aim of the changes was to divert through traffic onto the major roads and in this they have been succesful.
Looking forward to seeing how MiniHolland progesses – and the mischief-maker in me can’t wait for the outcry when Forest Road and Chingford Road becomes semi-segregated for bikes and cars! 🙂
Enjoy your blog BTW!
Most people thought “hooray” at the idea of mini-holland – what’s not to like? But the anger is primarily about not being involved in the design and having the design imposed on us with only a few days warning. So many of us love living here in the Village and loved getting involved in all the community events, so we know how we currently use the streets. Having a design in place that didn’t ask anyone who llived here how they used their streets invariably means people say “don’t be ridiculous” and anger starts. I think everyone loves the idea of closing Orford Road and it’s been fab, but simply pushing traffic from one busy road within the Village away to one quiet road doesn’t help. I do live in Wingfield and it has been awful so far with a huge increase in cars in our road, quite often travelling at speed. As a great community road we hold lots of events (such as the whole road coming together for a joint art trail project) but already by day 2 of the trial we’ve had cars damaged and 2 near misses with kids/cars, especially with Wingfield Park at the bottom. We are ‘fingers crossed’ that the traffic stops over the next few days and are in constant dialogue with the council (indeed, the closure of Orford Rd by the Social Club was lifted within 2 hours of the trial as every single car, lorry and van could only go through Wingfield), and so we are indeed passionate that our lovely community, cycle friendly, quiet road stays that way and that mini-holland does benefit the whole Village
Good post and really interesting comments so far.
First off I think it’s worth saying, that I am a big supporter of ‘mini-Holland’ in principle.
Having lived in the area for a relatively short time (compared to many I encounter locally), I have been shocked that such a great area (and active community) have put up with the high levels of fairly aggressive traffic, that was clarly rat running through, for so long.
I do own a car and don’t cycle but could clearly see that what was being proposed makes a lot of long term sense for the health and well-being of the whole community.
That is, if the council listen to feedback and make changes when bits of the scheme don’t work. I also get people’s levels of frustration at the level of consultation pre the trial – it clearly wasn’t good enough – but just hope the council/organisers of the scheme do listen to residents and business feedback, where valid during and after the trial.
We live just round the corner from Wingfield (nr The Castle) and have to say that our road – that has always been a busy rat run – has got considerably worse since the start of the trial. Similarly to Deedee above, my fingers and toes are tightly crossed that in a few days car volumes in the area will drop considerably and become substatially less disruptive – as current levels would be prett intolerable. I’ve also spoken to Chris Harrison about the issue and hope he’ll look at why this route (from Hoe st, via Wingfield or Grosvenor Park Rd, down Eden Rd (southern segment) and onto Lea Bridge Rd via Copeland Rd etc) has been ignored. Hopefully he’ll be good to his word and make the necessary changes to the scheme that have been promised as the data and traffic patterns are collated and analysed.
As with most people, I think this is a incredible opportunity for E17 to be trully radical and progressive in our approach to how we sustainably manage transport in our area. My hope now is the council/organisers truly listen to local people and evolve this cheme into something that is workable for everyone.
Fantastic post and really valid comments!
It’s great that we are trying something new in an effort to combat the age old traffic issues of this area.
However, I strongly agree with Chris that ignoring the obvious cut through: (from Hoe st, via Wingfield or Grosvenor Park Rd, down Eden Rd (southern segment) and onto Lea Bridge Rd via Copeland Rd etc) is both perplexing and strange.
I’m not traffic expert but I would have thought it would seem pretty obvious that this route would quickly become overused simply by looking at a map.
I also could be wrong but I don’t see any traffic monitoring along this route which worries me that the monitors have been strategically placed to make the data seem more positive than the reality of the situation.
I live on Eden Road South and have noticed not just a heavy increase in overall traffic and people parking, but also a large number of speeding cars down a road really not built to suit high levels of traffic.
I find this to be the strangest piece of the puzzle. Why should very small roads which have not seen investment for years suddenly be lumped with all the traffic out of the village while newly paved roads like Pembroke which is built to suit two lane traffic are left dormant.
I’m a big believer in the scheme and truly hope these issues will be resolved when we re-think the road closures.
In the meantime, I hope the roads on this temporary exit route can at least be donned with ‘slow down’ signs as on Wingfield to prevent any serious dangers to both cyclists and children.
I am however also confident it will be great once we’ve found a decent solution.
We should all have a meeting to discuss what works and what doesn’t. Perhaps we can do this on Orford Road some day soon!
I liked this post a lot, not least of all because you’ve been honest about the fact that this is actually a bit complicated and not a black and white issue. I guess that’s one reason the council have gone for a trial instead of just going full steam ahead.
One of the concerns people understandably have– and which you have raised above– is that all the rat-running traffic will simply be diverted onto other roads, simply shifting the problem to a different area. Your readers might be pleased to learn that there is a long history of studies on just this issue, dating right back to the 1960’s, which indicate that in fact that is not what normally happens.
There is a reasonable summary of this phenomenon here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearing_traffic
I would recommend ‘Traffic: Why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us)’ by Tom Vanderbilt to anyone interested in the subject. Also, of course, the classic ‘Death & Life of Great American Cities’ by the late-great Jane Jacobs.
Thanks for posting this.
The bid that LBWF made was for an integrated cycle transport solution; closing roads to all vehicles excepting cycles and buses isn’t an integrated solution. I don’t live in the direct area affected but having seen the effect of introduction of one way schemes in the Higham Hill and Tavistock Avenue eliminates rat running almost entirely. This is where the pilot confuses me – what exactly is the aim of the pilot and how will these aims be measured?
To solely measure traffic isn’t sensible or appropriate. It is essential that impacts such as economic, air quality, emergency vehicle call out times, accidents, near misses, journey times etc are also evaluated, both in the pilot area and preferably up to half a mile around.
The disappearing traffic reference is now over 12 years old and there are a number of papers, eg Currie et al 2007 which review the earlier work and highlight how more complex it is than traffic just ‘disappearing’.
Again, thanks for posting this and please continue to post your thoughts as someone directly impacted by the pilot.
I haven’t been able to find the Currie et al (2007) study you refer to– could you post the title/journal or other details? I am keen to read more.
The fact that the 2002 study is 12 years old is, I would suggest, not very relevant when you consider that it was itself a review of many years worth of projects, and it was in agreement with findings from earlier still. The findings of these studies isn’t that traffic simply ‘disappears’ without explanation, as you seem to imply. Rather, there are good reasons (and rather complicated and interesting ones) why there is pretty consistently an overall reduction in motorised traffic when route options are restricted.
Hi Scott – my apologies. The Currie study I’ve referenced was incorrect. I’ve been looking at evaluation of integrated transport systems and had noted the reference incorrectly. Interestingly, it does suggest that road-space reallocation is difficult to economically justify in road networks where public transport usage is low and car usage high. If you’re interested in the paper it’s:
A New Approach to Evaluating On-Road Public Transport Priority Projects: Balancing the Demand for Limited Road-Space
I think the age of the Cairns study is relevant. There is no doubting the robustness of the Cairns data at its time of publication. However, it is held up as the single citation for disappearing traffic.Even the Wikipedia page identifies that additional citation is required!
The pace of technological change is increasing at an exponential rate – in 2014 internet usage is 6 times the 2002 level, online access is ubiquitous, flexible working is pervasive and more people are taking the opportunity to work in a different way. Indeed in 2004, the DoT report Smarter Choices – Changing the Way We Travel states
‘Teleworking is growing rapidly, and typically currently results in a reduction of between 2 and 6 home-work journeys per teleworker per week.’
As I mentioned above, my key concern with the mini holland pilot is that it is evaluated fully and effectively and considers all the factors which are impacted by the pilot. The consultation to make it happen appears to have been with a special interest group rather than the residents, business owners, citizens…to me that isn’t fair.
Great post and thoughtful, interesting comments made by all. I live in the village and when we first moved in were dismayed by the rat running problem. I have lived in London all my life (Central London, Archway, Stoke Newington, Haringey, Finsbusy Park) and have never encountered such bad traffic problems in a residential neighbourhood. Apart from the noise (our bedroom is at the front of the house), I was genuinely scared of getting knocked over as cars would drive really aggressively through the narrow streets and the pavements are tiny. The village is such a pretty and fun place to live and come and hang out in, I couldn’t understand why traffic calming hadn’t taken place already (like all of the other areas I had previously lived in). For me, the noise and hecticness of life in the village was too much and told my poor husband that I needed to move somewhere quieter. Then Mini Holland was proposed and suddenly it felt like there was hope that we could stay. We were so supportive of the scheme and so disappointed that there was so much opposition. And now the trial has begun… it has all been very exciting and am still feeling mostly positive but am worried. Currently our road (Grosvenor Rise East) between Wingfield and Eden is a nightmare and has basically become a busy high street. But I still have hope and faith that we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water and am hoping that plans can be tweaked or made more radical to completely eliminate rat running throughout the village. I walked along Beulah rd. south yesterday coming home from Lea Bridge Rd. and I didn’t see a single car. Normally about 30 would have passed. It was amazing, it felt like being in a proper villlage. I am concerned about more traffic being pushed out onto main roads. I realise people live on main roads too and these are often the poorer people and I have no interest in makimg my life cushtier at others’ expense and I have really struggled with this concept. But, it just doesn’t make rat runnning acceptable, and main roads are designed for heavy traffic, there are traffic lights and cameras and wide pavements and my hope is that in the end there will just be less motorised traffic in general and everyone will benefit from more people moving about by foot or by bike. Fingers crossed this scheme can be made to work. I will be so so proud of Walthamstow if it does.
Hi Angiolina, when you were in transit through Beulah Road I’m glad you didn’t have the misfortune to experience the massive increase in traffic, often speeding dangerously. Us living in Beulah Road (south and middle sections) experienced this since Day 1 of the new scheme. It’s been a worrying thing for us, especially those with children. I nearly came a cropper today, and have seen other pedestrians receive quite a shock. Previously we had an average amount of traffic, and it travelled at much slower speeds. Anyone who doubts this should position themself for the day outside my flat, or at the south of Beulah Road (I’d happily provide tea, biscuits and a chair). Today it seems even worse than yesterday, as more and more motorists discover the new cut-through.
I think cars are taking advantage of the new shortest route through “The Village”, rather than take a much longer route via the main roads. This is most likely due to Shernall St’s recent closure at Lea Bridge Rd junction, and other road changes already described above. If I was a motorist I’d probably do the same! Beulah Rd between Grove Road and Addison Rd junctions is part of the new rat-run for traffic forced into Grove Rd who wish to travel northwards and then east down Addison Rd, in order to reach Shernhall St or further north up Beulah Rd to Orford Rd. To remedy this, if Addison Rd is made “No Enrty” for Beulah Rd northbound traffic i.e. “No Right Turn”, the cheeky motorists will simply drive further northwards up Beulah Rd towards Orford Road, turn around, and drive south down Beulah Rd to Addison Rd so that they can turn left into it.
I’m female and use the W12 Bus to get home safely at night, along with many of my neighbours, and whatever happens I hope that I’ll still be able to use this Hoppa bus which stops close to my door. Unfortunately I can’t afford minicabs any more.
Please excuse the length of my post – the way this has been conducted without any meaningful consultation would imply that the vast majority of ordinary residents aren’t really part of the equation. We could have provided input to make this a more effective exercise, without wasting resources and dividing the community in the process. As mentioned in an earlier post, there is a serious lack of traffic sensor equipment in key streets, so this needs to be addressed before we can move forward. Statistics can be used or misused…. it’s clear a lot of people who would otherwise have supported positive changes now feel alienated – most people value a healthy environment, I’m sure. How can we trust the Council to take any notice of our concerns? On Friday 12th Sept I received not 1 but 2 hand-delivered letters from the Council, dated 1st and 10th respectively. The latter informed of the public meeting on 15th Sept at the Asian Centre. Minimal notice – at no extra cost, just a few more days to do the job properly! There wasn’t even a telephone contact number in case of emergency – poor show.
I’ve tried contacting Chris Harrison, but still await a response. I cannot find a phone number for this Fred Fernandes. Has anyone got contact details of someone in the Council who can respond urgently, or even better do something? When I discuss this with Council officials in Orford Rd, they just tell me glibly to contact the Mini Holland email address in the pamphlet. This is an urgent safety issue. what do people without access to email or computers do?
I phoned the Council’s main switchboard but all they do is put my call through to an answering machine. Should I contact the Police, perhaps one of you may know if there is a particular department/tel no?
Any useful contact details appreciated.
At least the residents directly affected had some warning, for some of us in the rest of the Borough the implementation of this scheme, if only a trial, came as a complete surprise (I live near Whipps Cross). It needs much better integration of traffic management on the surrounding streets, including the main roads, if drivers and bus passengers are not to feel that they are being penalised, and surely with increasing emmissions from more circuitous routes? I use the bus or walk whenever practical, but sometimes I need to go to parts of Walthamstow in my car, and this is made more difficult by the closure of Grove Road, eg the option of turning north onto Lea Bridge Road from Peterborough Road is a hazard against the heavy traffic. Going south-west on Lea Bridge Road there is no right turn north onto Hoe Street, and the recent realignment of the turning from Whipps Cross Road to get onto Wood Street has made it positively deadly for both drivers and anyone using the pedestrian crossing. This is a very densely-populated borough and for many, cycling is just not an option. Without much better and cheaper public transport the congestion of the main roads (and consequent delays to buses) will just get worse: unfortunately the main roads were not designed for the volumes and type of traffic they currently get.
First of all I’d like to congratulate the Council on taking this bold move. it’s certainly encouraging to see that pedestrians and cyclists alike are taking an important step towards equal rights with car drivers. Being a car driver, a pedestrian, a cyclist and a buggy owner I’d like to say I understand all signs of the coin. Admittedly I’m not a business owner so I can’t really empathise/disagree with those guys, but still, I feel have a voice.
My first experience strolling around orford road Saturday morning with my son, I was for once quite relieved to not be overburdened by traffic. As with most of the rat runs around Walthamstow they are also extremely dangerous polluted places to be. Drivers are generally rude, arrogant and bloody minded over the smallest bit of tarmac, and I think the response seen in the media hasn’t softened my view. So good on you Waltham Forest, please expand it beyond the village to the surrounding areas around the William Morris where we live.
Oh and one last thing to mention on this pollution subject.
Why oh why is Walthamstow still at the mercy of some of the oldest buses driving through Hoe Street???? Surely something can be down to kill off these old oil burners (pre 2007). I don’t see islington/hackney having these sad old buses running through their borough everyday! maybe something can be done here too.
Apparently “Markhouse Village” (the council’s term, not mine – seems to cover quite a large area?) is going to be another trial area. Given that we also have a bus route, W19, which is bigger than the W12, it will be interesting to see what they implement over here.
Niall, you say:
‘As with most of the rat runs around Walthamstow they are also extremely dangerous polluted places to be.’
Well I know you cant back that up, how do you know that Orford Road (all 70 yards of it) and other roads ARE extremely dangerous polluted places to be, beyond any other road in any other London suburb?
Bit of hear say and we are all banging the ‘progress’ drum. Good on you for caring enough to presume that blocking roads wont create traffic jams which wont keep engines running for longer causing MORE POLLUTION. If I could be that short minded about solutions Id think E17 didn’t need one for its cyclists.
‘Drivers are generally rude, arrogant and bloody minded over the smallest bit of tarmac’
Are these motorists or cyclists (?!?) as this can be applied to both without prejudice. I live on East Avenue and so far the cycle traffic hasn’t picked up, neither has the percentage of cyclists wearing high visibility jackets or safety helmets. So who is responsible for there safety, motorists, or cyclists who legally can do what they want? – Which is unlike HOLLAND who actually train both motorists as a motorist and cyclist when getting their licence.
I don’t want to make this about licenced bike use as I support it and have no problem with it when roadways fairly established.
I can stomach the general smugness of the stewards at the foot of Orford Rd as they pat themselves on the back even though they are the only ones to have put their bikes in the bike racks, but my main objections have been
– The appalling ‘consultation’ and ‘communication’ that has apparently been taking place. I knew nothing of this until the Friday they installed the road blocks. The project itself has no project manager which suggests to me the ‘consultation’ process is merely a tick box process required to get £30m for LBWF (who would love the idea of being able to fine motorists for not going down this or that road, daylight robbers!)
– The mysticism of the ‘trial’ parameters. What are they measuring, answer, cars in the area. Presumably to give some credence to the ‘rat run’ problems which must presumably be a miniholland problem within the borough, yet they are not highlighting if this increases cyclists in the area and if miniholland (all 1000 yeards of it) is making the slightest change to cyclists safety. But here’s how we were sold it. Speaking to a very smug steward on the Friday the road blocks were installed, he acknowledged the only two people from the team had driven to site and all 9 others had biked over. Meaning that they, the stewards themselves, were the major majority of bike rack users. The divisions between cyclist and motorist are at such a point you can actually BS people into thinking your research methods are sound by clearly demonstrating the opposite. Since speaking to Mr Smug. WFCycling and other clubs have really tried to push cycling through the area, ignoring beautiful places like the Walthamstow reservoirs and Lloyds Park all because they feel they need to support something ‘bikey’. Which would seem fair before hearing how they want to ride into the area,… so they don’t live here, but they are the opinions that matter? Its unfair and a totally loaded trial period.
– The falsehoods being used to promote miniholland. – Its not better for the environment to make cars travel a longer distance and potentially wait longer in traffic jams with engine running. The idea that the roads closed for miniholland are ‘unsafe’ is rubbish, as they are no more safe or unsafe than others in E17, the statistics do not back this up. Surely if this was a serious concern for LWBF they would indeed lower speed limits and install greater traffic control road layouts ((layouts not systems!) and just more of those square stamped on rubber road bumps).
– Villagisation! Yes, that made up word we are hearing so much about. Speaking to Mr Smug he seemed absolutely glowing with the idea of ‘villagisation’. Well that’s great, apart from the fact that we don’t need to import the idea of a community to have one thanks. I don’t want big blocky and unsightly bike racks that look more at home in the Olympic parks multi-colour stuperverse, its not cool, its classless and garish. Whether you’re proud about the E17 Village brand you definitely shouldn’t support such a sense of entitlement that you think that all the above falsehoods (excuses) culminate at worse within the village itself. This really stinks of a borough wanting to get a £30m slush fund and why should we proudly alienate ourselves further from the other parts of WF? Its a dick move and you would be stupid to think LBWF actually care about the previously mentioned falsehoods, they don’t even have a project manager yet… really, no honestly, miniholland doesn’t have a project manager.
How could this be a genuine trial period?.
– I really fear that this will be divisive and segregate what community we made for ourselves, one which is changing so quickly from external investment that the area feels more or less like everywhere else, just some overpriced area of London. I spoke about this at the local art group and the place almost got rowdy – all because LBWF want a slush fund, they could do something good with it and clear 82% of Whipps Cross debt. But no, more hearsay and diatribe to follow…
Dronolist you sum things up so well. I’m wondering what the most effective way of doing something about this travesty is. I’ve signed the petition at Finamore as a start, but petitions on their own aren’t successful. I guess we should email the Council’s Mini Holland email address with our concerns, just for the record, and then take it to the TOP at the Council, especially as Mini Holland doesn’t have a Project Manager. Would be good to share info. & experiences/ successes/failures with others on this blog.
Listening on iPlayer BBC Radio London 94.9 to Eddie Nestor Show Tue 30th Sept it seems that there’s a lot of people in the area unhappy about the way things are being done!
I’ll keep my reply short and to the point I really wanted to make. I do empathise with the lack of consultation you received, I myself received something in the post but that’s by the by. it must have come as a shock if you’d not been made aware of it.
Anyway, I lived in Norway for a few years and wanted to share my experience. Low C02 emission cars are cheaper to tax and of course electric rules. If you own a high C02 emission car you are heavily taxed. Car owners are polite, the pedestrian is king, not just an obsticle. it’s a totally different way of thinking. not perfect! just different, more responsible and of course a lot cleaner air. I think we all need to start considering alternative methods of travel where we can, public transport in the Borough is excellent. People should be encouraged to use it where possible. People should also be forced out of there cars where possible. Air quality here is very poor and has to be improved. Hopefully this is just the beginning. We’re all dying from these fumes and if this begins to address the issue then it’s a long time coming….London wide….not just little ole LBWF…and not just 1000 yards at a time. I myself am optimistic, let’s embrace it, try to improve the environment. Our children and grandchildren will benefit in the long run. it’s not all about us after all?!?
Niall, I agree with your aims. Ultimately the bigger picture needs to be the focus, and a national/global strategy will change things. In the meanwhile, dividing a community by shifting pollution & fast moving traffic from my road to yours doesn’t help. Even if the traffic problem in my road is solved, I don’t want your road to suffer the consequences. That’s what is happening, and dividing the local community. We really need to trust our locally elected Council in order to vote for them otherwise why vote?
I’m really hoping the Council sit up and take concerns on board, otherwise we’ll all be in a worse situation than before. I’m very concerned about environmental issues, and not just about the traffic problems in my own road!
“So far the cycle traffic hasn’t picked up, neither has the percentage of cyclists wearing high visibility jackets or safety helmets. So who is responsible for there safety, motorists, or cyclists who legally can do what they want?”
dronolist, your points are rather silly, the scheme has been running for four days, let’s give it a chance!
I have no idea why you mention plastic helmets. If it’s about saving lives then helmets for car occupants would save more, if you don’t wear a helmet in your car then you’re a bit of a hypocrite.
There is no evidence that hi vis makes cyclists safer, in the urban realm hi vis can blend in with street furniture, bollards, shop lights etc and make cyclists LESS visible.
There’s a nasty whiff of victim-blaming in your post, as if cyclists must be at fault in a KSI RTC. This is NOT usually the case. usually it is the driver’s fault. What on earth do you man by “legally cyclists can do what they want”? That’s ridiculous, cyclists are subject to the same rules as anyone else, in fact as a proportion of traffic they received a disproportionate number of fines during Operation Safeway.
You make some good points but your obvious prejudice against cyclists spoils them. We are not all criminals. If we don’t wear a silly plastic hat it’s because they can make cycling more dangerous by increasing rotational injuries that can snap your spine.
And there’s no such country as Holland.
“Well I know you cant back that up, how do you know that Orford Road (all 70 yards of it) and other roads ARE extremely dangerous polluted places to be, beyond any other road in any other London suburb?”
You see, that’s your problem, you treat other peoples’ opinions with sneering contempt. Except you’re wrong.
Waltham Forest has a poor record of vulnerable road users’ safety. You may have noticed the protests earlier this year? LBWF’s record is nothing to be proud of.
I’m afraid you’re incorrect about pollution in the borough too. : On some of Waltham Forest’s main arterial roads, including Lea Bridge Road, Hoe Street and Forest Road, there are high concentrations of NO2 which are above EU and health based limits. Waltham
Forest can attribute 7.4% of local mortality to long term exposure to particulate matter. This compares to an average of 5.4% across London (range 6.8 – 8.9) and 3.01 in
Cycling brings health benefits to the cyclist and to the city, and it frees up road space for those who really need it. Urgent action is needed to dramatically reduce these casualty figures. The people of Waltham Forest deserve to feel safe when they choose to cycle. They don’t deserve sneering contempt and deliberate falsehoods.
I am supprised at the ammount of people trying to find positives in a scheme that is obviously ill advised and being implemented by a minority in the Village (most of whom have only lived here for a relatively short period compared to long term residents). It is an abuse of power which has become all too common with the gentrification of Orford Road and companies such as Eat 17 managing to weave their way around local noise and rubbish collection policies, even going so far as to ignore planning regulations.
The small amount of pre consultation and taking on of local residents views, unless they are in favor, is also exceedingly suspcious and reeks of manipulation by the council, members of the ‘Mini-Holland’ team and expnents of the scheme.
One of the comments talked about the lack of traffic surveying going on which is very true, there should be electronic surveys across the roads traffic is being re-designated to and the people posted on Orford road to talk to people appear to not be writing anyones views down (is that not why they are paid to be there?). With this lack of any data being written down how are we to know how many are actually in for or against the scheme?
I have also heard today that they are planning to split the consultations to sub-consultations/commitees where I’m sure once again nothing will be written down giving us no hard evidence one way or the other. This is dangerous to the community as it means a minority with a larger voice is able to control the debate when our older and less able residents (whom the scheme is going to effect much more in terms of how difficult it is to get to Whipps Cross, to the shops, to the NHS center on Addison road as many of these people drive and don’t cycle. I even heard of one lady who couldn’t put her husband in an ambulance for his weekly dialasis as their road was closed as part of the scheme.) hardly have a say.
The scheme has also chosen to direct a large ammount of traffic to roads directly adjacent to our busiest parks (Vestry and Wingfield) which is obviously a very ill advised idea and the ‘rat-running’ that the scheme used as one of its main arguments for road closures appears to be taking place even more than prior to the scheme next to some of our most vunerable residents who use the local parks.
I think, and I am not alone, that we need an honest survey to be written down door to door throughout the Village and the results of this should be taken to the public consultation or if they decide to seperate the consultations, despite the fact that this goes against all policy and precedent for the situation, the results should be taken to each to give a fair consensus on the views of local residents.
Anyone wishing to voice their concerns should send as many letters and emails as possible to local council figures, party leaders and MPs as they appear to be the only people with any power to change this scheme.
We are also starting a community organisation called ‘Walthamstow Village Against Road Closures’ https://www.facebook.com/novillageclosures to bring together people opposed to the scheme and provide information on what we can do to stop this madness.
Hi Joplin, I couldn’t agree more, and it’s very disconcerting to have our safety and interests compromised for the sake of a less representative number of people. For the Council to salvage any credibility, future information as you point out must be transparent and available to all.
Anyhow, I hear that our MP Stella Creasy was recently spotted in the Rose & Crown with the Chair of the WF Cycling Campaign! WFCC appear to be well involved at a much earlier in this abomination of a consultation with LBWF (see WFCC’s website under “Mini Holland”).
MP Stella Creasy was recently saying on Twitter to disgruntled Mini holland residents that she didn’t have any infulence on the Council, or something like that. What is the truth?
Makes me wonder how seriously any comments sent to the Council will be taken. They don’t WANT to be contacted: when I phoned the LBWF switchboard to get through to Fred Fernandes (he signed the 2 residents letters I received on 12th Sept), they told me that there was no Fred Fernandes on thieir records! Does Fred exist? I then phoned for Fred’s boss, Keith Hanshaw, Director of Public Realm: answering machine; I left a message. I then phoned Chris Robbins a second time, answering machine as usual – I left full details of the safety issues in Beulah Rd and the reasons, and requested LBWF to urgently do something before someone was injured, & in the meanwhile provide the residents of our road with hi-vis jackets to keep us safer. Will be very surprised if I hear back from any of this lot, somehow…
May need to contact WF Guardian for publicity to try and achieve fairness towards the rest of us residents and road users who are no doubt the majority of those affected. Am going to buy today’s WF Guardian for contact details!
I’m glad Joplin mentions the new ‘Walthamstow Village Against Road Closures’ on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/novillageclosures, and that we need to contact council figures, party leaders and MPs.
From experience, I’d say our local councillors are more to be trusted than the others in acting in our interests. To look up your local councillor on LBWF’s website: http://democracy.walthamforest.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx?J=6 (please can someone put the link on Facebook, I’m a novice with FB).
As you say, Joplin, we also need to pursue other channels, if for no other reason than to prevent Council excuses later like “we weren’t aware…or we would have done something…”
Thanks for all the comments so far. Really interesting to see what people think of the scheme, and the way it has been handled to date.
I absolutely hate it. I’ve lived in the village for eight years. As a single professional woman I’ve always felt safe making my way home from the station. Now with the mini Holland trial there is a lack of cars and people about it’s like a ghost town in the evening and I’ve felt most unsafe coming home from work, university or from meeting friends. It’s desolate in the evening and destroying the village. It may work for people who have their children all tucked up in bed by 7 but for me it’s definately an epic fail.
Not sure if you are still checking in here but wanted to apologise as sounds like my comment about Beulah rd being quiet was misinformed and I’m sorry to have undermined your experience of an increase in traffic on your road. We are still suffering too on Grosvenor Rise East and I must admit I cant wait for the trial to come to an end. I am still broadly supportive of the scheme though and remain hopeful it can be made to work for all. Personally I would like to see all through routes closed off through the village so only people who live or visit or use the shops and facilities in the village would have reason to drive through it. I have been very impressed (if slightly envious) of other (far more affluent boroughs) like Islington andf City of London implementing 20 mph limits on ALL roads and feel sad for WF that because it is a less wealthy borough the health, safety and well-being of residents aren’t prioritised in the same way. Reducing congestion and encouraging (for those who can) to walk, cycle or use public transport needs to be priortised in London as a whole.
The extra pollution caused by the trial, due to the congestion on surrounding roads makes a mockery of so called healthy cyclists living. Walthamstow village is not a place for thousands of visitors so soon shops will close and it will become a ghost town. Still the politicians only listen to those Puritans who cannot see the problem they are causing. Especially pollution. They will ignore all criticisms and do it anyway. There are may better ways to provide better safer cyclist routes through the village without these road closures. Still I fear no one is listening until it is too late. Like a headlong rush to disaster. Typical.
I thought you might like the time lapse of the cycling route from Walthamstow to the Olympic Park via Walthamstow & Hackney Marshes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNQg3rwRPPc
Great video, thanks for sharing