I visited Waltham Forest to see the original “mini-Holland” low-traffic neighbourhood and other walking and cycling schemes the council has introduced across the borough. It’s hard to believe that what we are standing on used to be a road, with thousands of vehicle crossings a day, but is now a space the local community can enjoy. They also have the most cycle hangars of any council, 550 in total – something Bristol can work towards!
Cllr Clyde Loakes has pioneered much of this, in the face of significant initial opposition, much of which has disappeared since people have seen the benefit of these schemes. Indeed, some streets which weren’t initially included requested that their streets be closed to through-traffic too, after seeing how successful measures have been elsewhere. It’s also worth noting that the ‘displacement effect’ has been closely monitored and the LTNs haven’t led to congestion on other roads.
It’s really encouraging to see how these road changes and walking and cycling infrastructure (with added biodiversity and sustainable drainage features) are not only enabling active travel, but have created some beautiful community spaces too.