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TOPIC: Mini-Holland scheme: Will our high streets really be "sacrificed"?

Cycling & cycle lanes in the context of Enfield's high streets & the Mini-Holland project 06 Apr 2014 19:00 #235

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Almost everyone claims – without a shred of research evidence – that adjacent parking is essential to high street businesses. It was therefore to be expected that the proposed cycle lanes along the length of Green Lanes and consequent significant reduction in parking would provoke The Green Lanes Business Association (GLBA) into phrases like this in their campaigning leaflet against cycle lanes: “….cycle lanes must not destroy our shopping centres.”.

Clearly there are strong feelings involved, and rightly so because if we lose our high streets and local shopping areas we lose a convenient source of the everyday requirements for living and a precious social space where communities are built. On the other hand all the evidence appears clear that high street parking is not essential:

• people of my age can remember when no one shopped using a car and high streets thrived;
• a similar fuss was made when major city shopping streets were pedestrianized yet now no retailer would support a return to car-bound streets;
• if local high streets are compared, say between Muswell Hill and Palmers Green, it seem clear that Muswell Hill is doing better in rather similar hinterland – there must be a reason for this and I think it is that Haringey does more to calm traffic and traders do more to make being on the streets a pleasant experience;
• the national and highly respected campaigning organisation Living Streets says this: “Research suggests that making it better for walking can boost footfall and trading by up to 40%”, and that boosting footfall “….. by making our high streets as accessible and enjoyable as possible.” is important, and
• Living Streets also says: “International and UK studies have shown that pedestrians spend more than people arriving by car.”, that: “In London town centres in 2011, walkers spent £147 more per month than those travelling by car” that: …..governments should invest in the public realm………to create more attractive high streets.” and much more in that sort of vein.

I could go on, but it’s clear that in this case evidence tops opinion. On the other hand society is car-centred now in a way undreamed of when I was young, and things have to be done to encourage walking if we are to capitalize on the Living Streets’ evidence. Namely: the council has to face up to the fact that 20mph speed limits from home to shop must become the norm.

All the above assumes that the case for making it easier and safer to bike has been made, and in that regard the council has done well. But in one regard I think not well enough, that of traffic congestion. Certainly it needs to be reduced from the current level on convenient travel and health grounds, and to reduce rat-running, but I think that unless early action is taken in parts of London, conceivably including our part, traffic could grind to a halt: The population is rising, per capita car ownership is rising, figures recently released show that car purchases rose 17.7% last month. On already congested roads that’s a disturbing statistic which is best tackled by a drastic reduction in driver-only car journeys. Cycling is tailor-made for that.

Finally I should add that the GBLA leaflet is quite a sophisticated and helpful document which should help the development of constructive discussion.

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Mini-Holland scheme: Will our high streets really be "sacrificed"? 07 Apr 2014 17:38 #264

"High Street parking might disappear under Mini-Holland Scheme!!!" is the headline on a leaflet issued by the Enfield Business and Retail Association (EBRA) and Green Lanes Business Association (GLBA), in which the two trade bodies warn that "It is highly likely that Pay and Display parking bays will be removed on both sides of the High Streets outside the local shops".  The N21 Online website uses the lurid headline "Are our High Streets about to be Sacrificed for the Mini-Holland Superbike Highway?"  But is there actually any evidence that these dire warnings have any substance?

It's certainly true that the planned creation of cycle lanes linking Enfield Town with Palmers Green via the A105 will involve reductions in the amount of on-street parking available.  However, examination of documents issued by Enfield Council suggests that the planners have taken care to leave some on-street parking in the vicinity of shopping parades, certainly where Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill are concerned.

Section 7 of the main Mini-Holland document available on the Council website admittedly refers to using "surplus carriageway space" to provide room for cycle lanes on both sides of the road.  However, this appears to refer to sections of the A105 where there is "little parking in evidence" (for instance, Village Road and Ridge Avenue).  Section 7 points out that within the "high street" sections there are "higher levels of frontage activity" (council jargon for "more cars park"), so the planners clearly could not consider that there was "surplus carriageway space" along these sections.

cycle map pgOn-street parking provision in PG Town Centre based on Appendix 7 of the Mini-Holland document (not authoritative)More detail is provided in Appendix E, which comprises a section-by-section description of the proposed changes to roads, pavements and junctions along the A105.  As far as Palmers Green town centre is concerned, the Appendix indicates that there would be "limited parking" alongside most of the shopping parades in Green Lanes between Hedge Lane and the Triangle, but no parking outside the short shopping parades to the south of the Triangle (see the map, which is based on my interpretation of the information in Appendix E and is not authoritative). To make room for cycle lanes in both directions along Green Lanes, rather than narrowing the area available to motorists, pavements on both sides would be narrowed and projecting bus stop pavements removed.  There would be breaks in the cycle lanes at bus stops - cyclists would carry straight on when there was no bus present, or pass buses on the right.

The parts of Appendix E relating to Winchmore Hill are less clear, but certainly refer to the retention of some on-street parking:

Green Dragon Lane to Station Road:

Removal of limited parking on both sides of the carriageway. Some parking retained on northern side between Vicars Moor Lane and Sherbrook Gardens. Parking has been provided east of Firs Lane on the southern side of the carriageway as well as north of Elm Park on the eastern side of the carriageway. Where possible parking has also been provided within laybys.

Station Road to Bourne Hill:

Removal of limited parking on both sides of the carriageway. Limited parking is provided north of the junction with Queen’s Avenue on the eastern side of the carriageway.

Conclusions

The evidence suggests that Enfield Council has no intention of completely removing on-street parking in the vicinity of shopping parades along the A105.  No doubt, there will be fewer parking places, but the A105 route is an essential part of the planned cycle network.  Some of the additional cyclists will be shoppers.  More bike journeys should mean fewer car journeys and less traffic, making Green Lanes a pleasanter environment for shoppers on foot.  In any case, there is research data showing that retailers tend to overestimate the importance of car parking to their business and that the majority of shoppers in local high streets are pedestrians.

Before any of the cycling schemes can be started, Enfield Council will have to publish detailed plans and engage in real consultation with all interested parties.  However, it would be helpful if they could provide some general information about the amount of parking that would be available as soon as possible, otherwise people are likely to jump to wrong conclusions.

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Cycling & cycle lanes in the context of Enfield's high streets & the Mini-Holland project 12 Apr 2014 16:29 #240

The latest edition of Palmers Green Life highlighted the successful mini Holland bid by Enfield Council and sought specific input by the Green Lanes Business Association / ebra. My immediate thinking went along these lines:

Reading the detail and answering the questions posed on the Mini Holland successful bid in the recently delivered version of “Palmers Green Life.”
Key objectives are listed as reducing overcrowding on public transport, roads, pollution and parking demands. With an increased London population in the order of 1m expected in the near term with obvious implications for further increased overcrowding and air pollution, of which vehicle transport is a significant contributor, apparently costing Londoners an average of six months off their lifespan, these are surely worthy aims.
Lord Coe, earlier this month, highlighted other benefits of cycling which could possibly be added to the LBE / GLBA list:
Economic benefits
Reduced NHS costs
Reduced absenteeism
Increased employee productivity
Increased alertness amongst school children
And possibly more.

Certainly it is a powerful list of potential upsides and therefore deserving of very careful scrutiny if opposing
Looking at the local shopping environment, and my local one of Palmers Green, in particular the outcome of the last decade and more has not been good in the development of a mixed shopping area: more hair dressers, nail bars, betting shops, fast food outlets, charity shops, estate agents and restaurants with a commensurate reduction in what might have been thought of as a traditional high street, ie butcher, baker, greengrocer and the like. A retail area has gradually been replaced by more of a service orientated offering. Might that continue?
Looking back over the same decade and more, the retail environment has changed out of all recognition:
Huge and easily reachable retail complexes from Bicester Village, to Westfield(s), Harlequin Centre, Bluewater, Lakeside are well established;
Local retail Parks are available on the A10 and A406
Major Supermarket outlets (“Extra”) essentially forming a town centre in their own right are nearby
There are many major supermarkets offering an extraordinary range of items
All come as one-stop offerings complete with ample free parking
Add to this massive competition is the current huge growth in internet shopping
It all adds up to powerful competition for local retailers. Subjective evidence would suggest too much.
Over the same decade and more my wife, and other neighbours, have avoided the local high street other than for very specifics items, eg dry cleaning. The range does not attract and the public environment is seen as dirty, noisy, unattractive and at times intimidating.
The Palmers Green Life magazine coincidentally highlights three retail specialists offering a history of expertise to the local retail space: N21online, Love Your Doorstep and Creative Exchange as well as the Business Association itself. And yet the area deteriorates.
Everything so far perhaps suggests more of the same will generate merely more of the same, ie perceived deterioration.
At this point it would be most useful to have hard quantitative data, eg numbers of local shoppers and ATV, how local purchase trends – volume and value - have changed over the years, the reach of the shopping area in attracting customers and more. A set of potential metrics, developed for the original Palmers Green Regeneration / Improvement work in 2011 gives some idea of the areas which would usefully be tracked at local level, and targeted by any investment. (Document from 2011 copied below)
Palmers Green Shopping Area Regeneration and Improvements
Looking over the five year programme it is important that the anticipated investment is seen to produce returns which are beneficial to the area; both business and residents. The Council already produce a range of measures as part of their broader activity; other agencies, in particular the Police do likewise. We hope that a range of measure applicable to the anticipated regeneration and improvement of Palmers Green’s central area can be developed from such existing activity. The range we are provisionally suggesting is as follows:
Shops
Turnover (sales) to increase by an extra A% after 5 years
Local residents to increase their use of PG shops by B% after 5 years
Out of town visitors to the shops to increase by C% after 5 years
Overall footfall to have increased by D% after 5 years
Void measure / relative sq. footage rental to improve
Residents
Satisfaction with the area to have increased by an extra E% after 5 years
House prices to have risen by an extra EE% by end of year 5
Traffic
Time to drive through the centre to reduce by F seconds (or F%) after 5 years.
Shoppers using increasing road length to cross from side to side
Crime
Local crime to have fallen by an extra G% - (perhaps shopping street crime / ASB reports / graffiti reduction)
Pride
Pride in the area to have increased by H% after 5 years
Litter / spitting / dog mess – prevalence to have decreased by J% after 5 years (complaints / tickets)
Enterprise
K new businesses to have opened by end year 5
Employment (or unemployment linked measure) to have improved by L% by end year 5

Against such a background, the GLBA questions can be addressed:
1. Awareness of the scheme / bid before receiving the magazine
Only in the most general terms
2. Effects on various items / areas
a. Parking: would depend on the pace and scale of changeover to cycling / walking. Comparing Holland, where 27% of all journeys are made by bike to the less than 2% in the UK, reveals a huge potential to remove cars, and hence the need for parking spaces, from the equation altogether. A similar trend in car hire / pooling increasingly moving out from the central areas of London could have similar effects. The position seems uncertain
b. Homes: it is difficult to see the proposal as being other than positive for homes- less noise, passing traffic, pleasanter local environment
c. Residents: similar to homes, again a large positive
d. Businesses and retail. The opening section of large macro trends suggest issues of a scale dwarfing the occasional pay and display bay loss as requiring the real attention. Playing at the margin is not going to bring back lost shoppers with what would be effectively no more than more of the same. A clear wood for the trees risk may well apply without due care
e. Schools: as Lord Coe suggested, health and alertness should increase with more walking / cycling to school replacing car journeys
3. My thoughts and views: excellent that LBE applied and were successful in seeking radical change to a situation which is self-evidently not working or sustainable on present trends. I am most cautious of the knee jerk reaction to any short term threat to the status quo and will consider implications, argument and data carefully over the coming months. At a headline level it seems far too good a chance for this locality to miss and embrace. Getting it as right as possible for all stakeholders in the short term while moving to the long term situation would seem to be the main challenge.

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Cycling & cycle lanes in the context of Enfield's high streets & the Mini-Holland project 25 Apr 2014 09:46 #253

Thoughts on the Public Meeting held on 24th April 2014

A well-attended public meeting of perhaps 100, comprising a mix of local traders, politicians, cyclists and residents, firstly heard three sets of individual presentational views opposing the mini Holland bid before the floor was opened for comments. Two core themes emerged from the first half of the meeting: firstly that there had been no consultation pre the bid’s submission. Attendees went on to learn that core stakeholders had indeed been consulted, EBRA and FERAA specifically were mentioned, but that real consultation effectively started now in the knowledge that a successful £30m or so bid was in place. The second issue was the real concern of traders that any reduction in car parking spaces would sound the death knell for their business / Palmers Green. Many traders built on this theme, supported by some politicians.
Several cyclists subsequently added their views, often backed by research data from elsewhere that cyclists were indeed good shoppers worthy of being more than banished to the side streets.
Much data followed ranging from the £4m apparent trade worth of the town centres parking bays to smaller bike : cyclist spend ratios. Piles of conflicting data appeared to loose the interest of most of the audiences by this point and was then wrapped up by one politician, claiming a statistical background, indicating stats could be made to tell whatever story one wanted, although that could well have been the accountant rather than statistician in him speaking.
It seemed a shame there was an overriding view only of the threat from Enfield’s £30m bid victory and not consideration of what a £30m success, one of a few flagship schemes for London, could do for the Boroughs various stakeholders. Surely something could be achieved from so much high profile capital.
But a good meeting with numerous individuals providing input, usually listened to carefully by the majority, laying out many of the issues the consultation will start to bring out and the bid team will need to work through in moving the borough and this locality into its emerging 21st century landscape.
Consultation input will be most important and all attendees (and beyond) were encouraged to make their views known when the time comes for formal consultation later this year.

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Cycling & cycle lanes in the context of Enfield's high streets & the Mini-Holland project 25 Apr 2014 19:29 #254

I’ve some further points of information and reflection on the mini-holland meeting.

David Burrows who chaired the meeting reported that Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner, had emphasised to him the need for community consensus before any money would actually be forthcoming. The GLA would not be dogmatic about the details of any scheme, but he was looking for improvements to the environment, the public domain and cycling. He had requested feedback from the meeting. I understand that David has arranged to do this. It also appears that Enfield are now considering delaying the formal consultation process to the autumn.

It’s not clear to me how the stakeholders’ meeting in November 2013 was constituted, nor why, in spite of the attendance of FERRA and the Enfield Business and Retailers Association, information about the mini holland bid wasn’t more widely known. There’s little doubt from comments made at the meeting that local businesses remain very irritated by this. The fact that Enfield still do not appear to have published the many detailed annexes to the report (including listing those at the stakeholders meeting I think) may not have helped.

There is also the question as to how the three consultations which affect Palmers Green (the promised consultation on mini holland, the recent consultations on the Palmers Green public realm, and that on the management of town centres – which includes Palmers Green) are related. None seem to take the others in to account, at least there is no explicit sign of this in any of the documentation or from those involved. Since August 2013 I have been involved with others in discussions with senior Enfield Officers over the future of the Triangle in attempt to persuade them to widen consultation. The mini holland bid was never once mentioned by them, though the bid annex on Palmers Green envisages its removal! (You can find out more about this elsewhere on PGC)

Given this background it’s not going to be easy to build the consensus which mini holland requires. Retailers fear an immediate negative impact from the changes, while proponents are convinced about the longer term benefits. Both have what they regard as evidence to support their cases, and question that of the others. It’s clear to me that the mini holland bid does offer prospects for positive change to the shopping environment, but there are likely be winners and losers if it goes ahead. Individual worried retailers and businesses are unlikely to be convinced by broad studies of the positive economic effects of promoting cycling, they want more tailored predictions which reflect their own circumstances.

Some retail outlets are more dependent on car borne visitors than others. Is there hard evidence on winners and losers from existing schemes in the UK? However, it was pointed out there are changing patterns in shopping emerging, including as regards reduced car ownership and use, and predictions of the effects of mini holland need to take this in to account.

In order to avoid getting bogged down in increasingly bitter argument it seems to me that Enfield will have to put in a very major hearts and minds effort and accept that any consultation process will have to go further than usual. Enfield defines “Consult” as “To obtain public feedback to inform decision making”. They will surely need to move at least to “Involve” defined as “To work directly with service users and the public to ensure that issues and concerns are consistently understood and considered.” They might even want to “Collaborate” which they define as “To work in partnership with service users and the public in each aspect of decision making.” This latter includes as an example “Consensus building” which is what we are told is essential. Delaying consultation until the autumn could provide a key opportunity to get this sorted out.

Some of questions raised which will need answering include the following.

Will the limits on parking apply in the evenings? If so will it damage the evening economy?

Locals believe that side streets are already fully occupied; will there be increased conflict over parking in them if spaces are lost on Green Lanes?

Will the changes have a disproportionate effect be on disabled drivers?

Will crossing the cycle lanes present problems for pedestrians?

Clearly without changes it will be harder to increase rates of cycling, but if the environment for cyclist improves will it really lead to significant increases in cycling? The current rate of journeys in Enfield is only 0.7%. Enfield aims to raise this to 5% in 5 years. The GLA target is to reach this by 2026.

Is the aim to get more people on bikes or to get more journeys by the existing cyclists? Where will the additional cyclists come from? Will Green Lanes become a superhighway for lycra-clad long distance commuters rather than for locals making local journeys? What effect might these different outcomes have on spending in the area? Are there plans for many more cycle parking spaces? If so where, given that some pavements are being reduced in width?

How relevant is the Dutch experience to Green Lanes? Are the basic highway characteristics on which the cycle lanes are to be introduced comparable?

What effect will the proposals to reduce road lanes at key junctions have on traffic congestion, and hence the local environment? Will bus journey times suffer? Have TfL endorsed the proposals?

How much, if any, money will be available for the more general improvements to the public domain as opposed to cycle lanes?

I'm sure that there is much more to say, and PGC is the place to say it!


Colin Younger

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Cycling & cycle lanes in the context of Enfield's high streets & the Mini-Holland project 26 Apr 2014 15:29 #258

And let’s hope David gives a fair report of what finally emerged as a constructive meeting where as one reflective trader later put it to me, “we have to find a balance”. I suspect it would also be useful if David committed to providing the GLA with balanced input from all future public meetings on which point I would make a plea: if public understanding and fair comment of a complex picture is required then let’s hear the Council authors outline the position and not seek to build consensus by starting from a (highly) unbalanced set of presentations: throwing petrol onto an already burning fire and then calling for consensus risks more of the schism, point scoring, politics which has cost Palmers Green vs other areas of this Borough so dearly in the past. We don’t need it. Stage managed to the extent of slides available by one speaker in anticipation of an audience statement isn’t the middle, listening, way the public should reasonably expect.
And with understanding who knows what may be possible. An ambitious approach could even lead to no drop in parking spaces, safety for bikers, a pleasant public realm for shoppers likely to bring in more trade and traffic progressing through the centre without issue. Poynton recently took a not dissimilar bold step. With something similar, dedicated cycling lanes may not even be required through the main shopping stretch of the planned highway. Who knows what other options there may be but sticking your head in the ground probably rules out the required vision.

As a businessman you have to look for the risks but also grab the opportunities. From a flagship Borough whose two main parties have, in writing although evidently no longer in deed, committed to a substantial Borough wide increase in cycling and now have the capital to facilitate it, seeking to be actually on a new main-trade route (one of only two planned) rather than bypassed seems a good place to start your opportunity thinking.
We only have to look as far as at Broomfield House to see the risks of looking to hanging onto the past when things have changed and supporting capital doesn’t come your way. Tumbleweed on the high street it may in the longer term but maybe not for the reasons highlighted.

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Cycling & cycle lanes in the context of Enfield's high streets & the Mini-Holland project 28 Apr 2014 10:06 #263

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
I was also at the meeting about the Mini-Holland proposals.

From the beginning it seemed that David Burrowes wanted it to appear like an information-providing occasion followed by an open discussion. In fact the ‘information’ presented by the three speakers was weighted against the plans which, but for the audience, could have enabled the organisers to claim universal objection to the scheme. Not an approach which suggests that our MP has grasped the problems which the Mini-Holland is designed to address (in addition to benefits for cyclists): severe congestion, shockingly poor air quality, an under-exercised and increasingly overweight population, a chronic and worsening health problem as a consequence of the other factors.

If David Burrowes hasn’t yet grasped the overwhelming need to foster cycling his Government (they provided £100M of funds to support it), London’s Mayor (he organised the allocation of the funds) and the Council (they made the bid) all do. The case for making it easier and safer to cycle is overwhelming, but it fell to the audience to make that point.

And amid all the arguments and counter arguments which came up was one which I find distasteful – that cyclists shouldn’t have the same democratic right to complete their journey by their preferred route as drivers. Indeed some contributors to the discussion made it crystal clear that they thought the opposite should be the case: cyclists, rather than choosing to travel along Green Lanes, should be required to use less direct routes via minor roads and residential streets. Which begs the question: why are drivers first-class people, cyclists second-class?

However, whatever the shortcomings of the meeting there’s no doubting that businesses and traders are genuinely worried – a friend described them as frightened – about the probable loss of parking places having a deleterious effect on their livelihoods; which is a fear which needs to be addressed. So it’s important to note that there is evidence that cyclists are better customers than drivers, and even better evidence that, provided the public realm is congenial to them, pedestrians are even better customers than cyclists. How to ensure a congenial public realm is therefore the key issue; all of us, whether businesses or buyers, want to see a revived and thriving local business community.

So in this context what constitutes a congenial public realm? I’d say:

• shared top-of-the-list must be traffic calmed to a maximum of 20mph and not held stationary at traffic lights and pedestrian crossings, together with as much social space (wide pavements, informal seating and pavement restaurants) as possible;
• all railings designed to control pedestrians removed;
• street trees and planters;
• good planning, good design, good surfaces and lack of clutter;
• harmonised shop fronts with security screens designed to be unobtrusive;
• high street buildings of all types maintained to a high standard;
• surfaces scrupulously maintained on a day-to-day basis with businesses taking responsibility for keeping pavement areas in front of their shops and offices spruce, and
• well-designed bicycle stands at frequent intervals.

The Poynton Shared Space scheme mentioned by Karl Brown in his earlier contribution to this dialogue might well fulfil the priority need for calmed but continuously moving traffic. The principle is a tried and tested one which began in the Netherlands, but now features in many mainland European countries and in Britain. It also has the wonderful property of encouraging all three groups of users of the carriageway to share rather than, as now, compete for priority. That’s a competition that drivers inevitably win.

Colin Younger in his contribution to this debate expresses concern about the level of consultation which preceded the submission of the bid. Personally I don’t think the Council had a lot of choice given the time pressures and the uncertainty of the outcome (as a number of the Councillors present at the meeting pointed out). But since the main point was to convince London’s Mayor of its determination to foster a cycling culture it hardly matters because it’s clear that Boris Johnson is unlikely to complain provided cycling rises in the priority stakes.

On the question of future consultation that’s partly down to us as a community. If we have ideas – Karl Brown’s for instance, but others may also have ideas – then it’s up to us to put them forward now.

As far as Colin’s other questions are concerned I think we can often foresee the answers.

Q. Will the limits on parking apply in the evenings? A. Yes, because cyclists have the same right to a guaranteed pathway as drivers.

Q. If so, will it damage the evening economy? A. Probably not because restaurants and pubs should be part of an improved public realm, but also because restaurant-goers generally live within walking distance even if they actually drive at present.

Q. Locals believe that side streets are already fully occupied; will there be increased conflict over parking in them if spaces are lost on Green Lanes? A. Two of the key aims of the policy are to reduce congestion and improve air quality, and a shortage of parking will increase the pressure to travel on foot, by bike or by public transport.

Q. Will the changes have a disproportionate effect on disabled drivers? A. It seems to me that this could be a difficulty in some social areas like high streets. Which is another reason why Karl’s thoughts about Shared Space carry weight.

Q. Will crossing the cycle lanes present problems for pedestrians? A. Experience in Copenhagen and Stockholm suggest that they can. This is because serious cyclists, like drivers, tend to expect walkers to keep out of their way if they have a segregated cycle lane even when pedestrians must cross the lane to reach the other side of the road. This phenomenon is another good reason for taking the idea of Shared Space seriously because every road user learns to share.

Q. Is the aim to get more people on bikes or to get more journeys by the existing cyclists? A. Without a doubt, both, but the former is the most important – cyclists are as entitled as drivers to travel by the most convenient route; lots of people are scared of cycling among selfish traffic; Mums and Dads prevent their children from cycling out of fear.

Q. Clearly without changes it will be harder to increase rates of cycling, but if the environment for cyclists improves, will it really lead to significant increases in cycling? A. In London, with its rising population, cars, especially driver-only cars, have a limited shelf-life. Cycling and public transport will fill the gap, rates of car ownership are already at an all-time low. Factors like rising obesity levels, an under-exercised population, cycling to school, air quality, are big issues which need to be addressed. Furthermore the Council is already doing a lot by way of support, training, promotion, repairing bikes, and will do more as part of the Mini-Holland plans.

Q. Will Green Lanes become a superhighway for lycra-clad long distance commuters rather than for locals making local journeys? A. I think, given the north/south direction, that they might (as it is already for cars). Which is another reason for creating Shared Space in social areas.

Q. Are there plans for many more cycle parking spaces? A. Yes, lots. And also plans to provide secure, roofed cycle storage installed on request in residential streets. Residents will be able to hire space for their bike if they don’t have space on their own property. Each unit accommodates several bikes and takes up about half a car’s length at the kerbside. They are already being installed elsewhere in London.

Q. If so, where, given that some pavements are being reduced in width? A. Let’s leave that to the architects for the time being.

Q. How relevant is the Dutch experience to Green Lanes? A. Is the question relevant? Either it’s possible to achieve or it isn’t.

Q. What effect will the proposals to reduce road lanes at key junctions have on traffic congestion, and hence the local environment? A. The idea is that short journeys, especially driver-only journeys, should be reduced considerably. Some early congestion will promote that change. Remember the tale of ‘evaporating’ congestion in Wolverhampton told at the meeting.

Q. Will bus journey times suffer? A. Transport for London will squeal if they do.

Q. Have TfL endorsed the proposals? A. Certainly not yet because Enfield has been given a free hand to design something which works.

Q. How much, if any, money will be available for the more general improvements to the public domain as opposed to cycle lanes? A. This is a key question, but it’s not hard to guess that it won’t be as much as the ideas warrant. Partly though the issue is one for retailers who could do more to spruce up high streets by working together on the design of shop fronts, and reducing the visual damage caused by some security curtains.

These are both exciting and essential changes in the context of London’s quality of life. Time to get our head down and work at it

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Mini-Holland scheme: Will our high streets really be "sacrificed"? 28 Apr 2014 13:25 #265

I'm bringing together all contributions to the discussion about Mini-Holland and the meeting at the Intimate Theatre on 24th April under this heading.

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