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Comment - Streets for Living / Road Safety

Mini-Holland by David Flint

Everyone, it seems, is getting excited about Mini-Holland .

The Mayor of London has awarded Enfield Council £30 million to improve cycling provision in the borough. This is based on Council plans to create cycling 'super-hubs' at Enfield Town and Edmonton Green, restrict Church Street, Enfield, to pedestrians, bikes and buses and build cycle lanes on main roads across the borough.

Enfield Green Party strongly supports these proposals which complement our long-standing policies for borough-wide 20 mph speed limits and shared space approaches to our streets.

Though the Mini-Holland bid was supported by both Labour and Tory groups on the Council there has, inevitably, been opposition. At the genteel end the front page of the next edition of the Enfield Society's newsletter will carry three articles: in favour (by me), expressing doubts and, most interestingly, arguing for a shared space approach to the town centre. We look forward to constructive discussions with those involved.

At the rougher end several of us attended a public meeting in Palmers Green called by David Burrowes. The speakers were local business people who feared that cycle lanes through Palmers Green would remove parking spaces and destroy their businesses.

It's hard not to sympathise (though I'd be more sympathetic if they'd invited a proponent of the scheme to give us some facts) but there's a lot of evidence that they are over-reacting. Multiple studies (eg The means: to change places for the better ) show that shopkeepers generally over-estimate the importance of parking and that over a month pedestrians spend more than motorists. (For more on this meeting see: Passion on the high street )

This will run and run. The two main speakers are standing for the Council as anti-cycle lane independents. Local papers and online media are much exercised and formal consultation will probably start in the autumn.

First published in the EGP members newsletter, May 2014

Published and promoted by Bill Linton for Enfield Green Party, both at 39A Fox Lane, London N13 4AJ