Deputy Mayor opens new public spaces

Deputy Mayor for Transport, Heidi Alexander, opened new public spaces in Waltham Forest in October, including public spaces, crossings and cycle routes.

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A new 8km Cycleway has been installed as part of the Enjoy Waltham Forest programme, included in the mayor’s £2.3 billion investment in helping create healthy streets, with £30 million of funding allocated from TfL in 2015 for the Mini Holland to improve cycling provision in the borough.

Cycleway 23, the segregated cycle route, runs along Lea Bridge Road from the Waltham Forest boundary with Hackney to Whipps Cross, four kilometres in each direction, and is fully protected along the entire route.

The intimidating, busy and outdated Whipps Cross roundabout has also been transformed with a new public space, pedestrian crossings, segregated cycle lanes and dedicated bus lanes. The land was originally part of Epping Forest, which is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation, before it became a traffic-dominated roundabout and road junction following its dedication as a highway in June 1939.

This new 21st Century road layout has enabled 1,800 square metres of former road space to be returned to the protection of Epping Forest and is sown with Epping Forest-harvested seed and other wild-flowers, to become a flower-rich meadow for pollinating insects.

Walthamstow Gyratory has also been transformed. A bridge over the railway was constructed which allowed the creation of a new public space, improved access to the bus station and segregated cycle lanes leading up to the junction with Selborne Road. One of the two secure cycle parking hubs at Walthamstow station has also been extended from 80 spaces to 160 spaces with a real-time space availability display outside.  

Other improvements along the Lea Bridge Road Cycleway include people walking given priority at 52 crossings with residential side roads, nine new pedestrian- and cyclist-controlled crossings, seven new and improved signalised junctions, a new pocket park at Whitney Road and 194 trees, which are currently being planted.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Waltham Forest Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “The Enjoy Waltham Forest programme has had a massive impact on a number of factors; increasing the life expectancy of our children, significantly decreasing our carbon emissions, getting more people walking and cycling, and making the borough a safer and more sustainable place to live and work.

“We’re proud of not only the council but the entire community’s efforts to strive to be cleaner and greener, as we grapple with the dire consequences of the Climate Emergency that we are living through.”