Waltham Forest Council has bagged two transport industry awards for the recent improvements that have been made to roads for pedestrians, cyclists, buses and motor vehicles.
The borough secured the highest accolade of Transport Borough of the Year at the London Transport Awards on Thursday 7 March, the second time in just three years that Waltham Forest has been awarded London’s highest transport award. The following afternoon the council also scooped the Green Parking Award at the British Parking Awards.
The awards were recognition of the work of the council’s highways team who have delivered the Enjoy Waltham Forest programme in recent years. The programme, which has been funded by Transport for London’s Mini-Holland initiative, has seen the council reprioritise the borough’s roads to encourage more walking and cycling and improve road safety in the borough. Through the scheme the council has introduced two part-time road closures, built more than 22km of segregated cycle lanes, improved 104 pedestrian crossings, introduced 43 road filters to motor vehicles and provided almost 300 Bikehangars on residential streets as well as 472 secure cycle parking spaces beside the borough’s Tube and train stations.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for the environment, said: “The work of our highways team through the Enjoy Waltham Forest programme is once again gaining the recognition it deserves. Over the last five years the team has been bold in reimagining our streets and residential roads, introducing cycle lanes and road closures to support and prioritise those walking, cycling and scooting and make them safer for everyone, not just car drivers, and making it easier for everyone to use sustainable modes transport.
“We are coming towards the end of the programme now and we’ve started seeing the health benefits that these improvements are having on our residents through better air quality and more physical activity. We know that our work is helping to extend the life of our youngest residents and provide a better quality of life for everyone who is now being more active.
“And it is not just residents in Waltham Forest that are benefitting from these works, we are seeing local councils from across London and the UK visit on a weekly basis for tours to see what the extent of the ‘art of the possible’ is and take those ideas back with them; to implement in their own areas.”
Last year an independent report by the renowned Environmental Research Group at King’s College London found that the air quality improvements in the borough, through better vehicle technology and road infrastructure changes, is predicted to extend the life expectancy of residents born in 2013 by at least six weeks, and that additional activity was also helping to extend their life expectancy. Dr Rachel Aldred of Westminster University also conducted a study for Transport for London which showed that residents in areas benefiting from Mini-Holland interventions, such as Waltham Forest, are walking an extra 32 minutes and cycling an extra 9 minutes each week compared to the outer London average.