This simple website is intended to collect residents' views on street closures in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.
Waltham Forest is one of just three London Boroughs to be awarded "Mini-Holland" funding from the Mayor of London to improve provision for cycling. Aspects of the scheme as designed in Waltham Forest include new cycle lanes, remodelling of major junctions, better cycle storage and other facilities. The whole package has had enthusiastic support from cycling campaign groups locally and beyond.
The most controversial aspect has been the plan - already implemented in Walthamstow Village - to block off many side-street routes to motor vehicles using obstacles which can be passed only by cyclists and pedestrians. These "filters" are intended to discourage inessential short journeys by car, and to make the areas affected safer and more congenial to pedestrians and cyclists. No locations will be made inaccessible to vehicles, but access routes may be longer. Through routes ("rat running") are particularly targeted in the designs.
Critics - who include people who are otherwise supportive of the overall scheme - argue that in some locations at least the benefits of street closures will be minimal, and that the inconvenience - even hardship - will be severe, and that this aspect of the scheme is being pushed through regardless of the impact on residents' lives. The scheme has divided the political parties within the Council itself.
The Council has put unprecedented effort into a complex consultation, and argue that the consultation shows a majority of residents in favour. Critics argue that the consultation document (6 pages of A4) was not readily understandable to a substantial proportion of residents, so skewing the results, that it was heavily biased with terms like "Enjoy" and "Improvements", and that the slim majority (41% for, against 36% opposed, within the 14% of households responding) can not be held to be representative of the views of a majority of all residents.
This survey is intended to find out - if enough residents take part - the true consensus on the specific issue of street closures, in a fair and balanced way. All views will be treated with identical respect. Please do take part, and share this site with your family, friends, neighbours and other contacts within Waltham Forest - whatever their likely views. If you can represent your household with a single response, please do so.
Mini-Holland is being rolled out gradually to neighbourhoods in Waltham Forest. You can find out how far plans have progressed for your neighbourhood on the Council's website here. If the process is at an early stage in your area, you may wish to consider taking part in the online "perception survey", attending the advertised workshops, and then awaiting the publication of formal proposals for your area before making your mind up and responding here - this survey will remain open throughout 2016.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Respond (below) for your household.
- Prompt other WF residents to do the same!
To get a representative number of answers, we need as many people to respond as possible - whatever their view. So please do share this site (www.StreetBlock.net) with anyone who lives in Waltham Forest.
On suitably configured computers/devices this link will begin a 'skeleton' email which you can edit and send.
The purpose of the survey is to be able to report proportions of households responding in each way, and those figures will eventually be published, anonymously. Names and addresses are required to ensure that only WF residents vote, and that they vote only once! Names and addresses may be disclosed to the Council to demonstrate that responses are genuine, and it's possible that a council officer may contact a sample of people who have responded in order to verify your name has not been "borrowed" or invented. Your details will not otherwise be shared with campaign groups, political parties, businesses or individuals.
If you choose to supply a public Nickname (optional), it may be later possible to trace/verify/amend your response. If you choose to supply an Email Address (optional) then we may send you occasional brief announcements.
The Council's consultation figures are based on households, so this survey will initially be analysed on the same basis. Where multiple responses are given for one address, they will be combined to give a "median" score. (Details of the processing of responses will be published along with results). Responses which don't designate a specific address within Waltham Forest will be discarded. Measures are in place to detect bogus entries. It may take weeks or even months to collect sufficient valid responses to be meaningful. Results will eventually be published on this site.
I am Philip Herlihy, a Waltham Forest resident since 1988, and in recent years quite active in our community. I've been at various times Chair of my local Community Council, Chair of my local police Ward Panel, Chair of my local Residents' Association, and I'm currently Chair of the Waltham Forest Safer Neighbourhood Board. I run a small business from home. I'm a motorist, pedestrian and cyclist. I'm not affiliated with any political party. I've had several years of university training in relevant research techniques.
I'm very much in favour of promoting cycling, and particularly cycling safety. I actively supported the campaign to bring Mini-Holland to Waltham Forest, and I support most aspects of the project. However, my own view is that the proposed street closures will bring little real benefit, and an entirely unacceptable level of inconvenience - even hardship - to many residents in the "villages", particularly those with limited mobility, or those depending on a home-based business for their livelihood.
This survey is an attempt to find out - either way - what a true majority of residents think about the specific issue of street closures.
Photo credit: Waltham Forest Council Tender document.