Council bids to turn borough into 'mini Holland'
Merton councillor Andrew Judge cycled to the Mayor of London's office today (December 13) to deliver the council's bid for a share of the £100m on offer to transform Wimbledon into a 'mini Holland'.
The bid showcases how the council could use the money to install segregated cycle lanes, cycle priority at busy junctions as well as rejuvenate existing, underused alleyways to link up different parts of Merton with cycle ways.
A share of the money available would also enable the council to potentially divert cars away from part of Wimbledon town centre, allowing the space to be used by buses, cyclists and pedestrians.
The council has put Wimbledon as the hub of the cycle transformation proposal. Key elements include:
But Mitcham, Morden, Raynes Park and Colliers Wood would also benefit from better cycle connections to Wimbledon and between each other.
Funding would allow the council to make the roads more appealing to cycle on and encourage more people to get out on their bikes, especially for short journeys.
Merton has above the London average cycle ownership which means there is significant potential for people to benefit from the health and social aspects of cycling. Offering free cycle training to community groups and schools would also form an integral part of ensuring Merton's transformation into a mini Holland is a success.
Cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration Councillor Judge (pictured above at City Hall) said: "In Merton we have a strong ambition to make cycling as safe and convenient as it is in the Netherlands. We want men and women of all ages and children to be able to choose cycling safely for journeys in every part of Merton.
"No longer should people feel that if they get on a bike they have to jostle with heavy traffic. It is about achieving a better balance. The more people cycle, the healthier they will be and everybody else will be better off: the roads will be less congested and the air cleaner."
Leader of the Merton Conservative Group, Councillor Oonagh Moulton added: "This is an exciting opportunity for Merton. Whilst much more detailed work remains to be done on the plans if Merton's bid is successful, as well as extensive discussions with the public and the piloting of potential solutions, this is a rare opportunity for such a substantial investment in our local transport infrastructure."
The bid has cross-party support and has also been welcomed by the Lib Dems, the Merton Park Independents and UKIP.
What do you think? Why not comment on our forum?
December 13, 2013