Cycle lane plan for Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Council has revealed plans to complete the second fully-segregated east-to-west cycle lane in the borough.

The proposals will see a range of changes to the roads and pavements on Forest Road between Waltham Town Hall and Woodford New Road.

If completed as planned, the new lanes would extend a recently-completed segregated cycle route that runs from Tottenham Hale to the Bell Junction.

A fully-segregated east-to-west route also already runs from Hackney to Redbridge along Lea Bridge Road.

Alongside new “stepped” cycle lanes on both sides of the road, the council is proposing “junction improvements”, road closures and “floating” bus stops.

This will provide a “clear separation” of road usage between cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles.

The plans were published last week on the Enjoy Waltham Forest website, where the public is invited to give feedback before July 28.

A document detailing the proposals says the council has been working to transform Forest Road into an “attractive and better-connected transport corridor for all”.

The council says it wants to make Forest Road safer and more accessible to residents of more than 7,000 new homes planned in Blackhorse Lane, at the Town Hall and around the Wood Street junction.

An early consultation on what residents would like to see was carried out in 2020, with 127 people answering an online survey.

CGI of the scheme outside the Town Hall

The plans say that 40 of 53 existing parking bays will be retained, recognising that they are “vital” to the local community and economy.

The council said: “When asked how people felt about the scheme overall 53 per cent were positive or somewhat positive, 43 per cent were negative and 4 per cent were neutral.”

Several side roads will connect to Forest Road with “Copenhagen” crossings designed to improve safety and signal pedestrian prioritisation by blending the pavement into the road.

All bus stops will also be “floating” on the pavement with cycle lanes passing behind them to avoid conflict between public transport users and cyclists.

Several experimental “shared use bus boarders”, which have cycle lanes running between the bus shelter and the road, were installed in Waltham Forest between 2017 and 2018 under the £27m Transport for London-funded Mini-Holland programme.

However, they recently came under criticism from the National Federation for the Blind UK (NFBUK), who said forcing public transport users to step into bike lanes is “extremely dangerous”.

For more details and to comment on the plans, visit: https://forestroad.commonplace.is/

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter