Streets Ahead Live! From Waltham Forest

For this episode, Ned, Adam and Laura navigated east London's cycle lanes and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods to speak in-person, in front of a live pub audience, to Councillor Clyde Loakes, at the Wanstead Tap in Waltham Forest.

For the past decade Cllr Loakes has led his borough's transformation for walking and cycling. Waltham Forest is very much no longer a forest, in North-East London, but has become world famous for its Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, people-friendly high streets and for pioneering high-quality cycle lanes and transforming massive car-dominated junctions in outer London for active travel.

During the podcast we talk about political courage, and what the borough has achieved since Clyde's team won an unprecedented £27m from Transport for London back in 2013 for its 'Mini Holland' programme. We discuss how ultimately this kind of transformation, while hard, is possible - even in the most car-centric of places. We discuss the role of a range of players, from campaigners on the outside, to the political and officer support within the council - and the importance of listening to genuine concerns from the public.

In a speech in 2018, Cllr Loakes said: ‘I spent years talking about encouraging a shift to bikes and walking without actually doing the things that make a difference. If I am honest - I was tinkering with parking schemes and pandering to car owners. I was not delivering for our community. Then I got a chance to do something extraordinary. We won our Better Waltham Forest mini-Holland bid with low traffic neighbourhoods and protected bike lanes . We had signed up to deliver a huge public health implementation at pace.’ He added: ‘For too long we, in fact I, as a councillor had been focused on maintaining a status quo that did nothing for anyone. But now we have done something extraordinary, a radical intervention that puts people first.’

Thank you to Dan at the Wanstead Tap, to everyone who turned out on a rainy Monday night in December, to join us live, and to Pedal Me who cycled our equipment across London.

The Healthy Streets Scorecard, which ranks London boroughs based on people-friendly measures, can be found here:

*That* coffin picture is here:

Clyde Loakes is on Twitter:

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Episode edited by Clare Mansell.

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