Wimbledon Broadway to be part-pedestrianised in £32m cycling haven plan by Merton Council
Merton Council has unveiled a "transformational" vision for the future of the borough to pedestrianise Wimbledon’s town centre and create a ‘tube’ style network of cycle routes and bike hire schemes across the entire borough.
Today the council submitted an ambitious bid for £32m of the Mayor of London’s 'Mini Holland' fund which could see Wimbledon town centre part pedestriansed, cycle improvements made to Raynes Park and Morden town centres and miles of new cycling routes installed across the whole borough.
Merton is one of eight London boroughs shortlisted by the Mayor for a share of the £100m fund with the winners set to be announced in February 2014.
Unveiled today, the plans have already been likened to Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas with proposals to close part of the Broadway to general traffic creating a tree lined one way bus route flanked on either side by a cycle lane.
Pavements would be repaved and widened with the possibility of cafe style road side seating at bars and restaurants.
To achieve this officers are proposing to make Hartfield Road a two way system, redirecting traffic around a newly part pedestrianised Broadway.
The bid also promises extensive improvement and introduction of cycle lanes to fully link the borough.
Councillor Andrew Judge, cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, 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.
"This bid has been well constructed and has support across our local community.
"It is an unprecedented opportunity to transform our streets to make them safer, but also to redesign our town centres and neighbourhoods to make them better altogether for residents and local businesses."
Should the council not win funds from the Mayor Coun Judge said the council would continue to "chip away" at their vision. He said: "We are assuming because we are one of the last eight boroughs that we will get substantial funds.
"If we don’t get the £32m bid we will put in continued bids.
"This is our ambition and the vision we are working toward."
The proposal also includes the introduction of Dutch roundabouts featuring a cycle lane around its edge which would be a first for any local authority in the UK.
All plans would be subject to public consultation and testing before introduced and, if the bid is successful, implemented over five years with Morden the last area to benefit.
The bid has already gained cross party support from all political groups.
Councillor Janice Howard, Merton Conservative’s spokesperson for transport, said: "There is cross party support but our concerns are around how thorough the administration will be on consultation with local residents.
"Certainly the ward councillors for the town centres which are Abbey, Dundonald and Trinity are quite concerned about the displacement of traffic and the impact it will have on their residents.
"We will retain cross party support we will want thorough testing, consultation and involvement to ensure its not the residents in those three wards that get all the traffic.
"They must consult and get it right because it’s not at the moment.
"Whatever plan does go through it has to work for motorists as well.
"It cannot be an anti motorist plan that’s implemented.
"It has to be for the cyclists, pedestrians and motorists."
Councillor Iain Dysart, leader of Merton Liberal Democrats said: "The funding will mean that the council can make the roads a safer environment for our cyclists while ensuring all road users benefit from any changes that are made."
Councillor Peter Southgate, leader of the Merton Park Independents said: "The money available could potentially make a huge difference for the better, not only to cyclists, but also to all road users across the borough."
Councillor Suzanne Evans, leader of the Merton Coalition, UKIP said: "We would welcome the funding from the Mayor so we can see Merton become a borough that is safe for cyclists, but that also works for all road users."
Vision for a Mini Holland Merton
• Part pedestrianisation of Wimbledon’s Broadway used only by buses. Widened, tree lined pavements and introduction of cycle lanes.
• Electric cycle hire at bike shops in Wimbledon town centre, Wimbledon Village, Southfields, Wimbledon's Windmill Museum, All England Lawn Tennis Club, B&B’s and hotels.
• Brompton Dock cycle hire stations across the borough. • Cycling storage hubs in Colliers Wood, south Wimbledon and Raynes Park.
• Wheel channels to be installed on all cycle routes featuring a bridge.
• Newly built cycling routes linking the whole borough.
• New tunnel built adjacent to the current tunnel in Lower Down’s road for cyclists and pedestrians.
• Complete cycle route from Raynes Park to Kingston via Coombe Lane.
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