Every Haringey child needs a safe and enjoyable walk or cycle to school
Jim Bewsher, Haringey Cycling Campaign
- Credit: PA
Last Tuesday, Haringey’s cabinet agreed to publish for consultation its long-awaited plan for walking and cycling.
A step-change in how Haringey manages its streets is certainly long overdue.
People in Haringey have been looking enviously across the border as other boroughs race ahead in making their streets more hospitable places for their residents, while Haringey has remained stuck in the starting blocks.
Despite its title, the purpose of this new plan should go far beyond walking and cycling - planning for the future of our streets is about recovery from Covid-19, the health and wellbeing of residents, and the need for an urgent response to the climate emergency.
All Haringey’s elected representatives should be asking themselves: What legacy do you want to leave for the borough’s children?
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Every child in Haringey needs a safe and enjoyable walk or cycle to school - achievable if our politicians are prepared to be brave and willing to change the status quo.
If they are not, you have to wonder why they got into politics in the first place, and what’s so good about a status quo where children are largely absent from streets which remain orientated around the needs of people passing through in their cars rather than the people and communities living here.
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So, does the plan now out for consultation set out how Haringey is going to do this? There is a clear commitment to be a "class leading" borough on walking and cycling, a welcome ambition given Haringey’s current status towards the bottom of the class.
Unfortunately for an "action plan" it’s rather light on actions and planning. Without setting out clear priorities with a defined timeline for delivery, it’s hard for campaigners who have lobbied for years for change, to truly believe that Haringey is really ready to seize the opportunity to remake our streets for the better.
Action on healthy streets is long overdue. If you agree it’s time to make your voice heard: reply to the consultation, join the London Cycling Campaign and your local Living Streets group, and start holding your elected representatives to account.
- Jim Bewsher is from Haringey Cycling Campaign.