Has Walthamstow’s mini-Holland scheme boosted local bike shops?Carlton Reid
Monday, April 10th 2017 at 1:42PM BST
“We’ve seen new bike shops open in Waltham Forest in the last couple of years and they seem to be prospering,” Paul Gasson of Walthamstow Cycling Campaign told BikeBiz. “I know many people who have recently started to use bicycles for some journeys, and it’s clear bike demand has been hugely stimulated by the wide-ranging infrastructure changes taking place.”
One of these infrastructure changes is taking place right outside Mamachari Cycles: a protected cycle lane is being installed where before there were parking spaces. Mamachari co-owner Noah Fisher isn’t complaining. “We’re losing the ability for cars and vans to stop right outside the shop. There will be new provision for loading and waiting on the side roads ten metres away. Delivery drivers are complaining. They like to open their doors exactly on to the entrance of a shop.”
Could the delivery driver’s loss be Fisher’s gain? What impact does hard cycle infrastructure have on a bike shop’s bottom line?
Waltham Forest is famous around the UK for the installation of its mini-Holland scheme, part of a programme to improve Walthamstow for residents. Not all have been in favour of the remodeling – when, in September 2015, the mini-Holland scheme was opened protestors carried a mock coffin along Orford Road, much to be bemusement of the Dutch ambassador for whom this was his first official engagement. Protestors claimed the traffic calming on the road would lead to the “death” of Walthamstow village. As it has turned out, the road is now a haven of tranquility.
The “filtering” of Walthamstow Village accounted for a small proportion of the £27m mini-Holland spend in Waltham Forest, which also includes £18m on the Lea Bridge Road cycle superhighway, plus four town-centre schemes, and many cycle parking hubs, with over 100 on-street bike hangers.