The Ranty Highwayman)
Van Gogh Walk is a hidden gem of north Lambeth and after knowing about the street for a while, I have finally managed to have a look for myself.
My stay was briefer even than Vincent’s, but all the same it was peaceful, pleasant and definitely worth the effort to get there. Previously known as Isabel Street, Van Gogh Walk opened in its current form in 2013 and it is a bold statement for a much wider community-led project which sought to tame the streets around two local schools. For all of the background, please take some time to look at the street’s website!
Before I take you into the street, it’s worth setting the wider context. The street sits in an estate with a 20mph Zone and although it is traffic calmed, the place seems to be a popular cut-through. I was there early afternoon on a weekday, and Caldwell Street which runs east-west through the estate wasn’t pleasant to cycle along (before it was traffic calmed, there were 3,200 vehicles per day using it). The estate sits between the A3 Clapham Road and A23 Brixton Road which should be taking the through traffic. Some key modal filters and traffic management could transform the whole area even more
What was nice to see, however, was street trees being used for traffic calming (often book-ending and puncturing rows of parking bays) which will in time help give the impression of a much narrower road and take no space from pedestrians. Many car parking bays have also been turned over to secure cycle parking which was great to see
The first hint that there is something different going on is the sign above. It’s not a lawful traffic sign and the driver of a van as I pulled up on Hackford Road didn’t pay much attention. Sadly it was liveried up as a Lambeth Council vehicle.