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Future Streets in Wandsworth

After more than four decades, Wandsworth Council changed political control from Conservative to Labour in the May 2022 elections. Many hopes are riding on the new administration for a more wholehearted commitment to healthy streets and active travel - two sides of the same coin. In early November, the Council announced its 'Future Streets' approach, essentially a badging and bringing together of a number of related policies - perhaps most importantly, its brand new Walking and Cycling Strategy. Although Wandsworth has (in the past) published a Walking Strategy, and several iterations of a Cycling Strategy, this is the first time the two modes have been brought together into a single Strategy. One element of 'Future Streets' is a re-balancing of support for electric cars, with increased emphasis on the positive role of active travel in tackling the cost of living crisis, highlighted by the Cabinet Member, Clare Fraser, when introducing 'Future Streets'.

Shortly after its 'Future Streets' policy announcement, the Council announced that it was tackling carelessly parked Lime Bikes, perhaps partly as a counter to political opportunism on this issue. Whilst tackling pavement obstruction is welcome, the lack of reference in Council communications to the parallel need to provide road space for parked Lime Bikes (or to pavement parking of motor vehicles) was noted by some local activists. The Council Leader's subsequent - somewhat car-centric - messaging about the, very welcome, expansion of ULEZ also raised eyebrows among some observers. Clearly, while an encouraging start, there is work to do to properly embed the 'Future Streets' strategy into Council policy and processes.

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