It’s worth going back to Hackney’s transport strategy, and thinking a bit about the competition here. Hackney promise us:
Councillors have suggested that there is ‘no chance in the next decade’ of getting all the money to sort out the Victoria Park one-way system properly. So we have to get this road right now, not wait for possible changes we may not live to see.
At the very minimum, there is no reason to remove the current segregated cycle track. We would like to see this track extended the length of Wick Road (from Morning Lane to Kenworthy Road).
However, why stop there? Wick Road is an unusual road with amazing potential:
1) It has several parallel routes dedicated to taking large numbers of motor vehicles. (At its narrowest points, the Victoria Park one-way system has one westbound lane (Cassland Road) and two eastbound lanes (Victoria Park Road and Wick Road)- a clear imbalance).
2) Large lengths of the street does not need motor vehicle access.
3) The road is exceptionally wide wide.
Introducing Wick Walk
We are calling for the closure of Wick Road as a route for through-traffic, to be replaced by a linear park – Wick Walk.
Initial discussions with residents have elicited excitement about including:
- a cafe
- tables to play chess
But we’re in the earliest stages of our planning and are open to ideas. What would you like to see in the park? Please add your ideas in the comments at the bottom.
But what about…?
What about the money?
The council are proposing spending £700,000 creating more space for drivers (most of whom don’t live in Hackney). That money could be better spent on a park for local people. There is also £1 million available to be spent for the community within Wick Ward.
What about traffic?
The single most important thing to remember is that cars are like work – they expand to fill the time available. If we make more space for people to drive through, more drivers will use it. If we reduce the space, drivers will choose to use other roads (like Mile End Road and Commercial Road – massive dual carriageways designed for through traffic). And some people will choose to cycle and walk, now that they can do so safely.
This idea is brilliantly explained in this TED talk which shows that people will stop driving, and won’t even notice they’ve changed their behaviour.
The other key thing to remember is that most local people don’t own cars. People driving from Essex to Central London don’t care whether they’re taking Mile End Road, Commercial Road or the Limehouse Tunnel or the North Circular – if Wick Road is closed, they’ll go elsewhere.
What about access?
We would maintain access to all off-street parking and houses along access roads – a solution which works well in areas around Well Street Common.
What about local businesses?
What could be better than a wonderful attraction encouraging the local community out. Whether buying food for the barbecue or ice cream, businesses can make money out of this.
What about buses?
Buses would be best served by the provision of bus lanes where there is space down Cassland Road (most of the length of that road) and Victoria Park Road.
If New York can do it…
New York was far more car-dominated than Wick Road is. What they proved was that it is possible – easy even – to close off space to drivers, and make room for people to enjoy the streets.
To see how, try this TED Talk from Janette Sadik-Khan, who led this effort.
If New York can knock out four lanes for drivers in its biggest square, surely Hackney, seeking to be an ‘exemplar for sustainable urban living’, can knock out one lane?
How do we get Wick Walk?
Crucially, we are simply ordinary residents asking for something better. There will be many questions and issues as we create Wick Walk, and we look to work with professional architects and designers and the community to make this work. But the first step is to make it absolutely clear to the council that we want a better solution than what we’ve been offered.
There are three levels of support available – choose what you can do:
1) Bronze support
Complete the consultation saying:
- I oppose the current scheme – it’s damaging for the area. Please mention you’d like to see the cycle track stay and be extended!
- I wish to see a feasibility study into the creation of Wick Walk linear park.
- The feasibility study must include a three month experimental traffic order closing Wick Road to traffic, from the junction with Barnabus Road to the west.
2) Silver support
- Tell three other local residents about the plan, and ask them to respond to the consultation.
- Email our local councillors, Christopher Kennedy (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nick Sharman (email@example.com) and Jessica Webb (firstname.lastname@example.org), to ask them to support Wick Walk.
- Leave a comment on this post saying why you support the park.
3) Gold support
Get in touch (use the comment section below or tweet) to help us build Wick Walk. We particularly need people with time to pass on the message, people who can help us with visualisations, and local businesses keen to get involved.