The arguments we often hear against Enfield’s Mini Holland are not backed up by evidence. Please see below for some of the research, evidence and facts which support the principles behind Mini Holland.
While Green Lanes business owners have been concerned about the effects of losing some on-street parking, there is overwhelming evidence that the Mini Holland proposals could significantly boost their income.
The Green Lanes economic impact assessment: There could be “a longer term uplift in town centre spend of up to 10-15%”, according to the January 2016 assessment of Cycle Enfield’s impact on businesses along Green Lanes/ A105 due to more attractive high streets drawing more customers. The economic impact assessment by Regeneris Consulting, Section 4.110.
Businesses can prosper when bike lanes are installed even if some parking is removed, studies from around the world have shown. According to one business owner, “The bike lanes and lower speed limits help to calm car traffic and increase pedestrian traffic — all positives for my business. Business is up 20% since last year”. The Complete Business Case for Converting Street Parking into Bike Lanes and Salt Lake City Street Removes Parking, Adds Bike Lanes and Sales Go Up.
Business owners tend to overestimate how many customers come by car. This has been observed in studies around the world and Enfield is no different. For instance, a survey of Palmers Green visitors found that only 21% had come by car, whereas some local business owners estimated that figure to be 88%. Economic impact assessment by Regeneris Consulting (Section 3.10) and The Complete Business Case for Converting Street Parking into Bike Lanes.
Customers who come without a car spend as much or more than drivers. An analysis of 78 businesses in metropolitan Portland found that non-drivers, including cyclists, are “competitive consumers, spending similar amounts or more, on average, than their counterparts using automobiles.” Consumer Behavior and Travel Choices.
In fact, there is no evidence anywhere, in the UK or abroad, of cycle lanes being linked to a downturn in the local economy. All the studies show either no effect, or a positive effect – up to 49% increase in sales. Measuring the Street: New metrics for 21st century streets (page 4).
Motor traffic can harm the economy: Studies have also shown that the heavier the traffic going through a town centre, the more shops close down. That could explain Enfield Town’s high rate of closed businesses – 700 cars an hour and three lanes of traffic make it an unpleasant place to shop. Cycle Enfield’s plans to take traffic off Church Street could turn this problem around. Spend on High Streets According to Travel Mode.
Benefits for children
The changes planned by Cycle Enfield are NOT for those who already cycle in the borough – only 0.7% of journeys are currently by bike (mostly men). Instead, the aim is to allow people of all ages and abilities to cycle on the road – especially children.
Childhood obesity: 24% of Enfield’s children are obese – one of the worst figures in the UK. At the same time, hardly any children cycle to school in Enfield. Making cycling and walking to school a safer and more attractive option will mean that more children can keep fit and healthy through active travel. Healthwatch Enfield report.
Bike lanes and traffic-calmed streets will encourage kids to cycle: More parents will let their kids cycle if streets are safer for vulnerable cyclists.To create an environment suitable for cycling by 8 – 80 year olds, people cycling must be separated from motor traffic, such as with greenway routes, filtered permeability, and segregation on busier roads by kerbs or car parking. Children and Cycling by Dr Rachel Aldred.
Childhood independence and well being: A recent report across European countries found that children having freedom to travel and play without adult supervision is linked to higher rates of wellbeing – and better results at school. Children’s ability to travel independently depends on making streets safe for cycling and play, such as protected bike lanes and traffic calming. See Children’s Independent Mobility: An international comparison.
Freedom to play: Three-quarters of UK children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates – and a major reason is parents’ concerns about traffic. Traffic-calmed residential streets where rat-running is prevented would allow more children to play safely outdoors in their own neighbourhoods. See this Guardian article.
The health benefits of ‘active travel’ – walking and cycling – having been shown over and over again. By creating high streets, main roads and residential streets that are safer and easier for all ages to walk, cross the road and ride a bike, the MIni Holland plans should encourage more active journeys.
Active travel keeps us healthy: In London, 43% of adults do not achieve the minimum level of 150 minutes of physical activity each week that is recommended to stay healthy. If Londoners swapped motorised trips that could reasonably be walked and cycled, 60% of them would meet their recommended level of activity. Health Impact of Cars in London, Greater London Authority Sep 2015.
Physical inactivity is dangerous: Being physically active reduces your risk of chronic diseases by 50% Waltham Forest Council – Mini Holland Health Benefits
Car travel is not active: Every hour of your daily commute spent in a car makes you 6% more likely to be obese. Every kilometre you walk (about 0.6 of a mile) reduces it by almost 5%. The Best Ways to Get to Work, According to Science, 30 Sep 2015
Health and economy: The population of London would gain over 60,000 years of healthy life every year, which would deliver an economic health benefit of over £2 billion annually. Health Impact of Cars in London, Greater London Authority Sep 2015.
Mental health: Researchers found that people who walked or cycled to work benefitted from improved mental wellbeing in comparison with those who travelled by car. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 16 September 2014
Savings for NHS: Danish levels of cycling in the UK could save the NHS £17 billion within 20 years. The Benefits of Investing in Cycling by Dr Rachel Aldred.
Enfield has illegal levels of air pollution: Readings for nitrous dioxide are up to 88% above the legal EU limit in some areas of the borough, and levels are also too high near a number of Enfield schools. Enfield Green Party report 2016.
London’s air pollution is deadly, accounting for nearly 9,500 premature deaths in the capital every year. Kings College London report July 2015.
Less driving and more cycling will help: Shifting just 10% of journeys from car to bike would reduce air pollution and save 400 productive life years. The Benefits of Investing in Cycling by Dr. Rachel Aldred.
Cost to the NHS: The true cost of air pollution to the NHS has been calculated as being as high as £53.58 billion each year. Campaign for Air Pollution Public Enquiry.