Less traffic congestion, cleaner air, more and safer cycling and walking, better public and shared transport provision – these are some of the aspirations in Watford Borough and Hertfordshire County Councils’ future transport strategy for the town which residents are being asked to give their feedback on.
As a sector, transport produces more greenhouse gases than any other in the UK and with the recent climate change report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declaring we are at ‘code red for humanity’, both councils are taking a stand against climate change.
The ‘Transforming Travel in Watford’ strategy therefore sets out how we plan to make it easier and greener for people to get around Watford, particularly by walking, cycling and using public transport. Developed following a consultation with residents and businesses and a range of other organisations in 2020, the 20 year strategy explores six key themes which emerged strongly from the survey and focus group sessions:
- Active travel – making the streets of Watford attractive and safe places for people of all ages to walk and cycle with new cycle lanes and parks and new and improved footways
- Longer journeys – providing real alternatives to driving into and out of the borough – proposals include new park and ride services, more bus lanes and better connection of the current train stations with the development of a new green, rapid transport system
- Alternatives to the petrol car – offering a variety of choices that make leaving the car at home an easy choice for people – proposals include a ‘Watford car club’, greener, more efficient taxis and more electric vehicle charging points across the town
- Town centre – making more space for walking, cycling and public transport – proposals include pedestrian and cycles crossings on the ring road and a sustainable transport hub on the High Street.
- Moving goods from a to b: reducing our reliance on trucks and vans and introduce e-cargo bikes, more parcel lockers and freight consolidation centres
- Supporting change – providing everyone with the know how to make use of the new schemes and incentives to embrace them.
The draft strategy has been published for consultation from 18 August and will run for eight weeks; and it is available to view at www.futuretravelwatford.com. It includes a series of actions to make transport more sustainable, which will be phased in over the next 10 to 15 years.
Anyone without internet access, or wanting more information about the consultation, can phone 01923 226400 or get a paper copy of the strategy and survey at the Town Hall (open between 8.45am and 5.15 pm weekdays (4.45pm Friday).
Watford’s sustainable transport strategy is a key strand of Watford’s overarching Sustainability strategy which includes a key target to make the town net zero carbon by 2030. You can read about all the council’s effort to become greener at www.watford.gov.uk/sustainablewatford.
Peter Taylor, Elected Mayor of Watford said: “There is an appetite in Watford for cleaner, greener and healthier travel options, this is evident in the way residents and commuters have embraced the Beryl bikeshare scheme and the 120,000 journeys that have taken place since it was launched. We want to look further now and start putting the right things in place for achieving a modern, reliable and sustainable transport system which will be at the heart of the town’s success as a place to live and do business. It is so important that we work together to cut congestion and make our air cleaner in Watford. Please take the time to read our strategy and share your views with us”
Cllr Ian Stotesbury, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability said: “It is vitally important that we make travelling around Watford right for our community and businesses. The right transport and travel solutions that allow us to move around Watford easily will support local jobs, make sure our economy thrives and ensure the community can make healthy, environmentally friendly choices.”
Phil Bibby, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport at Hertfordshire County Council said: “We want to make Hertfordshire a cleaner, greener and healthier county, and making alternatives to the car a more practical and attractive option is a key part of that. We know that if we want people to leave their cars at home we need to make sure that walking, cycling and public transport are realistic options.
“That’s why we’ve been working closely with Watford Borough Council to develop this draft strategy to improve transport in the town over the next 20 years, and we are now keen to hear what people think. We all want cleaner air, safer roads, less congestion and better public transport, but we will need support from local people to actually deliver this in a sustainable way.”