Ealing Council welcomed Transport for London (TfL) and the Greater London Assembly (GLA) to Southall last week (22 July) to see how the area is being transformed to support residents’ active travel aspirations through the Let’s Go Southall initiative.
Councillor Peter Mason, leader of Ealing Council and councillor Deirdre Costigan, cabinet member for climate action joined TfL’s deputy mayor for Transport, Seb Dance, and GLA cycling and walking commissioner Will Norman, on a walk through Southall to get a first-hand look at how the ambitious programme of improvements is taking shape.
They started by visiting the Uxbridge Road, where the council is introducing a new, high-quality cycle lane to make it easier, safer and more pleasant for biking along one of the key routes through the borough.
Next, they dropped in on the Southall Grand Union Canal Wellbeing Way, a green, nature-rich corridor, where Let’s Go Southall is transforming the towpaths and walkways to make them safer and easier for people to travel on foot and by bike.
Lastly, they met members of Let’s Ride Southall, a group of local people working together to improve their cycling with regular rides and bike maintenance. The council is supporting the initiative all the way and is providing an astonishing 1,000 bikes to residents free-of-charge to ensure that anyone in the area who wants to get active and start cycling regularly can get involved.
‘Amazing work to make active travel accessible for everyone’
Councillor Peter Mason, leader of the council said: “I was absolutely delighted to welcome Seb and Will to Southall and show them the amazing work being done here to make active travel even more accessible.
“Wellbeing Way, stretching along Southall’s canal paths, is just one example. It is being opened up over the next few years to ensure that people can enjoy the fantastic surrounds. The new, dedicated cycle route along the Uxbridge Road corridor is another.
“We are also delivering the astonishing Let’s Go Southall initiative, giving away literally, a thousand bikes to residents in Southall to help people to enjoy and benefit from cycling. This offer is the first of its kind in the whole of London and I am proud that Ealing is leading the way when it comes to active travel in the capital.
“Our strong and lasting partnership with TfL and the GLA is helping us to deliver these transformative programmes, not just in Southall, but across the whole borough and we will continue to work closely together to secure the improvements in public and active transport that our residents deserve.”
‘£10million for active travel across the borough’
Councillor Costigan continued: “Active travel is so important to us in Ealing, whether that is to support active and healthy lifestyles, help fight the climate crisis or to improve air quality.
“That is why we have committed to spending £10 million on active travel. We are investing here in Southall, but also across the whole borough – Northolt, Greenford, Ealing Central to name just a few places.
“It has been great to see some of the work we have delivered with TfL, but we could do so much more if we had greater funding from central government.
“We have got huge ambitions when it comes to active travel which are backed of course, by TfL and the Mayor’s office.
“But we need support from the government to accelerate our bold plans, make sure we see more people walking, scooting, running and cycling across the whole of Ealing.”
Deputy mayor for transport, Seb Dance said: “Let’s Go Southall is bringing communities together and integrating the idea of public and active transport. We at City Hall have an overall target that 80% of all journeys should be made by public and active travel across London by 2040.
“Key to that is improving infrastructure and making people feel safe and confident in using walkways, waterways, safe spaces and wide street spaces in order to actively participate.
“We want to go forward and together we can work in partnership with boroughs like Ealing to create the space for active transport that residents so desperately need.”
Let’s Go Southall, a local initiative uniting community groups, businesses, faith groups, charities and volunteers, to offer wide-ranging support for Southall residents who want to be more physically active. Find out more about Let’s Ride Southall, and the range of opportunities and activities for local people to get involved at its website.