Transport Boss CCF To Leave Hounslow Council

Chris Calvi-Freeman is heading back to New Zealand with his family later this year


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Local resident and long-standing contributor to the Chiswick and Brentford forums, Chris Calvi-Freeman, has announced his departure from Hounslow Council where he was Head of Transport.

Chris’ departure from Hounslow is understood to follow a restructuring last November, which saw the three posts responsible for transport planning, traffic management and parking enforcement amalgamated into one position. Following the retirement last year of Nick Woods, Head of Traffic & Road Safety, the combined post is now being managed by Steve Prince, formerly Head of Parking Enforcement at Hounslow. Says Chris:

“After almost eleven years, it’s a wrench to be leaving Hounslow, as I’ve made so many friends at work and have enjoyed all the challenges that have come my way. Winning “Borough of the Year” in the independently-judged London Transport Awards in 2011 was a particular highlight and recognition of some very good work done by my team.

“We’ve come a long way towards making Hounslow a more accessible, environmentally-friendly and healthier borough. When I started at Hounslow the main emphasis was on working with TfL to improve the bus service, and we’ve done this by installing a number of bus lanes, improving our bus stops and publishing a public transport guide. The priority has now switched to cycling and we’ve been busy scoping out and delivering cycling infrastructure improvements. Hounslow is now second only to Richmond among London’s outer London boroughs in terms of the percentage of trips made by bike.

“There’s so much more to do, and I will be sad not to be part of it, but I will be leaving my colleagues a very large collection of design plans, including the full length of the proposed cycle superhighway between Hounslow town centre and Young’s corner on the Chiswick/Hammersmith border. I hope this will go forward over the next couple of years.”

“A particular barrier against cycling is the number of rail and river bridges that are too narrow. We have proposals for each of these and we’ve just submitted our application to Andrew Gilligan (the Mayor of London’s Cycling Commissioner) to become one of the outer London “mini-Hollands”. If we get the substantial funding involved with this programme, we can improve many of these bridges over the coming years.

“Another barrier to cycling is of course attitudinal. Motorists need to realise that cyclists have a right to use the roads, and that more trips made by bike will result in less traffic congestion and a better environment. Cycling “civilises” cites and neighbourhoods. But cyclists also need to take responsibility for themselves – many would benefit from training, especially on how to ride safely, responsibly and assertively, and more than a few might consider investing in some lights and a copy of the Highway Code.”

Chris started his career in New Zealand Railways, where he rose to the position of Wellington manager for Railways’ suburban trains and buses. He then worked for Wellington Regional Council where he oversaw the deregulation of public transport in the greater Wellington area. This was followed by a stint in Sydney, where Chris was Manager of Marketing & Communications at Sydney’s new Transport Management Centre, created to integrate traffic control, public transport operations and communications for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and beyond. After the Olympics, Chris and his wife transferred to London where he took up his role in Hounslow Council, following a brief assignment at TfL.

Last November Chris disclosed that he had been suffering from locally advanced prostate cancer. Following an operation in February 2012 and a course of radiotherapy in October and November, he is still receiving treatment although his cancer is currently under control.

Chris’ last day at work will be Friday 19 July. He intends to relax with his children during the summer holiday period, and later this year he and his family will return to New Zealand, where Chris and his wife Jo were born.

“Jo and I and have loved living in Chiswick. Our kids were born here and the lifestyle here is one reason we’ve stayed longer in London than we originally intended to do. I have enjoyed cycling around Chiswick, Brentford and Richmond in the weekends, and will always have fond memories of London in general and Chiswick in particular. But like most Kiwis, there comes a time to head off home.”

July 15, 2013

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