Since Enfield’s first low traffic neighbourhood went in we have been following the air quality monitoring station at Bowes school. Some people were concerned that air quality would deteriorate due to more traffic on the A406 – this was a worry as the monitoring station is in the school grounds. We were confident this wouldn’t happen, but it seemed sensible to wait for the trial to progress before drawing any conclusions. However, in the recent opposition report, there was some ‘cherry-picked’ data to show that the LTNs had caused air pollution to go up. ‘Cherry-picked’ data because air pollution always goes up in the winter for various reasons* – so a month by month comparison isn’t particularly useful or valid.
Republished with permission from Palmers Green Community website, this article first appeared on 6 January 2021
Enfield Council has been allocated government funding totalling £1.55 million to spend on active travel schemes: £1.3 million to pay for two cycleway schemes and £160,000 for phase 2 of the Bowes low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN), which would use a “bus gate” to give relief to the long suffering residents of Brownlow Road. Additionally, the council is hopeful of obtaining funding from Transport for London in the next financial year for phase 2 of the Connaught Gardens LTN and is planning to start work on two further LTNs, in Upper Edmonton.
The Active Travel Fund
The money is Enfield’s share of the £175 million being allocated to councils throughout England by the Department for Transport (DfT), representing tranche 2 of what was originally referred to as the Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF) but is now known simply as the Active Travel Fund. The EATF was earmarked for rapid changes designed to encourage and facilitate walking and cycling against the background of sharply reduced usage of public transport because of coronavirus restrictions. Consequently, councils were given very short deadlines (a few weeks) during which to engage with the public, design schemes and build them.
Tranche 2 money will be spent on schemes designed for the longer term. Government deadlines for implementation will be longer and councils will have to confirm that they have consulted all appropriate local stakeholders, including businesses, emergency services, and local MPs.
Enfield Council announced the news of its successful bid in a press release published this afternoon [6 January]. The full text is on its website here.
Bowes low-traffic neighbourhood, phase 2
£160,000 of the DfT funding will go to phase 2 of the Bowes LTN. Phase 1, implemented in late summer 2020, has created peaceful streets on either side of Brownlow Road but may have actually exacerbated the situation in the street which has suffered most from through traffic – Brownlow Road itself. For many years the volume of traffic has far exceeded the street’s capacity and residents have had to endure noise, fumes and danger. Queues of cars often stretch back along nearly the whole length of the street, waiting for the lights at the northern end, where priority is given to the North Circular Road traffic.
Phase 2, if it goes ahead, will bring to fruition the dreams of a group of residents who last year set up Healthy Streets Bounds Green, calling for, among other things, a “bus gate for Brownlow”. This is exactly what the council is proposing to do. A bus gate is a camera-controlled point which only buses, emergency vehicles, bikes and people on foot are permitted to pass. To prevent problems for other local roads, design and consultation will need to be closely coordinated with neighbouring Haringey Council, which has also received funding for LTNs in the Bounds Green area, and with Transport for London. In particular, the scheme might require TfL to allow traffic to turn right out of Bounds Green Road onto the North Circular at Hobart Corner.
Phase 1 of the Bowes scheme is currently operating as a trial with formal consultation running concurrently and due to end in February. Depending on feedback received and after reviewing data relating to the effect on other roads, bus running times, emergency services and other considerations, the council may decide to abandon the scheme, to amend it, or to make it permanent. If amended, the trial and formal consultation period will be extended. A possible way of amending the scheme would be to change it around so that residents and visitors access the streets from the Bounds Green Road direction, rather than from the north.
More low traffic neighbourhoods in prospect
The press release also states that the further funding from TfL, anticipated at the start of the new financial year (April), will be prioritised for the Connaught Gardens quieter neighbourhood. Phase 1 of this scheme, a small one-way system in Palmers Green (Windsor Road, Osborne Road, Lightcliffe Road and New River Crescent) is currently being trialled.
The bulk of the new money allocated to Enfield will be spent on cycling infrastructure (low traffic neighbourhoods are far cheaper). There are two projects – more construction of cycle lanes along the A1010 (Ponders End High Street) and work on a cycleway linking Enfield Town and Ponders End. The original plan to put cycle lanes along Southbury Road has been abandoned and the cycleway will instead use streets further south.
Two further walking and cycling routes are currently being built. The first provides a link between the A1010 cycle lanes and the North Middlesex Hospital via Pymmes Park and will eventually join up with the Tottenham to Old Street section of Cycleway 1. The other, Angel Walk, runs between Edmonton Green and the new Meridian Water development.
This weekend is your last chance to comment on the council’s plans for Enfield Town centre as a Liveable Neighbourhood with funding from the Mayor. Please have your say by midnight on Sunday 15 November!
As the issue with emergency service access to low traffic neighbourhoods has been rumbling on for a few weeks now, we have asked for a formal response from the council. Councillor Ian Barnes has responded with the statement below. It puts in writing that the council have consulted with emergency services.
The council have previously told us that they would not progress with these schemes if the emergency services had any remaining concerns with the final design. If the council had gone ahead despite an objection from the emergency services, this would be easily discovered in a Freedom of information (FOI) request. Therefore as Better Streets for Enfield we have decided to put in an FOI to confirm this information.
A fuller statement from London Ambulance Service’s Khadir Meer is here:
“We are working incredibly collegiately with local government partners across London and with GLA partners. We are not aware of any LTNs that have led to any patient safety concerns or any significant delays. We are monitoring it closely but we are also keeping working very closely, collegiately and collaboratively with both our emergency services but also our health and care partners across London. [So as Heather said] we prioritise patient safety and we prioritise our response times above anything and everything else, we’re not aware of any significant issues at the moment and we are keen to continue to work collaboratively to work through any implications of any LTNs.”
Last Monday we returned from a long summer escape in Utrecht to find our peaceful North London neighbourhood suddenly up in arms. Groups of upset neighbours had taken to the streets to protest, and this went on for a few days in a row. What caused the mayhem? The Bowes and Bounds Green area is one of a few neighbourhoods in Enfield about to get a Dutch style, area-wide low-traffic scheme intended to remove through-traffic from residential streets and redirect it back to the main roads.
More than 75 Fox Lane area residents got together to show their support for low traffic neighbourhood plans last Sunday. Aged from only a few months to over 70 years, they met at the Amberley Road play street and unveiled a “YES TO LOW TRAFFIC” banner.
Enfield Council are bidding for Liveable Neighbourhood funds from Transport for London to improve the streets of Angel Edmonton. We have until this Friday (31 January) to support them! Please respond here – take a moment to create an account if it’s your first time.