Category: News (page 1 of 11)

Monitoring air quality around low traffic neighbourhoods

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.

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Please support LTNs – they are for everyone’s safety and wellbeing

A man describing himself as ‘London’s happiest bus driver’ has written to the Islington Tribune to say: ‘Remember, drivers, these traffic scheme changes keep people safe.’

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£1.5m active travel funding for Enfield

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

Phase 2 of the Bowes LTN will install a “bus gate” at some point on Brownlow Road to prevent its being used as a through route by motorists. Click on the image for a larger version

£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.

A flyer produced by residents’ group Healthy Streets Bounds Green

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 LTN would prevent drivers using Connaught Gdns area as a short cut

Initial engagement on phase 2 – which would prevent rat-running to the east of Green Lanes – has finished. Residents for the Connaught Gardens LTN, a group campaigning for implementation of the scheme, was set up last month and can be contacted at ConnaughtGardensLTN@gmail.com.

New cycleways

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.

Better streets for Enfield Town

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!

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Emergency service access to LTNs

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.”

Taking to the streets in 2020

Hal Haines with a foreword by Viola Rondeboom

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.

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Please support the plan for Bowes – even if you don’t love it

There has been a LOT of discussion in our Facebook group about the council’s low traffic neighbourhood plans for the West Bowes / Bounds Green area, announced on Monday.

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New plans for Fox Lane quieter neighbourhood revealed

This piece by Basil Clarke first appeared on the Palmers Green Community website on 9th July.

[Original article]

Enfield Council’s revised plans for the Fox Lane quieter neighbourhood, which were published today, will dramatically reduce traffic and associated pollution, noise and road danger over a large area of residential streets stretching from Palmers Green to Southgate. Subject to approval by the deputy council leader, the proposals will be implemented on a trial basis for six months starting this summer.

The trial will also serve as a 6-month formal consultation period, during which the council will also carry out monitoring of the effect on roads outside the area. Depending on the results of both, the scheme will either be discontinued, modified or made permanent.

Leaflets showing the new scheme were today distributed to homes in the neighbourhood, and more detailed information has been uploaded to the Let’s Talk Enfield website, along with an explanatory video


Dramatically reduced traffic in the area

By preventing drivers from cutting through the area, the scheme will lead to falls in traffic of 75 per cent or more in the busiest streets, such as Meadway, Amberley Road, Greenway and Old Park Road, while Fox Lane itself could experience a reduction of 90 per cent or more.

Table: Estimated effect of scheme on traffic flows*

(If the table is not displaying properly, click here)

 Existing (2019 survey)Estimated post-scheme% reduction
 7AM-7PMAM Peak HourPM Peak Hour7AM-7PMAM Peak HourPM Peak Hour7AM-7PMAM Peak HourPM Peak Hour
Bourne Avenue (N)1600-1700200-300100-200500-6000-500-5065-75%85-95%80-90%
Parkway200-3000-500-50100-2000-500-5035-45%No changeNo change
The Ridgeway100-2000-500-50100-2000-500-500-10%No changeNo change
Greenway2000-3000200-300200-300500-60050-10050-10075-85%85-95%85-95%
Fox Lane (W)5000-6000500-600500-600700-800200-300200-30080-90%55-65%50-60%
Amberley Read3000-4000300-400300-400600-700100-20050-10075-85%50-60%75-85%
St George’s Road1100-1200 100-200100-200300-400100-200100-20065-75%No changeNo change
Craniey Gardens500-60050-10050-100400-5000-500-5015-25%60-70%60-70%
Burford Gardens600-70050-10050-100500-6000-500-5010-20%60-70%60-70%
Caversham Avenue800-900100-20050-100400-50050-1000-5045-55%45-55%60-70%
Fox Lane (E)5000-6000600-700500-600500-600100-200100-20085-95%85-95%85-95%
Devonshire Road600-70050-10050-100300-4000-500-5040-50%60-70%60-70%
Old Park Road1700-1800200-30050-100400-500100-2000-5070-80%35-55%60-70%
Groveland Road1100-1200100-200100-200400-5000-500-5055-65%45-55%80-90%
Lakeside Road500-60050-10050-100400-5000-500-5015-25%60-70%60-70%
Denvent Road600-70050-10050-100400-50050-10050-10025-35%No changeNo change
Ulleswater Road600-70050-10050-100500-6000-500-5010-20%60-70%60-70%
Conway Road600-700100-2000-50400-5000-500-5025-35%80-90%No change
Selborne Road1600-1700100-200100-200500-600100-20050-10065-75%No change45-55%
The Mall2000-3000300-400300-400600-700100-2000-5070-80%50-60%85-95%
Oakfield Road400-5000-500-50400-5000-500-500-10%No changeNo change
Meadway (S)3000-4000 500-600400-500300-40050-100100-20085-75%65-75%35-45%

 *The numbers shown in the table indicate the total number of vehicles on the road – both with a local origin or destination, and traffic cutting through the area


Impact on surrounding roads

While estimating the effect on traffic volumes within the area is relatively easy, forecasting what will happen on surrounding roads is much less straightforward. There is ample evidence of “traffic evaporation” following the introduction of low-traffic neighbourhoods elsewhere. This reflects the fact that traffic is not an uncontrollable elemental force of nature, it is the result of human behaviour, and schemes such as this are designed to change behaviour, to encourage less driving and more active travel – walking, riding bikes, using public transport – and to move longer distance travel back to the strategic roads where it belongs and which it would have used before satnav made it easy for drivers to navigate complex routes designed to shave a small amount of time off their journeys, to the detriment of people living along the routes.

With streets inside the area being quieter and safer, and with cleaner air, some residents will walk to destinations outside the area when they previously would have driven, thus removing traffic. Some of the drivers that currently cut through the area will use completely different routes that may not go anywhere near Palmers Green or Southgate. Given time, new patterns of travel will emerge. There’s no reliable way of forecasting what they will be – a sufficiently long trial is the most effective way to find out


Next steps

Council officers are currently drafting a formal report that sets out the details of the design, including all the previous engagement and feedback received. This report will then be submitted to the deputy council leader, Ian Barnes, who is the primary decision maker for this neighbourhood project.

Subject to formal approval a trial of this design will commence over the summer. Any trial would take place using a process of experimental traffic orders. It is at the point of the start of a trial where formal consultation opens for a period of six months, with residents able to provide comments once they have had the opportunity to experience the trial working in practice. At the end of the 6-month review period, a decision will be made on whether to remove the trial, make changes or make the project permanent. This decision will be informed by the community feedback collected throughout the consultation during the trial period.

Once the formal report has been approved, it will be published on the project page. The council will then send a letter to all properties within the area to inform people of the decision.

If the trial is going ahead, this letter will provide more information on specific timelines and further detail on how additional feedback can be provided as part of the formal consultation process.

To find out more visit: letstalk.enfeld.gov.uk/foxlaneQN

Links

Let’s Talk Enfield: Fox Lane quieter neighbourhood

Fox Lane quieter neighbourhood leaflet – July 2020

Slides with data visualisations

No going back: our call for pop-up bike lanes (and more) to keep traffic low after lockdown

In collaboration with Enfield Cycling Campaign, we wrote the following open letter to Enfield Council.


*Update: please find Cllr Barnes’ reply below our letter*

Dear Cllr Caliskan and Cllr Barnes,

We are writing to urge you, as leaders of Enfield Council, to make simple, temporary changes to our streets to prevent the predicted boom in motor traffic as lockdown eases, and to encourage people to travel sustainably and safely with enough space for social distancing. 

We have witnessed an unprecedented drop in motor traffic in Enfield during the Covid-19 lockdown. While the cause of this drop is tragic, the benefits are undeniable: clean air, safe, quiet streets and a massive rise in people of all ages cycling both for exercise and essential journeys. 

Traffic may come back worse than before 
Yet as lockdown eases, this welcome rise in air quality and active travel would be lost if we allow traffic to come flooding back, while public transport is shunned and at low capacity. Particularly in Enfield, we could see a catastrophic rise in car use and the resulting negative safety impacts this would bring (see the modal shift in Wuhan below). This would badly affect walking and cycling – active travel rates are dependent on routes that feel safe and have lower traffic volumes. Many key workers currently cycling to work or residents to the shops won’t continue when motor traffic levels return to pre-Covid levels or worse. 

Source: Ipsos |Impact of Coronavirus to New Car Purchase in China


Space for distancing 
Also, councils around the country are recognising that the UK’s car-centric roads with narrow pavements and lack of cycle infrastructure make social distancing almost impossible for pedestrians and cyclists. And while lockdown restrictions might ease soon, social distancing measures are expected to continue in some form until 2022. In order to limit contagion, more space is needed for those walking and cycling to maintain a safe distance from each other without stepping into the road or cycling in heavy traffic.

Our asks
That is why, while traffic volumes are low, we are urgently calling for the following measures. They are in line with those called for by London Cycling Campaign, Living Streets and Cycling UK, to name a few, and a growing number of boroughs across London are adopting them. We particularly recommend reading Lambeth’s emergency transport strategy, which will introduce temporary cycle lanes, widen footways and create low traffic neighbourhoods.

  1. To enable cycling as transport, we suggest pop-up cycle lanes on the following public transport routes, to create “corridors for key workers” and preempt a rise in commuter car trips:

    – Along the Piccadilly Line
    – Along the 212 / 307 bus routes through Enfield
    – Enabling access to CS1

    We can provide more detailed suggestions including maps in the next few days. 

  2. To deal with pinch points that are barriers to all-age cycling, we want to see road space reallocated to make active travel safe. The narrow bridge on Aldermans Hill N13 is one example that prevents families safely reaching the C20 cycle lanes – instead they tend to cycle on the pavement. This could be addressed by coning off a lane of traffic to walking and cycling. We can help identify several other similar pinch points in the borough and make detailed suggestions if needed.

  3. To lock in the benefits of low traffic, we are especially calling for a trial bus gate on Brownlow Road so that air pollution does not return to its previous toxic and illegal levels. A bus gate here would open up the street for families to cycle to school as well as commuters to work, forming the backbone of a healthy low traffic neighbourhood that prioritises sustainable transport. Filters would be needed on surrounding streets to prevent traffic displacement.

  4. To enable social distancing on shopping streets, we would like to see road space reallocated to people where pavements are narrow and people have to queue. This can be achieved by suspending parking anywhere near local shops or coning off traffic lanes and all service roads. Suspending parking (leaving disabled provision and loading) would also discourage unnecessary car use for short journeys to local shops.


Active travel improves public health
Not only are these measures essential to enable residents to socially distance while walking or cycling, prioritising active travel is a crucial strategy for improving public health. Active travel tackles obesity and air pollution. People with obesity and lung conditions are at a higher risk of getting sick, while air pollution has been linked to a higher death rate from Covid-19.

This public health crisis demands immediate, decisive and strong leadership from the council to assure the safety of residents during this pandemic. Enfield council needs to ensure residents have safe routes they can use to walk and cycle to work, the shops, or for exercise.

If there is one thing this crisis has taught us, it’s that the future is not a given. We’ve learnt that there are certain things we can change, very quickly, especially when public safety is at risk. We can choose how to reshape our public space and mobility. The coronavirus crisis has been like a crash diet for our streets. The question is, how many pounds do we want to gain again?

Although we can’t wait to go out and meet each other again, even at a safe distance, we don’t want or need to go back to those fume-filled, congested and hostile roads of the past. Let this crisis be a turning point for healthy streets in Enfield.

Many thanks,

Viola Rondeboom and Clare Rogers
On behalf of Better Streets for Enfield and Enfield Cycling Campaign

Reply from Cllr Ian Barnes on Wednesday 29 April:

Many thanks for your letter.

Some of the initial data coming out of Wuhan as the lockdown is relaxed is indeed disturbing with regards to a potential huge rise in private car use and the possible hit taken by public transport.

Enfield Council recognises the challenges ahead and at an informal Cabinet meeting last night (Tuesday) officers were tasked with examining potential mitigating measures to protect the residents of the borough and to bring details back to Cabinet.

You mention Lambeth in your letter and I do want to point out that their first phase only concerns footway widening [our sentence quoting £75,000 for the whole project was an error and is now removed from our letter – Clare]. They are very open about the fact that all other phases, including temporary cycle lanes and LTNs, rely on continued TfL funding and as they admit there is considerable uncertainty about this funding going forward.

Cllr Ian Barnes

YES to low traffic in the Fox Lane area

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.

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