This piece by Basil Clarke first appeared on the Palmers Green Community website on 9th July.
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-7PM||AM Peak Hour||PM Peak Hour||7AM-7PM||AM Peak Hour||PM Peak Hour||7AM-7PM||AM Peak Hour||PM Peak Hour|
|Bourne Avenue (N)||1600-1700||200-300||100-200||500-600||0-50||0-50||65-75%||85-95%||80-90%|
|Parkway||200-300||0-50||0-50||100-200||0-50||0-50||35-45%||No change||No change|
|The Ridgeway||100-200||0-50||0-50||100-200||0-50||0-50||0-10%||No change||No change|
|Fox Lane (W)||5000-6000||500-600||500-600||700-800||200-300||200-300||80-90%||55-65%||50-60%|
|St George’s Road||1100-1200||100-200||100-200||300-400||100-200||100-200||65-75%||No change||No change|
|Fox Lane (E)||5000-6000||600-700||500-600||500-600||100-200||100-200||85-95%||85-95%||85-95%|
|Old Park Road||1700-1800||200-300||50-100||400-500||100-200||0-50||70-80%||35-55%||60-70%|
|Denvent Road||600-700||50-100||50-100||400-500||50-100||50-100||25-35%||No change||No change|
|Conway Road||600-700||100-200||0-50||400-500||0-50||0-50||25-35%||80-90%||No change|
|Selborne Road||1600-1700||100-200||100-200||500-600||100-200||50-100||65-75%||No change||45-55%|
|Oakfield Road||400-500||0-50||0-50||400-500||0-50||0-50||0-10%||No change||No change|
*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
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