Last Friday saw the long-awaited completion of the most significant junction in the Cycle Enfield A105 scheme – the Ridge Avenue/Church Street intersection, next to Ridge Avenue Library. It’s not completely finished in every detail, but it’s operational – and that means waving goodbye to those temporary traffic lights with their inevitable queues of cars. Plus, it looks great. This blog post is re-blogged from Enfield Cycling Campaign’s website.
A stretch of segregated cycle lane approaching the junction
Better Streets for Enfield attended the Enfield Council meeting on the 6th April. We sometimes go to meetings if they are discussing something to do with better streets. But on this occasion it was because the Conservative opposition had tabled a motion called “The council’s Labour administration isn’t listening”. Having attended the meeting I feel we should re-name it “Anti-cyclists campaigners aren’t getting their way and are cross”. The whole motion was a thinly disguised attack on Cycle Enfield or what was called Mini Holland. Having said that I think there are some important points to be made. If the works aren’t being carried out properly and there are too many barriers hemming in the businesses – that should be discussed. It was brought up but not much discussed but instead there was an awful lot re-hashed from previous meetings. Enfield Council have been through the courts over the consultation more than once – and won. Even Conservative Opposition Leader Terry Neville admitted the A105 consultation was done “correctly” when he appeared before the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the Enfield Town scheme. So it was a proper consultation – the results are not what the anti-cycling campaigners wanted to hear – but that is not a point to bash the council with.
Cross party support
Labour Cllr Vicki Pite made a very strong point when she pointed out yet again, that originally this scheme had cross party support was a cross party scheme and the council have broadly followed the same plan as initially put forward. The only time it has deviated is in response to a consultation – an example being the Enfield Town Scheme. She quoted from Cllr Joanne Laban, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Environment, in support of the 2013 Mini Holland bid. The quotes very powerfully supported the scheme.
Joanne Laban 2013
This was going to encourage more people to walk and cycle. Cllr Pite asked why the Conservative opposition no longer supported the scheme and the response was that they would still be…. if the consultation had been done properly. I refer you to the above – that the consultation was done properly. The reality is this looks like political opportunism by the Conservative opposition.
Cross party support in 2013 but not in 2017 – why not?
Terry Neville also mentioned a letter they had received from TFL. Of course the money is coming from TFL and has their full support. In reality while it has their full support it is up to the local council to design and build the infrastructure in consultation with the local people – why would we want it any other way?However Cllr Neville disagreed and said he has a letter from TFL distancing themselves from the project. Distancing themselves? Or just letting the council get on with building the infrastructure with their full support. It is true that Sadiq Khan hasn’t been to visit the works but why would he as nothing is finished.
Other than that there were lots of Councilors scoring party political points. At times the Labour administration turned the tables on the opposition by pointing out that Labour do more forums than the Conservatives 11 to 7 in one ward for example. Another example -people are contacting Labour councilors in Conservative wards because they cannot contact Conservative members. I have no idea where the truth lies but it didn’t seem much like the Labour politicians are not listening. Another point Vicki made was the abuse of our local politicians. Clearly she directed this at Save Our Green Lanes and Helen Osman in particular who was in the public gallery – not mentioned by name but we all knew whom she meant. By all accounts the councilors are still putting up with people screaming and shouting at them. Why? Politicians are elected – if you don’t like what they do throw them out in 2018. A point that, at least, Cllr Terry Neville was keen to make.
I thought the whole motion was shambolic from the start. This was neatly summed up by the vote at the end. Really neither party, least of all the Conservatives, appeared to know what the vote was about. When the vote came, Labour comfortably won (though I still don’t know what the vote was about).
The public gallery was busy but not full. Probably evenly spread between the two parties – maybe slightly more anti-cycling campaigners if the clapping was anything to go by.
It’s been exciting to see the new cycle infrastructure take shape on the A105. These photos were taken in the first week of April to give you a little taste of the progress so far (excuse the poor quality of these night time pictures)…
Cycle lane crossing the junction with Park Avenue. The cycle lane in the foreground is the end of a bus stop bypass
David Hilliard and I attended the “How do we get clean air for all Londoners” meeting arranged by Caroline Russell, Green London Assembly member. There were about 75 people attending – a mixture of experts and campaigners. This wasn’t a sit back and listen to some speeches type event – it was more about engaging the experts and campaigners to come up with some ideas about how we can get a Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) across the whole of London. The ULEZ has improved since Boris Johnson first proposed a small zone due to start in 2020.
Boris Johnson’s original ULEZ plan due to start in 2020
On Saturday 18 March a group of Enfield residents gathered in Winchmore Hill to support businesses affected by the Cycle Enfield roadworks.
Is your neighbourhood affected by too much traffic? If it’s fast or heavy enough that you wouldn’t feel confident cycling in your area, crossing your own road or letting your child play on the street, then this is for you.
Enfield Council are asking what we think of our residential streets and neighbourhoods for its Quieter Neighbourhoods scheme. The aim is to make our neighbourhoods better for walking, cycling, play and sense of community. The perception survey is here. (The survey has now finished for Palmers Green, Bush Hill Park, Winchmore Hill and Grange Park – look out for draft designs for these areas – but your views are still needed if you live elsewhere in Enfield.)
From the Quieter Neighbourhoods website
February was overshadowed by the tragic death of Anita Szucs, killed by a hit-and-run driver on Bounces Road, Edmonton, as she cycled home from work on 6 February. Anita was just 30, and had been married for less than a year to her husband, Tamas. He has since called for more cycle lanes and safer roads on social media, telling reporters that he has ‘lost everything‘.
This terrible event, the second fatal hit and runin Enfield in a few short months, prompted Better Streets to write an open letter to the Mayor in conjunction with Enfield Cycling Campaign. We are calling on Sadiq Khan to visit our borough and give his full support to Enfield’s walking and cycling scheme, which by changing street design could literally save lives. Better Streets members also attended a vigil and protest at Trafalgar Square on 11 February to remember the five people who lost their lives on London’s streets in just one week, and to call on the Treasury for better funding for walking and cycling nationally – 10% of the transport budget by 2020.
Support Green Lanes!
Better Streets members are rallying to support businesses affected by the roadworks on Green Lanes. Join us in Winchmore Hill on Saturday 18 March at 11.45am, ready to bring love, hope and hard cash to our favourite Green Lanes shops. While Cycle Enfield opponents claim that the scheme will damage local business, we want to encourage them that the pain of the roadworks will be worth it – cycle lanes should create a more pleasant shopping environment, and have been shown to boost high street incomes elsewhere. The economic impact assessment by Regeneris suggested that shops might see an uplift of 10-15% in the medium term after the work is complete.
The long-awaited Quieter Neighbourhoods part of the Cycle Enfield scheme is due to restart this month in the Fox Lane area of Palmers Green. Residents will be invited to respond to a survey of the perceived issues in their area. Better Streets are pushing for measures that will reduce not just the speed but the volume of through traffic on residential streets. Last year some Better Streets members were
inspired by a tour of Walthamstow’s low-traffic neighbourhood or ‘village’, where former rat runs have become havens for walking, cycling and play and car journeys have been reduced by 10,000 a day. This is the kind of transformation that we would love to see on Enfield’s residential streets.
Palmers Green Play Quarter gets into its stride with a series of events to get children out and about in their community. This includes an ‘open play street’ – when the road is closed to through traffic to let children play – on the 19 March, 2-5pm on Devonshire Road N13, to show how play streets work. Devonshire Road’s play street was the first in the borough and is nearing the end of its third year. Sadly it was in the local news after an angry driver ignored stewards and drove onto the street at speed, but organisers say such incidents are unusual.
Better Streets For Enfield are going to be at Palmers Green Festival today. Come and visit us between 12-7pm in Broomfield Park. We will have a stall and also a try-a-bike area.
For more details about the festival please visit the Palmers Green Festival website.