The Federation of Enfield Residents’ & Allied Associations
Enfield Residents’ & Allied Associations

FERAA submission A105 scheme

published on: 10/10/15

 

 

              Federation of Enfield Residents and Allied Associations

 

 

London Borough of Enfield - proposals to introduce CYCLE LANES AND OTHER MEASURES ON THE A105 ROUTE BETWEEN PALMERS GREEN AND ENFIELD TOWN as part of the CYCLE ENFIELD project

 

A critique of the published scheme with the improvements required to make it fit for purpose, acceptable to all the residents of Enfield, and hence to fulfil the objectives set out in the November 2013 Mini Holland bid document.  

 

Summary:

 

  • FERAA supports the introduction of proportionate measures to enhance safe cycling in the borough and agrees there is potential to raise cycling from 0.7% of journeys to 5% or more in the medium term. The prime sources of growth to meet this target will be commuting to school and the workplace, and local shopping, so investment should be aimed at this opportunity.

 

  • However, the scheme as published is severely flawed and misdirected, so presents a direct threat to the safety of pedestrians, the disabled, those requiring emergency treatment, the local community and cyclists.

 

  • The cause of this detriment is that the A105 cycle scheme is over-engineered because the geography of Green Lanes will not safely permit all that traffic engineers want to pack in. Under the circumstances, the scale of the cycle tracking and accessories is excessive and damaging to the majority.

 

  • A higher level of separation between cycle and motor vehicle is core to safer cycling, but such benefits are undermined where cyclists are thrust into direct conflict with pedestrians. This will occur at bus stops with “bus boarder tables” where pedestrians share the same space as cycle tracks. FERAA fully expects commuter cyclists to migrate back to the traffic lanes to avoid confrontation with the public and consequent delay.

 

  • Continuous 2m wide cycle lanes on both sides of the A105 will occupy some 40% of the roadway in places as vehicle lanes are narrowed down to 3m each. Large vehicles and buses will be pressed to close proximity, and scope for passing in the event of a breakdown will be minimised. All traffic will be regulated to the speed of buses. Increased congestion will result. Most importantly, emergency services will be severely impeded. The A105 will be reduced to a “crawlway”

 

  • Pedestrian safety is further compromised by removing island refuges. The large number of tables being inserted into the traffic flow is not approved by top level cyclists who consider them “anti-cycle hardware” and “treacherous.”

 

  • The impact on the wider community and its economic and social health will be noticeable in that the rights, interests and needs of most other road users and occupants fronting on to the A105 route, will be disadvantaged by changes to access. Most disabled will find access to public transport made more difficult, along with Dial a Ride and personal mobility transport.

 

  • Reliance on public transport will be adversely impacted by the numerous retrograde changes proposed to bus stops and lanes which can only result in diminished services, both in terms of reliability and access.

 

  • One of the stated aims of the scheme is to bear down on use of private vehicles: this approach has validity in central London where demand for transport far exceeds the capacity of the roads to deliver, and pollution controls have become a major issue. The Underground provides the mobility denied on the surface. Enfield does not present the same scale of problems nor opportunities and FERAA sees no reason to support “traffic disappearance”  delivered through a policy of deliberately hindering safe and swift transport, as proposed here. The economic and social consequences of induced congestion are considerable and are not to be waived aside in favour of a misapplied traffic concept.

 

  • FERAA concludes that the overall scheme detracts from total transport effectiveness along the route, rather than enhancing it. Cycle lanes should be reduced so as to restore the main traffic flow on the A105. Twin cycle tracks have a capacity suitable for high demand inner city routes but occupy considerably more space than is required for projected cycle traffic in suburban Enfield. 

 

  • These detriments are clearly perceived by most sections of the public and have led to a high level of concern and justifiable rejection of the current scheme.

 

Remedies for these flaws are explored below in more detail:

 

 

  1. 1.    Traffic Flows will be impeded and pedestrian safety threatened

 

  • Four cycle lanes cannot be justified by forecast cycle demand on the A105 and are not required; the freed-up space can be assigned with advantage to vehicle lanes which are dangerously narrowed in this scheme. The inference that intrusive over capacity and highly visible cycle tracking will stimulate usage is fanciful and without foundation.

 

  • If cycle lanes were reduced it is argued that faster cycle traffic would not be able to overtake safely on one cycle lane, but in turn it must be recognised that faster commuter cyclists will use the open road, as now: very few such cyclists use existing lanes in the borough and there is no case for assuming they will change their habits if this scheme is installed. No experienced cyclist would want to engage with pedestrians at the reconfigured bus stops, nor risk hitting armadillos marking lane edges at speed – a real threat in dark, wet or icy conditions. Corralling all cyclists together into dedicated lanes and travelling at greatly disparate speeds will not succeed; less secure cyclists will just avoid the lanes altogether. The prospect is not one of crowded lanes, but largely deserted ones.

 

  • Traffic must be permitted to pass buses freely. The concept of traffic management that hangs on frustrating the free movement of vehicles so as to promote the “disappearance” of traffic is a snare and delusion. Traffic finds its own way home. Besides, demonising car usage betrays ignorance of the nature of car usage - many cars carry people on important work. Productivity, community cohesion and social services cannot be enhanced by deliberate obstruction of communications.

 

  • The positioning of most bus stop “cages” within the running lanes would impede the flow of traffic on the A105, so regulating overall traffic progress to the average speed of buses. Lengthened traffic queues and raised atmospheric pollution are not consistent with borough transport and health objectives or the assurances cited in the bid document.

 

  • Bus bays are the default choice for bus stops to permit traffic to overtake stationary buses. There is no mandate in the bid document to abandon this principle. Instances where “cages” are proposed and a bus bay is possible must be reconsidered eg. the northbound bus stop on Green Lanes, immediately north of the junction with Compton Road.

 

  • The treatment of junctions with minor roads to make entry more difficult is another retrograde step that delivers no worthwhile gains. “Entry treatments” at junctions with minor roads would mean that larger vehicles would ride over the footway when making left turns into side roads, especially so when facing oncoming traffic at the junction. For instance, the junction design at the Green Lanes / Compton Road intersection would impede local businesses in receiving deliveries, for no gain to cyclists.

 

  • As proposed, it would be impossible to pass any vehicle waiting to make a right turn at any one of the numerous non traffic signal controlled junctions. This would result in increased traffic queues, reduction of carrying capacity of this major road and add atmospheric pollution, contrary to the aims expressed in the bid document

 

  • No less than 9 junction tables are proposed for this scheme with no compelling justification. Any traffic calming that is required should be separately justified; none was offered in the bid document. Tables have been characterised by cyclists as “treacherous” in poor light and wet conditions; and as “anti-cycling infrastructure” by leading UK cyclists. TfL has removed them under pressure in other parts of the London cycle scheme and we expect a similar response in Enfield.

 

  • All irregularities in the roadway are a threat to two wheeled vehicles, especially in wet and icy conditions and always at night. Traffic engineers must accept that cyclists do not want any impediment or hurdle placed in their way, for whatever reason, that could affect their ability to brake or maintain a stable course. Platforms and chicanes are rightly perceived as a danger, and FERAA strongly supports cyclists in wanting these removed. Tables should also be removed from the scheme in the interest of public service vehicles, emergency services and private users alike. 

 

  • Space to overtake is vital to emergency services and obstructions such as tables interfere with the fastest response times. No citizen is going to vote for measures that retard life saving services. Ambulances are not constructed to float over tables, and passing as many as are proposed on the A105 will subject crews administering help to patients on board to needless stress, and will complicate and even endanger medical treatment. Loose assurances that tables serve any purpose that the public would approve of, is doctrinal and utterly rejected.

 

  • A significant number of central islands would be removed making it more dangerous for pedestrians to cross the A105 at locations where they require to do so. This contravenes public policy on pedestrian safety

 

  1. 2.    PublicTransport Services will be disrupted

 

  • Most bus stops would include the construction of a “bus boarder” - a 2m wide section of footway projecting out into the carriageway for passengers to board or leave a bus. But these bus boarders would also be designated as part of the cycle lane. Hence the potential for dangerous conflict between pedestrians and cyclists travelling at up to 20 mph. The scope for families with children, VIP’s, disabled or frail persons and anyone carrying a load to come into close contact with passing cyclists is too obvious to permit, and would lead to frequent delays to bus services as passengers struggle on and off the bus boarder strip.  

 

  • If buses are contained in regular bays, it is safe for cyclists to pass outside stopped buses, as for parked cars. There is no need or gain from directing cyclists inboard of buses. With “bus boarders” delays in boarding passengers will negate any potential gain for buses being able to pull away without having to re-enter the traffic flow. So “bus boarders” serve no role in promoting use of public transport services, contrary to the aims of the bid document. Reverting to bus bays is the obvious answer to this error.

 

  • Most of the proposed changes to bus stop locations are flawed – it cannot be part of this scheme to make public transport services less attractive or convenient than at present.

 

Examples are:

 

  1. Green Lanes / Bourne Hill junction;  moving the southbound bus stop from the south to the north side of this junction would distance it from the shops on the east side of Green Lanes. And moving the northbound bus stop to the south side of the junction would separate it from the Intimate Theatre and St Monica’s Church area.

 

  1. Removing the left turn slip roads at the junctions with Fords Grove and Hedge Lane would eliminate bus stands where all 125 buses turn round and occasionally northbound 329 buses - when necessary to ensure the regularity of the service. No alternative methods of turning round these buses have been announced.

 

  1. The northbound bus lane on the west side of London Road between the junctions with Lincoln Road and the Sydney Road Multi-Storey Car Park exit road would also be removed, resulting in increased delays for bus services. Removal of this lane cannot but delay all other traffic.

 

  1. Both of the options for the route of the southernmost section of the cycle lanes - between Green Lanes south of the New River Bridge to Bowes Road - would involve shortening the southbound bus lane on the east side Green Lanes.

 

  1. If the Palmerston Crescent route were to be adopted the bus lane would be removed between the junctions with Broomfield Lane and Ecclesbourne Gardens.  If the New River option were to be adopted a shorter length of the bus lane would be removed between the junction with Broomfield Lane and the New River Bridge.

 

 

  • Road changes proposed in this scheme that are counter-productive include:

 

  1. Proposals to make short sections of Vicars Moor Lane and Hazelwood Lane, near to the junctions with Green Lanes, one way: vehicles would only be able to exit these two minor roads at these junctions, but not enter from Green Lanes.

In the Hazelwood Lane area an increase in traffic on adjacent residential roads is inevitable, such as Lodge Drive, The Grove, Park Avenue and Lightcliffe Road. Near Vicars Moor Lane, increased traffic will impact in Shrubbery Gardens, Ringwood Way, Green Moor Link, Sherbrook Gardens and Drayton Gardens.

 

  1. The banned left turns from Green Lanes into Fords Grove at Winchmore Hill Broadway, and from Ridge Avenue into Bush Hill Road at Bush Hill Parade will cause stress: FERAA understands Enfield Council has been asked to reconsider the proposals. If retained, the latter measure would result in increased in traffic on Berkley Gardens and Cranwich Avenue.

 

  1. FERAA seriously questions the benefit from introducing "shared space" concepts at the Palmers Green Triangle (as one of two options) and at the service roads at Bush Hill Parade and on the east side of London Road between the Holy Family of Nazareth Convent and Chapel and the junction with Lincoln Road.

 

Shared space arrangements, where there is no distinction between the carriageway and the footway, are specialist applications of arguable value in very low traffic environments. Shared space has a certain cache that makes it an interesting topic of conversation that is rarely blessed by actual implementation. It is often urged as a means of promoting pedestrian flow across the space linking two groups of retailers where vehicle access is still required but, understandably, sharing with vehicles larger than cars acts as a major inhibitor to pedestrian flows. In practice pedestrians using shared spaces assert their right to priority over all vehicles and drivers who fail to comprehend this suffer great frustration.

 

If planners desire to boost retail activity, the effective solution is to remove all vehicles from the space, including public transport. This is the default solution applied on the Continent but planners have been reluctant to follow in the UK.

 

FERAA detects no case for shared space in Enfield. Respected organisations representing people with visual impairments (like RNIB) the infirm and disabled oppose shared space; it delivers nothing to the significant portion of the population deserving protection and security, which shared space is not designed to offer.

 

  1. Installing traffic signals at the Green Lanes / Fox Lane  and Green Lanes / Fords Grove/ Station Road junctions would be counter-productive and lead to increased traffic in Fox Lane, Fords Grove and Station Road as drivers use these alternatives for access to and from Green Lanes. 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 3.    Parking and Loading  - economic and social impact and loss of amenity   

 

  • The restriction of parking to one side only of the road would cause very considerable difficulties for both residents and businesses, increase delays, involve greater dangers in crossing the roadway, and make a negative economic impact on the route, all detriments and contrary to the aims of the bid document.

 

  • The provision of some short term pay and display parking places in the Lodge Drive and Ford Grove car parks would only go a little way to mitigating the proposed reduction of street parking places in the Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill Broadway shopping centres respectively.

 

  • However retailing on Green Lanes between Fox Lane and Bourne Hill, at the southern end of  Winchmore Hill Broadway (in the vicinity of the junction with Compton Road) and in the section between Elm Park Road and Firs Lane would suffer because these shops are too distant to benefit from this additional short term parking.

 

  • Residents on Green Lanes, Ridge Avenue, Village Road, Park Avenue and London Road would all suffer from the fact that on-street parking would not be allowed on the cycle lanes at any time.  Residents who do not have off-street parking, and could not find spaces in the limited number of parking bays on the main road, would have to park in nearby side streets, even though parking spaces in those roads are already at a premium.

 

  • In some areas the Council is proposing to provide limited designated parking bays in side roads. However, since no measures are proposed to favour owners of vehicles displaced from the A105 this arrangement will leave many at a disadvantage.

 

  • One solution would be to establish Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) but no plans have been announced by the Council.  Furthermore if CPZs were to be introduced it would mean that residents would have to pay for parking permits, another detriment.

 

  • The parking restrictions on the proposed cycle lanes would be just as severe as those on Red Routes.  Consequently Dial-a-Ride clients who live anywhere on the A105 route – the elderly, the disabled and the frailest members of society – would have to be dropped off in, and walk from, side roads. This will cause much distress.

 

  • Shopping by disadvantaged groups will be severely impacted. In shopping centres such residents would have to be dropped off in or collected from car parks. Taxis would also be unable to stop on the cycle lanes even momentarily to set passengers down outside the shops they want to visit.

 

 

  1. Air pollution will increase not decrease

 

  • Enfield Council claims that the proposals would result in improved air quality and that potential health benefits would be likely to arise from an increase in cycling. This may be true when cycling quiet side roads, but will be the reverse on major roads such as the A105, where inevitably greater congestion will result in higher levels of pollution, damaging for all road users and neighbouring residences, so contrary to public policy

The prospects for those with respiratory ailments could not be worse.

 

 

  1. Economic Impact – unknown but likely to be negative

 

  • No Economic impact assessment of this scheme has been carried out by Enfield Council. The long term financial benefits cited in the bid document are speculative and lack all substance. We therefore fail to understand the claim that the cycle scheme will make the town centre more attractive and vibrant; they are without foundation.

 

  • Furthermore, an objective examination of the measures proposed, and critiqued above, indicates the general benefits claimed will be offset by so many collateral losses as to vitiate the whole scheme. Enfield councillors cannot approve it as it stands.

 

  1. Disability Discrimination Act and the Single Equality Duty, a distant influence.

 

  • Enfield Council’s record under the Disability Discrimination Act and the Single Equality Duty is not one of proud achievement. The Council should therefore be especially sensitive to compounding its record of reputational loss. Attention to the needs of disadvantaged minorities is absent from the current plans and this is unacceptable.

 

  • Under current equalities legislation local authorities are required to not just assess discriminatory impacts as and when they happen but to anticipate any likely future impacts. This requires immediate correction.

 

  • Many of the proposals – including the removal of central refuges on the A105 route and having to cross cycle lanes in order to board or alight from buses – are likely to hit the most vulnerable sections of society the hardest. How can this detriment be justified?

 

  1. 7.    Summary:

 

  • A  medium term five fold increase in cycling is eminently achievable and desirable, and will be fuelled by promoting cycling amongst  the young, especially for commuting to school - the seed corn for the future of volume cycling in the borough. Attending sports events, short hop shopping, commuting to stations and to the local workplace – all will benefit if investment is aimed at their needs; where this leaves the yield from concentrating investment on disruptive high profile “transformational” super-highways is highly questionable - especially if they are avoided by distance cyclists.

 

  • FERAA now seeks mature and genuine consultation to right these errors for the benefit of its constituent communities.

 

 

FERAA

October 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to news...

Posted in: Road Transport