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TOPIC: Fox Lane low-traffic neighbourhood: Working towards a compromise

Fox Lane low-traffic neighbourhood: Working towards a compromise 19 Feb 2020 20:11 #5242

Basil Clarke Basil Clarke's Avatar Topic Author
[Original article]

  • Enfield Council's Healthy Streets team is working on a revised scheme for the Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood and will consider all alternatives that have been proposed by community groups. There will be consultations with councillors, community groups and residents before any trial implementation.
  • The Fox Lane Area Traffic Working Group (FLATWG), set up after the January Burford Hall meeting, has sent the council their proposals for a revised scheme, based on the scheme previously proposed by the Fox Lane LTN Group.

Statements released by various organisations involved in the  and suggest that attitudes towards creating a scheme to remove through traffic from residential streets in the Fox Lane area are converging and that a compromise solution might gain support.

The statements, published in the latest Fox Lane Residents' Association (FLDRA) newsletter, are position updates released by Enfield Council, by FLDRA itself and by the residents' working group that was set up after the January meeting in Burford Hall, as well as a reiteration of the line being taken by  the Fox Lane LTN Group, whose members have been campaigning for a "low-traffic neighbourhood" scheme covering the whole of the Fox lane Quieter Neighbourhood. See boxes A to D below for more details.

The new information will be used to inform an open discussion about the quieter neighbourhood that is due to take place in the second half of this Thursday's FLDRA meeting (7.45 in Burford Hall, on the corner of Fox Lane and Burford Gardens). The first half will be the Association's Annual General Meeting, which will include formal business, such as election of officers and committee members and formal acceptance of the Chair's Annual Report.

Reviewing responses to the original proposals

The update by Richard Eason, head of the council's Healthy Streets Team, outlines a multi-stage process involving consultation with councillors, local community representatives and the wider public in the run-up to trial implementation (see Box A below). The first step in the process, analysis of responses to the original plan that was revealed at the November meeting in the former Starbucks cafe, has taken some time because of the sheer volume of feedback received. Richard Eason also commits to investigating the scope for use of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology, as proposed at the January meeting by David Bird and endorsed by the Fox Lane Area Traffic Working Group.

Fox Lane Area Traffic Working Group (FLATWG)

FLATWG is the group that emerged from the January meeting convened by Paul Mandel, comprising both supporters and opponents of the concept of keeping through traffic out of the area. Crucially, one member is David Bird, a traffic engineer with experience in designing similar schemes in other parts of London, who lives in the area (Meadway) and is familiar with the traffic problems afflicting his and other streets. The group has written to the council with a wish-list for future consultation and assessment criteria, together with a map of its proposed scheme for excluding through traffic.

The FLATWG scheme is based on the "Green Poster" map produced by the Fox Lane LTN Group. Filters would be located on the same streets, but FLATWG have been less specific about where exactly they should be located. Another difference is that FLATWG favour using ANPR technology for the filters, which would mean that residents could drive past them, but drivers from outside the area would be fined if they did so. The Fox Lane LTN Group favour physical barriers (bollards or suitably placed planters).

The way forward?

The above suggests that there has been a distinct narrowing of the gulf between, on the one hand, what the council wish to do and the pro-LTN residents have been campaigning for, and, on the other hand, the views of a large group of residents for whom the whole idea of "filtering" a neighbourhood initially seemed absurd. To what extent this is actually the case should become evident when FLDRA throw the debate open to the floor on Thursday night.

Box A. Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood: Update by Richard Eason, Enfield Council Healthy Streets Team

The Healthy Streets team have now completed an extensive analysis exercise to review the comments received on the Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood programme, following the engagement event held on Tuesday 12th November and subsequent 6 week opportunity to provide comment. This review included consideration of the following:

  • 1174 comments and 67 questions through the Let’s Talk platform;
  • 267 comments cards from the public exhibition;
  • 166 emails;
  • 147 signatures on a petition from residents in Oakfield Road;
  • Four letters from stakeholder groups including:
    • Green Lanes Business Association
    • the Federation of Enfield Residents and Allied Associations (FERAA)
    • Better Streets for Enfield
    • Winchmore Hill Residents’ Association.

The team are now in the process of finalising a report for this engagement, which will provide the key themes and include a detailed FAQ section. In addition to this feedback, the Healthy Streets team have been reviewing detailed input from a further engagement process direct with Ward Councillors. The draft report from the public engagement will now be discussed with Ward Councillors before finalising and uploading to the engagement hub.

However, prior to the publication of this report, we can say that as a result of the feedback received, a decision has been made to make changes to the original design. Further work is now ongoing to develop a revised proposal that responds to a number of the key concerns raised. The Council have held a number of conversations with local groups and have received suggestions of what a revised scheme could look like. These ideas will be seriously considered and will help inform a revised design. This will include a review of the use of ANPR (Auto Number Plate Recognition) in Quieter Neighbourhood projects. Initial thinking is that whilst ANPR could play an important role in certain contexts (for example, enabling continued through access for emergency vehicles) they are unlikely to be the right solution for every street corner across the Borough.

We anticipate the following next steps:

  • Publication of initial engagement report once discussed with relevant Ward Councillors
  • Development of a revised scheme design
  • Ward Councillor discussion on revised scheme design
  • A workshop session with local community representatives to discuss revised design and how it is presented
  • Sharing of revised design to wider community with opportunity for final comment
  • Decision on whether to procced with a trial
  • If a trial period is decided, formal consultation would then start enabling a further opportunity for comment

The Council can implement trials on the public highway without any pre-engagement, with formal consultation through the trial period. However, we recognise the value in engaging with the community and the community helping to shape the design of these neighbourhood projects. The Quieter Neighbourhood project was re-launched in the summer of 2019 and is focussed on creating long-term change. This project is expected to be delivered over the next 20 years, progressively delivering neighbourhood improvements across the Borough. The Healthy Streets team recognise the need to continually review how we deliver projects and will take learnings from one scheme to the next.

Source: FLDRA website, 18 February 2020

Box B. Proposed FLDRA position on Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood

The Committee has proposed the following position for the Association, which recognises the range of opinions held across our area.

  • FLDRA rejects Enfield Council’s initial Fox Lane LTN proposal (as shown in the exhibition in November 2019).
  • FLDRA continues to support a 20mph limit supported by appropriate traffic calming measures within the Fox Lane area.
  • FLDRA is keen to explore alternative schemes that achieve a safer environment and that take account of the area as a whole, not just certain roads with heavy traffic, with the aim of keeping as many roads open as possible. To this effect FLDRA is engaging with various groups in the neighbourhood and welcomes views from members.

Box C. Position of the Fox Lane Area Traffic Working Group (FLATWG)

fltwg proposals for fox lane ltn 700pxThe map sent by the Fox Lane Area Working Group to Enfield Council is based on the "Green Poster"map produced by the Fox Lane LTN group, but leaves more flexibility about the positioning of filters on roads to the south of Fox Lane

At their recent (4th Feb) meeting, discussion led to a feeling that compromise will be necessary as some roads are heavily used as short cuts. Generally agreed this should be for the whole area and not just certain roads and some road closures will be required, but how that is done is debatable.

David Bird has suggested a scheme based on the 'green poster' map but using ANPR (Automated Number Plate Recognition) rather than physical barriers. The group largely favours an APNR solution to the problem of through traffic but recognises that the Council seems less keen.

There is some dispute with the Council concerning the costs, both capital and running, of ANPR.

With regard to the questionnaire it was recognised that there were flaws and perceived bias in the questions, and 100 replies is not many, it showed some indication of local sentiment which is quite evenly split on many issues. It was suggested a full questionnaire organised by the Council might be a better indicator.

After discussion of many issues it was agreed that David Bird would write to the Council:

  • Supplying up-to-date information on ANPR cameras and requesting detailed costings for a local scheme.
  • Asking for proper assessment criteria to be applied to any trial particularly to surrounding roads.
  • Requesting that any scheme includes mitigation measures on the peripheral roads e.g. hedges, trees, pedestrian crossings, constrictions, etc.
  • Asking that the Council consults residents by means of a questionnaire detailing alternative schemes which can be put in order of preference.
 
For scheme details, which have been forwarded to LBE, click here. Click  here for explanatory map.

Box D. The Fox Lane LTN Group

fox lane ltn ltn group proposalThe Fox Lane LTN Group's "Green Poster" scheme for excluding through traffic

The Fox Lane LTN group is a network of people across the Fox Lane area who support the idea of a low traffic neighbourhood. Each road has its own ambassadors or street link-reps and so far 15 roads are involved.

This group has put together an alternative proposal for the Fox Lane LTN six-month trial, which has been shared with the community and the council. Our proposal seeks to make the neighbourhood safer, less polluted, quieter and greener for adults and children walking, cycling and using mobility aids, whilst still allowing reasonable access for vehicles (but not through traffic).

The group is also liaising with other groups, including FLDRA, who are looking for better solutions to the traffic issues that blight our community.

If you are interested in supporting an LTN in the future and would like to know the link person for your road, please contact .

Note: This report was amended on 23rd February. The paragraph with the subheading "Reviewing responses to the original proposals" was rewritten to remove the suggestion that councillors were not told in advance about the proposals that were revealed to the public in November at the meeting in the former Starbucks shop. Links to pages on the FLDRA website were added.

Links

Fox Lane LTN – Update from Richard Eason – LBE, Healthy Street team

Update from FLTWG team

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Fox Lane low-traffic neighbourhood: Working towards a compromise 22 Feb 2020 09:25 #5243

Meanwhile in Islington...Cllr Champion told the Gazette: "It's more about seeing a neighbourhood as somewhere where people live and move around, so limiting it to the word 'traffic' gives it to narrow a focus."

The scheme will include measures such as road closures, protected cycle routes, better crossings and improved public spaces to remove barriers to walking and cycling. www.islingtongazette.co.uk/news/islington-council-set-to-get-first-liveable-neighbourhood-1-6521908

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Fox Lane low-traffic neighbourhood: Working towards a compromise 23 Feb 2020 10:55 #5244

Interesting, thanks. It is an eye opener when confronted with how we have come to accept neighbourhoods (effectively our village communities) as being primarily conduits for others to travel through in a means and at a velocity fitting their own requirement, with no consideration or cost of the externalities of their noise, pollution, vibration, safety, isolation, fear and other downsides they bring to the surrounding majority.

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Fox Lane low-traffic neighbourhood: Working towards a compromise 23 Feb 2020 17:48 #5245

Basil Clarke Basil Clarke's Avatar Topic Author
I've rewritten a paragraph in the article after Cllr Ian Barnes posted the following on the Better Streets for Enfield Facebook group:

It is a decent piece from Basil except for this line which is quite the quantum leap from the statement:
"The update acknowledges implicitly that the original consultation arrangements for residents were inadequate and that local councillors should have been consulted and been kept informed about the plans before the November meeting in the former Starbucks cafe".
Councillors were informed of the draft plan on 28th October. On 7th November they were notified that plan would proceed. And the public event was on 12th November. Feedback could, and was given (by some Councillors) anytime between 28th October and 12th November.
It appears now that more time is needed in future for Councillors to digest, and that's certainly a valuable lesson for the next phase of the LTNs, but to say that they weren't kept informed about the plans before the public event is disingenuous.
I've been very clear from the start that this is a learning process and each new LTN will provide lessons for the next throughout the entire rollout.
We've had a huge amount of feedback that will inform the next design so I'm hoping that everyone can now join together and push forward to a consensus.

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Fox Lane low-traffic neighbourhood: Working towards a compromise 23 Feb 2020 18:13 #5246

Basil Clarke Basil Clarke's Avatar Topic Author
Good to see the chair of a residents' association leading an initiative to remove excess traffic from a residential neighbourhood, in this case " the clearly demarcated triangle of roads bounded by the railway, Alexandra Park, and Albert Road Rec" in the Alexandra Park area of Haringey borough:

Kevin Stanfield, chair of the local Resident's Association, introduced the meeting, explaining that the neighbourhood survey had flagged up speed and volume of traffic as the neighbourhood issues of most importance to local people, together with the related issues of air quality and the safety of children and pedestrians on the roads ('promoting the success of local shops' was also rated highly, but that is not an 'issue' in the same sense!). We would therefore focus on these issues in the meeting, and as much as possible on measures that would help the whole neighbourhood rather than just individual streets (because what helps one street may impact on another)

.

Read more about the meeting at alexandraparkneighbours.org.uk/forum/neighbourhood-traffic-meeting-in-sweet-tree-cafe-on-8th-february .

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Fox Lane low-traffic neighbourhood: Working towards a compromise 24 Feb 2020 09:48 #5247

In fairness, Islington have had an awful record of cycle/ped infrastructure to date. Probably benefiting from that Webbe getting parachuted into a safe seat up north.

From memory there was a twitter thread where the Council lead from transport/a colleague tried to give an example of something they'd produced and it was nothing more than a strip of paint less than half a mile long on one road!!

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Fox Lane low-traffic neighbourhood: Working towards a compromise 24 Feb 2020 16:53 #5250

Picking up Basil's theme , to be fair an earlier Chair did exactly that with substantive effort over many years. (He tells me his first letter to the Council on the subject was 32 years ago; traffic is not a local flash in the pan issue!)
What does seem to have happened is the red team and green team appear to be migrating to a broadly similar solution which, with luck, will broadly align with LBE’s consultation conclusions. (Something must be badly amiss if they don’t.) But these residents own efforts have essentially removed any role for FLDRA in the process.
Something similar has happened on the high street where the PGAT have usurped FLDRA (and GLBA) in driving action; in the park where many activities now take place under park friends and other residents / residents’ groups leadership; and in planning where the conservation areas friends groups have core roles.
This all represents a very different – welcomingly broad and deep – community fabric to the area than was the previous case when RA’s had primacy. Add in the local network and mobilising effects of social media and it may be time for RA’s to stand back and think where they best fit to add value in the new, and still evolving, community structure.

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Fox Lane low-traffic neighbourhood: Working towards a compromise 25 Feb 2020 18:22 #5252

Karl makes an apposite observation - it seems much of the vision and the action in Palmers Green comes from a range of newer organisations. Perhaps it's harder for the likes of FLDRA and GLBA as they are member-based organisations with a less specific purpose but no doubt they can learn from the likes of the Festival team, Palmers Green Action team, the Talkies guys, Fox Lane LTN, Friends of Broomfield Park, Better Streets for Enfield and so on . I gather there have been a number of new committee members joining FLDRA so hopefully there will be renewed energy and focus to build on the experience of the existing committee members.

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