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TOPIC: Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1

Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle (30 November 2016) 30 Jan 2017 10:39 #2659

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Hello Hal.

I tried hard yesterday to write a constructive response to your contribution on the 27th, but due, I think, to old age and infirmity I failed. Accordingly I'll limit my response to saying it'll certainly do no harm.

Good luck with your efforts.

David H.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 13 Oct 2017 23:20 #3247

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
This morning, just as the morning rush-hour was fading, I cycled from home on the Lakes Estate, Palmers Green to the Winchmore Hill medical practice. In a sense it was a joyous experience even though there was plenty of diesel fumes to damage my lungs, because for the first time I saw lines of cars held up whilst bus passengers climbed aboard across the newly built-out bus stops; travel democracy at last. This is just as the council imagined it in it's quest to persuade drivers making short journeys to travel by public transport or by bike. And of course the effect is to even up the balance of power so that pedestrians, bus passengers and cyclist get a fairer chance to travel safely and less uncomfortably.

Where there are stretches of completed cycle lanes I try to use them, but it's not unusual for walkers and people waiting for buses at the new-style bus stops to walk or stand on the cycle lanes where those cycle lanes are on the pavement. For the moment I'm refraining from asking why because I think they are some who really don't know what's going on, and because the job as a whole is far from finished, but I sense that some are doing it to indicate their opposition to the project. This was highlighted this morning as I passed through the Winchmore Hill shopping area. Parts of the cycle lane are on the payment, only very short stretches of those parts arts are complete, signs direct cyclists to the carriageway, but still a pedestrian shouted out: "Get on the cycle lane!" Resentment of the change is showing.

Taking the long view these sorts of issues will irons themselves out, but I suspect that commuting cyclists travelling at speed will generally ignore the cycle lanes because they are less direct, with more complications, and more potential stopping points than on the carriageway. Indeed there is one completed junction, with long stretches of Armadillo defined cycle lane either side, which I still don't understand even though I've taken trouble to do so on more than one occasion.

Have any other contributors make the trip? Despite the fact this project is necessarily full of complications I'm still a fan, and I'm looking forward to future changes.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 15 Oct 2017 11:34 #3249

An octogenarian cycling about and keeping fit, who would believe it.

Last week I walked to Enfield Town during evening rush hour time, returning later on the bus. What struck me was how uneventful everything seemed: cars were flowing freely; occasionally a small number of vehicles waited a brief time behind a bus, at other cars were able to bypass a parked bus, much as happens on numerous London roads; bus users disembarked without apparent issue; cyclists were using what completed lanes are available, others using the roadway and seemed to be keeping up with car speeds; the general public realm, where complete was certainly an improvement, and other than hoping to find a green man at one Winchmore Hill junction I saw or experienced no issues at all on either journey.

There is inevitably going to be differing schools of thought about how c£6m could be best employed on Green Lanes to facilitate more cycling on one of Enfield’s main short journey routes, but the last three years or so of shouty, community-divisive self-serving anger for something which is now so evidently there or there abouts - what a waste.

Let’s hope we don’t see more of the same as Quieter Neighbourhoods start to improve the lives of Enfield’s residents.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 15 Oct 2017 22:45 #3250

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Karl makes a good point about when he reminds us that throughout London traffic frequently has to wait behind buses calling at bus stops; it's nothing new - just new to drivers on Green Lanes and they'll get used to it. And, hopefully, many will take to the cycle lanes, perhaps aided by the fact that on many residential streets owning a car(s) is getting difficult because finding a parking place is such a problem. Time to walk, cycle or use public transport within London, and if you can't bring yourself to take a train hire a car for longer distance journeys. It would be cheaper than buying a new car regularly.

The Quieter Neighbourhoods, and more importantly the Council's approach to them, are now key 'players' in how things develop. Rat-running has been a problem for years, but if nothing is done to limit it people living in some residential streets are going to have a hard time. It's not on our patch, but a current example of rising tension is Brownlow Road-essentially a narrow residential street-which stretches from Bounds Green tube station to the North Circular Road. Personally I know little about the makeup of the traffic queues which develop there (where the cars have come from and are going to) , but I guess it's a problem which won't be resolved unless lots of people leave their cars at home Monday to Friday.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 17 Oct 2017 16:07 #3253

I’ll agree with David re Quieter Neighbourhoods and believe more generally that car-things are coming to a head so progress toward better lives for the majority is indeed likely. We’ve had several decades of growth in car numbers (and their ever enhanced speed / acceleration capabilities) and you don’t have to look hard to realise that space constraints are such that London (and numerous other cities) are now simply full up. Congestion is appalling, with the earlier central London position now evident in inner London and increasingly being seen and felt in the outer ring: nowhere to leave them once you get “there” and the possible speed of travel not warranting the financial investment required . There’s little or no chance of new roads; outside of budgets, London needs all its space for housing, schools, employment, leisure and more. Add to the mix 1.3 million deaths worldwide due to vehicles and the burgeoning realisation that their externalities are killing us all (surprised? I can’t think why given that exhaust gases are a widely known suicide technique) and so we now see top-down change. (The threat of financially-crushing legal cases always does it in the end.) Now it’s absolutely clear that the large car manufacturers, joined by the big technology players, are gearing up their next capex cycle into the non-fossil fuel and non-driver vehicle spheres. I would think of this as the second half 2020’s next stage of the motor vehicle; quieter, less (locally) polluting and slower - automatically. In the interim we’ll see our Quieter Neighbourhoods and the Mayor’s overall Healthy Streets agenda taking some of the strain. And the message that 10 minutes of brisk walking or 20 minutes of normal walking daily is a life enhancer may finally get through; that or cycling of course. Now there’s an opportunity, if only suitable infrastructure was in place....
The following user(s) said Thank You: Adrian Day

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 17 Oct 2017 22:49 #3254

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Time for change, time to summarize.

In a sense Karl and I can see the end of an era. Not the end of cars, vans and lorries, but the end of their dominance of urban space in the current manner - and slower as Karl says. Cycling is bound to come into its own, notably for getting to school and work. In time many streets in Quieter Neighbourhoods or their successors will become space where kids can play without supervision. I suspect the pace of change will accelerate once the die is cast.

One point we should not forget as electricity becomes a dominant force in transport; vehicle tyres and brakes are big cause of poor air quality. Another reason to look forward to fewer road vehicles.

I had another ride on my bike along Green Lanes this morning. Quite a bit more could be done on completed cycle lane. Jay walkers where again in evidence where the cycle lane took to the pavement. This was so even where there was plenty of pavement space on either side of the cycle lane.

Tomorrow I'll make the same journey again. But this time by car because I have heavy items to collect. Wish me well with the parking.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 19 Oct 2017 09:50 #3260

The mayor has already completely undermined his clean air strategy, if he ever really had one, buy banning clean Uber (80% Prius) whilst exempting London's biggest polluters - diesel black cabs - from emmissions legislation. Petty politics is more important to Soundbite Khan than clean air.

I work in central London, cycling from PG most days, and it is ridiculous how much motor traffic clogs the centre. I truly can't believe it is all genuinely needed, i.e. neccessary journeys that can only be made by car. Speaking to Karl's earlier point - paerticles from tires and break bads are actually some of the biggest pollutant issues in London.

How about increase the C charge to £50 a day and apply the T charge unanimously, see how important all those vehicle journeys are then. Receipts can fund better cycling infra projects.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 19 Oct 2017 22:35 #3261

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
I was a bit surprised by David Eden's criticism of London's mayor - contribution to this topic 19 October 2017 - because the mayor has shown every sign of understanding London's streets issues, being keen to effect change, having some good ideas with the energy to carry them out. However the fault may still be mine because I haven't followed every detail of the Uber/Black Cabs choice which has several layers needing teasing out. That is likely to take time, and I'd personally like an analysis; surely the suggested risk to female passengers needs clarity and direction. Or have I missed something?

On the other hand I too would like to see an extension of the Congestion Charge whilst the forthcoming introduction of an Omission Charge is key to applying pressure for change. Politically and socially though there's a lot of ground to cover against a population which has come to believe that cars are essential to the good life, indeed to life. And indeed cars and vans really are still essential for some types of trip; it's a small proportion though.

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