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TOPIC: Enfield Cycle Forum

Enfield Cycle Forum 09 Dec 2015 21:33 #1858

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Enfield Cycle Forum is a long-standing, very informal, series of meetings with council officers, quite often councillors, and sometimes specialists such as health experts. There is no fixed membership, but cyclists who attend tend to be active Enfield members of the London Cycling Club. I am such a member though I have attended as a representative of the Fox Lane Residents' Association (at a time when I didn't cycle), and now attend on behalf of this site (at a time when I am cycling).

The informality of the meetings was demonstrated very clearly at the most recent meeting (08/12/15, hopefully some notes of the meeting will follow) when about half way through the meeting an Enfield Borough resident who had never attended a meeting previously, and who happens of work as a traffic/roads engineer in one of the boroughs to the south of London, turned up and asked some very important questions nobody else had thought to ask about the Enfield Town and Edmonton Mini-Holland plans.

I hope to comment on the 8 December meeting and on later meetings in a separate post(s), though the comment will reflect personal interest rather than a comprehensive record.

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Enfield Cycle Forum 10 Dec 2015 11:10 #1859

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
In a post on 9th December 2015 I gave a brief and informal description of the Enfield Cycle Forum. This post takes and informal and personal look at a meeting to the Forum on 8th December 2015. Hopefully a formal record of the meeting will become available later.

Paul Rogers, Programme Manager – Cycle Enfield, was present and contributed to the agenda item on Green Lanes, Enfield Town, Southbury Road and Edmonton/Hertford Road.

A different member of council staff (Eduardo Gomes, better known as Eddie) had taken responsibility for the Forum since the previous meeting so he asked us to identify ourselves; at that stage we were all members of the Enfield branch (ECC) of the London Cycling Club (LCC). However when my turn came I made it admitted(?) that I would also be reporting to the Palmers Green Community Website.

Later a locally resident cyclist and traffic/streets engineer in a south London borough turned up, and used his knowledge to good effect.

Now some background. In my time attending these meetings the main preoccupation has been the development of so-called Greenways, cycle friendly paths through parks and other green space such as along the banks of New River, and Quietways, cycle friendly paths mainly through minor streets and with special provisions for crossing major roads such as the A10. Much progress has been made with this, and is still being made, and on the whole ECC members are pleased with the progress. Discussion was constructive, and it was very clear that both officers and members of the ECC were very happy with progress. I didn’t contribute to the discussion because, by choice, I’m not knowledgeable about the programme.

Here’s why:
• however many of these routes are made cyclists will often have to cycle on streets and roads among traffic, therefore the key need is to ensure that the relations with vehicles on every street ensures safety;
• the Greenways in particular are aimed at recreational cycling which, almost uniquely among LCC members, I don’t do – I cycle as an alternative to driving and walking (cycling puts less pressure on old knees and hips than walking as well as being much quicker), and
• (this is the key reason): unless provisions for walkers and cyclists in urban areas is shared with traffic drivers are likely to keep their sense of entitlement to the carriageway: driving fast, passing far too close to bikers, feeling that their entitlement to their chosen route is more important than the routes convenient to a cyclist or pedestrian.

My lack of interest in something which most keen cyclists are keen on can be seen as very inward looking, but as I see it separation doesn’t help the person who wants who wants to pop to the shops on a bike, the youngster who should be cycling to school rather than being carried in car, the older person who may not be as steady as is desirable, not, most importantly, someone (most of us) who want to travel by their most direct route. In my opinion acquiring the habit of sharing across all road users is key to the future, which is better done at traffic speeds of 30kph than at 30mph.

Greenways though have a special function for children who are either not competent enough for the open road, or too young.

The discussion about Quietways – remember this meeting is primarily about cycling – turned up something which was new to me and the rest of the ECC members: a Scramble Crossing which will favour cyclists. Information can be found via Google, but if you think Oxford Street/Regent Street junction you’ll have some idea. I don’t remember all the details of particular streets in this proposal, but it’s a clear manifestation of Enfield’s commitment to cyclists and pedestrians.

I’ve admitted that I’m not personally interested in Greenways and Quietways, but the progress in that direction, the promise of Mini-Holland, the venture into Scramble Crossings, and the likelihood of at least one Shared Space project as part of Mini-Holland, has engendered a view that Enfield is really very serious about making life better for walkers and cyclists.

Hurrah! It looks as if we have a very comprehensive whole-borough plan, though I hope that in the long run creating the habit of sharing at a default 30kph (the current default is 30mph) will take over from the principle of separation.

Now a couple of facts.
1. The council has appointed a consultant to make an Economic Assessment of the benefits or otherwise of its cycling policies (I have a vague feeling I already knew this).
2. It’s probable that the Council Cabinet will be asked to approve the detailed design of the Green Lane project on the 10th February next.

And now that late-coming traffic engineer who threw spanners in the works:
• he asked, sceptically, if there was room in the project for Enfield Town for buses to overtake each other on the high street (Church Street), pointing out that buses picking up/dropping passengers might need to be passed by other buses which diverge to other routes having travelled this street;
• referring to the plans he categorically stated that the design for the Edmonton bus terminus/stop was both dangerous and inconvenient (not sure the Council’s staff agreed);
• he thought, though the plans available at the meeting weren’t such that it was clear, that kerb heights were not suitable for elderly and disabled people or people with pushchairs, and
• others of a less important nature.

Apparently about 50 bus routes per hour travel the high street – you’ll have noticed that’s one a minute, almost – and he maintained that there would be cases where buses putting down or picking passengers would be stationery for quite a while (push chairs, elderly people, people with mobility problems, people who don’t have a ‘bus-pass’). Council staff thought it would be rare, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. Sticking my neck out I think he’s spotted a big problem.

Apart from his technical status this man is clearly certain that buses will become the key to success in coping with a rising population and the need to reduce car use. About that I concur wholeheartedly.

Hopefully the official notes of the meeting will give a more comprehensive picture when they arrive……..which could be quite a while ahead if past experience is any guide.

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Enfield Cycle Forum 10 Dec 2015 11:37 #1861


Very interesting posting ref the issue of buses. You may recall my earlier postings reporting on my FOI requests to TfL about the impact of cycle enfield on bus travel. Their very first response was that I should ask Enfield since it was their project which didn't suggest close attention to what was going on!

Perseverance revealed a lack of tested modelling on bus travel. I wonder whether it has yet been carried out? At this late stage in the design process this amazes me.

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Enfield Cycle Forum 10 Dec 2015 12:02 #1863

Tom Mellor Tom Mellor's Avatar
I'd like to know where these so-called Quietways are. From what I can tell, most roads in Enfield are still open to through traffic, and filters that exist have been in place prior to the scheme. Preventing rat running is the only way to make these roads in any way attractive to cycling.

Churchbury Lane is a prime example for me, one which has parallel main roads only a couple of hundred metres away on either side, and one that has pathetic attempts at curbing traffic with speed bumps and roundabouts, with obvious inconvenience, but no actual filtering.

David, I've noted that on street life you said that the Dutch approach is shared space- it is not! Shared space has been used in a few places but has not worked in my view. Separation is really the name of the game. Support shared space if you must, but please do not say that is the Dutch way.

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Enfield Cycle Forum 10 Dec 2015 19:37 #1867

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Quietways and Greenways can probably be found/followed on the either the Council's main website or on Cycle Enfield's site or both. Otherwise either speak to council staff, turn up at the next Enfield Cycle Forum, or speak to someone from ECC.

Tom Mellor may think that Shared Space schemes aren't successful, but quite a lot of people seem to disagree.

Myself I've only spent a few days in each of Amsterdam, Keukenhof and Rotterdam, and crisscrossed The Netherlands in very fast trains taking me to other countries. I've never knowingly experience a Shared Space scheme there. So my knowledge/opinion is based on the enthusiasm of Ben Hamilton-Baillee, a couple of BBC Radio 4 documentaries, UCL's research project and the Council's Mini-Holland bid.

Bear in mind that the Council recruited a Dutch consultancy which gives validity to the statement that in the Netherlands the equivalent to Quieter Neighbourhoods have the following features: low traffic speed, restriction of rat-running and Shared Space road rules. That sounds good to me, though the Councils approach was less than full-blooded.

Segregation may be good for adult cyclists; the plaudits of Danish and Swedish schemes testify to that. But I've experienced how nasty they can be for pedestrians, and I'm confident that they are not good for general quality of life and community cohesion. For me the messy variation of Strasbourg is best solution I've seen so far. For us, now, I'm not pressing for formal Shared Space though I'd be very pleased to see a local example, but I would prefer a 30kph default speed limit and various changes to the street to encourage cooperative use of the space rather than cycle lanes. When I use the word share - lower case - I'm keen to encourage good manners and tolerance, and not some of the shocking behaviour induced in some cyclists by drivers sense of entitlement.

Let's have tolerant good nature rather than competitive anger.

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Enfield Cycle Forum 10 Dec 2015 21:14 #1868

Tom Mellor Tom Mellor's Avatar
Simply put, we can't have cycle tracks everywhere ( or even in most places), so yes the Dutch do cycle on most roads, but the crucial point is that these roads are not through routes and traffic volumes remain low. Also, they are designed to look different and signify drivers as being 'guests'. So, despite no cycle tracks, you are not cycling in 'traffic'. I totally support this, as well as a further roll out of 20mph roads.

What Hamilton-Baile and others seem to suggest is that we try this without eliminating the through traffic, and that's where it fails. Palmers Green is the last place that should try 'sharing'.

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Enfield Cycle Forum 11 Dec 2015 00:04 #1873

Paul Mandel Paul Mandel's Avatar
Tom Mellor, trying to eliminate through traffic is an appalling form of nimbyisim, because you then going to push that through traffic onto roads where other communities will suffer.

Where I may agree with you is that is although like the idea of shared space it works only only on very quiet and enclosed spaces, such as a village square. It does not work on Exhibition Road Souith Kensington. Try walking across the entrance of Prince Consort Road and no taxi driver will yield to you! Returning the zebra Crossing that was there before, is much needed here

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Enfield Cycle Forum 11 Dec 2015 00:04 #1874

Paul Mandel Paul Mandel's Avatar
David Hughes. On the subject of Church Street and buses not being able to pass each other. This something I am well aware of and complained to Paul Rogers about at the exhibition in the Dugdale Centre. The same will be true in Genotin Road.

I also draw your attention to parts of the Save Our Green Lanes A105 scheme Consultation Response, which I largely authored and is on our website.

3. Bus boarders, whereby passengers will have to alight straight onto the cycle lane are inherently unsafe, particularly for the elderly, disabled, visually impaired and young children. They will create conflict between cyclists and bus passengers/pedestrians. Much the same can be said where cycle lanes are to pass on the inside of parking bays.

4. Apart from virtually non-existent police enforcement, there is nothing to prevent motorcycles from using the cycle lanes. This will create threats for all road users and pedestrians, for the latter, especially at bus stops and in commercial areas where the cycle lanes are raised up to pavement level.

With regard to the Palmers Green section, it also says:

The loss of an important bus stop outside the Fox is deeply regrettable. It is widely used by parents taking their kids to and from school and elderly people living in the extensive sheltered accommodation and care homes in the area, as well as elderly and disabled people living independently. This will amount to a substantial loss in their independence. Without it, many people from further afield will experience difficulties visiting the post office, just opposite, which will lose business. Royal Mail vans will no longer be able to park right outside.

The placing of two bus stops opposite each other just south of the Triangle will create an acute pinch point if one, but especially both bus stops are occupied simultaneously. If a second southbound bus arrives whilst one is already at the stop, the road will become completely blocked, even if temporarily. As this bus stop is used by both the 121 and 329 services, this scenario will occur frequently Furthermore, buses do breakdown, or experience other incidents affecting their ability to move, with frightening frequency.

At the northern end:

This section of road already severe congestion at times. Removal of the northbound bus lane will cause longer and more unpredictable bus journey times.

To make matters even worse, the placing of two bus stops opposite each other just north of Roseneath Walk will create an acute pinch point if one, but especially if both bus stops are occupied simultaneously. If a second southbound bus arrives whilst one has is already at the stop, the road will become completely blocked, even if temporarily. However, buses do breakdown, or experience other incidents affecting their ability to move, with great frequency.

At Winchmore Hill:
Loss of the slip road exclusively for the use of buses outside Capital House. Route 125 buses terminate and turn around here. However, no alternative arrangements for this service appear to have been made. Route 329 buses wait here to regularise the service. This will no longer be able to happen and will cause a bunching up, with consequent, extended and more unpredictable, journey times, crowding and deterioration in the service.

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