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TOPIC: What next for the Fox Lane quieter neighbourhood?

What next for the Fox Lane quieter neighbourhood? 19 Jun 2019 23:40 #4614

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

imageRichard Eason from Enfield Council's Healthy Streets  team addresses a packed meeting of Fox Lane & District Residents' Association

It was standing room only at last week's open meeting of Fox Lane & District Resident's Association (FLDRA) as people from the Association's catchment area (and some from further afield) flocked in, hoping to discover what Enfield Council has in mind for the Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood scheme, now that the planters experiment has been officially declared a failure.  Actually, we didn't learn much at all about what new traffic calming measures will be proposed, but it was nevertheless a very useful meeting because of what we, the Council and the FLDRA found out about residents' views on traffic volumes and speeds in the so far not very quiet "quieter neighbourhood" area.

The guest speaker was Richard Eason, the council officer in charge of the council's Healthy Streets Programme - this is the new and more appropriate name for what was previously known as Cycle Enfield.  Predictably, Richard was only a few minutes into his presentation when he was interrupted by shouted complaints about the A105 cycle lanes.  However, helped by polite yet firm chairing by another Richard (Richard Mapleston, the FLDRA Chair), Richard was able to quickly get the meeting back on track by asking for a show of hands on two fundamental questions:  did people think there was a problem with too much traffic;  and did they think there was a problem with traffic speeds.  Both questions received a very decisive Yes vote, which rather took the wind out of the sails of some of the people who had come along to oppose traffic calming measures and probably expected that most people in the room would share their views.

Richard (Eason) began by setting the context for the Healthy Streets Programme:  the Mayor of London's Transport Strategy out to 2041; and the benefits of reducing car usage and encouraging more walking, cycling and public transport in terms air quality, health and road danger reduction. The goal is a long-term shift in travel modes - a 20-year strategy focussed on town centres and on residential neighbourhoods.  He acknowledged the difficulty in balancing infrastructure improvements for cyclists with the need to keep buses moving.

On the specifics of the Fox Lane neighbourhood, Richard said that removal of the planters will begin this week.  The planters and the plants in them will be preserved and alternative uses found for them.  His team will be developing a new set of ideas. There will be an exhibition, opportunities for feedback, and the new solutions will be trialled, using before and after data to judge their effectiveness.  However, if there were any clues as to what the new solutions might be, then I didn't pick them up.

The remainder of the meeting consisted of questions and answers and of statements and comments by people in the audience.  Views expressed ranged from "I'm against all road closures, roads are there to be driven on" to "blocking streets works, make it inconvenient" via "will ruin the Palmers Green shops".  And while it was clear that there were people in the audience who don't want any traffic calming, the comments that stood out most were by people who are impatient to see decisive measures:

"Act boldly, swiftly, give it a go!"

"Be ambitious, have the balls!"

"We don't want drawn-out consultations."

Several attendees had lived or worked in other boroughs where bold measures have had a transformative effect - Waltham Forest, Finsbury Park and Hackney were all quoted.  As someone remarked:

"Walthamstow works - no need to re-invent the wheel".

Asked whether the views expressed during consultation would be followed, by someone who clearly considered that the cycle lanes had been imposed against the wishes of those consulted, Richard made it clear that a consultation is "not a referendum":  the council would be asking for people's views on how to implement schemes, not for permission to implement them.

Summing up, the meeting was more useful for what we learnt about the feelings of residents about traffic in their neighbourhood, rather than what we found out about the council's plans.  Hopefully, we won't have to wait long before we do find out.

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What next for the Fox Lane quieter neighbourhood? 20 Jun 2019 00:07 #4615

Basil Clarke Basil Clarke's Avatar Topic Author


To illustrate just how bad the traffic problem is in the "quieter neighbourhood". A resident of Amberley Road obtained the data recorded in his short residential street over a single week in March. More than 350 cars an hour were using the street during the am and pm peak hours. Truly unpleasant and hazardous for people trying to cross the road.

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What next for the Fox Lane quieter neighbourhood? 20 Jun 2019 17:21 #4618

I asked Richard why the trial of planters had been judged a failure, even though only about half of the originally proposed planters had been deployed, and the request for speed humps on the "ladder" roads (ie roads connecting Aldermans Hill, Fox Lane and Bourne Hill) had not been met.

He wasn't able to say more than that was had been decided.

So we will never know whether more speed humps would have reduced speed or whether these and the full deployment of planters would have reduced rat running.

This doesn't seem to be evidence based decision making.

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What next for the Fox Lane quieter neighbourhood? Statement by Richard Eason 20 Jun 2019 22:58 #4619

Richard Eason has now supplied a written statement about how consultation and trialling of a "revised approach" will be carried out (again, with no clue as to what the revised approach might consist of).

Enfield Council are clear from previous engagement and consultation events that there is a shared concern with residents in the Fox Lane area about the volume and speed of traffic. The next step will be to share a revised approach to be trialled in the area.

These plans will be added to the Councils engagement hub ( letstalktransport.enfield.gov.uk/ ) and households in the area will then receive notification of the proposals that will encourage them to view more information online and provide feedback (paper copies will be available on request). There will also be a drop-in event one evening. Residents can visit with any questions or observations they may have - with their formal feedback been provided online.

Officers will then review all of the feedback on the proposals and consider any adjustments. Implementation is likely to take place supported by an experimental traffic order so that we can assess the impact further. During this period, there will then be further opportunity for residents to provide feedback on how they feel the trial is working (via a further online survey). This is likely to be for a 6 month period. Once representations have been made, Officers will need to consider these in detail before making recommendations on a decision to make the experimental orders permanent as advertised, or to amend the orders and provide a further period for comments.

As with any consultation, it is the nature of the representations that need to be considered, not simply the volume of comments that are received. When making recommendations, Officers will consider a broad range of factors, which will be outlined in a publicly available report that will be published online.

Richard

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What next for the Fox Lane quieter neighbourhood? 02 Jul 2019 00:28 #4650

The July Enfield Dispatch is out and as always is an excellent source of news and features. If you can't find a print copy, you can download a PDF file.

However, this month there's one news report, about the Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood, that's a little misleading and requires some clarification.



The report states that

The Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood was a trial carried out by Cycle Enfield [...] which saw the entrancies to several roads partially blocked by large box planters...


In fact, what has been abandoned isn't the Quieter Neighbourhood, but the plan to create it by putting planters at the end of roads. The council is still planning to create the Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood but using some other method or methods - we don't yet know what they have in mind. See this statement by Richard Eason about next steps for the quieter neighbourhood.

And it was clear from the feelings expressed by residents at the recent FLDRA meeting that there is great unhappiness about the amount of traffic using the residential streets as cut-throughs and the excessive speeds.

Further on, the report says that

[Better Streets for Enfield] claimed the only alternative to partial obstacles was blocking off streets entirely.


This could suggest that under the Better Streets for Enfield proposal cars wouldn't be able to drive along the streets at all. In fact, the proposals would allow cars to get to every address in the neighbourhood, as one end of every street would remain open. The scheme would use "point closures" to stop cars driving through the quieter neighbourhood to get to places on the other side, ie using it as a short cut.

This method is referred to as a "Low Traffic Neighbourhood" - see this article on the Better Streets for Enfield website.

The map below shows a possible configuration of eleven point closures that would have this effect.

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