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better streets for enfield logoBetter Streets for Enfield have posted some comments about the Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood proposals on their website (republished below).  These are not yet finalised, they may take on board any useful comments.

Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood plans

The Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood consultation is open, showing some innovative and promising ideas. You can see the plans and respond here, while the technical drawings are here – the closing date is 26 November.

fox lane qn consultation map smallerThe map in the Fox Lane QN consultation leaflet

 As Better Streets our response isn’t set in stone, so feel free to contact us with your views. Here’s the short version:

We welcome…

  • The area-wide approach, with planters on every street entrance to signal that drivers are entering a residential area
  • The (unofficial) 20mph zone
  • The continuous footways on Aldermans Hill
  • The traffic ban at school run hours for Cannon Road
  • Reduced traffic in the Bourne Avenue area with point no entries
  • Sinusoidal speed humps and road narrowing to calm traffic.

We are concerned…

…that these measures on their own will not prevent drivers from cutting through our residential streets. Without a reduction in traffic volume we are unlikely to reach our goal of increased walking and cycling. Therefore, we want to see the council monitoring the effects on traffic speed and volume for 3–6 months after implementation. If it hasn’t produce the desired effect of less traffic, we would like the council to trial more effective measures. We welcome the statement that the planters could be repositioned to help further reduce traffic speeds/volumes.

Read on for the longer (draft) version as a more detailed response:

The Better Streets approach to Quieter Neighbourhoods

As Better Streets for Enfield, one of our end goals is the removal of through traffic from residential areas to create low-traffic neighbourhoods. This will promote all-age active travel, discourage short journeys by car and allow residents of all ages to enjoy their streets as community space. This ambition is in line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and healthy streets/liveable neighbourhoods approach. We will respond to each of the Quieter Neighbourhood consultations with this end goal in mind, and while we recognise that it can’t be achieved overnight, we welcome any commitment or steps in this direction.

Continuous footways from the Triangle to Aldermans Hill zebra crossing

We welcome this design to signal priority to pedestrians over the side roads on a busy stretch of Aldermans Hill, especially train passengers. However, we’re concerned that since these side roads are also well-used through routes, there will be lots of vehicle movement over them and that not all drivers will respect pedestrians’ right of way. Therefore it will be essential to make the turns very tight to keep driving slow, perhaps with bell bollards or planters. Such measures are not shown in the technical drawings.

We are also concerned that the proposed design, with painted give way markings on the Aldermans Hill side, may undermine the visual priority for pedestrians. Surely the more common design of the footpath paving continuing across the junction without painted markings is clearer?

Planters as width restrictions near the entrance of every side road

We welcome this innovative measure for its potential to slow drivers as they enter roads; to signal that drivers are entering a residential neighbourhood; and to green streets, possibly allowing for community gardening as well. We note that the whole area or cell has been taken into account, not just individual streets, which is very welcome.

It may be worth putting something on the pavement, level with planters, to prevent drivers mounting the kerb and to restrict access by the largest vehicles that frequently and inappropriately use these streets. A second smaller planter or a large natural boulder (no maintenance required) could be used.

However, we don’t think this measure on its own will discourage drivers from cutting through our streets, or necessarily reduce driver speeds along their length (unless more planters are introduced at intervals, if residents agree to lose parking). And without a reduction in traffic volume and speed we are unlikely to reach our goal of increased walking and cycling. Therefore, we want to see the council monitoring the effects on traffic speed and volume for 3–6 months after implementation. If it hasn’t produce the desired effect of less traffic, we would like the council to trial more effective measures. We welcome the statement that the planters could be repositioned to help further reduce traffic speeds/volumes.

Speed humps

Sinusoidal speed humps are welcome where they’re being introduced, notably on Fox Lane. The absence of a sixth speed hump to the eastern end of Fox Lane is surprising given the speed levels seen here from vehicles moving in both directions. Ideally, we would like to see more streets in the neighbourhood receive speed humps – if not now, then when funding allows. We are slightly sceptical about the optical illusion speed humps planned for Devonshire Road in terms of slowing down the habitual speeders on this one-way street. Residents complain of speeding as a daily nuisance and may perceive this option as inadequate given the scale of the problem. Again, the effects of this measure should be monitored.

Unofficial 20mph zone

We welcome the introduction of an unofficial 20mph zone as a first step towards slowing vehicle speeds. To reinforce the message, the council could issue households with ‘Twenty’s plenty’ vinyl stickers for people to add to their wheelie bins, to help reinforce the message:

wheelie bin with 20mph notice

However, ultimately we would like to see an official, enforceable 20mph zone implemented throughout the neighbourhood in this area and all built-up areas of Enfield (although removing through traffic from residential areas is a higher priority for us).

Point no entries

We welcome these traffic reduction measures for the Bourne Avenue area, though we hope it will not add to the already heavy through traffic on The Mall.

School street for St Monica’s primary school

We warmly welcome this scheme – we hope it will not only boost walking and cycling rates for St Monica’s families and improve safety on the street itself at school run times, but provide a model for school streets elsewhere in the borough.

Finally, it bears repeating – while we support these proposals overall, we view them in themselves as unlikely to truly deliver a ‘Quieter Neighbourhood’ that is quiet, where walking and cycling rates rise, and car use falls. They do not, in their current form, address the heavy through traffic on streets such as Old Park Road, The Mall, Caversham Avenue, or Amberley Road. Our support is therefore based on the assumption that if these measures do, as we fear, prove relatively ineffective on their own, further steps will be taken to create true Quieter Neighbourhoods.

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Tristan Lockheart's Avatar
Tristan Lockheart posted a reply #3348 19 Nov 2017 15:14
The leaflet says drivers would be "encouraged" to give way to pedestrians on the continuous footways. The sort of drivers that we are often faced with are nowhere near as cooperative enough as that! I can easily see a child stepping out in front a vehicle, thinking that they are on the pavement, thus getting hit.
Larry Roberts's Avatar
Larry Roberts posted a reply #3353 22 Nov 2017 16:42
Yes, my thoughts too! Continuous footways will not encourage pedestrians to look before they step out into the road...there seems to be a growing culture (exacerbated by the digital age) that pedestrians now just step out into the road without due care and attention
Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #3354 22 Nov 2017 18:31

Larry Roberts wrote: Continuous footways will not encourage pedestrians to look before they step out into the road...there seems to be a growing culture (exacerbated by the digital age) that pedestrians now just step out into the road without due care and attention

It's true that there are many pedestrians who wander across roads without due care and attention, endangering themselves and also causing a nuisance for drivers.

However, in the context we're discussing here - a driver turning into a side road - the obligation is for the driver to wait for the pedestrian. According to the highway code when walking across the end of a side road pedestrians have the right of way and drivers entering the road are obliged to give way if a pedestrian has set a foot on the road. A pedestrian would be foolhardy to do so without looking first, but would be in the right if hit by a car and the driver would be in the wrong. From the driver's point of view therefore, the sensible thing to do is to anticipate that the pedestrian will get to the road first and may wish to exercise their right of way and thus the driver should stop and wait for the pedestrian.

Continuous footways can make it clearer to drivers that they don't have the right of way, but they need to be obvious enough, ie be wide enough (Copenhagen crossings) and have a conspicuously different surfacing than the road - preferably paving stones of the same type as used for the rest of the pedestrian footway.
David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #3355 22 Nov 2017 21:59
I just want to repeat and re-emphasise Basil's point: drivers should/must be looking out for pedestrians rather than swinging into side streets and expecting people on foot to keep out of their way. It's driver's responsibility to do 'the looking out' and giving way.

To me the fact that most drivers seem to expect walkers to give way reflects my constant refrain of drivers' sense of entitlement. No wonder that over my lifetime kids have been swept of the streets like so many autumn leaves.

Of course, as Basil pointed out, pedestrians have to keep a look out, because even the best and most considerate of drivers can make a mistake. But, common courtesy apart, adult pedestrians should exert their rights when possible/safe, otherwise driver sense of entitlement in urban areas will continue to grow. This may hold up the stream of traffic on the main road, but then walkers have as much right to complete their journey comfortably, and on time, as drivers.

I note that Haringay Council is installing/has installed steep-sided tables at the mouth of some side streets. At a guess this is partly because at some times of day short queues of walkers were forming at the kerb side unable to cross the side road. And steep-sided tables do encourage drivers to slow down.

It's a little off the subject, but I think that a factor in all this is the number of cars on the road, very many of them driver only, and seeking to rat-run - thereby wanting to turn off main roads more often. Which in some way seems to support Enfield Council's decision to install cycle lanes in order to encourage people travelling short, driver only journeys to get on a bike.
Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #3356 23 Nov 2017 00:09
The deadline for submitting your views on the Fox Lane QN plans is this Sunday, 26th November.

I'm very disappointed to find that the same organisations that campaign so vigorously against the cycle lanes are taking an equally negative attitude towards Quieter Neighbourhoods.

One of the points they make is that the QN consultations should start only after cycle lanes have been finished, in order to assess the effects. But if they do affect side streets (and I don't believe they will), it means that measures to limit traffic through those streets will be even more needed than they already are.

How could anyone object to speed humps on Fox Lane, a very bendy and hilly residential street with multiple crossroads along which cars career well in excess of safe speeds and where many crashes have occurred?

Objection: Restricting the width of entrances to roads off Aldermans Hill will mean that cars have to slow or stop before turning into those roads. Well yes, the whole point is to make it less easy for drivers to rat-run though the Lakes Estate and to make it safer for pedestrians to cross side streets - after all they have the right of way when crossing those streets and drivers are obliged to wait for them to cross.

Objection: The scheme will do nothing to stop speeding on Aldermans Hill and Bourne Hill. Well, of course not, because those main roads aren't within the quieter neighbourhoods. They certainly do need anti-speeding measures, so why not propose some instead of merely being negative?
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #3357 23 Nov 2017 01:09
On the point of traffic on Aldermans Hill and traffic turning off it, the potential issue is that unrestricted traffic running along Aldermans Hill might shunt cars stopping to turn left in to the QN. The extension of the pavements across the road ends will increase the propensity of pedestrians not to pause before crossing the road and reduce drivers' reaction times. This is not about the rights and wrongs of drivers and pedestrians nor about the claimed sense of entitlement of drivers, nor an objection to allowing pedestrians to cross, it's just based on observation of the existing situation and an extrapolation of potential risks. I don't know if notices along AH to warn of the new road layouts, such as those which appeared when the new crossing near to Old Park Road was installed might help, though I would prefer traffic calming measures along AH.

On the delay issue, the initial consultation workshop was based on QN being introduced before the cycle routes. This was questioned by some attending since it seemed more sensible to wait for traffic patterns to settle down. Those running the consultation said, no we are going ahead, but there could be trials of various temporary systems which could be adjusted as experience was gained. The scheme was then delayed, and the explanation was.... time was needed to see how the cycle lanes worked. Well, it was delayed, but not by enough to see how the cycle enfield changes worked for QNs, and there is little sign of trial measures.

On the subject of rat running, I don't see how the continuous pavement will really help. Bad drivers will just accelerate after slowing down to turn in, just as they do now. What's needed are ways of slowing or inhibiting traffic further along these connecting roads, and changes to the intersections with Fox Lane. I seem to recall workshop suggestions of various ways this latter could help with rat runs and speeds along Fox Lane.

I also seem to detect a general tendency to assume that car drivers don't walk or use pubic transport and therefore are unable to raise concerns about aspects of the scheme. We should as a community try to avoid stereotyping one another.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3358 23 Nov 2017 09:15
Strikes me that if there is a “shunt risk” because a car in front is slowing / has stopped to turn into a side street then the core issue is not with the road engineering or layout but rather with the following driver. I’d also hazard a guess that “Copenhagen” crossing data is fully available to our local planners who will have assessed the risk to pedestrians crossing the street - who of course have priority over cars turning in at such junctions once they are on their way. If only I often think.
Certainly the expected QN rollout was more than upset by the two year or so delay caused by the anti-change campaign and things only started to move ahead when their final legal case didn’t succeed. The original programme did not surprisingly get impacted as a consequence. Personally I’m happy there is now, finally, some apparent momentum, for whatever the changes on the Lakes and Meadway as a result of the A105 cycle lanes, if any, it will be over time in what is a medium / long term transformation programme and I suspect will be more at the margin than a fundamental change in the shorter period – ie too many local streets will still see too many rat runners with a large number driving too fast and often illegally. That’s the core issue in this element. Any delay is exactly that.
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #3359 23 Nov 2017 10:24
I’ll try to make this my last comment, since we seem to have reached both the end of the consultation period and a point where more heat than light is being generated. There’s a risk that this becomes an Orwellian “two wheels (or legs) good, four wheels bad” when their owners may be one and the same person at different times! I also find it unacceptable for reasonable analysis of the proposals to be equated with opposition.

I don’t know why Aldermans Hill isn’t part of quieter neighbourhoods since it is inextricably linked to problems within the cell. Is it a road TfL “owns” and therefore beyond LBE’s remit?

And lastly on the “shunt” risk, it’s no good simply blaming the driver for speeding; that’s too late if an accident has happened. The whole principle of the QN measures as I understand it is that you need a degree of highway engineering to enforce changes in behaviour. Councillor Anderson explained at this week’s Southgate Green Ward forum that it’s one thing to declare an area a 20mph zone, quite another to be able to enforce it, and therefore the need for material measures such as are being proposed. I just don’t think there are enough of them, or that they are necessarily properly distributed.

When all the comments are in, it will be interesting to see what changes are made, and whether and to what extent there are subsequent adjustments. I understand from the forum that there is a contingency in the budget for this. There is a hopeful possibility noted in the Neighbourhood Zone section of the consultation leaflet about possible flexibility in the positioning and numbers of planters.

See also...

  • 06 November 2018
Fox Lane quieter neighbourhood: More details

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  • 17 October 2018
Beware the Long Handlebars of the Law!

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