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Traffic count data for Grovelands Road collected during a week in December 2018 has provided hard evidence about the large amount of traffic using this residential street and the number of drivers who are breaking the 30mph speed limit.  Every day some 1,300 vehicles used the road. Nine people were recorded driving at more than 50mph, including three who were doing more than 60mph.  The highest speed recorded was 70.4mph.

lakes estate traffic monitoring points dec 2018Traffic counts were carried out at 11 locations in December 2018. To date, data has only been published for Grovelands Road

The data, obtained by a Grovelands Road resident from Enfield Council, shows traffic counts broken down into hourly segments for the week of 12th to 18th December.  For each segment the data breaks down the vehicle counts according to speed. 

The total number of vehicles detected was 9,129 - on average 1,300 a day.  1,241 vehicles were breaking the speed limite (around one in seven - an average of 177 per day).

In peak hours more than two drivers a minute were using the road.  Even during the busiest hour of the entire week, with around 70 vehicles going in each direction, 14 drivers broke the speed limit - and this was at the very time when there would have been children returning home from school.

The table below shows totals for the whole week. (Click here if the table is not displaying properly.)

Traffic counts in Grovelands Road, N13, for the week 12-18 December 2018

Download Excel workbook containing detailed source data

Speed (mph) Northbound Southbound
Total 4161 4968
Vpp85 29.5 29.6
Mean 22.8 23.4
SD 6.9 6.5
0-5 3 5
5-10 131 119
10-15 445 365
15-20 750 947
20-25 1244 1588
25-30 1035 1256
30-35 396 511
35-40 116 129
40-45 31 37
45-50 5 7
50-55 3 1
55-60 1 1
60-65 1 1
65-70 0 0
70-75 0 1
Vehicles = 9129
Posted speed limit = 30 mph, Exceeding = 1241 (13.59%), Mean Exceeding = 33.85 mph
Maximum = 70.4 mph, Minimum = 0.7 mph, Mean = 23.1 mph
85% Speed = 29.58 mph, 95% Speed = 33.78 mph, Median = 23.32 mph
10 mph Pace = 19 - 29, Number in Pace = 5335 (58.44%)
Variance = 44.54, Standard Deviation = 6.67 mph

"By no means the worst rat-run in the area"

The Grovelands Road resident who obtained the data described it as "staggering".  Clare Rogers of Better Streets for Enfield commented:

"This data presents a picture of a street that is hostile to walking, cycling and residents' well-being. Speeding aside, the sheer volume of 1,300 vehicles a day prevents this from being a truly healthy neighbourhood street, where any age can walk or cycle and people tend to stroll in the middle of the road: that transformation happens at around 300 vehicles a day. And we know that Grovelands Road is by no means the worst rat-run in the area."

A "safe" speed, but only for some...

The Vpp85 data in the table (the 85th percentile) is used by traffic engineers to assess the speed which feels appropriate for most drivers when traffic is flowing freely.  The speed that feels safe to drivers will depend on factors such as road width, how straight the road is, how far they can see etc.  In this case Vpp85 was below the speed limit (but only just). 

But drivers are judging safety in terms of the risk to occupants of cars, in particular themselves, and the occupants of a large car or SUV travelling at 30mph would be pretty safe driving along Grovelands Road.  The risk to people in the category referred to as "vulnerable road users" is, however, very high at 30mph.  A pedestrian - such as a child unexpectedly emerging from behind a parked car, or a cyclist knocked off their bike - is highly likely to be seriously injured or killed if hit by a car going at 30mph.  If speed limits in urban areas are set at 20mph - as is increasingly common, but not in Enfield - the chances of surviving with minor injuries is high.

So, given that the primary function of roads like Grovelands is to provide access to people living there, it is irresponsible for the Council to set the speed limit at 30mph.  A much more appropriate limit would be 20mph, if necessary backed up by measures which would cause drivers to go more slowly - speed humps, road narrowing, obstacles like planters (but at intervals along a long straight road, not just at either end).

So what about the "quieter neighbourhood"?

The December traffic counts were carried out to provide baseline data so that the council can do a proper "before and after" assessment of the effectiveness of their "quieter neighbourhood" measures. So far these merely consist of planters placed at the ends of some streets, including Grovelands, which are supposedly intended to deter through drivers, but the signs rather paradoxically "welcome" them to "our street".

Unlike the thousands of cars that drive through the Lakes Estate every day, the rollout of the quieter neighbourhood measures has been very slow and, anecdotally at least, they have had little or no effect on traffic volumes or speed.  Hopefully, similar baseline data gathered at ten further locations will soon be released.  It will almost certainly show that the "neighbourhood" is anything but quiet (higher speeds create exponentially more noise) and, with so much traffic, not really conducive to neighbourliness.  High time for a serious attempt to tame the rat-runners.

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David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #4409 26 Feb 2019 18:32
What strikes me about this is that for most adults their car(s) is at the heart of their lives, and children cannot imagine the sort of freedom my generation enjoyed (I'm 81). Furthermore the lines of cars on either side of the road, and the absence of children on the street , doesn't seem to disturb most of them as they do me.

But still it is: "High time for a serious attempt to tame the rat-runners." By and large they don't disturb me in Conway Road, but amazingly friends living on the street tell me that rat-running from Fox Lane to the head of Ulleswater Road is very common.

Should something effective be done on the Lakes Estate the effect on the through roads around it would be high. Which really would put pressure on drivers to travel by different means, which, initially at least, was an aim.
Christie Wagland's Avatar
Christie Wagland posted a reply #4410 28 Feb 2019 08:15
I’ve been emailing the council about this since December. As a new resident to Grovelands, I find the traffic issue so alarming. Not one response back. I don’t understand the pussyfooting around this issue by the council, it’s very obviously a big problem and menacing to society.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #4411 28 Feb 2019 09:26
Trying to reign in the swears, but those stats are essentially disgusting. Thankfully the vast majority occupy the 20-30mph bracket. Personally I think twenty's plenty on any unclassified road and would like to see that rolled out across Enfield - WITH ENFORCEMENT.

Pity the Lakes' roads are seen as too narrow for modal filtering. That's the only thing that'd genuinely make a difference to this.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #4412 28 Feb 2019 09:39
Christine said

I’ve been emailing the council about this since December. As a new resident to Grovelands, I find the traffic issue so alarming. Not one response back. I don’t understand the pussyfooting around this issue by the council, it’s very obviously a big problem and menacing to society

Assume you mean December 2018 rather than December 1988, albeit I think you’ll find others have been pressing over that sort of time frame. Best get a set of earplugs to drown out what's been a never ending sound of wringing hands, should there ever be a reply (and helps with the disturbance from speeding cars too of course).

I’m just told, after listening to speed complaints from a neighbour and her visiting tradesman, that Lakesides new planter took a dunch within its first 24 hours of installation. Is that a record?
Bill Linton's Avatar
Bill Linton posted a reply #4414 28 Feb 2019 10:01
I walk along Grovelands frequently and my impression is that the considerable majority of cars travelling along it do so from one end to the other, with relatively few starting or finishing their journeys there.

I also sometimes come back late at night and it's quite eerily quiet. The contrast is quite startling, emphasising just how much traffic there is during the day.
John Phillips's Avatar
John Phillips posted a reply #4415 28 Feb 2019 10:59
Being a sad old man with little to do, I carried out my own survey in Lakeside Road on Sunday 2nd April 2017. In the 40 minutes from 11.24am we had:

42 rat running cars
6 resident car movements
4 non resident parking
3 u turns
1 accessing the service road
3 bikes
1 van delivery.

I did a couple of other surveys too. They obviously carry no weight but consistently show about 86 -90% of all cars are just rat runners. This is a very different situation from only a few years ago, before sat navs.

The only respite from the noise, pollution and danger was the delightful interlude when the pavement crossovers were being built and the road was closed for some weeks. Heavenly!
Topaz Consulting's Avatar
Topaz Consulting posted a reply #4416 01 Mar 2019 13:32
Last Summer was the last straw when our puppy was rundown and killed outside our house.
I am fed up with the passive interest shown by the Council in taking the issue of speeding and reckless driving seriously. Here is a letter we sent at the time:

SAVE FORESTDALE N14 – URGENT REQUEST FOR TRAFFIC CALMING
;
;
;


Dear Fellow Resident
I am writing to you today in my grief as our family lost our beloved 9 month puppy Jasper yesterday morning by a hit and run driver on Forestdale who was driving at a reckless speed.
The trail of trauma, shock and pain that this incident has caused is very hard to bear.
We are growing ever concerned at the rate of speed cars race along the road. Many a time I have stood back in horror at the acceleration of cars and cannot comphrend why people think it is acceptable in a residential street to behave as though they are on the North Circular.
I would be grateful if you could please take some time to send an email to the individuals listed and complain about the traffic issues as you see them.
Personally, I feel if a speed camera was fitted the council would make quite a fortune from these drivers. Even if they put barriers or a calming method it would help. Now we have nothing and whilst yesterday we lost our darling pet tomorrow it could be a child, an elderly person or just anyone. There has been a spate of hit and runs locally on Monday a 9 year old child was hit and broke her leg but the car did not stop.
Let’s show our community spirit and stand up and ask for a change to help our quality of life on this lovely road.
Please email or write to the councillors above and let them know we need to slow the traffic on Forestdale NOW.
With Many Thanks
From Another Forestdale Family
In memory of Jasper
Simon Broughton's Avatar
Simon Broughton posted a reply #4445 17 Mar 2019 21:44
I don't see how the building of additional traffic obstructions is going to help. The new junctions with Aldermans Hill, for example, make turning in and out of the junction a nightmare. You have to turn across both lanes of Aldermans Hill to complete the turn even when turning left. This increases the danger of an accident. The more you frustrate drivers the more likely they are to break the speed limits. The one and only way to stop the speedsters is speed cameras and draconian fines, say £1000 for the first offence, £2000 for the second offence and so on. Even law abiding traffic generates more pollution when forced to slow down and extend journey times and I fear we are getting the balance wrong. Pollution is killing far more people than traffic accidents

We should remember what our roads are actually for. They are not playgrounds. If you want to make your children safer then buy a copy of the highway code and make them learn it. When my twin brother and I were eleven when my parents bought us our first bicycles for our birthday but would not allow us to use them until we learnt the highway code and they tested us thoroughly to ensure we knew all of it. We only ever rode our bikes on the road and never on the pavement and never had an accident throughout our lives wherever we were. This may have been the 1960s but children still need a sense of responsibility.

See also...

  • 19 March 2019

Traffic counts and speeds: Amberley Road

Newly published traffic count data for a second residential street in the Fox Lane neighbourhood confirms what its residents know only too well - that up to 400 vehicles an hour are using it as a cut-through and that, even though the street is short and has a sharp bend, there is widespread disregard for the speed limit. Read more

  • 06 February 2019

Low traffic inspiration

Clare Rogers of Better Streets for Enfield reports back from a seminar on the low traffic neighbourhoods concept hosted by the Urban Design Group and London Living Streets. Read more