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Viola Rondeboom of Healthy Streets Bounds Green introduces the new group and its ideas for creating a healthier environment.

brownlow road or brownlow boulevard

Healthy Streets Bounds Green

We are a community-led campaign group with the ambition to reimagine the streets in the Bowes/Bounds Green area, to create a healthy, safe, and liveable environment. We’re asking for a bus gate on Brownlow Road as part of a wider low traffic neighbourhood.

 

Why?

  • Brownlow Road, Warwick Road and others in the area have been carrying massive levels of through-traffic, resulting in noise, air pollution, road danger, hindrance of buses, and suppression of active travel. Yet this is a residential neighbourhood.
  • The way the roads are designed makes these streets the unfortunate shortcut for drivers cutting a corner off the A406. We don’t think that’s fair. Surely A-road traffic should stay on A-roads?
  • Lockdown has given residents an experience of clean air and safe, low-traffic streets – Brownlow has seen hundreds of people on bikes – and they are understandably unwilling to go back. Now is the time for change.
  • Local authorities are now required by law to reallocate road space so that people can walk and cycle safely as an alternative to public transport. Brownlow Road is a crucial link for those cycling instead of taking the Piccadilly Line. A bus gate would make it safe for cycling.

Low traffic neighbourhoods: before and after

Watch the transformation of Waltham Forest

How does it work?

"Low traffic streets reverse the pecking order: kids can play, people of any age can walk or cycle, neighbours can socialise – and cars are ‘guests’."

Better Streets For Enfield

A low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) is a whole residential area, bordered by major roads, that allows vehicles in, but not through. Bollards or planters can be used to filter off streets at strategic points, preventing traffic using the area as a cut-through to the North Circular. Such filters prevent rat running, but allow people to walk and cycle through. Every street can still be accessed by vehicle.

Lansdowne Bus Gate Hackney

A bus gate near London Fields, Hackney

A bus gate is a sign-posted point on the road that bans all vehicle traffic except buses and emergency services.

Bus gates have been introduced in areas where it would be inappropriate for a high volume of through traffic, such as residential areas.

A bus gate opens up the street for families to cycle to school as well as commuters to work, forming the backbone of a healthy low traffic neighbourhood that prioritises sustainable transport. 

Ideally, ANPR camera technology would allow local residents to be on a ‘white list’ so they could drive through the bus gate rather than take a longer way round. Implementing such technology can be expensive, so we are asking for a bus gate without ‘white list’ in the short term, but will continue to push for this to be included.

TfL would also need to reinstate the right turn from Bounds Green Road onto the A406.

bounds green ltn proposal 1One of several ways an LTN could look west of Bowes Park. The principle is you can’t cut through in a car. East of Bowes Park will need filtering too.

Doesn’t Brownlow Road need to be a through route?

Yes – but not for cars. Brownlow Road’s narrow design and overwhelmingly residential status make it completely unsuitable to carry its current levels of up to 10,000 vehicles a day, often clogging up the entire road. At the heart of a low traffic neighbourhood, Brownlow Road will continue to be a through route – but one that prioritises active travel and public transport. We hope to see hundreds of school children walking, cycling and scooting along it every day on the school run to Bowes Primary, Bounds Green School, and other schools in the area – as well as hundreds of commuters cycling instead of taking the car or Piccadilly Line.

Effects on main roads

If you design a city for cars, it fails for everyone, including drivers. If you design a multi-modal city that prioritizes walking, biking, and public transport, it works for everyone, including drivers.

Former Vancouver Chief Planner Brent Toderian.

Walthamstow’s first low traffic neighbourhood saw some increases in traffic on surrounding main roads, but the increase was not severe. One study showed that average bus journeys times were not affected (see Chapter 4 of this report) and a Kings College study of the same area suggests that there has not been a decrease in air quality on main roads following the introduction of LTNs (see pages 8-9 of this report). Main roads are usually better suited to absorb traffic than residential neighbourhoods, with a wider carriageway and buildings set further back from the road.

We would expect to see some traffic build-up in the early weeks of a trial, followed by a steady decline in traffic as drivers adjust back to similar levels as before.

Traffic levels can reduce by significant amounts: on average 11% of the traffic cannot be found in the area afterwards.

Source: www.onestreet.org/images/stories/Disappearing_traffic.pdf

Not all of the traffic from Walthamstow’s low traffic neighbourhood was displaced onto main roads – many car journeys simply disappeared. There are 10,000 fewer car journeys per day across the Walthamstow Village area, including the surrounding main roads – a decrease of 16%. This is known as ‘traffic evaporation’ and has been documented in similar situations all over the world.

For more information, see Evaporating traffic? Impact of low traffic neighbourhoods on main roads by London Living Streets.

How will I get to my home by car?

Every street will still be accessible by car, emergency services, delivery vehicles and refuse trucks. To stop through-traffic, some residents’ car journeys will be more indirect and may take a few minutes longer. Other journeys may well be easier as there will be no through traffic on our roads. Also, residents in LTN’s often choose to make fewer short journeys by car. For many people, any inconvenience is a price worth paying to have a quieter, safer neighbourhood, and cleaner air.

What can I do to support?

If you live in this area and share concerns about heavy traffic and pollution, e-mail your ward councillors to ask them for an area-wide low traffic neighbourhood with a bus gate.

For Enfield, Bowes Ward, write to:
Yasemin Brett –
Katherine Chibah –
Achilleas Georgiou –

For Enfield, Southgate Green Ward, write to:
Daniel Anderson –
Anne Brown –
Claire Stewart –

For Haringey, Bounds Green Ward, write to:
Patrick Berryman –
Dr. James Chiriyankandath –
Yvonne Say –

Contact Us

Find out how you can get involved! We welcome all ideas to make our streets healthy, greener, and fairer, and will do our best to answer any questions.
E-mail:

This article was originally published on the Better Streets for Enfield website.

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David Beadle's Avatar
David Beadle posted a reply #5363 04 Jun 2020 08:38
A very disingenuous and misleading article. For example:
"Some residents’ car journeys will be more indirect and may take a few minutes longer": With access in and out on only one side, residents will have to circle 3 sides of the zone by joining the already congested traffic on the North Circular - a better estimate would be 20-30 minutes more - just to get to/from Palmers Green or Muswell Hill!
"A decrease of 16%": Even if this happens, this still means over 8,400 cars a day will just be displaced onto surrounding roads. And not just the North Circular, drivers will find their way onto many other residential roads (eg via Arnos Grove, Friern Barnet, Green Lanes, Palmerstone, and the back roads off Bounds Green Rd and Durnsford).
"Main roads are usually better suited to absorb traffic": Certainly not the North Circular in this area, which is already congested and polluted (and has its own residents), let alone if another 8-10,000 cars join it each day!
"There has not been a decrease in air quality on main roads": The Walthamstow study failed to actually measure congestion and pollution (or all the roads affected) so they don't know! (But of course 000s cars displaced cars onto already congested roads in this area will generate much worse pollution - this is not Walthamstow).
"A multi-modal city that prioritizes walking, biking, and public transport": Sure, I'd be the first to support an integrated multi-layered approach but that's not what's being proposed - persuading drivers to change their behaviours demands a lot more resources than just blocking some of the roads they use (just look at the traffic problems in Broomfield Lane), while there are no plans to improve our privatised, inadequate, and excessively expensive public transport services (London is not Vancouver).
Meanwhile, there have been no clear objectives for what the scheme may or may not achieve; and - most importantly - no measurements in place (or planned) to assess journey plans, routes, time taken, or congestion and pollution on these and surrounding roads.
This is not even good 'Nimbyism' - even residents will encounter massive disruption themselves.
Oliver Bruckauf's Avatar
Oliver Bruckauf posted a reply #5367 04 Jun 2020 21:42
The cry that modal filters would add 20 minutes to a journey to Palmers Green is exactly the kind of short sightedness that is at the bottom of why our roads are so congested. The journey from Brownlow Road to Palmers Green Triangle is a 4 minute drive but you better not spend more than 3 minutes to look for parking and walk to your destination because otherwise you'll be slower than if you had taken a bicycle and done the same journey in 7 minutes. You could even walk in just 20minutes.
Every single person who can rise above the egoistical world view of "I'll drive because I want to, screw everybody else" and leaves their car at home will contribute to a future where traffic is not displaced but converted to something that is more sustainable, less polluting, emitting less carbon, healthier for themselves and creating space for others to do the same and socially distance at the same time.
ps: And don't even go there with the argument that some people have to drive. I know that. But where there's a will there is a way. My severely disabled daughter cycles more miles than most able people. And those who still need to drive will appreciate the effort we can all make to free up the roads.