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Proposed Hoppers Road 20mph zoneEnfield Council have published their proposals for a new 20mph zone which would extend from Winchmore Hill Green in the North to the Palmers Green end of Hoppers Road in the South.

Though the consultation documents (available on the Enfield Council website) refer to a "20mph zone in the Palmers Green School area", the proposed zone would be rather larger than that description would suggest.  It would include the whole of Hoppers Road and all roads between Hoppers Road and Green Lanes (though excluding Green Lanes), including Compton Road and Station Road in Winchmore Hill.  The shaded area on the accompanying map is an approximate illustration of the area involved.

In addition to the lower speed limit, the Council proposes installing flat-topped speed humps at either end of Hoppers Road and "speed cushions" along Hoppers Road.  There would also be speed cushions in Stonard Road, Woodberry Avenue, Fernleigh Road, Haslemere Road, Compton Road and Station Road.

Local residents are invited to give their views on the proposals before 5pm on 14th June.  One way of responding is to fill in an online survey.  

The publication of these proposals follow a campaign led by the Enfield Branch of the Green Party and the presentation of a petition signed by 630 local residents.  Details of the case for the lower speed limit and traffic calming measures were laid out in a document which is available online.  The document highlights the very widespread failure of drivers to adhere to the existing 30mph limit along Hoppers Road - when the Green Party monitored traffic along the road, they found that more than half of drivers were driving so fast that the automatic warning signs were illuminated.

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Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #64 27 May 2013 23:40
This is good news for residents of the streets in question, and let's hope that before long we'll get a borough-wide 20mph policy, as already introduced throughout Islington. Haringey, which already has a 20mph limit on all side roads, is about to extend it to main roads, including its portion of Green Lanes - Wood Green High Road is already covered.
Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #68 07 Jun 2013 15:56
According to this week's Enfield Gazette , Winchmore Hill ward councillor Martin Prescott is opposing the proposed 20mph zone. He's quoted as saying “I think 30mph is fine as long as it is policed properly, and there is a lot of evidence to say that 20mph doesn’t make things safer.”
It's a pity he doesn't tell us what this "evidence" consists of. All the studies that I've ever read about are quite clear that the chances of a pedestrian surviving being hit by a car doing 20mph are considerably higher than they would be if the car was doing 30mph. Also, with traffic moving more slowly, drivers have more time to react to unexpected situations and to either avoid a collision altogether or brake sufficiently to reduce the effect of a collision.
Anti-speed limit campaigners claim that the difference between injuries when hit by cars doing 20 or 30 is irrelevant, because drivers will usually have braked and thus not be going at 30mph. This is a red herring. There is always a chance when driving along a residential street that someone (in many cases a child) will unexpectedly step out from the pavement at a point when a driver has no time to brake. And a lower speed limit clearly means that the actual speed at collision time will be lower and thus the damage to another car or the injuries to drivers and pedestrians will be correspondingly reduced. Better to be hit at 10mph than 20mph, even if 20mph won't kill you!
There is an immense fuss on the extremely rare occasions when air or rail passengers are injured, but some people seem utterly complacent about the constant toll of road deaths and serious injuries.
David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #69 09 Jun 2013 17:48
Writing in the context of the proposed Hoppers Road area 20mph speed limit Basil Clarke takes on the negative approach of Cllr. Prescott and makes some good points about the safety considerations, but the implications of higher or lower speed limits go well beyond accident statistics. Here, because we are talking about an area of streets which are overwhelmingly residential with just the odd school or small shop and no through routes, we are dealing with liveability every bit as much as safety.

This is an area where the street outside is or should be part of home, where people come first, where ‘liveability’ is key, where the needs and independence of children are paramount. For that calm, quiet driving is essential for safety, for parental peace of mind, for children’s independence and health, for quality of life, for making and reinforcing friendships and community – long ago there was a big study in the USA which showed that people meet and greet more often and make stronger communities where traffic is absent or very calm.

Nobody seems to have intended it, but the effect of car culture and the changes made to accommodate it has been to create a mindset where streets are conduits for traffic and places to park rather than part of home. As a consequence speed has taken over, kids no longer meet in the street or walk/bike to school, parents no longer regard streets as community space, trees and shrubs have disappeared creating longer sightlines further stimulating fast driving.

With its essentially residential purpose and many narrow streets which barely need traffic calming the Hoppers Road area is an ideal place to halt and reverse this catastrophe for urban living and quality of life, but much depends on the scheme the council installs. If it turns out to be entirely composed of harsh road structures such as humps and tables, with no attempt to strengthen the liveability with seating, planting and perhaps children’s play space the social/community meaning could well be lost, and another opportunity squandered.

As a matter of history in 2002 Enfield council officers working with local residents secured a promise of £6.25m (remember this is at 2002 prices) over three years from Transport for London to facilitate the installation of a scheme on the Lakes Estate, Palmers Green. Cllr. Prescott was very vocal against it, and the then Conservative administration rejected the funding. This was a scandal of the first magnitude.