Enfield Council is seeking residents’ comments about some plans to make Haselbury Neighbourhood in Edmonton better for walking, cycling and living. You can see the plans in detail here and give your views – the closing date is this Sunday, 1 July. This is just ‘early engagement’ and there will be a full consultation later.
Overall, the scheme has some very good points – but it does not go far enough to address the main barrier to walking and cycling, i.e. too much traffic.
Some of us have taken a close look at the plans and walked and cycled around the area as Better Streets for Enfield and Enfield Cycling Campaign. Here are our thoughts…
Overall, the scheme has some very good points – such as the many rain gardens and improved public realm in the Haselbury shops area – but it does not go far enough to address the main barrier to walking and cycling, i.e. too much traffic. Most people will not cycle if they feel intimidated by traffic, regardless of painted lines or built-out kerbs. Bolder measures are needed, or there will be little to show for Enfield’s investment of money and officer time in terms of more people walking and cycling.
This seems particularly unfair for Haselbury Road, with its five schools but no traffic reduction, and Park Road, which carries over 6,000 vehicles a day, so is completely unsuitable as a ‘quietway’.
20mph speed limit
Why not roll out a 20mph limit across the whole area? These have been shown to be effective in reducing deaths and serious injuries even without complementary traffic-calming measures, according to the latest research from Bristol: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/34851/
Removing through traffic
The most effective approach to boost active travel would be removing all through traffic from the area bounded by Church Street, the A1010, the A406 and the A10. This would create a network of quiet streets where a person of any age would feel safe to ride a bike. No special route would be needed as the whole area would be low in traffic. This could be done with a relatively small number of modal filters – e.g. a filter on Park Road would cut off the only east-west route for through traffic, while a handful of other filters could prevent north-south and other rat running. (To keep network resilience in case of an incident blocking one of the main roads, some filters could be removable, like those installed in Walthamstow Village on East and West Avenues E17).
However, there are also some lesser, or transitional, measures that we have suggested below. The numbers refer to the technical drawings.
Church Street (#1)
This crossing is very welcome, as is the link via Cedars Court to the Salmon Brook path (we assume) so that people do not have to cycle on Church Street from Latymer Road.
However, it’s not clear how cycling will be ‘quietway’ quality on that northern stretch of Haselbury Road given its traffic volume, especially at school run hours. See our suggestions below.
Haselbury Road (#2)
Currently, cycling on this road at school run hours is hostile even for a confident adult cyclist. Doors swing open on parked cars, drivers accelerate past cyclists through pinch points, parents drop students at the school gates – all create an unacceptable amount of danger and intimidation that prevents all-age cycling and discourages walking.
The proposed cycle route will not help families walk or cycle to Haselbury Road schools:
- It does not make sense to divert cycles away along a parallel street, then have forks going back onto Haselbury. Cycling should be more direct than driving.
- The proposed advisory cycle lanes will be ignored by drivers (and a 50cm painted buffer is both too narrow and also likely to be ignored).
It feels as if the main problem, traffic domination, is being skirted around.
- Filter through traffic out of Haselbury Road to make it access only except for buses and bikes. For instance, a 24/7 bus gate – including planters – could be placed near the Haselbury shops, to create an Orford Road feel at that location.
- As school run traffic appears to create the most problems, there could be a timed traffic ban (except buses and residents’ cars) at school run hours on the road between Church St and Westerham Ave. This would have to be done with careful consultation with the schools, and could be combined with a scheme to discourage driving the school run. Edinburgh’s established ‘school streets’ scheme may be able to offer advice on the process and how it could be enforced: http://www.streetsaheadedinburgh.org.uk/streetsahead/info/35/school_travel/87/school_streets
This option could be a trial or stepping stone towards a more permanent measure such as filtering the road completely to through traffic.
- A ‘cycle street’ as implemented in Lambeth – rather than painted lanes, a low speed limit reduces drivers to cycling speed, and ‘hollow humps’ (speed humps with a gap in the middle for cycling) prioritises cyclists. See https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-services/case-studies/infrastructure/cycle-street-vauxhall
Haselbury Shops Area (#3)
The Central Avenue closure is a very welcome proposal that reclaims road space for the public realm, as are the many zebras to prioritise pedestrians. Raised tables would be better to calm traffic. The inset parking being so close to the zebras is a concern, as they would block sightlines for school students.
However, it would not be transformational without area-wide filtering as suggested above; whereas the suggested bus gate on this stretch would make it many times more people-friendly.
Hazelbury School (#4)
The rain gardens marking the route of the hidden Moor Brooke is a lovely idea and would transform streets aesthetically. We support chicanes as a way of slowing traffic by restricting drivers’ view of the road ahead – we prefer option 2. However, unless they are combined with a low traffic neighbourhood, they will not reduce traffic volume and could simply frustrate drivers. They may also create pinch points on the road, leading to drivers close passing cyclists. Perhaps bypasses for bikes could be added, e.g. on a stretch of shared-space footway, alongside the rain gardens.
We support these plans (see above for chicanes comments). The “give way” signs on the A10 cycle path should also be removed as the cycle path should have priority (as is standard in the Highway Code) over vehicles turning. Marking the cycle path continuous in height and/or in colour would help change the perception.
Bexley Gardens (#6)
The rain garden and pocket park would be very welcome. The accessible ramp replacing the steps could surely be made accessible to bikes as well with some additional width.
Westerham Avenue Shop Area (#7)
Rain gardens will be transformational for this grey stretch of street. It’s also good that the 20mph limit and narrower road will slow traffic (with a slight concern that cyclists may be close-passed – unless traffic volume is low).
Park Lane (#8)
The plans for the rain garden look great, and reducing traffic at Sweet Briar Walk is also welcome.
We have two further suggestions:
- Filter the northern half of Park Lane along the rain garden. Both the cycle quietway and the walking route come through here, so it would make sense to reserve one of the two lanes completely for pedestrian and cycle traffic.
- Create a parallel cycle and zebra crossing into Pymmes Park – most people will walk and cycle through the park rather than along Sweet Briar Walk. The park is not closed at night in the northern half. At the other end of the park you come out either on the proposed crossing at Silver Street or the one on Victoria Road.
Sweet Briar Walk (#9)
All of these features are very welcome.
Silver Street (#10)
This crossing is very welcome.
Victoria Road (#11)
The east-west crossings are rather indirect for cycles and pedestrians – presumably the mini roundabout is needed because of Victoria Road’s high traffic volume. The best intervention would be a modal filter on Victoria Road to remove north-south through traffic and create a safe direct crossing here (if any is needed with low traffic).
Huxley Road (#12)
We don’t know what the traffic volume is on this road. If the volume is low, then the plans seem fine. The raised table is also welcome to calm traffic. If traffic volume is not low, then we have concerns that the bike logos will not convince drivers to give cycles priority.
Windmill Road (#13)
This street would also benefit from a traffic ban at school run hours.
This road carries too much traffic (6,000 vehicles a day) to serve as a quietway, so is a weak link in the current plans. However, a filter (e.g. at the railway bridge) on this road would cut off all the east-west through traffic in the area, keeping it to the A406/Church St, and create a true quietway for cycling.
The Moor Brooke walking route
This route is a great idea, following the route of a ‘hidden’ river that links Firs Farm and Pymmes Park’s wetlands. Is there any reason why this could not be a walking and cycling route? A path with the same width and surface as the Salmons Brook path is adequate for sharing. The only barrier seems to be the A10 underpass, which is currently barred to cycling with signs and metal barriers. These could be removed to create a greenway along the whole route.