Why insert cycle tracks along our major highways and impede the traffic flow?
Why not make local streets cycle safe – the routes we actually want to cycle?
FERAA supports the introduction of safety measures to benefit and encourage cycling in the borough, but the scheme now being installed along major highways inflicts hardship on many of the vulnerable, causes accidents, endangers pedestrian safety, diminishes public transport, and damages local retail businesses, without delivering along 13 miles of our major roads any of the pollution or economic gains urged in the original plan costing Â£42m plus considerable annual maintenance charges.
Judging by the current uptake of cycling along the A105 scheme, now installed, the scheme is a failure and for perfectly predictable reasons. Pavements in shopping precincts have been reduced to impossibly narrow widths â€“ inserting tracks in shopping precincts was always a failed notion. What’s more, injuries to pedestrians are now rising, caused by the “street furniture” that accompanies the scheme.
FERAA foresaw the shortcomings of the plan from its very inception 4 years ago. We have submitted detailed critiques of the plan to Enfield Council, and Transport for London (TfL) as the sponsoring agency. TfL rejected criticisms out of hand and has blindly insisted that its scheme in central London should extend in the same form to all the suburbs, a baseless assertion.
There is no recognition in this plan of the vitally different demand for transport in the outer boroughs, arising from the quite different lifestyle and transport needs of an ageing residential population, nor the high percentage of families with young children. The Mayor of London continues to press for the scheme to be installed everywhere, blind to the damage caused, and the Â£1bn cost of hitting London’s trunk roads with “rolling traffic blocks”
Residents have tabled (Jan 2019) a petition to the Prime Minister to intervene in the interests of the numerous disadvantaged residents in Enfield now suffering the consequences of this scheme.
Failure to consult
Many of the current design problems result from a failure to consult openly with the many residents who are impacted. Many amendments to the A105 scheme have still had to be accepted by the council just because the original proposals were unworkable. Consequently, costs to Enfield council are running well ahead of budget.
We continue to work with all interested groups to press on Enfield Council that minor adjustments will not bring this scheme to life, and to date the miserly uptake by cyclists proves the failure of the underlying concept; families do not cycle long distances, do not want to ride alongside polluting vehicles, commuter cyclists will not use tracks that are interrupted every 400m by “bus boarders” and remain firmly committed to using the open road.
Just building cycle tracks does not by itself decant thousands from their cars â€“ this is an unresearched project and fatally flawed.
Enfield council has failed at every turn to act reasonably and responsibly; to gain early public assent it promised to proceed only with public approval. This was never forthcoming because the scheme is too intrusive and fails to deliver the cycle provision ordinary cyclists want. Enfield council proceeded without public consent and now struggles to justify its rash insistence.
Cycle Enfield â€“ the scheme
- The A105 (Green Lanes**) scheme is now commissioned and Traffic Management Orders have been issued. Consultation should follow and we doubt the council will be happy with the long list of negatives that will be garnered rom business and the public. Usage by cyclists is hardly more than before the tracks were laid in at over Â£3 million per mile.
- Beyond the A105, the scheme was originally scoped to extend east-west along the Southbury road, which is already so narrow as to have no prospect of carrying safe cycle tracks and has now been secretly abandoned as impractical, both spatially and politically.
- Tracking through Enfield Town was planned to the exclusion of all car traffic on Church St, a plan based on the didactic assertion that expelling cars from the town centre would be the saving of its economic future. A baseless assertion – cycle traffic through the centre is light, and without tracking extending west of the centre, would always remain so. Faced with an emptying town centre, the council relented and is moving the cycle tracks to Cecil road. Even this will impact greatly on the labouring town centre. TfL at one stage insisted that halving car access to the town centre was essential and Enfield council blindly accepted this unresearched assertion.
- Hertford Rd north is also a narrow highway but is now in process of being tracked. A less suitable installation is hard to imagine â€“ both practically and sociologically. This will extend south to the borough’s boundary where it will connect with nothing since the neighbouring borough, Haringey, has no policy to follow suit on Enfield. Tracks to nowhere â€“ an astounding achievement…
FERAA’s committee takes the view that the political impetus behind this scheme by the current borough administration will eventually fade as reality sinks in, and that new councillors will ultimately take on board these gross inadequacies and downsize the scheme, call it in and make major adjustments to remove the most damaging and unrewarding aspects.
FERAA wants quiet ways and side streets prepared and signed for cyclists to connect residential areas directly with common destinations â€“ schools, shops, stations, sports facilities etc. This way cycling can make a worthwhile contribution to transport policy, pragmatically and free from political dogma founded on an assertion that personal motorised transport is unsocial, unnecessary and elitist.
**A105 comprisesÂ Green Lanes, Ridge Avenue, Village Road, Park Avenue and London Road