Public Transport in Enfield
Enfieldâ€™s population has grown for some years, is now over 1/3 million and promises to expand further. Employment within the Borough is relatively static and not likely to absorb this growth, so travel out of the Borough will grow even more in years to come. Furthermore, the Boroughâ€™s road capacity is fully committed right now, so public transport is key to supporting employment prospects for the burgeoning population.
Constructed many years ago, most are not designated high priority inter-city routes, but they still need major investment upgrades to service the large and growing commuter traffic to London. For Enfield to thrive its infrastructure must be kept efficient and effective.
The Boroughâ€™s train services have had an indifferent service record, and are operated with ageing stock. Stations also lack attention. This neglect is slowly being reversed as pressure is brought to bear on the train operating companies to make improvements. TfL (a unit within the Greater London Authority) is taking over most surface services so more pressure is being applied for improvements.
Car parking is an increasing problem when accessing trains. Facilities are very restricted, or non-existent at some stations, and space is threatened with reassignment to housing. Problems caused by on-street commuter parking have made it necessary for controlled parking zones to be introduced. These schemes can resolve pressures in the vicinity of stations but often merely at the price of displacing them elsewhere.
Cycle racks and marked cycle routes, which would encourage more commuters to take the eco-way to the station are almost non-existent, disjointed or poorly maintained. Cycle Enfield, now being installed along arterial roads in the borough, provides no solution to this issue.
Enfield is served by four railway lines running in a north-south direction.
- On the eastern side of the borough there are two lines which terminate at Liverpool Street Station in central London. The more easterly of these has stations at Angel Road, Ponders End, Brimsdown and Enfield Lock. Slightly to the west the other line has stations at Silver Street, Edmonton Green, Southbury and Turkey Street with a short branch serving Bush Hill Park and Enfield Town Stations. Train services on these two lines are generally considered to be reasonably satisfactory.
- In the centre of the Borough the Herford North loop line has train services which terminate at Kings Cross and Moorgate Stations in central London. There are stations at Bowes Park, Palmers Green, Winchmore Hill, Grange Park, Enfield Chase, Gordon Hill and Crews Hill.
- On the western side of the Borough, Hadley Wood Station lies on the Kings Cross to Edinburgh main line, which also carries a suburban service.
Residents in the neighbourhood of Grange Park and Hadley Wood are pressing Network Rail to reinterpret its strategy of removing all trees from a wide path alongside lines. It is noticeable that TfL operates a much more conservative policy towards trees alongside its Underground lines, and sees no need to slash greenery to the extent asserted by Network Rail.
London Undergroundâ€™s Piccadilly Line has four stations in Enfield â€“ at Cockfosters, Oakwood, Southgate and Arnos Grove â€“ which provide vital links for many thousands commuting into central London.
They also attract a large out of town commuter and sports traffic, bringing with it high demand for car parking. Although all of these stations, except Southgate, have off street car parks they are not large enough to deal with the peak demands for parking spaces. Once again it has been necessary to introduce controlled parking zones (which often inconvenience residents) around most of these stations in order to prevent all day on-street parking by commuters.
EnfieldÂ TownÂ Transport Interchange
Enfield’s public transport network has evolved with time and is far from integrated. As a result journeys across the borough in particular are tedious. Radial bus services are better than orbital, where displacing car journeys offers potential to reduce congestion at peak times.
Enfield Town badly needs a convenient central interchange for public transport, combining buses and train services on one site. FERAA is campaigning for facility of this type by a relocated Enfield Town Station.
FERAA take the view that the borough is an attractive place to live, enjoys good housing, schooling and community facilities including open spaces â€“ attributes they want Enfield to retain. Infrastructure is the basis of this prosperity; investment, long delayed, must be found to retain and enhance the residential experience for all.
FERAA is campaigning not only for investment in parking, but more reliable services. The Piccadilly line service currently reverses a proportion of trains at Arnos Grove to maintain the highest frequency of service on the central London sections and the service to Heathrow. North of Arnos Grove demand is reckoned not to merit a better frequency. FERAA is told that new signalling (originally scheduled for 2011, then delayed to 2014, now put off without a date) is required to boost the service to the Borough. FERAA is maintaining representations to the GLA which controls Transport for London and the Underground to ensure fair treatment for the Boroughâ€™s commuters.
Historically, Enfield Council has not put much effort behind negotiating improvements with the authorities, seemingly taking the view that since it cannot control such investment no campaigning effort is justified. FERAAâ€™s members resist this attitude; all boroughs are in competition with each other for infrastructure improvements and a pro-active stance is essential if not mandatory to secure the future. FERAA is campaigning in and outside the Borough for improvements in public transport services.
Enfield’s Road network
FERAAÂ has long been concerned that infrastructure in the Borough is not being given the attention needed if quality of life in the area is to be preserved. Projections over the next 20 years result in Enfield becoming one of the most populous boroughs in London, approaching 400,000 inhabitants. Where are the plans to accommodate such numbers in quality conditions?
Infrastructure investment nationally has long been viewed by the Treasury as a dead cost, to be laid off elsewhere or avoided. But looked at end to end every improvement in efficiency pays our community, lifts the standard of living and increases tax yield. Small wonder productivity in the UK has stagnated for years â€“ how would we expect otherwise? This myopic mind set must be corrected if UK PLC is to prosper.
Enfield’s road network
The roads system in Enfield has evolved from a network of country lanes passing through communities gently extending over the years to form a residential suburb of London. Enfield was then blessed with numerous radial rail connections that served us well.
Now the population is 1/3 of a million and economic activity running at much higher levels, the borough’s transport needs are much greater. Orbital road routes are limited and this causes a great deal of congestion. The North Circular Road, the Cambridge Rd (A10) and the M25 provide connections at the borough’s borders, but the internal road system is heavily overloaded for much of the day and in need of strategic revival. Where are the visionary plans to meet the needs of the 21stÂ century?
East-West road connections: incremental improvements
It has taken a long time to achieve some relief on the overloaded North Circular Road (A406) at Bounds Green in the south of the Borough. The task of upgrading between Finchley and Edmonton is clearly justified but stalled. Congestion costs the nation through wasted time and puts us at a disadvantage to nations that keep up with demand.Â FERAAâ€™sÂ campaign continues for full dualisation of the A406 with upgraded junctions, and completely rejects the boroughâ€™s recent planning decision to limit the scope for road widening. LBE must lobby continuously until this upgrading is settled.
Another important east – west road, the A110 that bisects the town (Bramley road connecting with the Southbury road) is also not fit for purpose: it needs to have restrictions and obstructive parking removed and junctions improved if efficient traffic flows are to be delivered.Â FERAAÂ is pressing for a plan and improvements.
We often detect in officialsâ€™ responses the notion that â€średucing congestion just promotes growth in trafficâ€ť which is an unsustainable negative outlook that must be reversed. Councils are not mandated to lower the standard of living and quality of life by negligence.
Enfield has to bear a great deal of N-S traffic from inner London and the industrial sites along the Lea Valley. The bulk of these moves along the A10, which is so loaded it cuts off the far east of the borough from the town centre. Underpasses are needed, especially at the A10 / A110 intersection. This may take time to move up the spending list, but we must not lose sight of the value this would bring to E-W and N-S communications in the Borough.
The A10 / M25 intersection is one of the most heavily used in the northern sector of the motorway. A large volume of traffic passing to the Lea Valley uses this route, to the detriment of the many families and enterprises in the area. Their health and productivity along this industrial corridor demand a proper resolution.
A relief road, called the Northern Gateway Relief Road (NGAR) has been discussed for years andÂ FERAAÂ strongly supports this investment. It would connect the A1055 (Mollison Ave) with the A121 (Meridian Way) and run over open ground providing access to and from the east at Junction 26 on the M25. The savings in transport costs, time and environmental benefit make this investment (small by modern standards) a very attractive proposition. But LBE fails again to campaign for it, arguing it is beyond its remit: ie the health of residents is not its concern.
FERAAÂ believes the quality of life in the Borough depends onÂ the Council adopting as its prime mission to attract and retain quality employment opportunities. Everything that residents aspire to springs from that. Settling for a plan that is dependent on retailing, dormitory, or low added value distribution employment will sap the vitality of the borough and render it uncompetitive with its neighbours. People with ambition and skills will have to seek fulfilment outside the borough. Every move by the council, or failure to act, that deters inward investment further weakens the boroughâ€™s prospects.
It is true that major roads are the prime responsibility of Transport for London, managed by the Mayor of London. But improvement schemes are prioritised on the basis of the case made and the value of the investment. Enfield council needs to step up its representations and show commitment, to grasp the vision and press until it is a reality.Â FERAAÂ is working to influence these decisions and speed the benefits to the Borough.
Campaigning for improvements is time-consuming and beset with difficulties â€“ public consultation is insisted on by the courts. This can deter councils from coming forward with schemes if they believe the legal costs will be heavy.Â FERAA works to offset this on behalf of the many residents who will benefit from such schemes. By the same standard it works to deter the Council from totemic schemes, such as unenforceable speed regulation, traffic calming, humps and planters that have only cosmetic value and encourage â€śjobsworthsâ€ť who delight in process over delivery. It is a backwoodsman culture that demands constant vigilance and back pressure.
How to make a difference
Join your local Residents Association and make your views known, get information on what is happening, and support the Association at public meetings: write to your local Councillor (address easily found on the Enfield Council website) and use the press letters columns to show Enfield Council that residents expect more from their management and their taxes. Representation is a numbers game: the more input from the public the greater the response from the council, but indifference by the public fuels only poor quality thinking and diminished vision.