Work on the Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood has now moved on to the stage where selected residents are invited to participate in design workshops. Colin Younger attended a workshop on 10th February.
Following the presentation hosted by the Fox Lane and District Residents' Association, Enfield Traffic and Transport officers held a design workshop on 10th February at St Johns Church Hall. Overall this was a well-managed meeting and the discussions were good tempered.
About fifty residents from the area and Councillors Dinah Barry, Ertan Hurer, Daniel Anderson and Robert Hayward took part. The bulk of the time was spent working in four groups discussing our concerns and how they might be dealt with, followed by a group by group report back at the end. Ideas were marked up on large plans of the area and the ubiquitous post it notes which were kept by the LBE officers for later study.
What follows is my take on the session – others may have different views and can post them as comments on this articlee.
I would say that there was widespread agreement that the overriding problem was with through traffic. What we wanted was to reduce the volume of such traffic and to control (calm) residual through traffic and residents' traffic.
I don't think that idea of road closures met with widespread support, though in one or two roads (eg Devonshire Road) this did seem appropriate, and there were individuals who wanted wider application. There was support for a few specific places having residents-only access at school run times. More broadly, the idea of the Fox Lane area "cell" being identified as a "Residential Zone" was supported. This could be by a mixture of entry signs, road tables at entry points or even, if the technology allowed, some sort of penalty system. I think that there were doubts about one-way systems – they could encourage speeding safe in the knowledge that there would be no on-coming traffic.
There were mixed views of the 20mph zone idea. How would it be enforced (cost and technology issues)? Wouldn't it be better to see how the other changes affected speeds and then concentrate on formal speed limits selectively where there had been no improvement? An interesting legal distinction (if I've understood this) is that if it can be demonstrated that average speeds are 24mph or less, then a 20mph zone can be introduced by signage alone, but if average speeds are over this then physical measures to bring speeds down are required before a 20mph zone can be established.
From my perspective the most interesting ideas focussed on Fox Lane, commonly seen as an inappropriate through road in the middle of a residential area, difficult and dangerous to cross for pedestrians, too busy both along and across it. Changes to the road layout could also inhibit rat running traffic between Bourne Hill and Aldermans Hill. Suggested changes could include mini-roundabouts and changes to traffic priorities at junctions and cross roads. The idea would be to treat traffic on Fox Lane as having no more priority than that coming from the side roads. For example, cars approaching a junction such as with Lakeside Road would meet either a (very) mini-roundabout or halt signs and white lines with priority being set for traffic turning out of Lakeside Road. In effect this would break down Fox Lane in to a series of road sections. This isn't a developed idea, obviously, but it's an example of an idea which can be taken away by Transport and Traffic staff to test out.
Issues were raised about the W9 bus route, both about the impact of any proposed changes along Fox Lane, and also about the problem some residents have with buses running north and south along Cranley Gardens. On this latter would it be better (overall) if the north and south legs used different roads, or could it continue along Fox Lane to Green Lanes? I think that the feeling overall was that this exchanged one set of problems for another.
I didn't pick up much support for "vertical" interventions (cushions, pillows, and tables). However a problem on long straight roads where visibility is good, such as along Lakeside Road and Derwent Road, is that drivers are tempted to speed up after turning in from Fox Lane or Aldermans Hill.
The preference seemed to be less for physically intrusive measures, than through what amount to optical illusions and other tricks to induce a sense of insecurity and uncertainty, leading drivers to slow down. This could be by varying road surfaces (but definitely not installing rumble strips which are too noisy and create troubling vibrations) and/or painting sections of road – again this is just an idea to be taken away and examined. However, if these ideas don't work out I suspect that more physical measures may be needed (pillows not the double cushion arrangements though).
In some places road intersections were seen as particular problems for pedestrians. Examples are the very wide intersection of the Bourne, Greenway and the Ridgway, and the Bourne/Fox Lane junction. Reducing the road width and changing the radius of the curve was suggested as a way to deal with this
On the edge of the zone, a similar problem arises where Lodge Drive meets Green Lanes. Shared space was also suggested along Green Lanes and perhaps in residential areas too. Some way of reducing speed on Aldermans Hill was also discussed.
I understand that LBE officers have taken back our ideas and questions with a view to re-consulting in about four weeks time.
As I said at the start, these are my recollections, so apologies if I have omitted issues or misinterpreted views expressed.
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