Are our high streets about to be sacrificed for the Mini-Holland Superbike Highway?

on Friday, 04 April 2014. Posted in N21 Community

 

 

PRODUCED WITH PERMISSION FROM ANTHONY WEBB

 

 

 

Enfield Council is very pleased to have been selected as one of the three boroughs to have received funding to develop safe bike lanes across the borough, as part of a major campaign to encourage people out of their cars and onto bikes, hence the 'Mini-Holland' concept.  The A105 (Green Lanes) is key to creating a 'cycling highway' into Central London. Here is a summary of what Enfield Council is proposing along Green Lanes, taken from the Bid Document, which you can access below.

 

* At least one good commuter route from the borough to central London the A105 - comprising Green Lanes, Ridge Avenue, Park Avenue and London Road – is a major corridor for traffic through the borough, connecting Enfield Town to the A406 and continuing south into Haringey. As with the A1010, there are a number of schools located along this route but few students cycle to school. There are also a number of local shopping areas including at the junction of Green Dragon Lane and Bush Hill, by Barrowell Green and at Winchmore Hill.

 

*  P58 Many of the car trips along the A105 are local journeys, 5 miles or shorter. In fact, the A105 provides a direct route,only 3 miles in length, linking two of the borough's major town centres, namely Enfield Town and Palmers Green. As noted above, lying between these two town centres are smaller retail areas within the A105 corridor that generate even shorter journeys made by residents living along or in the vicinity of the route. With no significant points of severance along this corridor, there exists a huge potential for cycling along the A105 within Enfield if cyclists can be made to feel safer in the presence of the motorised traffic that it carries. 

 

* The typical kerb-to-kerb width along the A105 is 12 metres. Aside from the higher levels of frontage activity within the 'high street' sections there is little parking in evidence along much of the main road. We will put this surplus carriageway space to good use by creating continuous 2 metre wide cycle lanes along each side of the road between Broomfield Lane and Enfield town, using armadillo and planter segregation. This will ensure clear passage along

the road and provide a dramatic increase in the level of comfort felt by all riders choosing to make use of this direct inter-town route. The proposed facility will improve conditions for existing cyclists and make this mode a genuine alternative to the car for many more besides who wish to cycle but dislike mixing with main road traffic.

 

*  The proposal is, therefore, to aspire to provide 2 metre wide cycle lanes along either side of the A105 between Broomfield Lane and Enfield town, segregated with armadillos and planter boxes. 

 

This map (Fig 7.2), although poor quality shows the proposed route.

  

 

You can view the whole document here by clicking on the document image 


 

 

 

 Consultation on these proposals will begin with both businesses and residents shortly. The Council does anticipate opposition. Buried in the report is this statement from Cllr Chris Bond, 

 

"There will be tough decisions along the way, particularly regarding removing on street parking to fit in new cycle lanes and reducing through traffic from residential streets. But in the long run, the benefits to the borough will outweigh the costs and we intend to work with local residents and businesses throughout the process to ensure that the greatest benefits are realised from these proposals."

Cllr Bond, Cabinet M

 


 

A recent report published by Deloitte, ' The Deloitte Consumer Review: Reinventing the role of the high street' argues that "Consumers need to be brought back to the heart of every proposition in the high street"


"Deloitte research shows that the main improvements consumers want to see on their local high streets relate to parking and store choice, with 60% of consumers wanting more free parking and 59% wanting a better selection of shops. Moreover, 57% want to see more independent stores and one-in-two want to see more specialist grocery shops such as baker or butcher.


Nearly half of consumers would like to see more community activities such as festivals and markets in the high street as well as free Internet access using Wi-Fi. Third of consumers would like to see more services for the elderly and more public places to high socialise. The research also indicates that the majority of consumers want to see fewer charity shops".  Read the reporthere

 


 

This is an exciting project, with highly laudable objectives, but removing on-street parking will be a final nail in the coffin for many of our local shops and services in Winchmore Hill and Palmers Green, with the lost of hundreds of jobs, investment opportunities and local amenities that are a vital part of making these vibrant and sustainable local communities, not just residentail ghost towns.  

 

Having a safe and easy cycle route into Central London may well encourage more people to cycle to work. It probably won't reduce many car journeys into London, as it likely that many potential cyclists are currently using public transport. 

 

We all live busy lives, we use our cars to ferry our children to school and activities, to go to Sainsburys and back, but we do also stop off at local shops if we can find a parking space. Removing on street parking will have a massive impact on this local community. I would urge people to participate in the consultation process. 

 

Helen Osman

April 2014

Enfield Council's grandiose 'Mini-Holland' projects could be the final nail in the coffin for many local businesses

Comments (17)

  • Sandalman

    Sandalman

    04 April 2014 at 17:15 |
    "Enfield Council's grandiose 'Mini-Holland' projects could be the final nail in the coffin for many local businesses"

    On the other hand, it may encourage people to walk rather than drive on local journeys and maybe even to cycle. As someone who has worked and walked in Holland, I would be inclined enthusiastically to support this proposal. I believe that you can park free in Sainsbury's for three hours.

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  • Paul M

    Paul M

    06 April 2014 at 18:18 |
    Retailers tend to fear that parking restrictions arising from cycle improvements will damage their trade, but they should be reassured that their fears are unfounded. Research conducted into similar schemes in central London and in cities like Bristol show that while customers arriving by bicycle spend less on each visit to the shops, they visit more frequently and actually spend more over a month than drivers.

    Opinion surveys also tend to show that retailers consistently overestimate the importance of car-borne customers to their trade - the proportion of customers arriving by car is in fact lower than they think.

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  • Peter

    Peter

    06 April 2014 at 19:40 |
    Helen,

    hopefully in the next 30 years of your practice you'll have the ability to change your worry of the impacts of removing parking for cycle path and cycle parking.
    May I suggest to look into the several cases in Holland and Denmark where car promoters and businesses had the same argument and were proven wrong once access by car was restricted. (Martin Hayer: Power and Rationality discusses the case of Aalborg, Denmark). But you can also look into Hackney's Narrow street for results. The fact is the cyclists are more likely to stop to do shopping, than motorists (as you mentioned above as well "stop off at local shops if we can find a parking space"). Hence cycling improves local shops' business while motorists need supermarkets and bulk buy to justify car use. If you want to improve local business against big names who most likely take their profits to tax havens, improve cycle access. Not to mention improving community feel and social cohesion. Instead of taxiing around kids, you could cycle with them or consider a cargo bike.

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  • David Hughes

    David Hughes

    12 April 2014 at 20:46 |
    Whether Helen really believes reducing parking space to accommodate the Mini-Holland plants will be the death knell of local high streets, or is overstating her case to provoke discussion, I'm not entirely certain, but one thing is clear: she cannot produce any evidence of that allegation. Indeed the evidence which is available strongly suggests that the key issue expressed in jargon terms is the creation of a 'Public Realm' which is attractive to pedestrians. In other words: make the high street a nice place to be and people will turn up. Tourist villages/towns personify that sort of approach, but my favourite factual story comes from New York City Council. It closed a car park and replaced it with social space, and as a consequence local trader income rose 178% and borough wide income 18%.

    But the most upsetting thing is that there is so little reference on this site to the many benefits of cycling culture which range from reducing congestion through improved air quality, greater fitness, better quality of life for residents, to - according to Lord Coe - financial benefits such as lower NHS bills and increased productivity. And of these I would highlight congestion because London's streets are already super-saturated with traffic in a context where the population is growing and per capita ownership increasing. London could easily grind to a halt.

    Finally there's a community democracy issue behind all this because both weight of traffic and the behaviour of drivers frightens people who would like to cycle, and prevents parents, especially mothers, from allowing their children to bike. That's simply unacceptable.

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  • Roger

    Roger

    13 April 2014 at 21:24 |
    Research from Australia show that cycle parking brings in more money per square metre than car parking. In a retail street, while a square metre allocated to car parking brought in $6 per hour, a square metre allocated to cycle parking brought in $31. While traders are understandably worried, research has shown that where such schemes have been implemented, retail sales have grown.

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  • David Hughes

    David Hughes

    14 April 2014 at 23:13 |
    Quite right Roger! And there are other examples. The trouble is that shop keepers seem to believe that Helen's 'busy people' in this quote:

    "Busy people just won't use local businesses if they can't park conveniently near by.
    Parking = people = pounds for local business."

    cannot be replaced by people who want to be on the street and available to buy

    How Helen thinks she can get away with sloppy comments not backed up by evidence is beyond me. And also it makes me sad because she is respected enough to be followed by the traders into a position contrary to their interest.

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  • Monica Summerville

    Monica Summerville

    22 April 2014 at 10:35 |
    This article is just scaremongering. Local shopkeepers have been complaining for a while that times are tough so clearly relying on "drivers" to stop to shop isn't working.

    One of the main reasons we bought a house in this area was that there is so much accessible by foot & cycle - from parks to shops. Cycling and walking to the shops is healthier for everyone and also is great at building a sense of community as you're more likely to interact with your neighbours. This new scheme will certainly help us to do more, not less, shopping in the area. It's disappointing that the N21online community seems to be so resistant to the idea.

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  • Stella

    Stella

    16 May 2014 at 07:54 |
    I can only assume that most if not all the comments on here so far are by cycle enthusiasts with the opposite blinkered view that cyclists can offer a better trade to business etc. and that the limited number of cyclists should be entitled to a cycle highway.

    I am not against cycling or inputting cycle routes which are safer for etc but there are other ways of doing so instead of taking over the high street which yes will affect shops and customers without parking.

    Not all customers can walk or cycle for health reasons or dependant on what they are buying. Someone old or with disabilities cannot park too far and walk or cycle to the shops and a customer buying something large, heavy or fragile cannot carry it home by foot or on a their cycle.

    I am not a business owner but a resident who welcomes promotion of safe cycling but not at the cost and inconvenience to the majority of residents and our local shops. People do not just stop at shops as they pass, customers travel to shops within our local area because of what they offer and come from other areas of the borough and further which also brings in trade. In general a customer will also go to a shop because of products, service and if that means travelling a little further and can park they will do.

    The restaurants and cafes in Winchmore Hill do not survive just from residents that are local enough to walk.

    Enfield can provide cycle lanes and keep its high street including parking. Other routes need to be explored to find a solution for ALL not the minority which are less damaging.

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  • Keith

    Keith

    16 May 2014 at 17:23 |
    I can see this scheme is likely to split the borough right down the middle.

    I’m keen on cycling, I also drive a car, I occasionally take the bus, taxi and walk when needed.

    All these modes of transport are available to me now. I use them at different times for different purposes.

    We have to remember we are not Holland, Denmark or Australia and trying to compare theories and schemes often does not work well as they tend not to be able to consider the cultural and economic differences.

    Let’s not forget we are talking about 30+million pounds. I would totally back any scheme to improve on what we have. I think having a cycle park at Enfield Station is a great idea and more ways to securely lock bikes at all stations should be considered.

    The council has been doing a lot to alienate drivers especially when it comes to parking. The High Street has been suffering for a long time.

    The scheme is looking to change our way of thinking entirely by swapping journeys people make in cars to the bike.

    It’s a huge gamble one I’m sure many would prefer to not take the risk on, after all there is nothing stopping anyone using their bikes now.

    People like choices, they don’t like being forced into them.

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    • David Hughes

      David Hughes

      24 May 2014 at 21:03 |
      Keith, there are several things stopping people from cycling: fear of traffic speed, road rules which favour traffic (30mph speed limits for example) shocking air quality whilst breathing heavily, parents worried about their children's safety and health, drivers who park in cycle lanes and otherwise harass bikers, and these days, the loss of the cycling ethos which has occurred over my lifetime.

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  • Tanya

    Tanya

    17 May 2014 at 07:57 |
    I’m a working mother and my time is very limited. I have been trying to use local shops over the weekend, why do the council have to make it so difficult?

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    • David Hughes

      David Hughes

      24 May 2014 at 21:07 |
      What you really mean Tanya is why are they making it difficult for drivers? Perhaps it is to redress the balance of traffic dominance which has driven so many cyclists off the road.

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  • Donnachadh McCarthy

    Donnachadh McCarthy

    17 May 2014 at 22:57 |
    Totally alarmist misguided article. Maybe you should do a survey to see what percentage of your customers come by walking/cycling? If the High Street was human instead of car dominated, far more people would be attracted.
    Cars kill your customers through traffic violence, pollution and unfitness due to fear. 13,000 Londoners have died of traffic pollution since last election.
    If you really cared about your customers lives and health instead of erroneously thinking you might lose a few bob, you would be true community leaders and welcome these proposals with open arms.

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  • Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith

    18 May 2014 at 05:54 |
    You should go to Holland and see how this works in practice. Imagine the whole road covered in cars, and that's the maximum number of customers for the businesses, on the optimistic assumption that the cars stop. Promote walking or cycling, as the Dutch do, and you can fit ten times as many customers in the same space, with less congestion, fewer collisions and clean air. This is an absolute no-brainer; in my opinion the campaign against Green Lanes is sadly misguided.

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  • joe

    joe

    18 May 2014 at 12:06 |
    what has killed the high st ?the fluctuating availability of parking ? or the Sainsburys /Tescos /Morrisons etc ? The perceived advantages of huge supermarkets have done more to kill off the high st stores than cyclists ! Cyclists are going to somehow end it for the high st stores.....more than having a huge Tesco attracting their former customers?? Think about it!

    Once you make the high st attractive to everyone-pedestrians/cyclists young/old then they will want to visit! "build it and they will come!"

    I cant believe anyone would actually want to argue against a healthy, pleasant environment to come and visit !

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  • Karl

    Karl

    19 May 2014 at 08:39 |
    The majority of people can walk and cycle though Stella. There is a demand for a change in the way towns are orgnaised for transport. Across the world, where cycling has been given more space and it has become a real viable alternative for all people, kids and older residents, local businesses see an improvement in trade.

    If people have to drive to their local town there is an increased chance they will instead drive to somewhere else that has more facilities. Also, the number of spaces that a town has for parking is only a fraction of the number of people that may visit. One car may only have one person but still takes up the same space as a car full, with 4 people. A bike takes up far less space and because the user isn't spending money on fuel or parking they have more money to spend in the shops.

    Once a cycle way network is introduced, cities and towns have found that the use of roads reduces, less cars means less damage to the roads, fewer repairs and lower cost to the local council that has to foot the bill. It also means less disruption to traffic and business owners.

    Indeed, each cyclist is also a net contributor to the cost of maintaining roads because a bike does no damage to a road surface. Cars on the other had, due to their numbers and increasing weight, damage the roads so that we end up in the situation we find ourselves in. Many don't even pay VED because this is based on emissions. Having said that, VED alone has never and will never cover the entire cost of Britains road network. The vast majority of this is paid out of general taxation.

    Introducing a mini-Holland is not about being Amsterdam, it is about learning from what has worked across the world. The economics of cycling stacks up. The economics of cars don't. Even health care costs can be reduced with an increase in cycling. Each year, 13,000 people die from pollution related illnesses across London.

    A transport system monopolized by cars disproportionately affects those on lower wages and seeking employment. Cars are a huge cost to everyone that has one, which means that a very cheap option, cycling, is removed as a viable alternative. They have to rely on an increasingly overloaded public transport system if they can't afford a car at all. Indeed, many people find themselves in debt just to maintain a car to keep a job.

    The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) conducted an Inquiry in Spring 2013 looking at the state of cycling in Britain. They came up with 18 recommendations that had cross party support.

    Keith - there is plenty stopping people from cycling, as the APPCG report found. If a family can't safely cycle into a town centre because they are worried about the traffic for a small child then the whole family will drive. It's why you mainly see fit men riding and not families.

    Car drivers are hardly alienated. They have millions of miles of free to use roads and millions of parking spaces - many of which are free too.

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  • SRD

    SRD

    26 June 2014 at 12:08 |
    But why do you think removing parking damages businesses? there's absolutely no evidence to back that up.

    Check out this: http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/make-a-change/library/the-pedestrian-pound-the-business-case-for-better-streets-and-places

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