Letter to mayoral candidates about Cycle Enfield
Dr Linda Miller, who is Chair of the Enfield Town Residents Assocation has written a letter to the the two mayoral candidates Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith, asking for their views on the Enfield Town cycle lane proposals
Here is Sadiq Khan's reply - will be honour this commitment now that he is Mayor of London?
I want to be a Mayor for all Londoners and central to that is making London a greener, healthier City and improving opportunities for cycling are important in delivering this ambition.
Schemes such as Mini-Hollands are designed to be transformational and there is an important role for public consultation so that changes can be made if necessary, and groups such as yourself listened to. I am really glad you've been active in raising issues and it's important that all views are taken into account when deciding on a scheme that will benefit Enfield Town and its residents - it must be a workable scheme that takes into account the needs of disabled users among others.
I understand that the Enfield Town section of the scheme is still being considered and that the London Borough of Enfield and Transport for London are reviewing the proposals in light of the consultation responses and you would expect them to bring forward a final scheme that is workable, benefits residents and that takes into account the needs of disabled users among others.
My manifesto, which was published recently, included a commitment on cycling Quietways, which are continuous cycling routes running through parks, alongside waterways and down quiet backstreets – to broaden London's safe cycle network. I also am committed to completing the roll out of current town-centre cycling improvement plans, and beginning a new round of schemes. But in all this, the needs of local residents affected by the schemes must be paramount, in particular disabled residents. We must learn from the recent cycling schemes across the city, and make sure we do not repeat the same mistakes.
Labour's Candidate for Mayor of London
Dear Mr Khan
Invitation to provide written statement for circulation to residents in Enfield
I am writing to invite you, as the two main Mayoral candidates, to provide a short statement for circulation in the Residents Newsletter sent out weekly to members of the Enfield Town Residents Association. You are probably aware that in the last Mayoral election Enfield was one of the boroughs that voted for Boris Johnson.
Enfield residents will be particularly keen to hear from you as Enfield is one of the boroughs selected to receive funding under Boris Johnson's 'Mini-Holland' funding stream. While none of us are against initiatives to ensure safer cycling facilities, in Enfield we find ourselves confronted with proposals that will worsen bus services, deny access to the town centre to blue badge holders, cause real problems for local businesses and re-route 10,000 additional vehicles through a road in one of our conservation areas.
Regarding bus services
The schemes include proposals to remove a bus lane along a main access road and, in our main shopping street, to hold all buses in a single segregated lane unable to overtake. As there are 50 buses an hour on services along that road at present, stopping at three bus stops, you can imagine the very detrimental impact that this will have on services.
Problems for businesses
The proposed changes will cause problems for businesses too; over fifty shops in the town have no access other than through their front door, and the proposals very much limit local parking and loading facilities.
Local businesses have overwhelmingly rejected the proposals because of the real difficulties these plans will cause them with deliveries; indeed one large business has called the plans 'a threat to our investment in Enfield Town' .
No parking for blue badge holders
At present blue badge holders are able to park in the main shopping street and the two adjoining main roads in Enfield Town. There is additionally a single parking bay for disabled people. Under the plans all parking is to be removed, including the disabled bay; blue badge holders will be allowed to be set down in loading bays but will not be able to park. Obviously this is only of use where a disabled person is driven by a companion; furthermore we question whether any socially aware individual would consider the idea that being dropped off in a loading bay was an appropriately dignified way to treat people.
Traffic will be made very much worse in a residential area
Under the plans all through traffic will be routed away from the main shopping road and onto a road in one of Enfield's conservation areas, doubling traffic and air pollution. The reason for these changes is to enable two, two-metre wide cycle lanes to be sent along our main shopping road. Disabled people are being excluded from the town centre to benefit the fittest members of society.
Furthermore the changes will not actually improve cyclist safety – the main roads involved in the scheme have seen no reportable accidents involving cyclists for at least the last three years (in other words, they are already amongst the safest in the borough). Yet this scheme was selected by TfL for £4.3 million expenditure as part of the borough's Mini-Holland proposals.
Did it have to be like this?
No. Following their selection for funding London Borough of Enfield in fact put forward six alternate design options. There was one that had the support of residents, businesses, churches and community groups. This was 'option 4', which put the cycle lanes along the parallel residential road now destined for traffic chaos under the current proposals. It avoided problems for shops. It did not require disabled people to be 'cleansed' from the town centre.
Why didn't Enfield take this option forward?
Because TfL, under the direction of Andrew Gilligan, rejected the option as being insufficiently 'transformational' In reaching this decision they paid no heed to the needs of residents or any other group other than cyclists.
Enfield residents have just overwhelmingly rejected the options selected by TfL for Enfield Town in a consultation. All residents associations in the borough have expressed their opposition to the plans. Nonetheless Enfield appears intent on proceeding with the plans because, according to the Lead Councillor for the scheme, "it is the option that TfL will fund".
So we have a situation in which residents and businesses are being confronted with proposals that will bring them no benefits and in fact will significantly damage quality of life, economic viability and public transport. It is fair to say that this is the over-riding concern for residents and businesses at present. It is one of the key issues in this area that will decide how people vote on May 5th.
I am therefore writing to invite you to provide a statement outlining your position on the Mini-Holland plans to help inform our residents' voting decisions. In particular we seek your views regarding:
- Whether you will continue to approve the TfL Mini-Holland grants or call them in for review
- Whether, if you decide to continue with these grant allocations, you are willing to re-consider the options on the table in Enfield and seek 'win-win' resolutions that will benefit residents and shops as well as cyclists?
- Whether you will instruct TfL commissioners and administrators to take the needs of disabled people into account when approving all future proposals for infrastructure change, including those funded under the Mini-Holland schemes?
Dr Linda Miller
Chair, Enfield Town Residents Association
We await a response from the two candidates
Should you wish to write to them about the Green Lanes proposals or any other matter, their emails are
Dr Linda Miller asks the two mayoral candidates to provide their views on Cycle Enfield