Open Letters to Cllr Denial Anderson
Local residents and business owners are sick to death of the banal, glib answers trotted out by senior Enfield Councillors and officers, when we clearly face a serious crisis in Winchmore Hill and now also in Palmers Green.
Here are a selection of the responses sent to me. Take the time to read them. They are detailed, written by people who have clearly done proper research and believe that this undemocratic Enfield Mini Holland mess should be halted, before our local high streets are destroyed and we have accidents on what until now hasn't been an especially dangerous road. The main fatalities in recent years have been to pedestrians, yet pedestrian reservations are having to be removed, as explained in this exellent email to Councillor Anderson from Catherine Ranasinghe.
Dear Cllr. Anderson
Thank you for your email.
Your response starts with the incredible statement that " the roads will actually be wider along much of the stretch". I have no need to challenge this assertion, it's veracity is destroyed by the responses made by Jarvis to recommendations in Mini Holland cycling scheme Stage 1 Road Safety Audit ref : 2524/032/A105/BOR/2015. I refer you to pages 7,8,10,14,23,24 and 25 where Jacobs state " The scheme reduces carriageway widths ". Page 23 of the report contains an interesting fact that " an acceptable carriageway width is 3.25 meters in each direction". The cycle lane scheme required the removal of pedestrian refuges and this was an obvious indicator that the road was not wide enough to support the scheme. Pages 23, 24 and 25 of the audit report confirm this. Just read the response about the proposed crossing at St. Monica's church " there is no longer space for an advisory crossing island " or the responses re Compton Road and Vicar's Moor Lane junctions with Green Lanes, " pedestrian refuges could not be retained as the carriageway is reduced to accommodate the proposed cycle lane, parking bays and an acceptable traffic lane width". I presume that's a width of 3.25 metres!
You mention that the scheme has the support of health professionals and you mention Glenn Stewart in particular. I attended a meeting last June, organised by Enfield Over 50's Forum, where Mr Stewart gave a presentation on the health benefits the cycle scheme. One of the issues raised, by the attendees, was the safety of people boarding and alighting from buses directly onto a cycle lane. The response to this came not from Mr Stewart, but from a cyclist. He stated quite emphatically, that there would be no problem. Why? Because he, as a competent cyclist would not use the cycle lane and therefore those using it would have plenty of time to stop. Was the pertinent information that cyclists won't be using the cycle lane ever fed back to Enfield councillors and officers ?
In response to my concerns about the safety of orcas and mini orcas you referred me to the ongoing road safety audit which contains very interesting and informative information. Enfield's Parking and Traffic Policy 2017 document does the same. I read in Section 3.16 that Mandatory Cycle lanes are expected to increase significantly with the introduction of new cycle schemes. I presume that the A105 is one such scheme and at some point it will become a Mandatory Cycle lane. In order to comply with the definition of a Mandatory Cycle Lane you will have to remove all the expensive looking orcas and replace them with a solid white line. One has to question the value for money aspect of this.
You refer me to Enfield's mitigation measures. Let's look at a few. Up grade car parks, does that mean becoming a pay and display car park. Staged works so that they finish quickly and without disruption. Minimising disruption? Ridge Avenue was a sea of barriers with no work happening. Finishing quickly? Ridge Avenue scheduled work September to December 2016 just about finished, a three month job took 5. Sainsburys junction, planned work November to January, still ongoing, may finish mid March. Hope.
I'm confused by this sentence: An increase in the number of journeys made by bicycle will help reduce congestion, which is likely to increase given that Enfield's population is set to rise by 75,000 within the next 15 years and therefore improve journey times".
I've looked at the report on Enfield's web site relating and to population growth figures 2013-2033. Currently, the 65+ age group account for 12.8% of Enfield's population. In the short term to 2023 those aged 55-64 are especially likely to increase their proportion. In the long term to 2033, the 60+ age group is likely to increase their proportion. Whilst the proportion of under 15's is set to fall over the same period. The stepped graph illustrates the change very dramatically. Had these population growth projections been reversed, you may have been able to argue that there would be an increase in journeys made by bicycle, but as it stands this argument fails. You have created a very expensive white elephant.
With regard to changes made to the draft traffic management orders resulting from statutory consultation. Here's how it works, a proposal that is plainly ridiculous and unenforceable is proposed, placing time constraints to designated parking on the west side of Green Lanes. From Monday to Saturday between the hours 8am-6.30pm parking allowed for 2 hours followed by a 4 hour no return restriction. A report is then produced removing the time constraint and the council says we listened.
The Inrix report is also interesting. We all know that London is becoming an increasingly congested city, due to increased mini cabs and delivery of online purchases. I note that Cambridge with its miles of cycle lanes and thousands of cyclists is 13th in the table. I was interested to learn about SCOOT technology and how it optimizes traffic light timings to reduce delays. When can we expect to see the benefits of SCOOT in place across Enfield.
I am well aware of the former mayor's role in encouraging cycling. I am also aware of the current mayor's decisions around schemes and purchases made by the previous mayor. His scrapping of the diesel/ electric Boris bus, the illegal water cannons which the mayor had no authority to deploy and possibly, the scrapping of the garden bridge. All vanity projects for Boris. Regrettably, Boris's penchant for rushing through, not thinking through, his projects have had disasterous consequences for cyclists. The CS2 cycle route has seen loss of life, in particular the at the Bow / Aldgate roundabout, which has now had to be redesigned.
I notice that have ignored my concerns about cyclists safety when they are hidden behind parked cars. I refer to the Stage 1 audit report section 3.4 page 7 which highlights the possibility of nose to tail collisions where cars have to brake suddenly prior to turning into side roads and the more worrying possibility of cycle vehicle conflict. The scheme's plan to hide cyclists behind parked cars represents a danger to both cyclists, pedestrians and drivers. The issue of drivers turning left into side roads had been dealt with, but what about vehicles turning right having to brake suddenly to avoid a cyclist thereby placing themselve in danger of being hit by oncoming traffic. I can't imagine that any auditors will accept this state of affairs .
Incidentally, when will the Stage 2 audit be published ? I presume that it has taken place as it should have done on the completion of the design stage.
I notice that Sadiq Khan has recently made a number of statements expressing concerns about cycle schemes, " the needs of local residents.. must be paramount" , " first phase has not been a huge success - we need to learn" , " we are speaking to councils to divert cyclists away from main roads particularly in outer London" and finally, " the construction of segregated cycle lanes in itself causes pollution".
I would be interested to know if Enfield Council is taking an notice of the mayor of just carry on regardless in it's own bombastic manner.
Dear Councillor Anderson
Thank you your reply. I shall address each of your points in turn:
Support for the scheme
I make reference to the survey carried out by David Burrowes, which showed that 75% of the 17,0000 consulted were against the plans. I make reference to my friends, my neighbours and my colleagues who live and work in the area, all of whom are dismayed by the works and the chaos that they are causing.
I base my views on empirical evidence, namely views of the shopkeepers and shop users that I meet while conducting my everyday local business. While in Lords last week, no less than 3 people signed the petition against the scheme in the brief 10 minutes that I was there. Each was vociferous in their anger at how they feel the scheme is causing disruption and chaos.
While also visiting my pharmacist, she lamented about the loss of trade that she was experiencing. Elderly people who can no longer park easily are having to resort to using the pharmacy at Sainsbury's. Many of her customers have been loyal customers over the years, and are sad to withdraw their patronage; they value the personal care and attention of a dedicated pharmacist who has been involved in their health care over the course of many years and who they consider to be a trusted friend. Plans to upgrade the shop are now on hold as the future is so uncertain.
My hairdresser was especially grateful for my custom last week, as apparently so many clients had cancelled appointments. The shop was empty but for myself and one other customer. Again, the owner is considering his future in Winchmore Hill, as with customers opting for salons which are more accessible, his future is also precarious.
In all, I visited 5 shops during my morning shop in Winchmore Hill. I can assure you that not one single business owner supports this scheme. Without exception, each business owner was in despair about the loss of footfall and consequently the loss of business. If you are seeking to rely on the fact that this scheme has the support of the local community, please, go out into the local community and canvass the opinions of the local people. Perhaps also consider the question that you are asking. Phrased in such nebulous and inherently biased terms as "would you support a healthier and safer Enfield for everyone," no doubt you will gain overwhelming support. Ask people the more honest and specific question of whether they agree with cars being pushed onto residential roads, local shops ceasing trading and pollution increasing as cars line up behind busses that now hold up all traffic and you will finally be recognising the reality of the impact of this scheme on local residents.
While you may view me as someone who is "vociferous in their opposition", my opposition stems not from a dislike of cyclists or of cycling schemes, far from it, my opposition stems from the insouciant manner in which this scheme has been conceived and is now being imposed. To state that I might not agree with what you are trying to achieve is both trite and lazy. I have made clear that I support sensible initiatives which make our streets healthier for residents; I too am one of those residents and stand to benefit from healthier streets. However, in the morning, my own road is now completely clogged up with traffic. Living on a hill, as more than 20 cars form an orderly but impatient uphill queue all along Old Park Ridings - engines idling - the fumes are both visible and pungent. Is this your vision of a healthy street initiative? No doubt Green Lanes will continue to experience a significant decrease in traffic flow as traffic is squeezed into bottlenecks and the area avoided, however, these drivers are not now on bikes making their daily commute to work, they are in fact either queuing on my road or seeking out new routes throughout the residential back streets of Winchmore Hill and Grange Park.
Finally, to seek to rebut my contention that this project does not have the support of local people by resorting to bringing those "who have not expressed a view at all" into the equation is quite simply lamentable.
I am glad that money is being spent on our key destination centres. Sadly, however, the traffic chaos which is resulting is likely to leave these so called destinations more akin to ghost towns than destinations.
In general I welcome initiatives to increase more active forms of travel, especially when such schemes are well conceived, appropriate and proportionate to the needs and desires of the local population, young and old. Shopping list and weather permitting, I often enjoy the very scenic and pleasant trip to Enfield on foot, via the town park. For most people, despite what they might tell you in surveys, it isn't simply the availability of cycling lanes or indeed the safety of cycling that prevents people from being active, it is pure and simple inertia. We have had pavements for very many years and despite the fact that walking requires nothing more expensive or complicated than a sturdy pair of shoes, many people will still make ridiculously short journeys by car. Cycling is certainly one strand in the fight to improve public health, but it not one into which we should sink all our hard earned funds in the naïve expectation that people will suddenly invest in pedal bikes, or the fancy and expensive electric bikes to which you make reference.
A more pragmatic and sensible approach would surely have been to have made our quieter residential roads more amenable to walking and cycling? This would have avoided clogging our main arteries and displacing traffic into areas of Winchmore Hill and Grange Park that simply do not have the capacity to support such levels of traffic.
I welcome the fact that you say that you are working with the local shops to minimise disruption, however, please bear in mind however, that mere platitudes and imperious signs declaring that "we are making our streets better for everyone" will not help ease their suffering. Listen to these people; they live and work here, they interact with residents here, they know how this area works far better than you or any of the remote consultants employed to produce business forecasts. If they are saying that these plans will ruin their businesses and are causing disruption for the people who live and shop here, your duty as our elected representative is to respond, not to arrogantly posture that you are doing this for a greater good.
Cycling as a mode of transportation
I have no objections to cycling as a means of transportation – I own a bike myself. At the risk of repeating myself, I would be happy to cycle along the quieter residential streets of Winchmore Hill and Grange Park which are far more scenic than Green Lanes.
Punishing car drivers
Whether it is your intention or not, the reality is that you are displacing car drivers away from the main arteries which are designed for cars . You might not be punishing them, but you are punishing the residents of Winchmore Hill and Grange Park whose roads have now been transformed by a volume of traffic they were not designed to support. You are also punishing the owners of local businesses who make Winchmore Hill a community.
To conclude, I do not wish to enter into protracted correspondence with you Councillor, even I can recognise the folly and futility of doing so. However, please do not resort to accusing those who oppose you "as not agreeing with what you are trying to achieve" as if you yourself are the paragon of virtue and your detractors are somehow less socially aware or responsible. You will find that most, if not all residents of Winchmore Hill would happily work towards a healthier Enfield, after all, its where we actually live. My concerns, and indeed those of many of the local people who have shared their opinions with me, is that this scheme quite simply does not fulfil these healthier objectives. In this regard, we have every right to hold you to account. I am sure, as I end my correspondence with you, many will just as vociferously take up the mantle.
Suzanne De Jarne
Dear Cllr Anderson,
Thank you for your response. I address your various points below. You say that you " take the viability of businesses in Enfield extremely seriously, but do recognise that during any infrastructure work some temporary disruption
inevitably occurs. For this reason a number of mitigation measures have been put in place, which are publicly available here
If you take the viability of businesses so seriously, why did it take you until mid-February – some four months after work had started - to publish your very generic mitigation measures? Shouldn't these have been more specific and drawn up in advance, not four months after work had started? There isn't even a mention of mitigation measures for bus users. And we note that, risible as these measures may be, you appear nonetheless to have not even managed to abide by those. You have said you will complete the work in stages to minimise disruption, so why have you got work ongoing in Winchmore Hill, Bush Hill/Church Street intersections and now Palmers Green simultaneously?
Regarding Palmers Green, virtually the whole section from Osborne Road to Fox Lane is under road works with a metal fence between the shops and the pavement. Around 30 shops and restaurants are affected – how is any business along that part of the road supposed to receive deliveries?
You say you " are always ready to discuss and consider any other mitigation measures local businesses feel may be useful and would be happy to arrange meetings with council officers and representatives from our contractors Ringway Jacobs. Indeed as you are aware Rilwan Oshingbade is Ringway Jacobs public liaison officer who is on site and available to deal with local business concerns."
Indeed we are, and the businesses are in agreement that Mr Oshingbade is indeed a very charming young man. Powerless, but very charming. He has certainly listened to businesses' concerns. To date, though, he has been unable to resolve a single issue. He appears to look increasingly embarrassed, though, as he hears more and more accounts of the problems LBE and Ringway Jacobs are causing for businesses. However, as we are aware of the limitations of some qualitative measures we have chosen not to assess him on a 7-point Likert-like 'degree of squirm' scale. Given your expertise in ' recognised standards of modes and methodologies' we assume you need neither the nature nor the limitations of Likert scales explained to you.
But given that you have kindly suggested that you are happy to discuss what other mitigation measures your officers might offer to the shops, perhaps you would like to explain to Lords DIY (copied in on this email) what you can offer them, given that they have already lost £8,000 to date and estimate they will lose a total of £30,000 by end of the financial year?
What are you going to do to help them?
Will you be happy to donate your honorarium and expenses to them, perhaps?
What about the dozens of other businesses that are suffering severe loss of income?
What compensation schemes are available to them?
Have you lost a single percent of your income in all the time you have been inflicting this damage on shops?
You say that " However, I would like to be clear that any such liaison will not involve the rerouting of the A105 scheme as this is a fundamental part of the Cycle Enfield project and the arguments for the scheme have already been subject to considerable debate both within and outside the Council, including three failed attempts at a judicial r eview where the courts ruled in the Council's favour".
Your mathematical skills appear to be deserting you, Daniel. There was one failed attempt at a judicial review. An attempt that failed because the judge did not appear to notice the significant number of witness statements contained in the evidence bundle, given he said in his summing up that SOGL might take further action "when the full witness statements are in". It is for that reason - and your decision to place a works order during the consultation period, which only later came to light and is prima facie proof that you had no intention of consulting - that we have lodged an appeal.
We then attempted one injunction, which failed because of - to use the judge's own words - the 'chicken and egg' nature of the situation regarding highways law. Indeed, he had to rely on clarifications from your barrister because he couldn't make out exactly what you had done either. So, one failed application for judicial review, which we are appealing; and one failed application for injunction, which failed because of a very specific legal point but which the judge suggested might be successful once the TMOs are 'made'. Three failed attempts at judicial review?
Count again, Cllr Anderson.
You say that " Taken as a whole, we are confident that this improved network will encourage cycling, while not adversely affecting other forms of transport significantly."
If you are so confident it will not adversely affect other forms of transport then why did you not set up a public inquiry when you received an objection from Arriva Buses during the statutory consultation, as you are required to do by law?
That would have allowed you to present your case in a public forum. If it is so obvious that there will be no adverse impact on bus services, then why did TfL lean on Arriva Buses to withdraw its complaint instead of allowing their concerns to be properly considered? And we note that although Arriva did, consequently, withdraw its formal objection the company was at pains to emphasise that it continued to hold the same concerns.
You say that ' An increase in the number of journeys made by bicycle will help reduce congestion'. Even in the inner London boroughs cycle lanes have only led to a rise to around 2% of journeys by cycle – it is extremely unlikely that cycle use in the outer London boroughs will achieve that – especially given that TfL report that most of the switch to cycling comes from young men abandoning buses. You have given over a third of the road to (at best) one fiftieth of transport users. That is NOT going to help reduce congestion AND YOU KNOW IT.
You state that " the facts are that visitors to our local town centres, including Winchmore Hill and Palmers Green, predominantly come by bus or walk. Much of the existing traffic in the area is passing through but not stopping to benefit the locality".
The fact is that you projected figures for shopper transport mode from surveys of visitors conducted with interviewers positioned mostly around bus stops. A survey of visitors actually purchasing items in shops (i.e. actual shoppers) showed that shoppers arriving by car were far more numerous than you had estimated, but you chose to ignore that – presumably because it was an 'inconvenient truth'. Now, the truth is confirmed and very many of these businesses are being hit very hard indeed by the loss of passing trade. As one of the retailers who has seen his sales drop by around 50% since the onset of the work on the A105 said: "People shop when they can get a parking space - if they can't, they don't come in. We rely on people pulling up and coming in to buy jeans, a top and a pullover. If they can't park I will not be able to carry on, if there is no passing trade."
You also say " Turning to your report, I would be interested in knowing which of the recognised standards of modes and methodologies was used in its creation. " Recognised standards of modes and methodologies were used in its creation?" Been hitting Wikipedia again Daniel? Modes and methods in creating a report? We assume what you meant to ask was "how did we decide on the assessment methodology to use, how did we agree the research instrument and what statistical analyses did we use?" Shall we answer that set of questions instead, since they make more sense?
We sought advice from a researcher with over 20 years' experience in designing and onducting evaluations and assessments (for, amongst others, BIS, the Low Pay Unit, the Local Government Association, the GLA and UKCES); they recommended that we gather quantitative data on shops' percentage losses. This was considered to be optimal, given shops would be understandably reluctant to reveal their actual takings (i.e. cash taken per week) to an interviewer. It also seemed the most relevant figure to request, given that Regeneris reported percentage impact on the local economy in their calculations.
Given the post-Christmas period is normally a quiet trading month it was agreed that shops should be asked to gauge their trading levels against a normal January/early February, as being 'up, the same or down'. Those who said up or down were then asked to put a figure on the extent by which trade was up or down.
No. We did not do that. We calculated the impact of the losses to date on the year's turnover as at the date of interview – ie over the trading year as measured to the first week in February when the interviews took place. We note that you claim that the report "has been examined both by members and officers" and yet none of you appear to have noticed the section where the report actually said this: Note these figures are for the 12 month period to the first week in February. In fact, the loss by the end of the financial year in March is likely to be greater than this as the works, and the drop in trade, continues.
It was therefore a calculation of actual impact of X number of weeks drop in sales as a proportion of a trading year. This is calculated as:
[N weeks x current percentage trading] + [50 - N weeks x 100% turnover].
(e.g. 5 weeks x 60% of usual trade, as reported) + (normal trade outside the period)
We used 50 weeks as the trading base across a 12 month period to allow for closure times at bank holidays, Easter and Christmas. The calculation did not involve any prediction forward ahead of that current week. However, since the roadworks did not look set to finish at any time soon, these shops will absolutely see a further drop in their turnover (and we will see an even larger drop in the local economy as a whole) as the weeks of construction progress – and as we said in the report.
The reason we calculated an annualised impact is because the point of the survey was to compare the data with the predictions made by Regeneris – which, you will recall, were expressed as annualised percentages. And yes, we did say at the time that this was a completely inappropriate way to express impact on small businesses, given that small profit margins may make it difficult for them to survive beyond the construction period itself.
You continue "This is a flawed approach not least given that this period in the year is generally recognised as one of the weakest periods of the year in retail trade so to extrapolate this to an annualised figure results in an accurate representation."
That is precisely why we asked them to compare their trade to a normal January, Cllr Anderson. Are you really so contemptuous in your opinion of the many business members of SOGL that you believed they would not even know this to be an issue in estimating sales figures?
For this reason we first asked traders if their trade was currently up, the same or down compared to normal January trading figures. NOTE we asked the question in that precise wording sequence, in order to avoid any 'priming' effects that might be induced by using the more negative word 'down' first.
In response, two did report improvements in trade – and yes, we included them in the overall calculations of impact on the local economy. Ten reported no change in sales turnover, although they were being affected in other ways – estate agents reporting a drop in walk-ins over the month (down to a third of the previous year), hairdressers and surgeries reporting people arriving late for appointments because of a) the traffic and b) being unable to find anywhere to park, and staff having to work into their lunch breaks and evenings in order to catch up with these appointments. Note that we also included the 'no change' group in calculating total impact on the local economy.
You also state that "I also note in the report you state that a number of businesses noted a drop in trade as early as September, which is well in advance of any of the substantive works in the vicinity of the business concerned and well before some of the junction works that have led to some of the temporary delays.
I cannot, therefore, accept in this case the assumption that any drop in trade was necessarily due to the construction works required for the delivery of the Cycle Enfield scheme or the assumption that if a business stated that they had seen revenue drop from the start of work that this translates to an 18-week period."
From the outset you have denied the fact that the A105 is an essential artery through the borough. Far from revealing the impact on businesses was unrelated to the more widespread traffic works, the findings reveal that, just as SOGL predicted, if you choke off a major artery upstream, you will see effects further downstream. In fact, shopkeepers were asked when their trade first showed a decline.
Some, it is true, did say that it had happened over just the last few weeks. One estimated three weeks, three said four weeks, eight said eight weeks. We do not believe that these differences imply some unreliability in their ability to report – rather they show that shopkeepers were doing their best to give accurate reports of when their takings first started to fall, and this varied depending on the nature of their business and their exact location. But yes, a total of 17 said that their problems had started with the commencement of works further along the A105 in September.
Since you are so interested in methodology and statistics Cllr Anderson, let me state that we estimated percentage impact separately for each of these businesses based on number of weeks for which they had been affected by the time of the interview. At no point did we say all businesses had been affected, nor that they had all been affected for 18 weeks. Quite how carefully do you say you read the report, Daniel?
Finally, to return to your claim that "I cannot, therefore, accept in this case the assumption that any drop in trade was necessarily due to the construction works required for the delivery of the Cycle Enfield scheme"
Really, Cllr Anderson? You think that a total of 38 shops experiencing drops in sales of between 5 and 50% is just due to some random other factor? Really?
May we remind you, Cllr Anderson, that these were long-established shops, not fly-by-night enterprises. Some of the 50 shops we surveyed have been trading for between 30 and 50 years. They are well qualified to report on their turnover and the way it has reacted to external threats in the past. One of the final questions we therefore asked the 38 shopkeepers who reported a trading loss was whether they had ever experienced such a drop before. We asked that expecting them to probably allude to the 2008 recession.
We found that three did refer to the recession, one to seasonal fluctuations and one to a particularly cold winter when sales had fallen. Five businesses in total. The others had experienced nothing on this scale. Do you really still want to cling to this belief that the damage to our local economy is nothing to do with the construction work? The other 33 shops reporting a trading loss were quite clear that the construction work was where the blame for their drop in trade should be laid.
We intend to repeat this survey in March and extend it to Palmers Green. This detailed monitoring of the impact on vital local businesses is something that Enfield Council should be doing. Indeed Regeneris stress "the need for ongoing monitoring".
Lastly, you say that "Regardless of our differences in opinion of the results of your research document, I do not believe it to be a good strategy for you to continually publicly promote the erroneous message that the area is gridlocked and a no-go area for customers, which it is not, but can help create the very situation you wish to avoid."
If the area is not gridlocked, can you explain to us why the 329 bus is now terminating at Wood Green, Cllr Anderson? When are you going to stop lying?
You reiterate at the end of your letter that "we take the vitality of local business seriously and again offer any business the opportunity to discuss their individual needs with council officials and representatives from Ringway Jacobs". We await to hear from Lords DIY how you propose to respond to their 'individual needs' – and those of the many other shops whose businesses you are in the process of wrecking.
If you genuinely take the vitality of local businesses seriously why are you continuing to lie about the costs of this scheme for the local economy?
Thirteen shops in Winchmore Hill are already considering closing if business does not improve soon; nine at Bush Hill parade junction.
How many shops are you willing to sacrifice across the borough in order to drive this scheme through, Cllr Anderson? Because there are a lot of shops along the A1010 that will be in the same situation soon.
On behalf of the Committee and membership of SOGL
Stuart Miller | Cycle Enfield Community Relations Officer
Thank you for your response. It has taken two weeks since our email for you to send a link to a one-page pdf. It has been a month since we have been asking for information. This contrasts with the assertions made on Cycle Enfield's twitter account that the document was more substantial, a supposedly live document that needed to be redacted.
It seems to us that your mitigation plans (published in February) are an afterthought, prompted only by our repeated requests. The works started in September. If you have detailed plans, where are they?
Why is there no mention of bus users in the mitigation plan?
How are you going to compensate businesses for lost earnings?
Why are residents complaining to us that they are being kept awake at night because of works? It is obvious that they haven't been told to expect that.
You claim to be working in phases. The works stretch over 2.5 miles.
If we do not receive answers to these very reasonable questions very soon, we shall be contacting the Information Commissioner over the Council's lack of transparency.
Dear Cllr Doug Taylor
You wrote in the Independent last week in support of the Cycle Enfield scheme. You said that we need to think about how to prevent gridlock, and that one of the ways to do this was to encourage more cycling and use of public transport. In the longer on-line article you said that building more roads was not an option. True: but what on earth made you think that making our current roads worse was a good idea? Roads that support the growth industries of finishing, packaging and distribution in our industrial heartlands?
And who do you think it is that is disagreeing with the idea that we should encourage more cycling and use of public transport? What residents and businesses have consistently said – and you have consistently ignored - is 'yes' to cycle lanes, but 'no' to putting them along main roads where they would cause the predictable problems we are now seeing. But you insist on promoting the idea that people are either 'for' or 'against' cycle lanes. What the various campaigning groups – and they include many cyclists – have said from the start is only that the cycle lanes should not go along our main roads, where they will very much worsen congestion.
Indeed, even Mayor Sadiq Khan now says this, and yet you allow your officers to continue with the plans that were drawn up mainly to placate Andrew Gilligan, the then 'Cycling Czar'. But he is gone, and the Mayor is saying that wherever possible cycle lanes should avoid main roads. There is no good reason why the cycle lanes could not be re-routed away from the A105 and other main roads across the borough. Why then have you not demanded the plans are revised to take this into account?
And how do you plan to encourage more use of public transport when the plans will worsen bus services? Your officers and the scheme promoters and funders at TfL claim that modelling shows little impact on bus journey times. Yet Arriva buses have raised very many concerns about the impact of the changes: they say that parts of the A105 are so narrow that this reduction in carriageway width will delay buses; that the introduction of speed tables will have a disproportionate impact on buses and their passengers; and that bus lanes are essential to help give some predictability to journey times, and therefore object to their proposed removal.
Cllr Taylor, these are all concerns that residents have made repeatedly in the past. Surely when they were made by a bus company you and your officers should have listened? But what did happen after Arriva Buses made its many concerns about the A105 scheme known during the consultation period? Did you hold a public inquiry, as you are required to do by law? No. Instead, your bully-boy friends in Transport for London wrote to Arriva telling them that "It would be unwise to request a local public inquiry as a contractor of London Buses". I'm afraid that looks very much like a threat to most people. And so Arriva was forced to withdraw its objection – but note that Arriva then wrote to TfL to emphasise that its concerns remain.
Public transport can be much more effective in encouraging people out of cars than can cycle lanes – how many people did you see cycling to the shops in the bad weather last weekend, Cllr Taylor? The reality is that even in the inner London boroughs cycling has not reached the holy grail of 5% - but what has happened is that people have started to desert the buses because of their lengthening journey times. Do you really think you will encourage more people to use buses in Enfield by taking out the bus lanes as you propose?
You knew from the start that there was an option of routing the cycle lanes along roads parallel to the A105. True, this was originally opposed by Andrew Gilligan. But Gilligan is now gone and since then Val Shawcross has instructed Enfield to review the Enfield Town scheme and seek a less contentious scheme; surely a sensible course of action at that stage would have been to review the plans as a whole and consider whether there were other, better options across the borough? But no, you plough on regardless.
Again, in the on-line version of your article you said there was misunderstanding about the funding and that it could not be used for other purposes. Well, that is not the whole truth, is it? What you omit to say is that it is only the first £30million of 'mini-Holland' funding that cannot be diverted. You also plan to spend in the region of a further £10million that you will take from other TfL funding strands provided to Enfield for improvements to, and maintenance of, existing transport facilities. So you could spend that money for the benefit of the very great majority of residents who use public transport services. But you chose instead to spend it on a tiny minority of (mainly) privileged young people who shun public transport.
A group of vociferous and atypical cyclists continually tries to promote the idea that anyone who is against this scheme is 'anti-cycling'. I doubt that a single member of this borough who opposes the current Cycle Enfield scheme is anti-cycling. What we are against is its current, damaging, iteration. What we do want to see is a revised plan that takes into account the reality of business needs and the transport choices of the great majority of people in the borough.
For you to claim that a scheme that damages bus services and the local economy is "to everyone's benefit" is an affront to the truth, Cllr Taylor. Isn't it time you and your colleagues woke up to the realities of this scheme?
Dr Linda Miller
Cllr. Doug Taylor and Cllr. Daniel Anderson
Cycle Enfield has impacted heavily on Winchmore Hill Broadway to Masons Corner and is currently destroying Bush Hill Parade & Avenue Parade. The Regeneris report was a sham and your continuation with this scandal is an insult to every resident and trader in Enfield.
If my losses carry on at the same rate as I am experiencing now; by April Lords DIY stands to lose over £30,000.
Who the hell gave you the right to treat people with such contempt?
Your behavior is immoral and undemocratic and will be remembered by many thousands of people at the next elections.
Richard Turner, Lords DIY
Cllrs. Doug Taylor and Daniel Anderson
My official figures for this February - Footfall down 27.5% and takings down 23%
The single parking space outside my shop that the traders and I on this Parade have relied on for the last couple of weeks has now been removed. Over eighty metres of barriers are now in front of the shops on Bush Hill Parade, and the same on Avenue Parade opposite. And as the destruction moves towards Bury Street West our businesses promise to suffer even more.
Please tell me how, as elected Councillors and public servants, that you can justify your decision to carry on with this farce when your Financial Impact and Traffic Modeling Audits are so flawed.
And please tell me if you have ever stopped to ask why there is so much opposition to this project, or even asked me or anyone else how they think this project could have been improved – of course not. You have arrogantly assumed that you knew what was right for Enfield's cyclists; but failed to accommodate residents and traders equally.
You had the ideal opportunity to turn TFL's money into an amazing project that would improve cycling, transport links, health and regenerate thoroughfares; but you messed up.
You are a disgrace to Enfield, all of its residents and hard working traders.
You should retain a shed of dignity and call a halt to this mess.
Richard Turner, Lords DIY
Thank you for your email dated 4 March
Your opening statement is " Regarding width reduction what I said is entirely consistent with the points you reference from Jacobs". Can I refer you back to your email dated 23 February when you stated " given that they ( the cycle lanes) are narrower than parked cars the road will actually be wider along much of the stretch. " Just to remind you, the Stage 1 Road Safety Audit is littered with Jacobs declaring "the scheme reduces carriageway widths". Don't you mean to say entirely inconsistent?
The first two sentences of your email of 23 February, lead me to believe that your thinking is as follows:-
1. That a road is a hard surface between pavements edged with kerb stones. Your email of 4 March confirms my interpretation as you state " the roads as a whole will be no narrower as we are not extending pavements" and
2. That you believe that there is simultaneous parking on both sides of the road, and that the removal of parking will increase road widths as a cycle lane is narrower than a parked car. Obviously, no one will dispute that a cycle lane is narrower than a parked car.
However, the statements you make in both emails regarding parking, demonstrate a lack of understanding of parking along the A105 both pre and post implementation. The crux of your argument is that you are increasing carriageway widths by removing cars from both sides of the A105, therefore freeing up the carriageway width occupied by two cars and replacing it with two narrower cycle lanes. On one stretch of the A105, between Hedge Lane and Compton Road there are very few instances where the carriageway is wide enough to allow cars to park opposite each other, indeed on some stretches double yellow lines forbid it. In fact, the majority of parking alternates along both sides of the road. You seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that, in future, there will be no parking on the A105. Indeed, this has to be the case to justify your sentence " However, this will no longer be permitted once cycle lanes are installed and given that the width of the cycle lanes will be less than the width of a parked car, the moving traffic in a number of places will have more space to navigate". I'm sorry to have to disabuse you of your belief that there will be no parking. Take a look at the plans where you will see designated parking and loading bays, or better still take a look at Ridge Avenue. In essence the cycle lane scheme removes the width of only one parked car from the road not two. It follows therefore, for your argument to succeed, that the width of the parked car you are removing must be somewhere in the region of 2.8 - 4.0 metres.
You seek to argue that as you are not extending pavement widths, you are not encroaching into road space for vehicular traffic. You may not be extending pavements but there are other structures encroaching into the carriageway which reduce considerably carriageway widths. As one of these structures is difficult to explain I illustrate with 4 photos.
The first two are of the new bus stop boarders at the north and southbound bus stops at Solna Road. The north bound bus stop boarder seems to be a particularly long one, I would estimate 3 bus lengths. The southbound bus stop has a much smaller bus stop boarder, so illustrates more clearly that buses will stop to the right of the offside cycle lane and clear identifies the tailbacks that will result from buses having to stop so far into the carriageway. As I understand it 27 of theses bus stop boarders will be installed. I note that you state " we have added a 0.5metre buffer strip where feasible". This is a very telling statement, in what circumstances would it not be feasible ? Oh yes, it cannot be used in circumstances where its' use would prevent retention of " acceptable carriageway widths of 3.25meters in each direction" Jacobs.
As say these bus boarders will be monitored and this is essential bearing in mind the following extracts from the appraisal undertaken by the Centre for Accessible Environment as reported in the undated report entitled Approval of Cycle Enfield proposals for A105 - KDM4342
"The design of these bus stops is of particular concern as pedestrians are required to move onto the cycle lane when alighting and disembarking from the bus " " this does not appear to be a recognised bus layout in any of Transport for London's guidance and we would strongly advise that it is not used as it does not appear to benefit either pedestrians or cyclists and could be a potentially hazardous area for all users"
The other two photos show the work in progress at the Green Lanes / Osborne Road N13 junction. The two parallel rows of cobble stones to the right of the pavement, outline the cycle lane. As you can see, there is an additional structure protruding some distance into the carriageway. The second photo shows the southbound 329 having to drive almost entirely on the opposite side of Green Lanes in order to proceed. You can identify the northbound Bourne Hill bus stop road markings too. The removal of the barriers will free up a bit of the carriageway, but I am a a loss to see how a northbound cycle lane can be accommodated.
Regarding my comments about orcas, you say I am mistaken. In what regard, that they are trip hazards or that Camden Council and the City of London are removing them because they are trip hazards ? You cannot say, with certainty, that they will remain as one of the road safety audits may recommend their removal given the precedent set by other London authorities. You also say "they are a central feature of the scheme to create segregated cycle lane. Are these the same segregated cycle lanes about which London's mayor has said " construction of segregated cycle lanes in itself causes pollution" ?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to correct the figures you quote in respect of population growth. I think you have make a typing error as the Greater London Authority projection is for an additional 45,526 people in Enfield by 2040, Section 10.2.2 Approval of Cycle Enfield proposals for the A105. With regard to the proportions of cyclists within different age groups, can I refer you to an European Commission Mobility and Transport, Road Safely Report, which gives a modal split by age groups in the Netherlands. I don't intend to use all the data just that relating to cycling. In the 12-17 age group 52% of journeys are by bicycle. This falls dramatically to an average of 21% in the 18-59 age group, rising to 24% for 60-74 age group, falling back to 17% for those aged 75+. These figures show that the bicycle is considerably less popular with the elderly, and given the predicted growth in the proportion of those in the 60+ age group in Enfield,support my argument.
You seem to think that I have a cynical attitude to the question of parking restrictions. Not at all. To reiterate, the proposal was that between certain hours, on certain days, parking would be limited to 2 hours with no return within 4 hours. Failure to enforce this regulation would have would have left Enfield open to ridicule. As such, I would suggest that it was a dispensable proposal which was never intended to be enacted.
I notice that you didn't respond to the cyclist statement that he wouldn't use the cycle lane, as his right. Indeed section 63 of the Highway Code advises " although not compulsory you should use the lanes". The success of the scheme depends on its use.
You chose not to respond to my point about the safety of cyclists being hidden behind parked cars. If you look at Table 2 section 3.2.1 of Appendix B in the Approval of Cycle Enfield Proposals for A105, you will see that the officers response re cycle lane positioning, relates to ways of resolving conflict between those entering and leaving parking bays and the carriageway. In order to prevent dooring a 0.5 metre buffer strip will be installed. No thought has been given to the safety of cyclists where vehicles turning into side roads cannot see them. Did no one appreciate the hazards this bizarre idea of hiding cyclists behind parked cars could pose for cyclists and pedestrians ? Or was everyone so entranced by Boris's money ?
Finally, can I refer you to the London Assembly Mayor's Question time of 18 January 2017 where he discussed his healthy streets vision saying "An important part of this will be to consider the whole range of what makes streets work for people rather than focusing too heavily on one mode of transport" and " healthy streets is about "prioritising people".
Isn't it time that you prioritised the people of Enfield, instead of pursuing your own vanity project