The Fords Grove junction: a cause for confusion?
The Green Lanes/ Fords Grove/Station Road junction has been problematic from the day it was opened early in 2017. Yet nothing much has been done to rectify the problems which have been reported by numerous people, other than to tinker with the timings to allow more vehicles through from Station Road and Fords Grove. Despite this, there are often queues, with queuing traffic often significantly worse than when there was a roundabout.
Many people have complained to our local councillors, Enfield Council's Head of Traffic and Transportation and to the Mayor of London's so called Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman. None have even bothered to acknowledge receipt of emails.
Here is a summary of the problems, compiled by three local residents.
Heading towards the junction on Green Lanes from the south
Driving north on the A105 towards this junction the road is now effectively a single lane as it has been narrowed with bus boarders and car parking bays – but it widens at the slight right hand bend, just before the point where there is a left turn slip road for traffic that is turning into Station Road.
At this bend the single traffic lane splits into two lanes. In the right lane and there is a 'right turn' arrow marked on the road, indicating that this lane becomes a 'right-turn' lane at the traffic lights. Similarly, in the left lane there is a 'straight ahead ' arrow marked on the road, which indicates that this lane is for traffic that will be going straight on at the traffic lights.
It is quite obvious that these two arrows on the road surface, on their own, are just not good enough to make it completely clear to drivers which lane they need to be in when they get to the traffic lights.
This problem could easily be solved if Enfield Council were to install the standard road sign shown below, a short distance before the single lane splits into two lanes. The lane and there is a 'right turn' arrow marked on the road, indicating that this lane becomes a 'right-turn' lane at the traffic lights.
Similarly, in the left lane there is a 'straight ahead ' arrow marked on the road, which indicates that this lane is for traffic that will be going straight on at the traffic lights.
Drivers wanting to continue north frequently have to change lanes at the last moment, as these two vehicles below.
Red stop (cycle) and amber (main lights) in same line of vision and cycle symbol isn't visible from distance.
Heading towards the junction on Green Lanes from the north
Drivers heading south on Green Lanes encounter the same problem. Approaching the junction, when travelling towards Winchmore Hill Broadway, the straight-on lane suddenly becomes a right turn lane for traffic going into Station Road. Once again the problem could easily be solved if Enfield Council were to install the standard road sign shown above outside Capital House, a short distance before the single lane splits into two lanes.
It appears that the presence of separate traffic lights for cyclist at this approach to the junction causes many drivers to become confused. Sometimes they crawl forward because they are unsure which traffic light actually refers to them. In fact many drivers do not realise that they can proceed into the junction and wait for the 'wrong' lights to change. A possible solution to this problem might be to put long hoods on the traffic lights that are for cyclists so that drivers of vehicles cannot see them.
What about pedestrians?
Whilst elaborate provisions have been made for cyclists at this junction, the needs of pedestrians to cross Fords Grove or Green Lanes (north of the junction) have either been ignored completely, or catered for in a manifestly inferior manner. This has occurred despite the fact that pedestrians are much more numerous than cyclists are at present, or are likely to be in the foreseeable future.
On the Fords Grove approach to the junction there is a traffic light controlled cycle crossing but no pedestrian crossing. There also are not any dropped kerbs to enable buggies and wheelchairs to cross; indeed a wheelchair was witnessed being pushed along the cycle lane recently - presumably the person pushing was looking for somewhere to get back on to the pavement.
A pedestrian crossing could have been provided on Fords Grove, without affecting the traffic capacity of the junction, because pedestrians could have been allowed to cross this road at the same time as cyclists - but this facility has very clearly not been provided.
Also on the Fords Grove approach the junction, there is a very strange white marking on the road surface between the traffic lights stop line for vehicles and the cycle crossing. This marking which is shown [on the right/left/below] consist of a cycle symbol and a right turn arrow. Unfortunately it is completely meaningless to everyone who sees it.
On the Green Lanes approach to the junction from the north there is a central island and dropped kerbs at both sides of the road - but no white studs between them, marking a pedestrian crossing. Yet in exactly the same circumstances, at the nearby new set of traffic lights at the entrance to Sainsburys, a pedestrian crossing, marked by white studs, has been provided for pedestrians crossing the Sainsburys access road. Why has this not been done here?