Why Green Lanes business owners need to be afraid, very afraid
On Monday April 20th all of the businesses on Green Lanes received a three page letter from Enfield Council. This was primarily about its plans to "relocate road space to incorporate cycle lanes" on this road.
The letter has been written in a carefully contrived non-confrontational and even sympathetic style. However the sub text is that the Council certainly intends to try its best to impose this highly controversial scheme on the businesses and residents of Green Lanes, who seem to be mainly opposed to it.
The letter mentioned the "concept designs" which formed a central part the Council's successful bid for £30m of funding for cycle schemes from Transport for London. It stated that the Council was aware that some of the local business community had "understandable concerns" about these designs.
What, you may well ask, has been included in these "concept designs" which has caused these "understandable concerns"?
Well for a start the "concept designs" show the existing zebra crossing on Green Lanes, that is near the junction with Station Road and Fords Grove, being moved to the south i.e. away from this junction. This seems to be for or no discernible reason. The effect of this change would be that zig zag lines would be installed in front of most of the shops in Winchmore Hill Broadway.
Of course this is just what the cycling lobby, who tend to have a somewhat blinkered approach to these matters, would want. The zig zag lines would, of course, prevent parking at all times thus leaving the road clear for cyclists to use unimpeded.
On top of that, another large chunk of parking space in Winchmore Hill Broadway would be eliminated by the relocation of the bus stop for buses going towards Palmers Green. It is proposed that it should be moved from its present location outside Capital House back into the shopping centre.
You may recall that this bus stop was moved out of the shopping centre a few years ago mainly because of problems caused by some of the school children who used it. Their unruly behaviour, while waiting for buses, led to a number of complaints from shoppers who felt intimated.
The net effect of these two measures would be to reduce the amount of car parking spaces in The Broadway by almost two thirds – from 22 to eight.
Would this really matter? The answer to that question, to quote a well know national politician, is "Hell, yes". A pilot survey of local businesses' customers, carried out by the N21 Live Local Spend Local Business group, n21online (together with the Green Lanes Business Association, based i Palmers Green), found that 93% of customers using a cross section of businesses on Winchmore Hill Broadway travelled to and from the shops by car.
Surely this must be more than enough to make the Winchmore Hill Broadway shopkeepers' blood run cold!
If you are not particularly concerned about car parking then you might like to think about the proposal shown in the "concept design" for the Green Lanes / Station Road / Fords Grove junction. About thirty years ago this was converted from a priority junction to a small roundabout. This was done to reduce accidents and it has worked – there are fewer accidents than there were previously
However the "concept design" shows that this roundabout should be removed and the junction would revert to priority control. This would obviously lead to a huge increase in accidents as traffic flows are now much higher than they were thirty years ago. How brilliant is that?
Of course Enfield Council has not yet produced its actual proposals for cycle lanes on Green Lanes. It will not be doing this until later this year.
Let us fervently hope that all of these half baked ideas for Winchmore Hill Broadway, which formed part of the "concept design", are completely abandoned at that stage.
But is it not very worrying indeed that such ridiculous ideas were even considered by Enfield Council as being suitable for inclusion in its bid document?
One dreads to think that the actual proposals may well contain some equally impractical ideas. This is because the people responsible for producing them will probably be the same ones who dreamt up these manifestly stupid "concept designs".
Be afraid - very afraid!
Winchmore Hill resident and retired traffic engineer
READ THE LETTER SENT TO GREEN LANES BUSINESSES HERE