For anyone with concerns about traffic using Barnet’s residential streets as short cuts, the debate over the Low Traffic Neighbourhood plan for the Fox Lane area in Enfield is both relevant and enlightening. Many residents in the affected area want to benefit from the improved safety, lower air and noise pollution and opportunities for walking and cycling that a significant reduction in traffic volume would bring.
Others claim that surrounding roads wont cope and all that’s needed are speed humps and 20 mph signs. Anyone who believes that should visit Waltham Forest, or just spend a few minutes viewing this film of the best place in the world to cycle https://vimeo.com/76207227
It’s clear that changing the thinking, that spreading through traffic around a grid of streets is better than keeping it on main roads, is challenging. Smartphone Apps like Waze, which provide instant routing changes to avoid traffic, encourage this spreading onto residential streets. It leads to a viscous circle with locals using cars for short journeys, as they feel safer driving than cycling or walking.
Modern housing developments are often designed as ‘cells’ with a single way in and out for traffic, but grids of streets laid out in Edwardian times can be hard to convert. Enfield Council has proposed one design of road closures and bus gates, while Fox Lane residents have now come up with a revised approach. We look forward to seeing what happens when the trial scheme is in place. Read more at Better Streets for Enfield.