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The deadline for letting the Council have your views about the A105 component of Cycle Enfield is fast approaching - the online questionnaire must be completed by 9th October.  If you want to comment on every stretch of road, the process could take a while, so don't leave it to the last minute.  There is plenty of information available on the Cycle Enfield website, and we have published several articles with information in easily digested form.

cycle enfield a105 overviewThe approaching deadline has prompted the already hysterical campaigning group "Save Our Green Lanes" to completely abandon all pretence of providing an accurate picture of the thinking behind and intended consequences of the cycle lanes scheme. The campaign has used exaggerated and emotional language to stir up opposition, culminating in the shameful scenes at some of the recent public meetings where people speaking in favour of cycle lanes - including their guest, the Mayor of London's Cycling Commissioner - were heckled and shouted down.

"They don't care..."

The most unfair allegation is that "they" don't care about pedestrians, bus passengers, elderly people etc etc, and that the scheme would only benefit the 1 per cent of the population who currently cycle. 

Well, even if that last point were true, don't cyclists deserve safe conditions when they lawfully use the borough's roads?

But it's simply not true - the scheme is designed to help 100 per cent of residents.  It is the Council's duty to do its best to reduce the harmful effects of excessive car usage - as clearly set out in an official report that was published this week.  Health Impacts of Cars in London, published by the Mayor of London, states in no uncertain terms "Most people in London do not use cars regularly but car use impacts on everybody’s health"  (my emphasis) and calls for 4 million short car journeys per day to be transferred to the healthiest and most benign transport modes - walking or cycling. The authors calculate that if this happened "the population of London would gain over 60,000 years of healthy life every year, which would deliver an economic health benefit of over £2 billion annually" This shift will never occur without infrastructure which will allow cyclists to reach town centres in safety.

So it's precisely because the Council does care that they have signed up to a proposal which potentially could mean that councillors will lose votes - they would have known all along that a backlash was likely, but chose not to take the easy option of "leaving well alone" - because all is not well.

Who is it really who "doesn't care"?

"Save our Green Lanes" sudden conversion to concerns about pedestrians, bus passengers, pollution etc is dubious, to say the least.  Previously they only worried about the effects on roadside businesses and car drivers.

If the campaign were genuinely concerned about pedestrians, why do they oppose various significant safety improvements that are included in the Cycle Enfield proposals?

  • They oppose traffic lights at the entrance to Sainsbury's in Winchmore Hill.  Pedestrians walking northwards on the left hand side of the road have to negotiate the supermarket car park entrance, which is very wide and is designed to allow cars to drive into it without slowing sufficiently.
  • They oppose replacing the Green Lanes/Fox Lanes mini-roundabout - a distinct hazard for pedestrians crossing here - with traffic lights with a pedestrian phase.
  • They oppose changes to the Triangle which would provide traffic light control for all crossings made by pedestrians, including those who currently use the dangerous zebra crossing or dangerous "courtesy" crossings across Green Lanes on the south side.
  • They oppose replacement of the Green Lanes/Station Road/Fords Grove roundabout by traffic lights.  Currently there is no safe way for pedestrians to cross Green Lanes to the north of this roundabout.

Just four examples, I could probably find more.  The reason is that these changes that benefit pedestrians would inconvenience drivers, who might have to slow down or even stop.

If they really cared about air pollution, they would be coming up with positive proposals for how to reduce car usage, not just complaining about anything that might slow cars down.

But in fact, if you read everything the campaign has published, you'll find that they haven't expressed agreement with a single proposed change or made any proposals of their own other than suggestions to take the route away from Green Lanes, which totally missed the whole point.  The whole anti campaign just boils down to negativity, lack of imagination about how things could be better, and fear of change.

"Flawed consultation"

"Save our Green Lanes" have repeatedly alleged that there has not been proper consultation about the A105 proposals.  This is absolute nonsense.  Increasingly detailed information has been available for more than 18 months.  The exhibitions at the Fox were extensively advertised, at the exhibitions people had ample opportunities to talk to the planners and all their comments have subsequently been published.  On the basis of these comments and those by members of the Partnership Board, various changes have been made to the proposals, and no doubt there will be many more changes made in response to the current consultation phase.

It's very disappointing to hear that our MP, David Burrowes, is planning to organise his own "referendum".  He must be aware that the consultation process has been run properly.  In contrast, his consultation by maildrop to constituents will lack any validity.  For one thing, the current (unfair) prejudice against MPs means that a large proportion of his letters would go into the bin unopened.  To provide for fairness and prevent accusations of rigging, a body such the Electoral Reform Society would need to be involved. And who will draw up the boundaries for the referendum?

This is not how local democracy works.  Referendums on controversial proposals would result in people voting in favour of ideas that conflict with one another, leading to anarchy.

And in any case, there is no need for a referendum - people have already been given plenty of opportunities to express their views and the council will have to publish all the responses before deciding what to do.

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Maire Harris's Avatar
Maire Harris posted a reply #1682 05 Oct 2015 11:39
Brilliant article. Urge everyone to read, consider, take part in the consultation, approve the scheme and reap the benefits of a huge investment in our area and community. This may never come round again...
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #1685 05 Oct 2015 14:04
Well Maire you may think it brilliant but then along comes James Corden the other day showing just how serious a challenge the 300,000+ residents of Enfield scheduled to benefit from this one-off investment opportunity could be facing.

Paul Mandel's Avatar
Paul Mandel posted a reply #1686 05 Oct 2015 14:29
It's a predictably pathetic article. And of course completely misleading. He doesn't tell you where that all that traffic on the congested Church Street is going to go. On to Cecil Road, a largely residential Road, which is going to have to carry twice as much traffic in half the amount of space. It will cause gridlock around the Town as vehicles try to get through.

I bet if this guy lived on Cecil Road he would be singing from a different hymn book