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Enfield Council's recently announced plans for a new cycling and walking route will mean that the important shopping, travel and employment hub at Southgate Circus will for the first time be safely accessible by bike from the Fox Lane LTN and Palmers Green. However, continuing the route east of PG to the Cambridge Roundabout will require bold measures to make Hazelwood Lane safe for cycling.

southgate to palmers green cycling and walking routeEnfield Council's initial proposed route for the Southgate Circus to Palmers Green section of the planned new active travel route runs along High Street before going through the Meadway Estate to access Fox Lane

Enfield Council's Journeys and Places Team is inviting members of the public to input ideas and comments into the design of a new walking and cycling route from Southgate Station to Edmonton via Palmers Green, intended to plug one of the many remaining gaps in the borough's safe cycling network.

The Southgate Circus to Great Cambridge Junction Walking and Cycling Route will take advantage of the quietened streets in the Fox Lane low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) before crossing Green Lanes near the Fox pub and continuing along Hazelwood Lane and Connaught Gardens.

As stated on the Let's Talk Enfield website, the new route "will provide a quiet, safe, and secure route to encourage more people to choose to walk, wheel and cycle in the borough. This in turn will bring the benefits of keeping children and adults healthy and fit, reduce motor traffic, and improve air quality."

For this early stage of public engagement, the council is using an online tool which allows residents to input their views by placing coloured pins on a map. The map shows the council's initial proposals for the route, but without any detail of their thinking about the particular type of infrastructure used, eg segregated cycle lanes, improved junctions or road crossings etc. The draft route is surrounded by a wider shaded area, so presumably the public are invited to add pins anywhere within this area.

palmers green to edmonton cycling walkingFrom Palmers Green to the Cambridge Roundabout the early route proposal goes along Hazelwood Lane and the stretch of Connaught Gardens that runs parallel to the North Circular

The map will be available for public input until midnight on Sunday 30th April, following which

"We will be taking on board the feedback gathered which, along with early monitoring data and information, will inform the designs for the proposed walking and cycling route from Southgate to Great Cambridge Junction. We will develop a proposed plan that will be presented to the community later in 2023. Further development of the design and implementation will be subject to funding and statutory consultation."

In fact, according to a table (reproduced below) forming part of the Communication, Engagement and Consultation Plan, the council should be publishing its proposals before the end of this month.

Online Councillor and local MP Briefings

March 2023

Launch of project page on the Let’s Talk Enfield site

March 2023

Project updates provided to stakeholders

March 2023

Letter to residents within the impacted area introducing the plans and the project page

April 2023

Engagement with the community via an online map to collect issues and ideas

April 2023

Engagement summary produced and shared on the project page

April/May 2023

Design shared publicly on the project page

April 2023

Webinar prior to finalisation of feasibility design on the proposed plan with Q&A

May 2023

Monthly updates on project page, residents can subscribe to find out more

From April 2023

Social media / newsletter activity to communicate the information leaflet to wider geographic area

April 2023

How the new route will fit into the wider network

planned active travel routes through upper edmontonActive travel routes in Upper Edmonton linking to the planned route to Southgate Circus
NB. This map has no official status. The routes shown are not definitive and are only approximate

At the Cambridge Roundabout the new route will connect to existing cycle lanes which are built into the multilevel intersection between the North Circular Road (A406) and Great Cambridge Road (A10). Here it will join the planned Great Cambridge Junction to Bridport Road Walking and Cycling Route, which will provide a safe and quiet route to the North Middlesex Hospital and Upper Edmonton. At Bull Lane it will intersect with a major cycle route running north almost as far as Waltham Cross. Southbound, this route will eventually go all the way to the City of London, once a missing section in Tottenham is completed.

Palmers Green to the Cambridge Roundabout - how will it be made safer?

Traffic counts carried out in 2019 showed high volumes of "rat running" traffic travelling along Connaught Gardens and the bottom part of Hazelwood Lane. Unless this traffic is removed, it is hard to conceive that a safe cycling route could be created through this area

Between Southgate Circus and Palmers Green the new route will initially use segregated cycle lanes along High Street, before passing through the Fox Lane LTN, which already has little traffic and is free from the drivers who used to cut through the area paying scant regard to the speed limit. However, once the route crosses Green Lanes heading towards Edmonton, it's unclear what measures the council has in mind to to "provide a quiet, safe, and secure route". Currently, Hazelwood Lane, the route shown on the map, is a very unfriendly environment for anyone on a bike, but is probably too narrow for cycle lanes.

connaught gardens quieter neighbourhood proposal by enfield council november 2020Enfield Council's proposals dating from 2020 for an LTN in the Connaught Gardens Quieter Neighbourhood (click on the map for a larger version)In 2020, when the council was planning to create an LTN covering the entire triangular area bounded by Green Lanes, Hedge Lane and the North Circular, it published traffic counts which revealed (to no-one's great surprise) that large numbers of drivers were using Connaught Gardens and the bottom end of Hazelwood Lane to cut through between major roads (Hedge Lane and either the North Circular or Green Lanes).

Typical afternoon traffic cutting through from Hedge Lane via Connaught Gardens then turning right into Hazelwood Lane and then left into Callard Avenue or Chimes Avenue

People living nearby have been complaining for years about this traffic and in particular about drivers turning corners too fast. However, while a one-way system was introduced in 2020 to reduce traffic in the northernmost corner of the "Connaught Gardens Quieter Neighbourhood", the much more serious problems at the southern end have still not been addressed and it is unclear whether the council still intends to complete this project or instead shift its emphasis to tackling traffic problems elsewhere in the borough.

Realistically, though, it's hard to see how a safe cycle route could be run along Hazelwood Lane without either creating segregated bike lanes (difficult) or removing most of the traffic and slowing down the remainder, which would need an LTN along the lines of that proposed in 2020.

This article was amended on 5th April to add videos of traffic at the bottom end of Hazelwood Lane, filmed the same day.

The article was further amended on 18th April to reflect the new deadline for inputting via the interactive map - 30th April.

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Adrian Day's Avatar
Adrian Day posted a reply #6804 05 Apr 2023 13:25
It's great more walking and cycling routes are coming forward. Agree that there will need to be significant calming east of Green Lanes. The ideal solution is full implementation of the Connaught Gardens LTN asap.
Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #6805 05 Apr 2023 20:08
I think we shouldn't get too bogged down with the name of this project. Southgate Circus and the Cambridge Roundabout are just the two end points and the majority of users will only be travelling along part of the route. So the council shouldn't miss the opportunity to maximise the potential of a safe cycling route to Southgate Circus, which is an important hub for travel, work and shopping which currently has no satisfactory access by bike from anywhere.

I think that by running bike lanes along High Street only as far as Meadway, the council are missing a trick. Continue past Southgate Green, preferably as far as Cannon Road, and it will provide a link to the town centre for the large number of households in the Mall and Selborne Road, plus connectivity to Walker and St Monica's schools, Christ Church, the Walker Ground and the Minchenden Estate. Not to mention the boost it could give to the pub, shops and restaurants at Southgate Green.
David Beadle's Avatar
David Beadle posted a reply #6809 08 Apr 2023 12:27
As a frequent cyclist myself this entire scheme is based on false premises. It’s not wanted as a ‘leisure’ route - who wants to cycle to either congested traffic roundabout past sprawling suburban houses with big drives amidst speeding residents when there are so many parks nearby? For those making the journey already the existing direct route along Bourne Hill and Hedge Lane is better, with fewer junctions and places we have to stop: if people don’t want to cycle on the existing roads or within the LTNs then this scheme won’t encourage them to cycle more. By all means add a few cycle lanes within the LTNs if you want, but traffic is already too congested on the main roads surrounding them.
Like so many other LBE failures, this project has no SMART objectives, no MEL programme, and no evidence of the need to change anything. This is not how you change behaviours or reduce pollution. Indeed, the need to think about alternatives to Bourne Lane and Hedge Lane – and about the congestion at both destinations - is an admission of how the LTNs aren’t working, and of how the Green Lanes cycle lane hasn’t encouraged more users - this scheme won’t either.
Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #6810 08 Apr 2023 19:40
David Beadle wrote (message 6809) :

As a frequent cyclist myself this entire scheme is based on false premises.

When it comes to "false premises", then David Beagle's comments are entirely based on them. And him being a cyclist doesn't change any facts.
David Beadle wrote (message 6809) :

It’s not wanted as a ‘leisure’ route.

Who said anything about "leisure cycling"? Most cycling is a way of getting from one place to another and not done for its own sake (though by cycling to get from A to B people also gain great health benefits that they wouldn't get from driving). The purpose of the new route is to provide safe new links, which could be used for all sorts of purposes, not least travelling to the North Mid by both staff and patients (no, not everyone arrives at hospital in an ambulance, the majority of patients are outpatients without disabilities that stop them walking or cycling).
David Beadle wrote (message 6809) :

...who wants to cycle to either congested traffic roundabout past sprawling suburban houses with big drives amidst speeding residents when there are so many parks nearby?

True, the Cambridge Roundabout is unlikely to be anyone's destination, at least not since the pub that the roundabout is named after was demolished as a sacrifice to the car god, but it is an important node connecting various routes, including, as I pointed out in the article, new cycle routes to the hospital and to a major north-south cycle route from the City to the northern boundary of London.

Close to the roundabout is the Millfield Theatre and the associated arts centre and stage school, plus a large school.

The speeding drivers are particularly present along Bourne Hill and Hedge Lane and are unlikely to be residents, who tend to treat their own street with more respect than strangers passing through other people's streets as quickly as they can.

Cyclists don't actually have to go round the congested roundabout - there are lanes beneath it for them.

As for the other end of the route, Southgate Circus, there's the station, a lot of shops, pubs and officers. Definitely a destination.

Many cyclists very sensibly don't want to go through parks, especially after dark. We have things called "roads" which are designed for making journeys, we just need them to be safe for all users, not just drivers. And how do you get from Palmers Green to Edmonton through parks anyway?
David Beadle wrote (message 6809) :

For those making the journey already the existing direct route along Bourne Hill and Hedge Lane is better, with fewer junctions and places we have to stop: if people don’t want to cycle on the existing roads or within the LTNs then this scheme won’t encourage them to cycle more.

Bourne Hill and Hedge Lane are not suitable for many people who wish to cycle, at least not until they have segregated lanes built along them. Both are notorious for speeding. There are too many dangerous drivers around.

Who says people don't want to cycle in LTNs? There are many more cyclists along Fox Lane than there used to be, and there would doubtless be many more if they could make their whole journey in safety. But if you want to cycle from PG to Southgate Station, once you get to the boundary of the LTN you either have to go along High Street or the Bourne, and both of these are unsuitable for many potential cyclists. This scheme will definitely encourage more cycling because it provides safe links that are currently just not there.
Tamer Sancar's Avatar
Tamer Sancar posted a reply #6811 09 Apr 2023 12:19
Completely agree with David Beadle. Being frank this new proposed cycle lane is a stupid idea, probably pushed by the usual local travel campaigners.

The council must know it messed up big time with Southgate with the Fox Lane LTN. If the council has some money or sense left, they should focus their energy on improving the extra congestion and queues at Southgate (and the surrounding perimeter roads) caused directly by the Fox Lane LTN. Not listening to the vast majority of peoples experience and views and fudging the traffic increase figures to get away with it, is frankly shocking behaviour by Enfield council and the people of this area are unlikely to forgive or forget that. The proposed cycle lanes is the worst solution you can find for the problem.

If you want evidence of why cycle lanes will not work, you just need to look at the £50m or so spent on existing cycle lanes and shocking low level of cycling seen on the cycle lanes in palmers green, which takes up 30-40% of road space for just 2% of road users. The usage of current Palmers Green cycle lanes is frankly embarrassing for the millions spent on it, and falls way short of the "cycling revolution" it promised.

If you want to improve active travel for vast majority of people then remove the Fox Lane LTN asap and make investment in better pavements for walking and local parks and leisure facilities so everyone can enjoy it. Almost everyone walks but just 2-3% cycle. More objective assessment of the low use of the current cycle lanes to justify the £50m spent on them should be made before deciding if it's worth wasting more of our money. We also have a challenging financial environment with our council tax rising by maximum amount as the council can’t afford frontline services, and building more very expensive empty cycle lanes is not the answer.
Neil Littman's Avatar
Neil Littman posted a reply #6812 09 Apr 2023 12:24
Regardless of the issues or story being discussed I don't think it is very encouraging or inclusive for local residents to give their feedback when they end up being told by the editor of the newsletter what they think of their opinions. It removes any incentive to have an even handed debate. I think PGCN is forgetting about the importance of the word 'Community' in the title of the newsletter and that by criticising the views of local residents it is removing any incentive to respond to articles and also a reason why there is so little in the way of feedback from the residents of Palmers Green to virtually any story that appears on these pages. I write both for and to local and national press either in the form of articles or letters and have never received a personal reply from an editor publicly disagreeing with my views after they have agreed to publish articles.
Tamer Sancar's Avatar
Tamer Sancar posted a reply #6813 09 Apr 2023 16:56
Well said Neil. This site just seems to be the cycling campaigners echo chamber and not “community” in any way. The moderator even refuses to print my comments about this scheme as it may be too close to the truth for their liking,
PGC Webmaster's Avatar
PGC Webmaster posted a reply #6814 09 Apr 2023 19:21
Tamer Sancar wrote (message 6813) :

Well said Neil. This site just seems to be the cycling campaigners echo chamber and not “community” in any way. The moderator even refuses to print my comments about this scheme as it may be too close to the truth for their liking,

So this is the thanks I get for paying a large amount of money out of my own pocket and a huge amount of time to run this website.

You're jumping to conclusions. Your post this afternoon was automatically blocked by a system designed to stop spammers filling the forum with adverts for viagra and diamonds. I've been out all afternoon and only saw it just now and have let it through. However, in view of your rudeness about a free service that I offer, and your failure to say anything remotely new you are banned from now on. (Only the fourth person to be banned.)