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Important note

Since publishing this article I've obtained information about a trial traffic management scheme carried out by Enfield Council in 2016, designed to reduce the number of drivers using Grenoble Gardens and Berkshire Gardens as a cut-through and the queuing at the junction with Green Lanes. The trial was very short (three different options were tried, each for only one week) and failed to achieve its objectives, as drivers simply ignored the No Motor Vehicles signs.

The original title of this article, Grenoble Gardens traffic misery: Ten years of inaction, was inaccurate and unfair on the council, who did try to fix the problems, even if they failed. Though I think it's fair to say that there have since been five years of inaction.

I plan to write an updated version of the article incorporating some of the new material. In the meantime, the following documents, obtained via Freedom of Information, give brief details of the trials.

cars queuing in grenoble gardensFor more than ten years, since a one-way system was introduced in streets between Green Lanes and Wolves Lane, the residents of Grenoble Gardens have had to endure queues of cars in their narrow residential road. In 2013 the council consulted on options for solving the problem, but nothing came of this. This report investigates the roots of the problem, the fate of the consultation, and possible solutions.

2010 - the origins of the Grenoble Gardens problem

grenoble gardens map more detailThe one-way system that was introduced in 2010 and has caused problems for Grenoble Gardens

Just over ten years ago, in the summer of 2010, Enfield Council introduced one-way working in half a dozen side streets immediately south of the North Circular Road and to the east of Green Lanes. The traffic order, affecting parts of Princes Avenue and Tottenhall Road, Upsdell Avenue, Grenoble Gardens and Berkshire Gardens, also banned left turns into Melville Gardens from the westbound North Circular Road. The scheme is still in force today and has had some success in reducing "rat-running" along residential side streets, especially because it prevented cars turning off the North Circular to drive down Melville Gardens and Wolves Lane. However, in the case of one of the streets - Grenoble Gardens - there was an immediate negative impact, as more drivers wishing to access Green Lanes from Wolves Lane and Tottenhall Road began to drive along Grenoble Gardens, which ever since has suffered from queues of cars waiting to turn into Green Lanes.

rat runs green lanes to a10Rat-running routes in the Tottenhall Road/Wolves Lane area

2013: The council seeks a solution

Aware of the Grenoble Gardens problem, in late 2013 the council consulted on five options, which I wrote about at the time in a report on this website.

  • Options 1 and 2 involved closures of Chequers Way and/or Pasteur Gardens. The map of the proposals which I used when writing the report in 2013 is no longer available, but presumably these would have been point closures at the eastern ends to prevent rat-running towards Wolves Lane and Green Lanes. Option 3 would ban left turns out of Tottenhall Road and Princes Avenue into Wolves Lane/Melville Gardens, with the aim of preventing the same rat-run.
  • Option 4 would not close any roads but would widen the junction of Grenoble Gardens and Green Lanes in order to reduce queuing.
  • Option 5 was intended to slow down traffic along Grenoble Gardens and also to deter motorists from driving along it by narrowing of the carriageway, planting trees and generally making the street pleasanter for pedestrians (would this really have worked or just made the queues longer still?)

The deadline for the consultation passed and, as far as I'm aware, there were no further announcements from the council about the responses received or what the council intended to do. If the council did ever publish any information, it disappeared long since when its website was modernised.

Whatever became of the 2013 consultation?

However, complaints from residents of Grenoble Gardens have continued ever since and, if anything, are getting louder, so a couple of months ago I asked deputy council leader Ian Barnes if he could search in the council files to find out what became of the consultation. He provided me with a copy of a briefing note prepared by a council officer in February 2014 - the complete note, minus names, is reproduced in the box at the end of this report.

The note includes two tables summarising the responses. The first table is a "bulk" response from 32 residents, evidently organised by a person or persons opposed to any further changes at all and who furthermore wished to remove part of the 2010 changes so that the whole length of Princes Avenue and Tottenhall Road would revert to two-way working.

The second table shows responses other than the organised "bulk" response, revealing a much more nuanced and complex picture of people's views, but unfortunately not one that suggested an obvious way ahead - which probably explains why the note did not include any recommendations and why Enfield Council apparently relegated the issue to the "too difficult" category.

Grenoble Gardens residents are still suffering - what can be done about it?

It seems to me that the root cause of Grenoble Gardens' woes is the fact that the 2010 changes failed to deal in a holistic way with rat running in the Tottenhall Road/Wolves Lane area. It did nothing to prevent drivers using Tottenhall Road as a cut through between the A10 and A105 (Green Lanes), but meant that between Wolves Lane and Green Lanes westbound traffic, no longer able to use Tottenhall Road or Princes Avenue, is instead concentrated in Grenoble Gardens.

Blocking off Chequers Way and Pasteur Gardens would have removed this rat-running traffic and sent it along the A406, where it belongs, but the council evidently thought that there was insufficient support for this, so they kicked the problem into the long grass. But a solution along those lines is the only hope for Grenoble Gardens and also for people living in the section of Tottenhall Road to the west of the Wolves Lane junction - just stand outside the Bird in Hand pub and count the cars driving along this narrow residential street.

tottenhall ltn optionA possible Low Traffic Neighbourhood option to prevent traffic cutting through the entire area. The green filters would block motor vehicles in both directions, while the two filters in Wolves Lane would be open to all southbound traffic, but northbound would let through only buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

Someone who has been thinking about solutions is Oliver Bruckauf from Better Streets for Enfield, who has been looking at ways of creating a low-traffic neighbourhood, that is a residential area where all addresses can be reached by car, but drivers can't take a shortcut through it. In August Oliver posted an initial suggestion on Better Streets Facebook group. It used three strategically located "filters" to prevent cars using the area's narrow streets to bypass the North Circular Road. Cars would not be able to pass the filters, but people walking or riding bikes could. He has since posted an improved suggestion on the Tottenhall Area Community Facebook page (see the map above) designed to cut off another rat-run - northbound from Wood Green along Wolves Lane, turning left into Grenoble Gardens or Berkshire Gardens to access Green Lanes. This traffic, which belongs on the A105, would be blocked by two one-way filters in Wolves Lane, which would be open to all southbound traffic, but northbound would let through only buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

This looks to me a good starting point for discussions between people living in the area. They might end up driving more circuitous routes themselves, but just imagine how much pleasanter the whole area would be to live in. Walking or riding to the primary schools in the area would be far less stressful, kids would be inhaling much cleaner air on the way to and from school, people could open their windows without letting in the noise and fumes from cars cutting through their streets... Deputy council leader Ian Barnes has stated more than once that he's waiting for residents to come forward with some ideas for a low-traffic neighbourhood - so it looks like the ball's in their court.

Briefing note for Bowes ward councillors dated 5 February 2014


In autumn 2009 the Council consulted residents of the Tottenhall Road area on proposed traffic management measures. The proposals were put forward after working in partnership with London Borough of Haringey and Transport for London to address traffic problems and improve the environment in the residential areas around the A406 North Circular Road.

In recognition of the many concerns of residents in the Tottenhall Road area, a one way system was implemented together with a banned left turn from the A406 into Melville Gardens. These measures were supported by the majority of respondents to our consultation but many residents in Grenoble Gardens are unhappy with the outcome.

The problems of rat running, road safety and the environmental nuisance caused by drivers avoiding congestion on the A406 North Circular Road and cutting through residential streets off the A406 continues. The previously installed measures have achieved some improvements but rat running in the area continues to be a problem.


A consultation document was produced and delivered to residents of Grenoble Gardens in December 2013. This outlined five different proposals and gave their advantages and disadvantages. A questionnaire was also attached to the consultation document which asked for residents opinions on the options.

The proposals consulted on were:

  • Option 1 – Closure of Chequers Way;
  • Option 2 – Closure of Chequers Way and Pasteur Gardens;
  • Option 3 – Banned left turn from Princes Avenue and Tottenhall Road into Wolves Lane/​Melville Gardens;
  • Option 4 – Widening of Grenoble Gardens at junction with Green Lanes;
  • Option 5 – An environmental improvement scheme.

During the consultation residents raised concerns that not all residents of Grenoble Gardens had received the consultation document. In response officers delivered additional copies of the consultation document to residents and extended the consultation closing date to 31 January 2014.


The consultation process generated 72 responses, of which 62 (86%) were from residents of Grenoble Gardens, and 9 (14%) were from surrounding roads or did not give a road name. However 32 (44%) of responses were received from residents which had been collated on photocopied questionnaires and sent in by one resident as a bulk response to the proposals.

The breakdown of the bulk responses to the consultation are shown below.

Option 1 – Closure of Chequers Way
Option 2 – Closure of Chequers Way and Pasteur Gardens
Option 3 – Banned left turn from Princes Avenue and Tottenhall Road into Wolves Lane/​Melville Gardens
Option 4 – Widening of Grenoble Gardens at junction with Green Lanes
1       31
Option 5 – An environmental improvement scheme
2       30
*SF=Strongly Favour, TF=Tend to Favour, N=Neither, TD=Tend to Dislike, SD=Strongly Dislike

A number of the responses in the bulk submission had previously responded to the consultation or subsequently responded to the consultation after the bulk submission had been received. These responses were different to the responses on the bulk submission.

By comparison if the bulk submissions are excluded from the analysis the consultation results are shown below:

Option 1 – Closure of Chequers Way
8 11 20 1
Option 2 – Closure of Chequers Way and Pasteur Gardens
8 11 19 2
Option 3 – Banned left turn from Princes Avenue and Tottenhall Road into Wolves Lane/​Melville Gardens
2 13 22 3
Option 4 – Widening of Grenoble Gardens at junction with Green Lanes
14 5 19 2
Option 5 – An environmental improvement scheme
13 6 19 2

*SF+TF=Strongly Favour plus Tend to Favour combined, N=Neither, TD+SD=Tend to Dislike and Strongly Dislike combined

As can be seen there is a spread of responses, although it is noted that the majority of responses are not in favour of the options (TD + SD). This spread is not present from the bulk submission with all the responses tending to strongly dislike (SD) the options proposed.

With the inclusion of the bulk responses this does tend to skew the consultation results significantly in favour of residents strongly disliking the options consulted on. Comments received on the bulk questionnaires requested that the council:

  1. Open Tottenhall Road and Princes Road to two way traffic;
  2. Reverse the direction of the existing one way system in Grenoble Gardens.

Point 1 above would mean consulting with residents of Tottenhall and Princes Road, as the existing traffic management order would need to be revoked which would require advertising in the local press. It is likely that residents of Tottenhall Road and Princes Road would object strongly to such proposals.

With Point 2 it is likely that Grenoble Gardens will still be used by vehicles wishing to travel west to east (Green Lanes towards the A10) to avoiding queuing to turn right at the Clock House Junction. (Green Lanes onto A406)

Additionally, the vehicles currently using Grenoble Gardens to access Green Lanes would be displaced into using Berkshire Gardens to access Green Lanes. This is likely to lead to residents of Berkshire Gardens experiencing increased vehicles flows and requesting the council to intervene.


Council consults on options to reduce rat-running south of the North Circ (Palmers Green Community 21 December 2013)

Current Consultations/Environmental Improvements, Grenoble Gardens (Enfield Council website December 2013, via Wayback Machine)

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