To receive a presentation for discussion on the range of initiatives that that are taking place across the Borough to create healthy streets, enabling more walking & cycling as part of the focus on the health of our communities and climate action.
The forum received a presentation from Richard Eason (Programme Director Healthy Streets) on enabling active travel in Enfield.
Richard Eason highlighted the following from his presentation:
· Enfield Council declared a climate emergency in 2019.
· Thirty nine percent of Enfield’s carbon dioxide emissions came from transport.
· Car travel was increasing and obesity is an issue. Enfield has one of the highest obesity rates in London. Everyone needs to be more physically active.
· Recent local and national strategies have focussed on enabling people to use more active forms of transport especially walking and cycling. Projects are being put in place across London as well as nationally and in Europe. Paris has had a lot of success recently in introducing car free streets and bringing many more cyclists onto the streets.
· Enfield is slowly adding to its cycling network and putting in place pedestrian improvements. Work had begun creating a pocket park in Little Park Gardens as start of the wider improvements planned for Enfield Town. An online consultation on the proposals is taking place “Lets Talk Enfield Town”. Cycle parking facilities are being installed at transport hubs and in residential streets with the aim of improving the whole user journey across different modes better.
· Quieter Neighbourhoods were one aspect of this work, closing off small residential streets to prevent rat running and enable people to access active travel networks more safely.
· Community events had also been held and events such as second-hand bike markets.
· The school streets scheme had created safe spaces for children travelling to school on bike and foot.
· All this work should encourage more people of all ages to participate in active travel.
· Encouraging other sustainable journeys via buses and trains is also fundamental to help encourage people to avoid using cars. There were challenges ahead and schemes would take time to bed in. The impact of all schemes would be continually monitored.
· Members were encouraged to access the “Let’s Talk Website”, a tool to find out what residents think about schemes, to feed their views into the various consultations.
2.1 Concern that the Quieter Neighbourhoods Schemes were causing a build-up of traffic on main roads such as Alderman’s Hill, and that this would increase carbon dioxide emissions. The response that the situation was being monitored and the Council would shortly be repeating speed and volume counts to judge impact.
2.2 The need to acknowledge that it would take time for the schemes to settle in and for traffic volumes to stabilise. The overall aim was to reduce car journeys, not to divert traffic to other roads, but to encourage people to use other more sustainable modes of transport. Traffic jams in themselves were a deterrent. Officers would continue to work with local communities to improve the schemes. Government funding restrictions had meant that these had had to be introduced more quickly and with less advance consultation, than would have been preferred.
2.2 Concern about changes to the Highway Code to ensure that pedestrians had priority in shared facilities. The Highway code consultation was continuing. And although Enfield does have some shared facilities, problems were not envisaged.
2.3 Currently the Bush Hill Park Cycling Hub was closed. Richard Eason agreed to discuss, with his colleagues, what could be done to enable it to re-open more quickly.
2.4 More focus needed to be put on discouraging people from using their cars.
2.5 Concern that buses were becoming overcrowded. The Council was continuing to work with Transport for London on possible new routes.
2.6 It was felt that more needed to be done to enforce mask wearing. Data on mask adherence was not to hand. Richard Eason agree to ask officers to talk to Transport for London about the concerns. It was suggested that Transport for London Staff themselves should be monitored to make sure that they were wearing masks.
2.7 Praise for the 12 school streets schemes which had been felt to be very successful, despite small teething problems. There was however still more to be done to encourage parents not to drive their children to school and to convince them that it was safe to cycle and walk. Most Enfield children lived within walking distance of their schools.
2.8 More needed to be done to educate people about the benefits of living more sustainably. Many were reluctant to accept change. Electric cars were not the solution to problems such as increased traffic volumes and narrow streets.
2.9 The Government were keen to avoid a car led Covid recovery and this was the reason that some schemes had been introduced so quickly.
2.10 The suggestion was made that more information on road closures should be given to Google Maps to encourage people not to go down certain roads and to encourage people to travel at less busy times. This could also be achieved by offering senior discounts at quieter times of the day. One of the reasons behind the traffic increases in residential streets was the increasing use of google maps, making drivers more award of alternative routes. Officers would look to inform the sat nav companies of road changes more quickly.
The Chair thanked Richard Eason for his excellent presentation and all the members for their contributions, which were noted above.