Saturday, 14 November 2020

#LDNCycleSafari Goes Solo: Over To Enfield - Part 3

In last week's second post about my nose around Enfield, I was having a look at London's Cycleway 20 which runs along the A105 Corridor. At the junction of the A105 Ridge Avenue / Village Road and Church Street / Bush Mill Road, there is a connection with another route - C21 and it is there I pick up this week's post.

You'll recall as I was heading south into the junction I saw a sign which explained the various routes, well the next part of my journey was to turn left into Church Street to head southeast onto C21 as I wanted to get to the eastern side of the A10 to look at another north-south cycle route;

The area around the junction is shared to serve the toucan crossings, but there is a short section of two-way cycle track on Church Street which runs to Blakesware Gardens. The route crosses Bury Street West in a way which almost had me fall off my cycle. Bury Street West must be a busy junction for motor traffic because drivers leaving it have separate left and right turn lanes - the road is part of a short, direct route to the A10. There is no priority for people walking and cycling, although the confusing use of the elephant feet road marking and green stripes for walking doesn't help (below, looking northwest).

The thing that nearly had me off my cycle was the stagger between two of the cycle crossings. As you come south, you cross traffic entering the side road and then the traffic turning right out of it. The crossing for traffic turning left from the side road is staggered and when you are trying to concentrate on drivers, this stagger is easy to miss and I ended up swerving onto the pedestrian side.

When you go back in time on Google Streetview to look at the previous layout, there wasn't a decent crossing for pedestrians (nothing for cycles) but at least it was all in line. The same arrangement of traffic movements was there and so while the new layout is tighter and in theory easier to cross, it is still designed for motor traffic. 

The cycle track ends at Blakesware Gardens where cycle traffic is returned to the carriageway for a back street and greenway style route which follows Salmons Brook route (east - west) via a toucan crossing on the A10 and then a turn south onto Latymer Road. I missed the fact that this route crossed the B154 Church Street and so I headed east on Church Street towards Edmonton.

About 500m east of Latymer Road, Church Street connects with the Edmonton Green roundabout and cycle traffic is immediately welcomed into a kerb-protected cycle track on the A1010 The Green. As I headed north, I stopped at a parallel signalised crossing of Balham Road (above). Unfortunately there is no legal way to turn left into the side street and leaving Balham Road on a cycle is awkward. For my mind, this junction would be much better filtered because it wouldn't need to be signalised and so would allow all cycling movements as well as creating a decent low traffic neighbourhood to the northwest.

The whole of the Edmonton Green roundabout has been redesigned to accommodate cycle traffic (and to better serve walking) on what I immediately learned was Cycleway 1, a fact that I hadn't picked up on until I saw the first marking on the cycle track!

A little further on, the A1010 becomes Hertford Road and the cycle track becomes two-way on the western side due to the way the Edmonton Green roundabout has been designed - a with-flow orbital cycle track which I'll come back to later.

The standard Enfield treatment was present on this nice section of cycle track alongside a residential estate, although being away from the main road meant that quite a few people were walking there because it's nicer than walking by traffic!

The two-way section rejoins Hertford Road northbound and southbound with-flow cycle traffic joins the two-way section with a signalised cycle crossing which oddly doesn't have a parallel pedestrian crossing. When I headed back south, this crossing took a really long time to provide a green (below).

Continuing north, the standard Enfield treatments can be seen with floating car parking, light protection and junction treatments as can be seen at the junction with Bridlington Road (below), as well as the "boarder" style bus stops as we saw on C20. 

The use of planted rain garden build outs certainly helps change local geometry to slow drivers at the junction, but there is still the ambiguous use of elephant feet with bellmouth kerbs and double yellow lines (below);

The junction with Galliard Road and the B137 Nightingale Road is quite interesting. It's a staggered signalised cross roads and there are signalised pedestrian crossings on each arm.

From a cycling point of view, the crossroads has been somewhat unbundled into two T-junctions for cycle traffic. To turn right into Nightingale Road, you have to move out of the cycle lane into an advanced stop line which is awkward. If you're coming south and want to turn right into Galliard Road you are going to have to use the pedestrian crossing because the layout doesn't give the opportunity. 

The cycle stop lines in each direction are beyond the side roads on the right and the crossing of the side roads on the left is via parallel signalised crossings with pedestrians and again, there's no legal way to turn off the main road (below, with unhelpfully managed works going on).

At the northern end of this section of C1, I arrived at Ponders End and I was caught off guard by what I came across. The A1010 has now become High Street and at the junction with Lincoln Road (below), Derby Road and South Street, the whole area has been repaved with a pair of "implied" mini-roundabouts and "courtesy" crossings. The footways and carriageways are paved in similar materials and there is a very low kerb upstand between the two.

This layout has nothing to do with the C1 scheme, it predates it and as best as I can work out, it was completed in the Autumn of 2017. The scheme is part of a much larger regeneration project for Ponders End and the junction scheme replaces an old signalised arrangement which had no pedestrian crossings. You can still see this in Google Streetview. According to a council newsletter from the Winter of 2017;

The new layout will create wider, less cluttered pavements and should provide easier crossing opportunities. It will also help smooth traffic flow and provide better for cyclists.

Better *what* for cyclists I can only guess at because the the only vague nod to cycling is a series of cycle logos on the footway next to the "courtesy" crossings which suggests that people can cycle on the footway - these implied cycling crossing points don't always coincide with flush kerbs and it's really confusing to use. The pedestrian crossing points kind of look like zebra crossings, but they aren't

In fact, it's so ambiguous, drivers have to have it explained to them with a sign;

The street undoubtedly looks better than before I guess and motor traffic will certainly flow far better than the old signalised arrangement, but frankly, it's poor for walking and atrocious for cycling. Had I known what to expect I would have stuck to the carriageway, but many people won't and so being thrown here after the comfort of CS1 is all the more stark. 

The other problem is the junction still has buses and HGVs running through it and so the council will be forever repairing the expensive carriageway paving. If the carriageway had been left with an asphalt finish, and if proper zebra crossings had been provided, I could almost excuse the lack of help for people cycling - at least it would be clear. You'll see in the video for this week how I had to be quite assertive in following the cycle route around the junction.

There is a cycling project underway beyond Ponders End on the A1010 where is becomes Hertford Road again and I'll watch with interest to see how that develops.

After riding around the implied cycle route through Ponders End High Street, I heading back south again. Just south of Tudor Road, there is a wonderful little piece of public realm work outside a parade of shops (below).

The cycle track runs behind a row of angled car parking spaces (with a good buffer). The existing trees were worked into the scheme and additional planting and new seating added. The car parking bays are angled so that southbound drivers have to reverse into them which is a good arrangement, although some people decide to swing in from the other side of the road.

At the junction with Bounces Road, there is a "cycle gate" (below). This is arrangement is essentially a signalised advanced stop line where cycle traffic gets a separate green signal to get to the second stop line while drivers are held on red. Then, the second stop line and the first driver stop line gets a green at the same time (or cycle traffic also gets an early start) so that people cycling are through the junction and either round the corner or back on protection on the far side before drivers catch up.

I'm not party to the design decisions here, but it's quite a narrow road layout, with a tight turn into Bounces Road, so it's a solution for the location and as space has been reallocated to cycling, it's hard to criticise the layout even if as a someone cycling you will always stop. Until and unless we reduce traffic on these sort of roads, then we will have to use signalised solutions like this.

I was then back at the Edmonton Green roundabout, and I'll leave you to watch the video linked at the end of this post, but I think it works well and is an interesting example of a signalised roundabout with "hold the left" signal staging; in other words drivers leaving the roundabout will be held when cycle traffic is crossing the vehicle exits. I don't know how the timings are set up here, but on my southbound cycle, I ended up with a sequence of green signals in my favour which was great. 

You could in theory have a Dutch style roundabout with an orbital cycle track and with priority crossings over the arms with parallel zebra crossings, but with multiple lanes and potentially heavy traffic flows, it wouldn't be appropriate here. This is very much a UK solution to a UK problem and I think it works well. The roundabout also directly serves the Edmonton Green shopping centre and Edmonton Green station - there's even a dropped kerb to allow people to get from the cycle track to the station and the cycle parking which was really good.

A little further south the A1010 becomes Fore Street and there is another parallel signalised crossing passing a side road. In this case, Smythe Close which is the car parking and servicing access to the Edmonton Green shopping centre.

As I neared the end of my southbound journey on C1, I was treated to much longer sections of fully protected cycle track which ended at a large floating bus stop;

This time, there are mini-zebra crossings and a larger passenger area which seems to be because the stop is very busy. Because the cycle track is at footway level, there were a few people standing in the cycle track which may have not been the case had it been stepped. A the end of the floating bus stop there is a parallel zebra crossing which takes C1 across the road and into Park Road and on into a residential area, although I think C1 ends on Fore Street for now. If you stay heading southbound, you join a bus lane, but even that gives up as you approach the A406 North Circular Road. 600m later and you reach the London Borough of Haringey. 

C1 does appear again around Seven Sisters with a footway level 2-way cycle track along the A10, but generally it's mainly a back street route all the way into the City of London along with awkward crossings of main roads, sporadic wayfinding and with the route going anywhere but the direct choice which would be the A10. But that's a discussion for another post. Still I did end up passing my office in The City for the first time since I left it in March.

I prefer Enfield's C1 route to it's C20 route, but this is probably a factor of it maybe being a little more useful because of easy access to Edmonton Green and that it's slicker having learned from C20. Ponders End is, frankly, a mess and this is now locked in for years, but that's not a criticism of C1.

Looking back over my visit and the last two posts, I think it is fair to say that Enfield has tried to deliver C20 and C1 without paying attention to how the network operates on the streets either side and that has affected some of the design choices. From my understanding (and please correct me if I am wrong), this is where the borough's politics were at the time. I really hope that the borough holds its nerve with the low traffic neighbourhoods because if the network is considered then ultimately, this means the Cycleway routes can be improved because conflicts created by drivers cutting through residential areas are removed.

It has been interesting to contrast Enfield with Waltham Forest and in fact I think both boroughs could learn from each other. Enfield could pick up some tips about managing traffic with low traffic neighbourhoods and maybe the ability to be a little bolder at the signalised junctions to make them fully protected. Waltham Forest could learn about the second generation of light/ medium protection for rolling out even more routes on links and I think the pair of them could get into a bit of a race with some of the great public realm improvements.

I'll leave you this week with a video of C1 in Enfield.


  1. 1) Can you list the (NOT) boarder-style bus stops? on the video. Most of these have the bus shelter & flag on the footway, on the left side of the cycleway, with a tiny (0.5m?) strip (the kassel kerb width?) at the point that passengers get on/off buses. These are NOT bus boarder bus stops, which were reviewed for capacity and bus passenger/cyclist interaction by TRL paper PPR 730. There was a bus stop detail also reviewed in DETR TAL 1/87 on the Bedford Cycle Route, which had a conflict created when the bus shelter was modfified, and the cycle flows forced to pass the bus stop exactly as these ones on CS1

    2) have you access to the safety audits? I'm following up on a report of an incident in Kingston, where the cyclist 'crashed', avoiding a crash with a bus passenger getting off a bus in a bus stop arrangement (not a boarder) exactly like those on CS1. This is an inherent hazard for this arrangement, a full broadside collision of a cyclist travelling at 15-20mph into a pedestrian getting on/off a bus

    A further concern is the lack of any lead-in (taper) markings, or vertical elements where there is an island and the kerb line at the end presents a vertical face to collide with, which can be easily missed, especially at night, hence a desire to review the safety audit

    1. It's a bit late with the videos, they are edited and processed - I don't bother keeping the raw footage, you'll have to study Google Streetview.

      They are boarder style with a shared area - it's not the accessible kerb which is the boarding/ alighting it's the whole width of the areas paved in block paving and I assume they are at the quieter stops.

      I've not seen the RSA but, there's no way you're going to want to hit the on ramps at 15-20mph, especially on a racer or similar; but I'm assuming the layout is designed to invite people cycling to slow down. Personally I prefer floating stops, but there are some space constraints as set out in last week's post on C20. I haven't been to see Kingston's arrangements, but aren't they two-way?

      There definitely needs to be a tapers which have been provided on CS1 and