The long war of mini-Holland in Enfield
The journalist Dave Hill
Tuesday 17 January 2017 21.55 GMT
The root of the hostilities can be traced to March 2014, when Labour-run Enfield Council secured around £30m from Transport for London (TfL) to make the borough more conducive to cycling. Its bid for a big piece of Boris Johnson’s “mini-Holland” fund, created to encourage bicycle travel in Outer London, was distinctive for its emphasis on installing dedicated bike lanes on those very Enfield roads currently dominated by cars. The council’s plans, augmented with further funds, aren’t all about these segregated tracks – there will also be investment in quieter cycling routes. But, as Councillor Daniel Anderson, cabinet member for environment, puts it: “We don’t want to push cyclists down side streets. We need cycling to become a genuine direct alternative for making trips across the borough.”
Road space reallocations often trigger strong emotions and for at least two years the Cycle Enfield programme has been doing just that. The A105 goes by different names at different points, but the most prominent is Green Lanes. A pressure group, Save Our Green Lanes (SOGL), has fought furiously against the segregation scheme, including (unsuccessfully) through the courts. It says it does not oppose cycle lanes per se, but that digging one down either side of the A105 will, even after the inevitable disruption caused by building them, increase road congestion, worsen air quality as a result, lessen road safety and damage local shopkeepers due to new parking restrictions.