Councillors back Arnos Grove bus lane despite congestion concerns

The 200m-long bus lane in Bowes Road will be operational during peak times, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

A bus lane and (inset)n Adrian Grumi
A bus lane and (inset) Adrian Grumi

A proposed bus lane in Arnos Grove has been given a seal of approval despite criticism from Conservative councillors. 

Bowes Road is set to get the new bus lane following an overview and scrutiny committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday 30th) where councillors voted to re-confirm the project.

Conservative councillor Adrian Grumi, who represents Arnos Grove, led a ‘call in’ at the meeting because he said there were a large number of objections received from locals over fears the bus lane would “increase congestion”.

According to a report from Enfield Council, across the full 72-home direct consultation area extending “some way” out of the limits of the bus lane, 20 objections were received in total, with zero expressions made in support of the bus lane.

Cllr Grumi said because Bowes Road leads on to the very busy North Circular, the bus lane would increase rather than decrease congestion.

 A “small number” of resident parking spaces would also be lost, he pointed out, although the council report added that most homes fronting Bowes Road were “buffered by having multiple off-street parking spaces”.

The benefits of the scheme were also questioned, with the lane proposed to be just 200m long and reportedly only saving buses 2.5 minutes each time they “passed in the busiest period”. 

Cllr Grumi was at least glad the council had updated its plans since they were first proposed, with the original scheme intended to run twelve hours daily, but now only set to operate at peak times. 

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However, the Tory councillor said: “It gets down to the reasons why you need a bus lane at all? For the couple of minutes it will save, it will back the traffic up, because the buses take priority, blocking access to the North Circular Road, backing up those roads more than they already are.

“All of them [the roads] will be solid just for that two to three minutes.”

In response, David Taylor, head of traffic and transportation at the council, said: “I think the key points he [Cllr Grumi] made is this is going to make the situation worse [but] we don’t believe that’s the case. 

“I think the way the design is being developed it will maintain the capacity for vehicles travelling from Bowes Road on to North Circular Road.”

He added: “I think the design we’ve come up with certainly will not be making the congestion worse than it currently is.”

David said the proposal was for the scheme to be implemented on an ‘experimental basis’ because the impact of the scheme needed to be “understood” more before the decision was “made permanent”. He said this gave the council a period to “monitor the effects of the scheme”. 

He added Transport for London (TfL) was “very supportive” of the scheme. Although there would only be a “couple minutes of savings” for buses, TfL felt that was “significant” in terms of the “reliability of that service”.

Councillors voted five to three, along party lines, to reject the call-in request and reaffirm the original decision to approve the Bowes Road bus lane.

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