Cycle lanes could delay buses, TfL warn

How Hertford Road might look after Cycle Enfield A1010 North scheme is installed
How Hertford Road might look after Cycle Enfield A1010 North scheme is installed

Benefits of Hertford Road scheme questioned, reports James Cracknell

The next major scheme being built as part of the Cycle Enfield programme could make bus journey times longer, Transport for London (TfL) has warned.

An impact assessment report written by TfL – made public after a Freedom of Information request by Philip Ridley from Enfield Transport User Group – shows that most bus services along the northern section of Hertford Road could be delayed by up to five minutes once new cycle lanes have been installed.

Work is due to start later this year on constructing 1.5 miles of segregated cycle lanes along Hertford Road, between Nags Head Road in Ponders End and Mollison Avenue in Bullsmoor. The scheme also involves installing additional traffic signals; bus stop ‘boarders’ and bypasses for cyclists; new zebra crossings; and remodelled junctions.

The TfL assessment concluded that more than half of bus services using the route could incur extra delays, with the southbound 121 bus in the evening rush hour, likely to be delayed by between three and five minutes, being worst affected. While some services might be faster, the difference would be no more than two minutes.

An assessment of air pollution impacts from the scheme failed to draw a firm conclusion, with TfL stating that benefits would only arise if traffic congestion was reduced by more people deciding to cycle. Doubt was also cast on the potential for benefits to pedestrians.

TfL’s conclusion stated: “Overall the scheme will benefit existing cyclists, and providing a continuous, safe facility should help attract more people to choose to cycle which could lower the number of car journeys.

“However, the majority of pedestrians, car users and bus passengers will experience a delay to their journey if they are travelling through one of the three signalised junctions along the route. If they travel through multiple of these junctions the impact is compounded.”

The A1010 North project is the third major scheme being built as part of Enfield Council’s £42m ‘Mini Holland’ cycling programme, with the southern route through Edmonton nearing completion and the A105 scheme through Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill opening last year. Philip said the impact assessment report’s findings on the A1010 scheme “should thoroughly embarrass” TfL, which is funding Mini Holland.

A council spokesperson said: “The impact assessments are based on worst-case scenarios and assumes no increase of active travel. However, our data demonstrates a 52% increase in cycling along Green Lanes and we expect people to choose more active forms of travel along A1010 North once the scheme is implemented.

“While improvement works are starting at Nags Head junction, a decision has yet to be made on the wider scheme. A decision is expected later in summer.”