Pledge to boost pedestrian safety at speeding hotspot

Popular walking route forces pedestrians to cross dangerous road used by motorway traffic, reports James Cracknell

The point where the increasingly popular London Loop footpath meets The Ridgeway, where there are currently no measures to slow traffic or help pedestrians cross safely
The point where the increasingly popular London Loop footpath meets The Ridgeway

Enfield Council has pledged to introduce safety measures at a speeding hotspot following fresh calls to protect pedestrians.

The Ridgeway is one of the key routes linking Enfield to the M25 and is notorious for speeding vehicles, but at present walkers using the increasingly popular London Loop footpath are forced to cross the road without any help from traffic calming measures.

Last year the council laid a new section of the footpath to guide walkers through the new woodland planted as part of Enfield Chase Restoration Project. As a result, many more people have been encouraged to use the walking route, with new signage and seating also installed.

However, anyone wanting to continue along the London Loop beyond The Ridgeway must cross the road at a point where there is no nearby pedestrian crossing or traffic island.

John Cole, chair of the newly-formed Friends of Enfield Chase voluntary group, told the Dispatch: “The preference is for a safe pedestrian crossing with lights and some provision for cyclists. I accept there might be other considerations […] but it is somewhere cars are often speeding.

“We are supportive of anything that helps users of the London Loop to access the newly reforested areas.”

A senior Labour councillor has now said the council will install safety measures “later this year”. Rick Jewell, cabinet member for environment, said: “It is extremely positive to see lots of people accessing the woodland using the new, improved pathways and entry points.

“We are planning to implement safety measures at this location which will include signs, a gateway feature and rumble strips to prompt drivers to reduce their speed.

“The council is also looking at longer-term solutions which could include a traffic island which would require widening the road.”

In January, members of the council’s planning committee approved plans for a 92-room care home and 64 new homes to be built on the site of the now-closed Royal Chace Hotel in The Ridgeway, but at the same time raised concerns over speeding with one member warning there were “lots of mad drivers” on the road and asking for reassurances that a new crossing would be installed.

However, a crossing outside the development would require people using the London Loop to walk at least an extra 200 metres. One side of the road also has no pavement.

Another problem is that walkers currently have to negotiate a stile to get over a fence to continue along the London Loop, making the route inaccessible for wheelchair users and other people with mobility issues – John said people sometimes had to be “carried over” it.

Cllr Jewell said: “The stile has been left in place until the first phase of safety measures has been implemented later this year.

“In addition, the redevelopment of the Royal Chase Hotel involves a financial contribution of £52,000 towards improving sustainable transport infrastructure near the former hotel. This will help make it easier and safer for new and existing residents to access nearby bus stops and other services.

“A number of options are currently being explored, including an additional crossing between the former hotel and Hadley Road.

“We hope these measures, once implemented, will make the Enfield Chase woodland and London Loop area more accessible and safer to reach, allowing more residents to enjoy the project and the surrounding area.”

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