Chelmsford Road Traffic and Parking Issue MEQ

ORIGINAL EMAIL

Dear Department,

I am emailing you regarding residents concerns on Chelmsford Road, Southgate N14.

Giving some background regarding the situation on the road, Chelmsford Road is often a very busy, and at times a congested road. It is used as a cut through between Chase Road and Chase Side. Given that it is used as a way to cut journey times, many people drive very fast and unfortunately it seems the 20mph sign at the Chase Road end is usually ignored. This provides a potential danger for young children who may inadvertently run out from between parked cars and other pedestrians.

There is also a lot of parking on the street which makes visibility poor and the street narrow and therefore difficult for cars to pass. The Chase Road and Linden Way junctions are particular examples. Additionally, not all drivers are considerate in allowing others to pass.

This road is used by many to park which creates difficulties for residents. Whilst the Chase Side end requires permits at certain parts of the day, the Chase Road end does not and so it is used not only by residents, but residents from Chase Side who cannot find a space there, parents/guardians dropping off/picking up children from the local schools and non-residents who use the non-permitted areas to park for the whole day (I imagine to attend work either in Southgate or use the public transport links). I frequently hear residents have to park a couple of streets away and some of these residents neighbours have commented, that they have similar issues. Some are elderly or have mobility problems and some have young families so this is very inconvenient.

Given the situation is getting worse for Chelmsford Road the most, and of course the surrounding roads, my request to Enfield Council on behalf of residents is:

1- Will Enfield Council look into making Chelmsford Road a one way road, so that we can be sure near head on collisions and risk to members of the public are minimalised?

2- Given that emergency services have in the past struggled with getting efficiently through Chelmsford Road, and that motorists have to squeeze past and at times clip their wind mirrors, can Enfield Council look to allow parking on only one side of Chelmsford Road as to alleviate the pressure?

3- Can Enfield Council ensure that members of the public who park on bends, particularly on the Chelmsford Road junctions with Linden Way and Nursery Road, are strongly disciplined, as to ensure the safety of motorists on the road, and ensure adequate visibility for all?

4-Given that we understand the pressures on parking for Chelmsford Road and the surrounding roads, can I please organise with a road traffic engineer a suitable date to discuss any alternatives engineers themselves may have for the road to alleviate pressure?

I hope to hear from you soon.

RESPONSE:

Dear Cllr Ioannou

Thank you for passing on the concerns you and your constituents have about Chelmsford Road, Southgate, with regard to traffic flow and parking.

Parking Schemes

An extension to the Southgate Controlled Parking Zone was introduced into the western part of Chelmsford Road in 2017, following the normal consultation process. It was lack of support from residents that prompted us not to cover more of the street. I note your reports of residents often struggling to find convenient parking space and I sympathise with those who favoured inclusion but found themselves in the minority. With the more resident-friendly option of adding resident only parking bays already ruled out, I have reservations about proposing long sections of yellow line, unless a very clear need presents itself.

Traffic Flow and Emergency Access

Dense parking patterns are prone to lead to the occasional driver impasse event on roads that – like Chelmsford Road – also carry a certain amount of through traffic. However, I am not aware that we have received any communication from the emergency services on this matter. In a blue light event drivers tend to act appropriately to allow the emergency vehicle to pass. In the image below you will see that the road does have a few natural passing places to ease two way traffic in emergency and ordinary conditions. Creating one or two additional passing places by adding isolated sections of yellow line could be considered, but my instinct is that wherever we propose them, the adjacent residents will not welcome the loss of parking space. I am not so confident on them being viewed as essential to want to initiate the proposal. Parking on bends and corners, although cautioned against in the Highway Code, is only an enforceable offence where we have provided yellow lines. With the current focus of our yellow line work being on sites for fire engine access, and this road not being amongst the list London Fire Brigade as asked us to look at, I do not intend to draw up any proposals at this time.

Speeding, Road Safety and Rat-Running

Dense parking patterns can help limit traffic speeds and deter drivers taking short-cuts, as they will wish to avoid being delayed at pinch-points. Therefore, should speeding and rat-running be the primary concern, my advice would be to retain the current parking patterns. The recent injury history along Chelmsford Road (see green dots in mapping below) is a reasonably happy one and I would not wish to encourage more traffic travelling at higher speeds by a wholesale removal of parked cars along one side of the road. Incidents where drivers encounter each other head-on within densely parked streets tend to translate to impasse events, not to injury collisions, due to the enclosed environment curtailing driver speeds.

One Way Street

Converting narrow, densely-parked roads into one way streets has the drawback of increasing traffic speeds, as drivers no longer need to account for opposing traffic. The same concerns about encouraging more, faster moving through traffic therefore apply. In any case, this would represent a fairly profound alteration to the local road network that would necessitate a large consultation exercise. Given that we do not have any area-wide proposals active at this time, and no other specific funding source to allocate to the suggestion, I am not minded to take this particular suggestion forward as a project at this time.

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