Speeding on Wynchgate/ Park View- MEQ

Original Email

Dear Department,

I am emailing to raise concerns on behalf of residents, who have recently had to deal with a collision involving their son.

The incident occurred down the junction of Park View and Wynchgate, and the young man was lucky to get away with just a cut to his head.

The reality is that there has been- and continues to be- a serious issue concerning road safety down the Wynchgate, Park View and Queen Elizabeth’s Drives roads.

Speeding cars going typically >40mph have become common for those living on the roads mentioned, and even more I have received countless emails of visitors to Groveland’s Park mentioning how speeding cars nearly cause harm to parents with children crossing the roads.

If you look at my prior MEQ’s, you will find recent history of my concerns again on this part of Southgate (Jonathan please refer to email sent on the 29th November 2019).

I also refer to MEQ – 0000014487.

I would like to ask the department therefore the following questions:

  1. Whilst the council are determined to focus on the Quieter Neighbourhoods Scheme and block off roads due to motorists using them as supposed ‘rat runs’, what attention is also being paid to the area mentioned above in Southgate which has been year-by-year increased speeding and collisions?
  2. Can we please have the data that shows reported collisions on the roads I have mentioned above?
  3. Would it be possible to have a site visit with you down this road, so that you can bear witness to the reality of extreme speeding down this stretch?

Thank you.

Kind Regards,

Cllr. Stephanos Ioannou
Conservative Councilor for Southgate ward,
London Borough of Enfield

Response

Classification: OFFICIAL – MEMBERS

Dear Cllr Ioannou

Thank you for your enquiry.

Speeding Surveys

I attach the most recent speed surveys that have been undertaken on Wynchgate. My colleague providing them did not find any surveys of similar recent vintage on other nearby streets of interest. The headline ‘average speed’ figure does not always give the full picture but at both sites they show the mathematical average speed in the mid-twenties, which normally suggests a street where speed is reasonably well controlled.

The speeds are marginally higher at the site near 75 Wynchgate. Dipping deeper into the data, the heaviest recorded traffic flow occurred on Wednesday 8 November heading westbound, so I have undertaken some further analysis on the data captured on this day, when 519 vehicles passed the survey position heading west.

73 or 14% were below 20mph

151 or 29% were between 20 and 25mph

144 or 28% were between 25 and 30mph

  1. Therefore we can say 71% were within the speed limit.

95 or 18% were between 30 and 35mph

  1. Therefore we can say 18% were just over the speed limit.

35 or 7% were exceeding 35mph

26 or 4% were exceeding 40mph

  1. Therefore we can say 11% were notably over the speed limit.

Even careful drivers will occasionally creep over the speed limit. I would join you in wising to see the percentage at (a) higher and the percentage at (c) as close to zero as possible. However, the evidence of very poor driving tends to be found in speed surveys at every location we undertake them, even where humps etc. have already been applied. The greatest benefit from adding traffic calming is generally gained either where there are patterns of injury incidents or where the speed survey shows that the middle portions of the cohort are finding it natural to drive beyond the limit. Once the general body of drivers are choosing appropriate speeds, they tend to force the reckless minority to follow suit, at least in busier periods. Overall the distribution shown above is not one where we would normally conclude that an intervention is needed to bring the ‘natural’ speed of the road down to meet the posted limit.

Speed Control Schemes

The Council has previously introduced 20mph speed limits around schools. These feature around almost all of the circa 100 school sites in the borough. That factor does not apply on this part of the network. More recently, the department has looked at applying 20mph speed limits to estate roads under its work to introduce Quieter Neighbourhoods and similar. The latter programme is, perhaps, the most likely one that would see consideration given to traffic calming and/or to lower speed limits on these streets in the years to come. However, at present it is not amongst the first batches of sites to be identified.

Injury Incidents – Wynchgate, Queen Elizabeth Drive and Park View

In previous messages I have reported that open access sources of injury collision data show little or no history of injury incidents on these streets across the 20 years that a protocol for such data collection has been in effect. The newest data in the system currently dates to July 2019. Latest analysis of the 5 years prior to this date reveals the same picture: almost no injury incidents recorded in these streets. My conclusion is that these streets are unlikely to be amongst sites looked at using specific road safety funding, which is limited even in normal circumstances, should this trend continue.

However, the recent reports received from the community may come to be reflected in the injury records going forward, so we will certainly keep the matter under review. Given the limitations in funding, proceeding with scheme work more speculatively based on anecdote etc. is best avoided. Some parts of the community may be more forthcoming than others at reporting concerns. Only the data captured under the national protocol by the police allows us to compare one location and one period of time confidently with any other. It is also true to say that collisions can occur anywhere and sometimes two similar reports of incidents in one neighbourhood that might appear to be the start of a pattern turn out, with the passing of the years, just to have been a blip and the effect of happenstance.

Time may tell whether the present lockdown situation is prompting bad driving habits; either due to there being less traffic to curtail the habitual bad drivers, or whether a vague sense of the normal rules of life not applying is at work. Regardless, I have no reason to suspect that poorer driving standards would effect these streets to any greater degree than any other parts of the network. Collision reduction schemes are not normally thrown together in a very short period of time – even when the normal funding streams are available to us – but are based on patterns of incidents recurring over a number of years. I do not believe it is likely that our attention will turn to these streets during the present lockdown period and, indeed, I am obliged to decline the offer to meet at the site as, for now, my instructions are to work from home unless unavoidable.

Yellow Lines at Park Entrance and Junction of Park Gate / Wynchgate

I am grateful to Mr Giussani for his reports and photographs. If the national recording system is operating correctly, the incident he described should appear in the records in due course. The Council sees merit in applying yellow lines at junctions to deter obstructive parking. Our problem is, again, limited funding compared with a very long list of sites – many hundreds across the network – that are currently untreated. Also that adding yellow lines requires a costly statutory process to be followed, even where the benefit of adding them is obvious. In recent years our focus has been on sites where we have confirmed problems with parking denying access to large vehicles, especially since the Grenfell Tower disaster of 2017. This site is not among our fire engine and bin lorry problem list, but should an opportunity arise to place lines at this location, I will seek to take it.

I acknowledge that Mr Giussani warned us about this junction back in 2016. Although we see relatively few injury clusters at minor junctions, isolated incidents do occur in significant overall numbers across the full spread of the network. Warnings from the public do not always tally with incidents going on to occur, while conversely a certain number of incidents will occur each year at sites that already have yellow lines and that are not attracting complaints. This highlights that predicting incidents outside of cluster sites is difficult and that the road layout is almost never the sole factor at play in any given incident. The officer assessing previously may have looked at the previous clean history of the site in making his/her decision and it is worth remembering that a further four years seem to have passed without an incident of the type predicted coming to our attention. Nevertheless, I share the concerns Mr Giussani raises and I will keep this location in mind.

Regards

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