Long Term Transport Strategy
Barnet Residents Association's response to the council's Long Term Transport Strategy consultation
Consultation ends 24/4/20
Agree in the main with the aspirations of this strategy but funding will be even harder now to secure in a post Covid-19 world.
This is essentially an inward-looking strategy. It doesn’t recognise journeys out of the borough which are particularly relevant to town centres like High Barnet which are on the border.
A high proportion of journeys begin and end outside the borough and these needs reflecting in the strategy.
W3 – Signage and wayfinding.
Support the need for new signage and wayfinding especially in major and district town centres. Wayfinding is needed to direct road users to car parks (with capacity – X/Y free).
Additionally, better wayfinding is needed to promote the heritage sites e.g. Battle of Barnet and Barnet Museum.
W5: Investing to improve the footway network
Agree with the scheme but difficult to understand how this will be funded given existing footpaths are in such a bad state of repair. Need to consider alternative materials other than expensive flagstones which are easily damaged by large vehicles mounting the kerb to undertake deliveries.
Additionally, use of bollards should be considered to avoid kerb mounting or indeed cycle hoops where appropriate.
C1 – cycle parking – There are a significant number of primary routes, especially to the north and east of the borough, that are not suitable for long stretches of reserved bicycle lanes and indeed have steep hills. The whole subject of cycle lanes needs to be considered as part of a full traffic review. Consideration also need to be given to using cycle hoops to act as a barrier to vehicles mounting kerbs but only where there is specific demand.
3.3 Public transport
No historic success in getting a service upgrade (in fact the opposite is true) so not sure how this will be achieved/have any impact especially where the focus is on improving services in the West of the borough but agree pressure need to be kept up.
Improving the connectivity between station and improving capacity is vital to changing behaviour from using private vehicles to public transport.
PT2: Improve the existing bus network
Unless journey times are improved for buses travelling by car will always be the preferred mode of travel.
The major express routes are located in the south of the borough so not sure how this can benefit the north of the borough.
We support using technology to help improve traffic flow but there’s a lot of criticism that ‘smart roads’ are more dangerous, so further research needed before going down this route. Also using this technology in town centres which is mainly made of single lanes, is not practical.
The impact of Covid-19 and the increase in Working from Home (WFH) has shown the impact on travel usage. Businesses need to encourage to support a permanent shift and provide staff with the technology and resources (desk/chairs) they require to work effectively and safely.
A new station at NLB park is critical to integrating the community but this needs to be in place, before the development is complete. Capacity is a big issue travelling into London. By the time the trains reach New Barnet (where there are plans for a new development of 650 homes) the trains are full.
A new station at NLB park without an increase in capacity would similarly be a major disaster.
There needs to be more emphasis on strategic traffic reviews especially around town centres. There needs to be a full understanding how the traffic currently flows and the impact or road users and the pedestrian experience. A traffic review of High Barnet was previously promised by Highways but not delivered and needs undertaking urgently.
C2: Electric vehicle charging provision
A one size fits all approach won’t work for many areas in North London that are principally from the Victorian era and dominated by on street parking.
Having multiple charging cables criss-crossing the pavement is dangerous. Different technology solutions need to be explored including ‘under-road’ charging to charge vehicles when they are being used rather than when journey has ended.
The current strategy of promoting a single bay in a road (next to a lamppost charging point) is flawed because it does not stop other road users from parking in the bay thereby negating the benefit.
C4: Workplace parking levy
Support WPL but only for short journeys. Difficult for longer journeys where they are no alternative and/or significantly increases journey time. A solution is also needed for the disabled, so they aren’t disproportionally disadvantaged. For this to be effective it is imperative that bus journey times need to be significantly improved.
The park and ride system are used extensively throughout the UK and needs to be included as part of this strategy.
C6: Road user charging. Careful consideration needed to ensure people are not charged for essential trips (e.g. visits to hospitals). Also need to take into account roadworks/diversion and ensure people are not charged where result of not keeping to main roads isn’t of their making. Forcing people to keep to main roads will inevitably mean more congestion on key routes. For example, the ULEZ may force traffic further out thus increasing road congestion in areas north of the A406.
3.5 Freight and Logistics
Need to consolidate business waste collections as high streets can use any number of suppliers. Would also lead to economies of scale and therefore cheaper costs for businesses.
Support ‘time-banded’ collections but Council should consider this approach for the whole borough not just certain areas as is the case currently.
Legislation needed to force the large on-line companies (e.g. Amazon) to use electric vehicles for all deliveries.
Need to consider introducing a scheme to restrict larger delivery vehicles (e.g. for supermarkets) to certain time periods to keep deliveries separate from normal commuter/workers traffic. At present huge delivery vehicles turn up at site at peak times either in the morning or evening rush hours causing significant congestion by parking on busy high streets or at main junctions.
F2 – Consolidation
Support consolidation but not if it means we have a higher number of larger delivery vehicles. Need to optimise size and delivery slots so as to free up main roads for public transport and other road users.
3.6 Behaviour change
Any behavioural changes need to be backed up with a balanced ‘sticks and carrots’ approach otherwise behaviour will change slowly.
Businesses and workers should be incentivised to support home working to reduce daily trips to the office/place of work where there isn’t an essential need.
The issue of reducing school run traffic is complex and needs further thought. Exploration of different incentives for schools (infant and juniors) is needed to come up with the best healthy option for the child, the parent and the environment.
Chair, Barnet Residents Association