Winton Avenue, Blake Road and Woodfield Way, in the neighbourhood between Bounds Green station and Albert Road Rec, have had to deal with rat-running traffic for many years. Drivers choose this route – prompted by satnavs – to avoid the junction at Bounds Green, hoping to shave a couple of minutes off their journeys. Winton Avenue suffers the worst because it is a narrow road, with frequent confrontations between drivers trying to get past each other from opposite directions (thus losing any gain from using this route!). See video at bottom of this post.
Introducing a couple of 'filters' (generally planters or bollards) – which allow bicycles, mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pedestrians through, but filter out motor traffic – could make a huge difference. That is to say, these would stop traffic travelling straight through the neighbourhood, but residents (plus delivery vans etc.) would be able to drive to their homes, although they would sometimes have to drive slightly further.
The most obvious placing of these filters is shown in the map below (black bars):
The filter in Blake Road would prevent the air pollution and traffic danger outside St. Martin of Porres primary school created by the traffic that currently speeds past every day, as also the snarl-ups in Winton Avenue.
The installation of such a bollard was in fact tried by the Council in 2011 – but incredibly, they neglected to allow for the displacement of the traffic to neighbouring streets! Not suprisingly, there was a huge outcry from affected residents. What the Council should have done is to install another filter in Woodfield Way (the black bar parallel to Durnsford in the map), which would not only stop through-traffic from causing air pollution and traffic danger in the narrow road outside Bounds Green medical centre, but would stop all other traffic trying to come through other small roads from Bounds Green road to Durnsford road and vice versa (because there are no other routes into Durnsford).
Local residents living north of the filter in Blake road and around the Scout Park would then have to drive to their homes from Bounds Green Road; residents living south of it would come from Durnsford. So this would be a little less convenient for them than at present. But the plus points would be healthier, safer, quieter streets for everyone, whatever their favourite mode of transport. The pleasant environment would encourage walking, cycling and more interaction between neighbours, and enable parents to allow their children more independence.
A traffic emergency is looming this autumn, when the end of furlough and the re-opening of schools compels many commuters to travel to work. To avoid the danger of infection on public transport, many will take to their cars, causing gridlock on the roads. The government and TfL are only too aware of these problems, with the added complication that air pollution from cars worsens the outcomes of Covid-19. Hence the extraordinary announcement in May by Grant Shapps that local authorities have a statutory obligation to implement emergency measures to enable more cycling and walking, as soon as possible, and anyway within weeks (funding is available). The DfT recommend installing filters such as those described above as the most effective, cheapest and easiest measure for local authorities to implement, and easy to change if they do not work.
Gridlock in Winton Avenue: