Epping Forest & Commons Committee (EF&CC) Thursday, 14th September, 2023 11.00 am
The papers for the EF&CC are on the City of London Corporation here.
Proposed road safety scheme on the A104 Epping New Road
– Agenda Item 8 of the Epping Forest & Commons Committee 14th September 2023
Epping Forest Heritage Trust has only had a quick chance to look at the draft scheme as set out in the Committee papers, we can’t seem to see the results of the surveys undertaken by Essex Highways, and we do not as yet understand what the formal consultation process will be on this scheme moving forward, but at first glance we think there is a big opportunity to make it work much better for the benefit of the Forest and its visitors.
We also have some strong safety concerns in relation to the current plans.
The plans for the speed cameras. These are proven to reduce speeds and reduce crashes. Lower speeds will also help reduce pollution in the Forest.
We think this is a huge opportunity to make Epping New Road work much better for the Forest and better for visitors to the Forest. We think:
- That the whole of the A104 should move to 30mph. As set out in the paper, and well evidenced elsewhere, lower speeds will lead to fewer crashes and less pollution. This will enhance the safety and enjoyment of the Forest for visitors, whether they are travelling down Epping New Road on their bikes, or wanting to cross Epping New Road on foot, by bike or on horseback. It will also help protect the precious ecosystems in the Forest.
- Proper, safe provision for cycling should be made along the whole route, or if not the whole route, at least from Buckhurst Hill to Fairmead Road, where a new layout and entrance could enable cyclists to get easily onto Fairmead Road which they could then use to continue north.
- We think that there is potential to use this scheme not just to look at car park entrance improvements, but also how it can much better provide for visitors to the Forest the areas either side of Epping New Road – people walking in, running in, horse riding in, cycling in, to or through the Forest.
We also have serious safety concerns about the proposals as they stand as follows:
- Stopping/starting the 30mph limit at Rangers Road will simply encourage drivers to accelerate heading north, just when drivers and people cycling are trying to get across the traffic to turn into the Warren. Similarly drivers and cyclists exiting the Warren will have to face cars accelerating up to 40mph as they exit the 30mph area at the Warren. Pedestrians crossing from the Warren will also face the danger of these accelerating vehicles. We also think there is an opportunity to engage Waltham Forest in discussions as to whether the whole of Rangers Road could move to 30mph for the same safety and pollution benefits.
- The proposed controlled crossing points and pedestrian islands will be of considerable danger to cyclists as vehicles swerve left to avoid the islands causing severe pinch points and cycling fatalities. They are also of limited help to Forest visitors – walkers, cyclists, horse riders wanting to cross Epping New Road. Instead, these should be zebra crossings or traffic lights which don’t restrict road width, and allow for easy crossing for all the Forest visitors – walkers, cyclists, horse riders.
- The central hatch markings proposed may increase speeds rather than reduce them as they provide a clearer separation from oncoming traffic and give a feeling of safety/invulnerability for drivers. The government guidance on this layout with islands specifically warns that the suggested layout may not be good for cycling, and says that the needs of cyclists must be taken into account.
- In relation to the formal consultation we encourage Essex Council to engage with a wide range of Forest visitors – walkers, horse riders, cyclists as well as relevant community organisations around the Forest.
We would welcome people’s feedback on our initial views to email@example.com
About Epping Forest & Commons Committee
The Epping Forest and Commons Committee is the City of London Corporation’s committee responsible for oversight of the management of Epping Forest. It meets every two months to make decisions about the Forest. All of the papers can be found here.
We are not members of the Committee but feed in our views to Committee members when necessary, and are also a member of the Epping Forest Consultative Committee through which the Corporation consults on some of its future plans.