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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

John McMullan has made this proposal in various places. Maybe there’s an extended discussion of it in this forum somewhere, but what I’ve seen is scattered around the threads. In any case, I think it’s time to try to move this in the direction of concerted action, so here are my 2p.

We should begin a campaign to close Wightman Road to through traffic, along with complementary traffic controls at certain points on the rungs of the Harringay Ladder (exactly what and where these additional controls are would depend on the particular points at which Wightman is cut). This would eliminate through traffic from the Ladder, except on Green Lanes itself.

These roads are residential. The area has a combined population of over 10,000 (the population of Harringay Ward, most of which is the Ladder, is estimated at 13,700). We need to take this action in order to make the streets safe for children; to make the street a place of neighbourly interaction; and to make the air cleaner and healthier. Children should be able to walk to school and to parks; cyclists should have a safe north-south route through Harringay (Wightman would become that route).

Some further points:

·         Road traffic reduction – don’t see this as a NIMBY proposal to chase traffic elsewhere: one of the aims should be to reduce road traffic overall. Roads accommodate traffic. There is ample scientific evidence that an increase in road capacity simply increases traffic, until at some point congestion chokes off the increase - at which point, highway planners call for more roads, leading to a spiral of ever-increasing traffic. What we see in the Ladder today is part of that spiral: several years ago, the Haringey council took two steps to reduce traffic congestion on the Ladder by making it flow more easily: it made all the rungs of the Ladder one-way, and it allowed pavement parking on Wightman to effectively widen the Wightman roadway. Both of these increases in road capacity have led simply to more traffic and faster traffic – the streets that are less safe for children, the air that is more polluted.

·         The reverse is also true: a reduction in road capacity reduces traffic, overall. Somebody will rightly complain of increased traffic congestion, somewhere, as a result of cutting off traffic through the Ladder. But a reduction in road capacity will mean that overall traffic in north London will be reduced, and that will good for air quality, for child safety, for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists generally, and for the reduction of greenhouse gasses. Some may say that it would be better for the government address these problems in a comprehensive way, but such comprehensive treatment of the problem is, at best, slow in coming. By taking this local action, we can make a small contribution to the overall reduction of the problems caused by road traffic, and at the same time show public support for more comprehensive action.

·         Half-way measures don’t do the job. Speed bumps slow traffic a bit, but are not sufficient to make the road safe. 20mph limits are nice, but there are no resources to enforce them.

·         Whole Ladder: if you cut traffic on any one of the Ladder’s rungs, you just push it to another. For that reason, the Ladder needs to act together as one community.

·         Other neighborhoods: for reasons discussed below, cutting off Ladder traffic might well reduce traffic in adjoining neighborhoods. More importantly, cutting off Ladder traffic should be seen as one step towards making the borough of Haringey a continuous quilt of safe, healthy, traffic-calmed neighborhoods. It builds on the work done by residents of the Gardens and other neighborhoods in recent years, and we should hope that it is followed by similar actions in other neighborhoods.

·         We cannot know exactly what the effect on traffic in other neighborhoods will be – traffic engineering studies of the question would be helpful, although even there we note that such studies are far from an exact science: it may be necessary to experiment!

·         Cutting routes through the Ladder will probably increase traffic on Green Lanes, but it will also help that traffic flow better. Most of the traffic to and from Wightman on the rungs of the Ladder crosses one or both lanes of traffic in Green Lanes. The constant merging in of traffic at several points along Green Lanes and the turns across Green Lanes traffic slow the north-south flow, including the buses. While Green Lanes would certainly continue to be congested after cutting off Ladder traffic, the near elimination of cross-traffic should improve the flow.

·         Much of the cross traffic is coming to and from St Ann’s Rd and the various roads feeding through St Ann’s (Woodlands Park, Black Boy Lane, etc.). It also passes through a handful of short, heavily traveled residential streets on the east side of Green Lanes: Salisbury Road, part of Harringay Road, and Alfoxton Avenue. Similarly, to the north of the Ladder, much of the traffic on the Hornsey Park Road/Mayes Road is to or from Wightman; to the south, the same goes for much of the traffic on Endymion. By eliminating the Ladder routes, many of these trips that now cut through the adjoining neighborhoods would probably not take place.

Tags for Forum Posts: traffic

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I think this is quite frankly a horrible idea. It would massively increase traffic on Green Lanes, Endymion road, and would force people onto Oakfield Road (also residental) as a means to travel between Green Lanes and Crouch End / Muswell HIll.

I was not aware that it was possible to increase traffic on Green Lanes any more than it is. I forgot that you need a car to travel between Green Lanes and Crouch End, the 41 only gets you to Turnpike Lane.

Your point about Oakfield Rd needs some looking into but intuitively, and having lived around there, I don't think it's a big deal.

I don't think it's possible to get much more traffic on Endymion Rd either.

John, you're forgetting the W5 - there is bus service to Crouch End from the Endymion Road end of Green Lanes, as well.



This post hasn't gained much interest, though I dare say there are many Ladder dwellers that would like to see less traffic on our roads and the closure of Wightman Road seems to be the only solution.
It is indeed what John has proposed over several years with seemingly no interest from the council. Are you volunteering to spearhead this campaign, and how do you propose to go about it?
In all fairness to you it's a good thing that you have the drive and tenacity to even attempt to see the responses you would gain to such a proposal, on the other hand I think you have not taken the time to look at a map of the overall area, neighbouring areas and roads as well as consider the traffic and why it is actually here. As other threads have shown on this matter as well as the attempt to end heavy good vehicle use on the Wightman road, these plans and proposals are simply not feasible. Wightman road has always (since the Victorian era if not earlier) been the areas most used north south route, closing it off would lead to other roads mainly green lanes being congested as well as having knock on effects on crouch end and mainly Tottenham high road. As a ladder resident and business owner on Wightman road, I do strongly agree the traffic and speeds that some of that traffic reach are beyond what we would like, though simply passing the buck is not the solution and without other routes available to take the congestion it is simply not feasible and I think campaigning for it would be irresponsible. In my opinion your time and efforts would be better placed looking at other avenues of relieving the congestion or more so controlling it better.

I have spent way too much time thinking about how this problem could be resolved and really, everything else is just passing the traffic on to another street. I appreciate that passing it on to Green Lanes amounts to the same thing but it is already at capacity so I think you would actually see a reduction in traffic.

Now I must take issue with your assertion that Wightman Rd has been the main north south route since Victorian times. This is incorrect. The junction with Hornsey Park Rd and Turnpike lane is from the 60s, before that Wightman Rd was a sleepy little residential street that did not line up conveniently with Hornsey Park Rd. It's current function is the result of presumably now shelved plans from the council to pedestrianise Green Lanes and provide one way bypasses either side, the intention being that Wightman Rd would carry two lanes of north bound traffic and a mysteriously unknown road to the east would take two lanes southbound.

@ Esat Karahasan. Thanks for your feedback. You raise some important points.

1. Historical use (...since Victorian times). Maybe John is correct when he says that this isn't so. I would say that it doesn't matter if it is. Lots of roads used to have purposes which should be reevaluated in light of the costs imposed on all of us by today's high traffic volumes: when there were few cars being driven, you could have through traffic on every road and it would still be more or less safe for kids. No longer.

2. Will the traffic just go elsewhere / cause congestion? This is a concern whenever road capacity is reduced. And it is a fact that, in London, after decades of expansion (expansion that is still continuing elsewhere in the UK), road capacity for cars & trucks has been substantially reduced in the past fifteen or twenty years. This is partly from cutting off traffic through residential areas, partly from bus lanes, and to a smaller extent bike lanes or pavement widening. Sometimes that capacity reduction is offset by improved traffic flow (rat runs often just tangle up the flow, and I would bet that this is the net effect of those through the Ladder), but often it does lead to increased congestion and/or reduced car and truck traffic.

My starting point is that the biggest problem we face is not congestion as such, but the volume of traffic: fast-moving but un-congested traffic does not make a safe street for children, the elderly, or cyclists; nor does does produce clean air. As far as I know, the only tool the Council really has to deal with these problems is to cut off traffic on certain routes, and that is likely to produce congestion somewhere. If you want a solution to these safety and health problems that does not increase congestion anywhere, you need tools the Council doesn't have, like imposing a congestion charge, or putting a stiff tax on superstore and workplace parking, either of which would reduce road traffic without reducing road capacity.

3. I started thinking of this problem without Wightman in the picture: I figured, why not just ban through traffic from all the Ladder roads? Aside from this leaving conditions on Wightman pretty much as they are, the problem was this: you need to be able to turn around big trucks - rubbish trucks on a regular basis, removal vans and such now and then, and emergency vehicles. Perhaps that could be done with a rising bollard on each ladder road, where the road crosses the Passage. That, however, would be expensive (with its different street layout, the Gardens is able to achieve the same thing with just two such bollards at Warwick Gardens & St Ann's; the Ladder would need 14, plus a gate at Frobisher and Green Lanes to take care of the last five roads at the north end). So I came round to the view that closing Wightman to through traffic would be the most straigtforward - in for a penny, in for a pound. Perhaps there is a different solution that I am missing.

Traffic is a fact that ladder dwellers will just have to cope with as closing Wightman rd and ladder rungs will increase pressure on the already overly congested green lanes and although I agree in general small local action can make a big difference, roads are to be shared by cars, cyclists and pedestrians alike. Better air quality and walking to school on a road with no cars might be more feasible not in central london or outside zone 4.

So the car rules, and there's nothing we can do about it?

As regards cars, peds, & bikes sharing roads: yes, but on what terms? Making bikes get in the same lane with cars just drives most cyclists - including almost all children & old people - off their bikes altogether. That is why the London Cycle Campaign and others have been promoting the Dutch model of segregated cycle lanes. That, of course, reduces road capacity, which is exactly why TFL/Boris have been so reluctant to go that route: they have trouble getting past lethal cycle "superhighways".

As for outside zone 4: I'm not convinced that that, either, is a place of safety for pedestrians, since it's  built for cars & drivers tend not to understand what a zebra crossing is when you get further out. Meanwhile, drivers from there, just passing through, are a big problem here. Shouldn't we do something about it?

I guess that we have different views.

for me Wightman Road has always been a road-traffic road mostly. Especially when Green Lanes needs to cater for shopping, parking, buses and bicycles. 

The only children that would want to cross it to go to school would be those from the west side, to attend North/South Harringay. It is very unlikely that young children would need to cross to go to Crouch End, and at those points there are traffic lights.

Adding the speed bumps in the first place was, in my opinion, a ludicrous idea and a great unnecessary expense that would only improve the life of a small amount of residents (whose private property will now go up in price) and cyclists. 

My question is: how lesser is the traffic now through wightman road? anything at all? How do residents like it when lorries go over a speed bump?

It seems like every change to road layouts not enough thought is spent on the consequences:

- arena shopping centre: only one exit and no improved flow in/out

- cutting traffic through the gardens: the crossing of St. Ann's at the Salisbury clogs down GL

now lets block wightman road, see how more messed up can we make green lanes. I think we will only be satisfied if it is like the part from Turnpike Lane to Wood Green's tube stations.

Agreed. Horrible idea. It would be a nightmare for the surrounding area. no matter how much I agree it would be nice to have less traffic, this is not the answer.



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