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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The Green Lanes Area Transport Study has taken two years, and cost about £200,000, to complete, and was intended to address the longstanding problem of excessive traffic in the area, and consequent issues of safety, pollution and (in the consultant's jargon) "loss of amenity" to residents. The final report was published today without much fanfare.

The above photo from the cover of the report shows motorists, cyclists and buggy-pushing pedestrians apparently co-existing in harmony at the tree-lined junction of Burgoyne Road with Green Lanes, with Stanhope Gardens (one of the side streets on the eastern side of Green Lanes which enjoys protection from rat-running) receding quietly into the distance. I assume the subliminal message here is that everything is already hunky-dory, there is little room for improvement and all we can do is tinker around the edges?

I've attached a copy of the report to this post or you can download it and various other documents from the Council's webpage at http://www.haringey.gov.uk/transport/green-lanes-area-transport-study.

I actually think £200K would be good value if the report recommended measures which would significantly improve the quality of life of local residents - measures to reduce traffic and pollution, measures to make walking more attractive, or make cycling safer so that more people would choose those "active transport modes" and have healthier lives. Unfortunately I can't see many measures that will make much difference. 


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Thanks Michael. This is a constant problem with evidence-based policymaking.

Too true, but in this instance the evidence hasn’t led to policy making that recognises the evidence at all!

I agree, the problem is not the quality of the evidence but the council's unwillingness to draw the obvious conclusions from it.

I think the consultants Steer Davies Gleave have largely been pretty thorough and transparent about the process. Most of the evidence is in their "Existing Conditions" report - on http://www.haringey.gov.uk/transport/green-lanes-area-transport-study

It does refer to LTDS data (i.e. diary-type surveys), but also a massive amount of objective data from automated (axle-pressure) sensors on almost every street, manual counts at key junctions, and automated numberplate recognition (ANPR) of all vehicles entering and leaving the survey area.

So there is evidence corroborated by various objective sources for example that over 50% of our traffic is not local (passes straight through), (unsurprising given that local car ownership is about 40%), that Wightman Road has over 1000 vehicles/hour all day - a constant stream of traffic which is actually higher than several neighbouring A-roads - and that the majority of this is rat-runners seeking to avoid the Green Lanes junctions with Endymion Road or Turnpike Lane, by using a section of Wightman Road plus a Ladder "rung"-road, because Green Lanes itself is massively dysfunctional - largely because of local traders' intransigence over parking and loading needs, plus some sub-optimally located traffic lights and bus stops.

Haringey Council supposedly has a strategy "to minimise the use of our back streets as rat-runs" (see http://www.haringey.gov.uk/sites/haringeygovuk/files/1267.11_transp...)but is unwilling to implement it in this area.

 I would agree that the consultants have only done what has been asked of them. Here are my queries about the evidence. Sorry, there's very little about evidence in the link you have added Joe.

1. Manual counting is not objective and subject to human bias. It's indicative at best.

2. Are sensors on almost every street (is this >% 80% of streets have this sensor?)? This is only for counting also? 

3. Has ANPR really been used to monitor all vehicles in the area and has data to show source and destination? Can you provide the source to how this is done? I've never seen this kind of technology used at this scale before - it would be great to learn more! It's great to see LBH leading the way with urban traffic monitoring at this scale!

4. Car ownership comes from the LTDS? Isn't this stated pref?

I get the issues. I'd love to hear more about the good quality of evidence, which I am not convinced by. I annoyingly don't see how this methodology offers a solution (counting cars and surveys) and can understand so much of the frustration about the traffic here. The efforts of the community have been nothing short of awesome. 

It's a real pity there's very little in the way of solutions. In my humble opinion.

You are absolutely right about needing empirical data to formulate solutions. My biggest disappointment with the report however is it’s failure to identify the problems. For this simply opening your front door, looking, listening and smelling the air is a good start

Hi Dan - the main reference document on the page I linked to is http://www.haringey.gov.uk/sites/haringeygovuk/files/gl_existing_co... - the ANPR origin-destination matrices are in Appendix A of that.

I agree manual counts may not be wholly objective but they can be corroborated at least to some extent by the ANPR and sensor counts. And yes there were indeed sensors on every street. They give counts and speed and vehicle type (bike/car/HGV etc.), with a margin of error. The raw data was made available and Living Wightman published some other analysis here http://www.livingwightman.org/p/data.html

I think the car ownership % comes from the last census, so again no doubt has a margin of error. We can do some rough sense checks though, say by counting parked cars on the local streets at 1am on Sunday morning.

As I say no one is really arguing about the objectivity of the data. There are >1000vehicles/hour on a narrow residential street, the council is unwilling to do anything to reduce it.

Thanks Joe. The lack of accuracy estimations (% journeys captured) is conspicuous by its absence. This is based heavily on loose projections. 

I can't find the details on the raw data on bikes/cars/HGVs for every street from that link. It's a lot of maps. But let's not split hairs on that. Life's too short!

My point here is - I think this could have been done better. A lot better for £200,000! I am sure we all want the same thing! Less bloody traffic and pollution! Thanks!

Joe, I would be interested to know where you got the final report from. I have not seen it, but for this post. I think the fact that as I and others representing a significant community body (the LCSP), and (I suspect) the other community bodies that participated over 12 months in the Steering Group process, have not even had the courtesy of an email that this report was in final form says all you need to know about how seriously this was taken by the Council and it's representatives. I have asked twice to meet with Peray Ahmet, the Lead Member for Environment chairing the Steering Group, and for information as to when this report would be finalised and moved forward. I have hear only radio silence.

The LCSP spent a great deal of time pushing a twin pronged strategy:

  1. Reduce the volume of traffic crossing our streets
  2. Improve the quality of the traffic (ie reduce their anti social impact- speeding etc)

Achieving these both would require three key elements to my mind:

  1. Making difficult decisions
  2. Finding money to pay for those decisions
  3. Having the buy in of the council to make this happen as an agent of change

The first of our objectives was clearly politically unpalatable, and difficult decision were not made. What I cannot understand is why the second objective of improving the quality of the traffic using our streets was not a focus of the council's thinking at any point. A great number of interventions could be carried out with minimal impact on surrounding neighborhoods. Key to delivering the second objective however is money and the council's time and effort. These requirements were discussed numerous times but the council never really showed any willingness to grasp and engage with the points, which means a 'do as little as possible' option has been selected because even a 'do nothing' option would be utterly unacceptable following the resources committed to this study.

As a ward Councillors  Zena especially has worked hard and spent a lot of time trying to help us push this agenda for Harringay. I for one would like to thank her for her support. Zena has continued to chase this, and hence her post yesterday as to next steps.

So, there is a chink of light that within individual wards we can attempt to identify and implement ward specific interventions. What will be interesting is how much the council are willing to engage with residents and how much effort they are prepared to put into delivering anything that could come close to having a meaningful impact on residents lives.

It is worth noting by way of a PS, that Haringey is carrying out a consultation on its 10 year traffic strategy...

"I would be interested to know where you got the final report from" - I happened to notice it on Haringey's GLATS page. I am not quite sad enough to check that page every day for updates, but have like you been waiting to hear from the council ever since the last Steering Group meeting in July. The final report on community engagement appeared there a couple of weeks ago.

I'm glad to hear that Zena has been working behind the scenes on our behalf, though personally I've been disappointed by the absence of our ward councillors publicly coming off the fence. I think there was one Tweet from Emine saying that she supported filtering, sometime after the engagement surveys though. Change requires leadership, as well as back-room dealing. Councillors should be trying to communicate their vision for the future (whatever it might be) to their constituents.

Thanks for sharing!

Are you serious that this cost £200,000?

Where are the returns on investment for the options provided? There are no measureable objectives here! 

And to use LTDS data (which is stated preference and selected) as a proxy for behaviour (revealed preference) is not very scientific. What a small select group of people says, is not what a large group of people do. There are better data available to understand this.

A poor effort in my opinion - considering a) the tight finances of councils, b) increases in the costs of pollution. 

For me, this doesn't feel like a step forward. Let's hope the expertise of the consultants bears out in the actions proposed.

There were no measurable objectives because the council can then hide behind vague phrases like "widespread impact" or "lack of broad community support" as reasons for not tackling our traffic problems. 

61% of Harringay survey respondents supported filtering of Wightman Road, which was the only option that reduces the >1000 vehicles/hour traffic volume on Wightman Road and eliminates rat-running on every Ladder "rung".

There is a twin public health crisis of inactivity (early deaths from obesity-related illness such as diabetes and various cancers) and pollution (early deaths from respiratory diseases, stunted lung growth and various cancers), but the Council's decision not to filter Wightman Road is basically saying they are unwilling to implement solutions for us.

Council and London Mayor/TfL transport strategies are supposedly about prioritising walking and cycling and public transport. Yet our Council is ignoring this opportunity to tackle the massive volume of private vehicles in Harringay using Wightman Road and the Ladder rungs as a huge rat-run.

"doesn't feel like a step forward" is quite an understatement!

Thanks, Joe. For sure on all fronts! 

For a late-comer to the party like me, there seem to be two issues in understanding why we are at this point, and there are no quantifiable solutions and a £200k bill (and countless hours spent by the community)

1) Is this a procurement/management problem at the council?  Have the consultants only done what they have been asked? 

2) Have the consultants failed to deliver what they have been asked to do?

It seems as though the report has been signed off by the council as good to go, so my guess is (1). This is a pity as I have seen LBH do some really innovative things with procurement in the past.

Surely the council should just have asked for solutions from more than one consultant. Here is an example from belfast in looking for data solutions via a competition http://matrixni.org/belfast-city-council-launches-smart-cities-comp.... Surely LBH could do the same (maybe with other boroughs) and ask for measurable solutions to the problems Joe and others have outlined? Anyway the horse has now bolted and is running in the fields...

It would be good to understand the ROI here. Economics seems to be missing from this process from the council. And yes, there is the economics of businesses that rely on the staff travelling by car along these routes. The lack of communication mentioned in earlier posts seems to be symptomatic.

The money and time (by staff and community also) has now been spent, so LBH need to show where the value in this lies. I can't see it I'm afraid.

For a council with such tight finances, this is extremely worrying. 



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