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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Last night, in his role as Member for Climate Action, Environment and Transport, and Deputy Leader of the Council, Mike Hakata addressed a group of Harringay Ladder residents through the agency of the Harringay Ladder Healthy Streets group (HLHS). 

After giving a very positive review of progress to date elsewhere in the borough, Mike turned to the 'planned' projects for Green Lanes and the Ladder. He seemed quite clear on the Green Lanes part of the project and explained that this would be the fist part to happen. He said that he'd been able to get much better trader support after explaining that part of the changes would see the pavements widened to support more of a cafe culture. 

Turning to the Ladder, things seemed much less positive. The modelling confirmed what the modelling which had been done during the bridge closure did (and subsequent experience showed) - closing Wightman Road would have "much wider impacts". The finding has sent Mike and his sub-contracted consultants back to the drawing board, apparently to find a new solution.

This gave me and others cause for concern last night. Previously, the talk had always been about considering Green Lanes, the Ladder and Turnpike Lane as one piece. Now that the fast-crystallising plan for Green Lanes will be implemented first, with nothing concrete on the board for the Ladder, the first concern is what will be the impact of those changes happening first on the Ladder. I asked Mike about this in the meeting and others followed up in the same vein. Mike gave answers designed to reassure, ultimately saying, "it is happening".

I also asked two questions about timing - was there any overall sense of timing and what would the time-gap be between the completion of Green Lanes and the start of work on the Ladder. Mike's response was:

" I've got to be honest. I am nervous about coming out and saying, 'Right. This is going to happen in this time frame'......what I prefer to say is that it is under way.......What I want to see is for it to happen as quickly as possible and the phasing to happen as quickly as possible"

I have to say that, given my experience over the past twenty years, I ended the evening feeling much more uncertain about whether anything much will ever happen to manage traffic on the Ladder. I'd begun the meeting with a little scepticism, but a general sense that Mike was going to see this through. He's believable and trustworthy, BUT, but (and ain't there always a 'but'); he began his piece with mention of how reality had hit home since he'd first started in his current role and how things were much tougher than he’d imagined.

Now I'm in a position of wondering whether that heavy dose of reality is going to kill off the Ladder project, or turn it into something toothless, something quite other than what we'd been led to believe was possible.

If "wider impacts" don't do for it, my fear is that the 'Ladder project' is now being somewhat gently toed into the long grass for the time being and while Mike may be, all things being equal, committed to it, timescales have already stretched. Will he be in post long enough to see it through even if he wants to be? Back in 2015, I had faith in one of Mike's predecessors, Stuart McNamara (he of the bridge closure days), but the post and the local party seemed to do for him and with him went HIS good intentions. Even if Mike would rather stay and see things through, he has already been the target of one wing of the local party who  tried to unseat him.

So, I'm cautious about expecting progress on this, but I'm a natural optimist. I'm not a betting man, so I won't give odds, but I do expect to see a lot of wood rubbed shiny from the touching in my trail.

The HLHS group have posted a video of last night's meeting on YouTube (about one hour). 

Tags for Forum Posts: mike hakata, traffic

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With the new LTNs around West Green Road, Haringey Council have now closed off *every* road through the local borough east to west apart from Green Lanes, Wightman Road and the Ladder. And with each road closure, the situation on the Ladder gets worse as it takes ever more traffic, and makes a solution ever more problematic. The treatment of Ladder residents has been disgusting and, it seems, will continue to be disgusting. It seems everyone in Haringey deserves cleaner air apart from Ladder residents. Haringey policy appears to be low traffic neighbourhoods for all neighbourhoods but our neighbourhood, and I'm sick of it. 

Hi Rory,

No roads are closed.

The areas chosen for the initial tranche of interventions suffered the most with through traffic coming off the A10 and using residential roads as short-cuts, and also have amongst the lowest car ownership per household in the borough, ditto household incomes. It's logical and just that these areas benefit from filters.

I recall attending a meeting about problems with traffic on The Ladder roads in 1986 and being promised action then.  38 years later the only thing that has changed is that there have been almost 4 decades of it getting worse.

Oof. Warham can't wait another 38 😭

Congratulations on getting a reply from Mike Hakata. I have written to him on numerous occasions but have yet to have the courtesy of a reply.  I have voiced concerns about the gridlock caused by Haringey Council - particularly his dept.'s ill-thoughout LTN policy - which has resulted in bumper-to-bumper traffic and greatly increased pollution levels on the boundary roads.

Shots taken by myself and others, real-time traffic maps showing said gridlock - all ignored. We were promised 'traffic evaporation' by him and his dept. The only thing evaporating is the perspiration on drivers stuck in traffic for hours having been corralled into bottlenecks created by the Council with no means of escape.

At best I receive his standard form email:
”This is to acknowledge receipt of your email. Due to the volume of emails I receive there may be a delay in sending a detailed response but I will endeavour to do so as soon as possible." 

And that's it. No reply - nothing, niente, nada. 
Iam certain if I were to ask for the Labour Party's bank account details to send a donation of £5,000 I would hear by return.

Cynical - moi?

PS Mike Hakata - the man who cycles on pavements.

It still takes 18 months or more for traffic to evaporate, Brian. This was the case before the LTNs were put in, is the case now, and will still be the case after the LTNs are put in. This has been proven globally, over multiple LTN creations. It's been explained over and over again on discussions here. This is why you need to give them time. And while we're here, you've seen the effect on the country that Storm Babet is currently wrecking? You know that's it's far worse because of the climate emergency, caused by the burning of fossil fuels including petrol and diesel? And you still think car use shouldn't be disincentivised? Or is it just everyone else but you? 

I do a considerate amount of london driving and I drive through areas where LTN's have been around for more than 18 months and I can tell you that traffic has not decreased nor are there now more cyclists. It's added another 20min-30min driving journey. And yes for my line of work I do require my car. Surely being in traffic longer, stopping and starting, idling etc creates more unnecessary traffic and pollution? Haringey council has even had to place a yellow junction box adjacent to Duckets common park because of the backlog of cars. You have to face it and come to terms that London is a city of car goers. If the Government really wants to do something about the amounts of pollution they should invest in hydrogen cars, hydrogen cars do not require to be charged nor require gas or diesel. Do you take holidays via a plane? if so you probably shouldn't considering the amount of pollution they produce, do you take the underground? if so probably best not too seeing as they emit more pollution than cars in Oxford Street

Well said. I've looked at the same type of research too!

Hi Hugh, thanks for this. 

I was aware of the hopes and plans for the Ladder but had no idea about the Green Lanes element of the project. Could you point me toward a planning doc or info for this please? 

I live in the West green area and things are not better since LTNs. Can't enter or exit at 1 end of my road and the only routes I can use bring me right into the traffic jams. Haringey's own policy states it is actively trying to reduce car ownership in the borough with a comment being made that they should be making it harder not easier for car drivers. Pollution is worse for NO2 this year than last. Despite Haringey stating there is very little data, Air Quality England holds the figures for Haringey on an hourly/weekly basis. Comparing calendar weeks this year and last year the no2 has been worse this year (from the weeks that I compared and I did a fair few). Haringey survey showed that people most against LTNs were women the elderly and the disabled yet people have been branded anti everything by Haringey council  just for trying to get their voices heard. I suspect everything is already a done deal, especially since the coffers are being filled rather nicely...

I watched the video and was shocked by Mike's impression that the 3 LTNs are a massive success and his data proves they've worked. This is the total opposite of my lived experience. 

I live within the St Ann's LTN and my road is very quiet, however it has always been very quiet, at least in the 20 yrs I've lived here. But my children cannot reliably get to school and college by using buses on West Green Road. This could be partly down to reduced frequency of buses due to TFL's lack of proper funding, but I think it is also due to congestion on West Green Rd caused by the LTNs. And Green Lanes seems to be getting more and more congested, esp in the afternoon/evening peak.

Before the LTNs were put in my impression was the traffic would be shunted onto boundary roads, I have yet to be convinced I'm wrong about this.

Mike mentions the 3 LTN schemes are "still in place" but they are still on a trial basis. The original 18 month trial should end about Feb 2024, but the new tweaks that started this Sept have an 18 month trial so does that mean the whole LTN trial has been extended for a year? I have no idea.

One intervention I do strongly support, and agree works to reduce traffic, is School Streets. I can definitely see the benefit to my local school and improvements in safety around there. So I hope the 2 school streets on the ladder will get out of their red tape loop and be implemented soon too.

Can you share this detail, Maz? All I can see from the Air Quality England website is one site in Priory Park, which cannot possibly give a reliable reflection of pollution across the borough. What have I missed here? And if NO2 has gone up, surely this is a strong argument for *fewer* cars and more LTNs than more cars and fewer LTNs? More cars on the road = more pollution. I don't think that anyone can argue with that, can they? 

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