On Monday evening, cabinet member for environment, transport and the climate emergency and deputy leader of the council, Mike Hakata, joined almost 100 Ladder residents on a Zoom meeting organised by community group Harringay Ladder Healthy Streets (HLHS).
In the context of the introduction of a number of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in the borough, the meeting was set up to answer residents' questions about what solution will be brought to the Ladder to finally deal with the huge volumes of traffic passing through the neighbourhood.
Whilst Mike gave few clues about what shape any solution might take, he did appear to show a real understanding of the need to deal with Ladder traffic and he skteched out some outlines about how the project would run.
"There must be a solution for the Ladder", he said. "This has been one of the most critical zones of traffic issues in the borough for two or more decades".
Mike then outlined a series of three parallel projects to deal with traffic issues in the central part of the south of the borough. The first, already in play, is dealing with the Woodlands Park area (referred to as the St Ann's LTN). The second will deal with the Ladder. The third will focus on just Green Lanes. Mike said that the Ladder project will include the rung roads, Endymion Road, Wightman Road and Turnpike Lane.
The timetable will build on the initial consultation that took place in February through the Commonplace map approach.
Mike told the meeting that the council is currently finalising the contract with consultants NRP to run the consultation and support the design process.
By January/February 2022, Mike said that he expects to be consulting again with community groups, including the Harringay Ladder Healthy Streets group.
Initial designs, he promised, should be published after the local elections in May and he said that we could reasonably expect work to start next summer.
Let's all get involved and meanwhile keep our fingers crossed and hope that this time the council is prepared to show sufficient boldness to finally deal with the Ladder's traffic.
Watch a recording here.
Sign up to HLHS newsletter here.
Get involved with the group or contact them at email@example.com.
Excellent result. I couldn't join but watched the replay of the discussion and was really impressed with the well argued position of HLHS and the outcome. Bravo!
Or you could potentially vote them out as they have done nothing except pee money away for the last 20 or so years and not improve anything...
Will be interesting to see how this progresses, Mike Hakata does seem to really be interested in trying to reduce motor traffic which makes a pleasant change.
I would say that notice was taken of community engagement when they were looking at the other LTNs (the Bruce Grove LTN didn't orignally have the area to the west of Downhills Park Road included, that only happened after the local residents pushed for it during the consultations) so it is important to engage.
I'd take the timetables with a pinch of salt, the first three LTN schemes are quite a way behind the intitial timetables.
Contrarian? What's to disagree with? There is no plan yet. There won't be any plan until after the new Council is elected in May.
Do you know Christopher Logue's poem 'Johnny'. From memory it began something like:
Let me tell you the story of Johnny
Who through this world did go.
With No god and no money
and his favourite word was NO.
(Annie Ross sang it beautifully which is why I can remember some of it.)
Logue seems to have been a contrarian most of his life. But as well as saying no, he had some alternatives. Which extended beyond 'Who?' and asked what, where, when and - crucially - why?
In a fundamental way you're right about needing contrarians. Especially if and when our system means that whoever you vote for next May the same bureaucrats get in. Unless and until some politicians become contrarians and say 'Enough'.
Changing the subject. There's an interesting bloke now living in Tottenham, Frederick Guy. He tweeted about the book 'Livable Streets 2.0' by Bruce and Donald Appleyard. Donald was Bruce's father who wrote the earlier version. I'm ashamed to say that I may have forgotten or perhaps didn't know about either of them. Obviously I should have done.
(Although I'm on the lookout for a book called 'Lovable Streets'. Liz Ixer once wrote about her own house having a smile put on its face. That's a starting point. But one frequent problem with our Council's plans for street loveliness is the lack of funds to tweak, adapt and - especially - maintain changes.
Maybe if Frederick Guy is a HoL member he might be persuaded to make a helpful post? (For some obscure reason tweets tend to be a little sparse.)
Oh, and by the way, one contrarian thing I'd like to know is why the Council appear to have outsourced/ privatised part of their public consultation to an app called Commonplace. When? I wonder. Why? And how much?
It seems to me to dumb down the process. Or maybe I'm the dummy and don't grasp how the company's upbeat sunshine publicity guff achieves the needed aims.
I think the Commonplace map worked really well at engaging residents to flag the local issues that they have.
The Bruce Grove one received 700+ comments across the area and you could see how those comments evolved into the final designs (the Belmont/Langham junction and the new crossing to Downhills Park being obvious examples).
Fair point Andrew. And thanks for chellenging me.
So please bear with me when I write that I don't grasp the nature of the process where brief comments turn into concrete proposals. How & where does the gathering and sharing of knowledge and reflection and - crucially - building collective judgement place? Where's the record of this in-process? What the maps appear to show is like a post-it note stage.
This is not just me being negative/grumpy. Or I hope not. (OK Mandy-Rice-Davies-may-apply). But I'm thinking back to accounts of Tony Gibson's Planning for Real & (hopefully) what they do now. And also a well funded charette process. Or maybe that's how it's done? I'm open to learn and to be persuaded.
Though to be frank and confess my scepticism, that's not my current experience of much that has often gone on in Haringey's streets & so-called "regeneration". Mostly it seems to have been about handing out land & millions in cash to developers, & consultants. Doing what they and the senior officers wanted. No matter how many times it has tried & failed before.
I've been involved with the Bruce Grove schemes as a resident of Langham Rd, it was us as Ducketts Green Healthy Streets that joined forces as it were with the wider Bruce Grove group. As I say, I'm a resident, but it seemed to me that the Commonplace map was a great way to quickly see what kind of issues residents have, and where.
My understanding is the the Commonplace organisation analyse and distill responses into a report that council can use to progress to the next stage, and again as a resident of Langham Rd I'm grateful for the map, as (for instance) it quickly became clear what a problem the intersection at Belmont and Langham is, and and that it wasn't just our group that saw it as such.
Some locals on eg Nextdoor have tried to claim the Commonplace survey was "one-sided" perhaps because there were no comments asking council to do nothing, everything's fine, cars are great, and so on. These are the people who don't want school streets, or low traffic neighbourhoods, who refuse to acknowledge that we can re-design streets to be a cause of traffic evaporation, and I expect some opposition to the schemes when they go in.
I urge anyone reading this who wants less traffic in the borough, who wants streets for people, to let their councillors know you support the schemes, they are very ambitious and will transform the possibilities for active travel in Haringey.
Thanks for the helpful reply, Itsjono. Obviously I'm missing some links in the decision-making chain. A key link is what you describe as:
"Commonplace organisation analyse and distill responses into a report that council can use to progress to the next stage".
I would have thought that stage of analysis and distillation was a job for Haringey's professional Highways staff?
But putting that aside for now, there seems to be a major challenge in persuading enough local residents about the real and vital reasons to change their ingrained patterns of behaviour. Including car-doration.
We are in a time of anger, fear, and enormous uncertainty. It doesn't help that the Government are trying to pretend things are nearly back to "normal. And have a Plan B & who knows how many other letters of the alphabet for Covid? And that's before Climate change gives us more than September weather in October.
Meanwhile, how can I criticise anyone for feeling they and their families are safer in a car than, for example, a tube where people may or may not be wearing masks?
John Burke the former widely praised Hackney "cabinet" member with the transport remit has left London. Twelve months ago The Guardian reported on a death threat he got for his efforts.
Have we moved on? Or are recriminations and anger about LTNs still as strong?
I'm not going to comment more on Commonplace until I read their report and its thinkwork. (Assuming I'm allowed to, in secret Haringey.) But my gut feeling is that people won't be persuaded without considerably more openness & candour from all local politicians. (Not just Mike Hakata.) Plainly many "leading" national politicians wouldn't have a clue on this.
The council planners still have access to the underlying data but aggregating it based on the various categories of issue, etc will give a shortcut to seeing where the real hotspots are.
It's obviously a different call, how much to outsource and how much to keep in house (look at the new parking permits system for instance) but having gone through the Commonplace steps it seems like a decent option.
On the challenge of persuading residents, that's definitely still there. In many cases it's a combination of misunderstanding these schemes, resistance to any change and insistence on not letting anything inconvenience them.
I'd say the greater resistance comes from businesses though, lobbies such as the LTDA and the high street shops and restaurants who wildly overestimate where their customers come from.
I'm not sure whether the Harringay Traders have moved on from their previous stance of cars being their priority, hopefully they have and that will be one less obstacle.
Hmm... I've also been in contact with Cllr Hakata, but about the proposed St Ann's LTN (he's one of my ward councillors as well as being the traffic supremo) and I'm unconvinced that the Council has thought their overall plans through.
There's a separate HoL thread on St Ann's, so no replay here, and clearly the Ladder has greater problems. What's depressing, though, is that Green Lanes is still bottom of the list to be tackled, when it's so obviously the main cause of congestion and pollution and should be the top priority. The bus lane/parking aspect has been well-aired on HoL before but there's no sign that Haringey has any will to deal with the stretch from Endymion to St Ann's or to work with TfL and the DoT on the fundamental problem of GL traffic travelling from the North Circular to Seven Sisters and on improving public transport. There's no sense that the Council is leading by example - for instance, by electrifying their own vehicles and insisting Veolia and other contractors go electric - and no plans for public charging points or lamp-post charging. If the Council doesn't show willing to put its own house in order, it just looks as though it's grabbing temporary funding for piecemeal road closures and tinkering at the edges, not trying to make real changes.
I'm not sure I agree that Green Lanes is the cause of congestion on the Ladder. I'm quite clear that the cause of the congestion is through-traffic. I don't think there's much doubt on that.
Hakata showed that he understood this is Monday's Zoom. He said that right now we're the only north London borough that does nothing to make it unattractive for through-traffic. He said that, in effect, we have a big sign up saying through-traffic is welcome here. He added that he wants to change that to a sign declaring that through-traffic is unwelcome.
If he can succeed in that, he'll have won most of the battle.
Having said that, I agree that Green Lanes needs attention. It's not clear to me why he/ his traffic engineers have bundled Turnpike Lane in with the 'Ladder project' but have excluded Green Lanes. Perhaps they have experience of TfL being trickier to deal with on Green Lanes?