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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I'm assuming that most Harringay residents will now have received a copy of the local traffic consultation leaflet through their door (scanned copy attached). On the leaflet you'll see four options for the future of how traffic is managed on the Ladder. These are copied in below, exactly as they appear on the leaflet.

Alternative package WL1: Minor improvements: Minor improvements relating to Wightman

Road and the Ladder area, but with lower traffic impacts and costs

Alternative package WL2: Wightman Road one-way (northbound): An intermediate alternative (with intermediate traffic impacts and costs), that would make Wightman Road one-way northbound, with the opportunity to create a continuous cycle facility along Wightman Road

Alternative package WL3: Wightman Road one-way (southbound): The opposite of alternative package WL2, that would make Wightman Road one-way southbound

Alternative package WL4: Wightman Road closed (filtered): The most radical and transformational alternative, that includes the closure (filtering) of Wightman Road, similar to the arrangement that was in place during the bridge replacement works in 2016; this alternative would have significant traffic impacts and costs

When people first heard about the one way option, it seemed to them to be a good option - not too radical, but radical enough to make a difference. 

I have to put my hand up and say that I've been against the one-way option from the outset. Across the world one-way systems are being abandoned because they can cause more problems than they solve. Recently Haringey removed the Tottenham Hale one-way system.

Essentially one-way systems create an environment solely based around the needs of the car. Whilst the approach may have a role in certain areas, places where people live are not the right place for it. One way systems favour the movement of the car against all else. They dehumanise an area and make it much less liveable. 

I'm told that the one-way option is the solution favoured by the Council. I have to admit to being somewhat suspicious about the reasons for this. Is it a coincidence that this comes at the same time as their plans for Wood Green have revealed that they want Wightman Road to be part of a new primary route to serve a revamped Wood Green? I can't say I'm thrilled about the Ladder being sacrificed as part of Wood Green traffic feeder system. (By the way you have two days left to comment on this, or any other aspect of the Wood Green Plans in the current Wood Green Consultation).

From various studies, I've gathered the following information about how one-way systems impact on neighbourhoods. 

1. Studies show that speeds tend to be higher on one-way streets. Two-way streets tend to be slower due to "friction"

2. Safety tends to be lower with  studies suggesting that drivers pay less attention on them because there's no conflicting traffic flow. One study showed that collisions are twice as likely in one-way streets as in similar streets with two-way traffic

3. Livability: vehicles stop less on one-way streets, which is hard for bikers and pedestrians.

4. Traffic flows on one-way streets are often significantly higher than on two-way streets.

5. A US study showed that one-way streets are associated with higher crime rates and lower property prices than two way streets. It says that two-way streets  "bring slower traffic and, as a result, more cyclists and pedestrians, that also creates more "eyes on the street" — which, again, deters crime. A decline in crime and calmer traffic in turn may raise property values.

South Gloucestershire Council recently issued the following warning:

Many streets suffer from ‘rat-running’ or high volumes of traffic. Creating one-way streets is one way of solving this problem. However, there are also disadvantages to altering the direction of traffic flow in this way. Residents should be aware that the following may occur:

  • Some through traffic will simply be diverted onto other, less suitable streets
  • The new one-way street may attract more traffic, albeit in the remaining direction
  • Residents may have to access their street by an alternative, and less convenient, route, which may involve the use of other neighbouring streets
  • Traffic speeds may increase due to drivers’ perception that there is no on-coming traffic
  • Without physical traffic calming, there may be an increase in accidents and their severity
  • Some short sections of one-way street are likely to be contravened by drivers – which may require police enforcement.

With a possible hint about Haringey's wider agenda, they added "The council is unlikely to create a one-way street in isolation, due to the costs and resources required to carry out such a scheme. It is much more likely that it will consider changing the direction of traffic on a street as part of a wider review of traffic management in an area."

One US Study said, "If your goal is to move traffic quickly from one place to another, then one-ways are a great method to accomplish that. But, if your goal is a productive place with thriving local businesses, then slowing traffic with two-way streets is a much better plan. It's a tried and true method."

For me there's no case at all for a one-way street other than it serves the Council's plans for Wood Green.

Tags for Forum Posts: harringay traffic study

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Replies to This Discussion

I thought we already had a CPZ ?

Oops. Sorry John. Didn't notice your reply

Glad of the confirmation that my £100-odd annual payment to the Council isn't wasted

The whole area is a CPZ already

Patrick: "In my experience it is easy enough to drive down Wightman Road in either direction. So why change it?" Because residents' amenity shouldn't be sacrificed for the convenience of motorists hoping to cut a couple of minutes off their journey. Wightman Road residents experience traffic flows of over 1,000 vehicles per hour all day, reaching 1,400p.h. at peaks. The overall volume on Wightman Road exceeds major A-roads such as Turnpike Lane and Westbury Avenue. Isn't that shocking? Do you think because "it is easy enough to drive down" that residents don't notice the traffic?

Incidentally it's not true that Wightman and the Ladder rungs are never congested either. There are regularly queues back beyond the mosque at the north end, and back beyond Burgoyne at the south, plus the busiest rungs such as Warham or Beresford or Frobisher regularly have permanent queues waiting to exit.

"I use Wightman Road as shortest route and to avoid congestion" I assume then that you are campaigning for your own road to be reopened to allow traffic to cut through from Park Road to Priory Road and thus avoid the congestion at the bottom of Muswell Hill?



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