Following the petition submitted by HoL on behalf of Harringay residents about traffic proposals in Harringay, we have had a reply from Joan Hancox, Head of Transport. The mail was sent on 3rd of March, following a meeting I was invited to along with Ian Sygrave of the LCSP and local councillor (and the person with cabinet responsibility for transport), Nilgiun Canver. I'm afraid I haven't had a chance of posting till now.
I've been told unofficially that there's now a decision on how the funding will be spent.
My apologies for the length of this post, but I don't think there's any way of shortening it.
So first that reply from Joan Hancox (topped & tailed to shorten it):
The Council selected Green Lanes for investment due to the scale and range of existing problems on Green Lanes itself. This decision was taken following consultation on our Transport Local Implementation Plan in both 2009 and 2010.
The first major issue for the Council is road safety. Green Lanes has one of the worse (sic) accident records in the borough for road accidents that result in personal injury and we are committed to reducing these types of accidents in the borough. The second key issue for Green Lanes is the level of congestion and the resultant effect that this has on air quality, as well as encouraging drivers to use Wightman Road as an alternative. Thirdly, it is forecast that the amount of trips will increase significantly over the next 20 years due to increasing amounts of homes and jobs in north London and beyond, and so the existing amount of traffic and people using public transport are set to increase. Green Lanes is a major bus corridor and maintaining bus reliability is seen as crucial to retaining and increasing the number of people travelling by bus. In addition, we recognise Green Lanes as an important shopping and leisure area and the need to support the viability and vitality of the area. TfL have agreed to our proposals for investment in Green Lanes of £1.25m over three years based on the development of a scheme or schemes to address these issues and we will be monitored on how well we achieve these.
The underlying problem in Haringey and in most urban areas is that there is too much traffic and that this has a negative impact on both residential streets and shopping areas. Over the last ten years, there have been various schemes introduced in the Ladder Roads, Gardens and Hermitage Road area to try to alleviate the effects of traffic on residents. The general principle has been that the most traffic should be on major roads and residential roads should be protected. In the Ladder roads, each road has been made one way and a 20mph zone introduced. The impact of this has been to reduce speeds and on many roads the volume of traffic has been reduced. However, on some roads the scheme resulted in an increase of traffic. This is because there will virtually always be some form of displacement from the introduction of traffic management measures, such as one way systems. In the Gardens area and in Hermitage Road and surrounding roads, road closures were introduced to reduce rat running and HGV traffic through residential streets. This has had a beneficial effect on the roads affected by the closure and reduced the number of accidents. The traffic surveys which were undertaken following these closures were limited to the assessing the impact on flows on the closed roads or the Green Lanes/St Anne's (sic) junction and did not assess whether traffic would be dispersed over a wider area. We know that more traffic turns right at the Green Lanes/St Ann’s junction. It is likely though that the closure on Hermitage Road prevented traffic from diverting from Seven Sisters Road into Green Lanes and so traffic on the lower section of Green Lanes would have been reduced. It is more difficult to assess the impact of these closures now against a background of increasing traffic and also traffic generated by Sainsbury's and the Arena development.
The point I am making here is that there has been significant efforts made in the last ten years to alleviate the impact of traffic on residents in Harringey (sic) and St Ann's. Whilst these have been beneficial for many residents, there changes have increased traffic in some roads with a negative impact on the residential amenity. Any future changes to traffic flow are also likely to bring benefits and disbenefits and these will need to be carefully assessed for any proposals for Green Lanes. We agreed at our meeting that this analysis would be carried out and be publicly available as part of the consultation for any proposals for Green Lanes. I am sure that everyone who signed the petition has their own idea of how traffic in the area could be reduced and we have agreed to look at an alternative arrangement of the Ladder Roads with having three roads up and three roads down as well as the implications of changing the road closure on Hermitage Road to restrict HGVs but not light vehicles.
We are seeking to tackle traffic through reducing the amount of free parking for commuters and also through a major programme of encouraging cycling and walking. According to TfL data traffic peaked in Haringey in 2006 and has been reducing ever since. We have a target of 0% growth in traffic and have so far been able to exceed this target.
The arrangements for Area Committees is currently being finalised and once this is certain, a request could be made to the Chair for a debate on the petition.
I hope this has addressed the points and explained why we have prioritised Green Lanes for investment. I hope that everyone who signed the petition will become involved in the consultation on proposals and priorities for Green Lanes.
2. The Council have introduced various traffic schemes in Harringay over the past ten years to try to alleviate the effects of traffic on residents.
3. The traffic surveys which were undertaken did not assess whether traffic would be dispersed over a wider area.
4. Future changes to traffic flow are also likely to bring benefits and disbenefits. These will be "assessed for the Green Lanes Corridor proposals" and will be carried out publicly available as part of the consultation.
5. New 'area committees' can be used to debate the Green Lanes Corridor proposals. Area Committees are likely to introduced as the basis of local democracy. If confirmed, they can be used by residents to discuss the issue.
6. The Council will engage in a limited review of two of the traffic schemes introduced over the last ten years. They will consider whether any alternative traffic arrangement could improve traffic flow on the Ladder rung roads. The Hermitage Road closure will also be revisited to investigate the possibility of restrict HGVs but not light vehicles.
So what does it all mean? Who knows, but what strikes me are the following issues:
1. In point 1 above, the reasons stated as driving the Council's decision are overwhelmingly not related to the interests of Harringay residents. The only mention of residents' interests is a passing one to the effect that the restriction of traffic flow on Green Lanes shifts traffic on to the Wightman Road.
"The second key issue for Green Lanes is the level of congestion and the resultant effect that this has on air quality, as well as encouraging drivers to use Wightman Road as an alternative."
But let's also be clear what this means. This is Haringey's traffic boss acknowledging that traffic congestion/restriction on Green Lanes shifts traffic on to the Wightman Road and therefore, by implication to the whole Ladder.
2. As point 2 above makes very clear, there has been a markedly different treatment of traffic in Harringay ward from that used in St Ann's. Why? In a recent meeting I asked Ms Hancox why. Her response was that the schemes were undertaken at different times and reflected the prevailing traffic control orthodoxy. She said they would not be reviewed in the context of an overall review of Harringay traffic. I was unable to discern an explanation as to why.
3. None of the schemes has been undertaken with a view of how it will impact on the wider area. Need I say more? This gives me little faith that any new scheme will, in reality, be undertaken any consideration of the impacts on local people.
So that brings me to what will be happening within the remit of the Green Lanes Corridor scheme. What I've heard is unconfirmed, but I understand that a decision has been taken to go with just one of the three schemes presented. They've apparently chosen to go with the option which broadens pavements on Green Lanes and restricts traffic to prioritise buses. And what'll happen to that traffic? I guess that'll be one of the disbenefits - to the residents of course - as Ms Hancox points out, restricting traffic on Green Lanes diverts it to the Ladder.
As far as I understand things, this option doesn't reflect what local residents say they want. There were however elements in the other two, now apparently discarded, options that reflect what residents have said they want. (see post linked to in last paragraph).
Ms. Hancox closes by saying she hopes that residents will "become involved in the consultation on proposals and priorities for Green Lanes". I agree and very much hope we get a chance. If my understanding is right (and I hope I've not been misinformed), three options have been whittled down to one following the first stage of invitation only consultation, pretty much in spite of residents' wishes. So the room left for consultation is significantly narowed. I very much hope they'll listen to local opinion in the remaining consultation (and yes even where its not he same as my own) and and that the local opinion will make itself heard beyond the voices like mine and the two small local residents' groups.
I'm confused about why the Frobisher junction has been dropped - was the idea always that there would only be one option that went through? I'd not appreciated that.
Having just had another look at the sketches about the widening of the pavements (attached) must confess my initial overall feeling is a) confusion over what it really offers anyone and b) why it costs so much (assuming this will account for all the money available)!
For anyone who hasn't looked at these plans, they involve widening the pavements around the Salisbury/St Ann's Road junction of Green Lanes, from about as far north as Tescos (ie Hewitt) to as far south as Iceland (ie just south of Warham), with indents for parking. I don't know why this area has been chosen, nor how wide it will leave Green Lanes (or the pavements). All a bit mystifying really. I'd love to hear the reasons for it - anyone out there any the wiser?
Those plans don't look particularly cycle friendly either. Wide pavements = less space to dodge bad drivers. Where's that useful bus lane gone?
At least they're realistic in their sketch Alison from one point of view; little brown dots of dog poo scattered about 'without a care in the world'. ;)
St Anns seems to change for traffic to come out onto GLs (left turn only?)
Aren't buses turning right into St. Ann's Road going to cause gridlock, with all the traffic stuck behind them ? At least now, because there are two lanes, the traffic can pass on the inside and carry on up Green Lanes. With these plans, that can't happen.
I reckon the same is going to happen with the traffic that turns left from Salisbury Road onto Green Lanes. Previously there were two lanes to turn in to, so at least buses could make their way down the bus lane. With these plans, again, this can't happen, and I can see buses getting stuck here.
Unless, of course, there are other plans to do with changing the timing of the lights, etc. ?
Thank you for posting the pdf, it looks absolute madness to me.
Have the people that dreamt up this mad scheme ever actually visited the area, sat in traffic with 2 screaming children in the back, tried to dodge the idiots wandering into the traffic to cross the road, more idiots getting back into parked cars and doing 3 point turns- and with a burst water main???
We need to get rid of all parking bays on the most congested section of Green Lanes, put permanent bus lanes (at least in one direction) which will allow more than one bus to pull in properly at bus stops to let traffic flow.
Simply by removing the 2 lanes north bound by the St Anne's road turning will obviously lead to much, much more congestion North bound on Green Lanes.
It really makes me question the ability and suitability of our councillors.
Yes, Mr GB, I am a bit concerned about that too. There was a discussion about cycling under this new scheme on page one of this previous post.
In a nutshell, the idea is that buses act as 'plugs' (ie traffic can't get past them), and this is better for cyclists .. I'm totally paraphrasing here, but as you can probably tell I'm not completely convinced as I (on the whole) vastly prefer roads with bus lanes than those without them.
Consultation, as defined by LBH Labour Group
(a) decide what you are going to do
(b) scatter a few forms around with very limited choices eg would you prefer pink or brown paving stones on the new pavements we're going to impose
(c) commission an expensive private company to do a phone poll, obviously only to English speakers with house phones
(d) publish the results of these surveys in the back pages of Fish-Farmers' Monthly
(e) be very careful to cut yourself off from the experience and knowledge of the people whose lives will actually be changed by your plans
(f) do what you were planning to do in the first place.
My experience is that Haringey Council does not care one bit about what anyone thinks and have no common sense. We spent years, and I mean years, to try to get them to slow down the traffic under the Turnpike Lane Railway bridge and make it safer for children on their commute to schools and safer for pedestrians and cyclists in general but they seem to be determined to keep this horrid and dangerous road cutting the borough in half and ignoring plans to make Haringey a green borough.
I am totally disheartened and I think that the council just see the people caring about all this stuff as mugs who pay there wages without being able to fire them.
Widening of the pavements on Green Lanes is not going to result in more room for pedestrians, as there will be loads more junk put out by the local traders. Ref the bog roll wall outside the pound shop by the St Ann's northbound bus stop. Narrowing of Green Lanes is a disaster. The traffic will be worse, held up by buses, and air quality will decrease further. This is completely stupid!
Allow the bus lane to be an actual bus lane, don't allow parking in it at any time, and make sure buses pull in to their stops properly, just that would help the traffic flow, and avoid further traffic on the Ladder roads. What about heavy vehicles? There will be more of them bouncing on the speed humps up and down the Ladder roads too, causing further damage to nearby houses.