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.
Set of utility road-works by Homebase (nobody working, but that's another matter) reducing to one lane each way. Tail back in both directions.
Wide pavement, one lane each way. Buses acting to smooth traffic flow. No, multiple bus stops mean log-jam. Satnavs and local knowledge will force traffic onto the side roads. Gardens will be ok though, so no votes lost there. Great plan, well done Haringey for paying consultants to come up with this.
I was thinking about this today sitting in Railway Fields listening to the almost non-stop sound of carhorns coming out of the Arena shopping complex. They may well have twiddled with the internal layout of the carpark, but any disruption to the traffic outside still seems to cause complete gridlock - can't believe these traffic plans won't have an impact on that, especially on traffic turning right out of the carpark (ie heading north).
WightmanPaul referred to consultants being involved in this - anyone know what level of professional expertise they have in terms of traffic flow?
Alison, you asked earlier (well, two months ago) why that particular area (Hewitt - Warham approx) was chosen for wider pavements with parking laybys. Isn't that the stretch where Shefiq Mehmet has his business (or is that another Mehmet?)?
When are they going to announce resident cleansing from Wightman Road, or have they arranged a population shift to Muswell Hill?
Interesting point OAE. Does anyone know if this is the case?
As for resident cleansing on Wightman, have you not heard? You're all going to Edmonton to make room for a whole road of betting shops and 4 lanes of traffic.
The stretch concerned is Salisbury Road to Harringay Bridge - so the core of Harringay's shopping area.
Whilst it's true that the Harringay Traders are canny operators and quite sucessful in getting their voices heard with the Council, I think it's inaccurate and inappropriate to suggest that Shefik Mehmet will benefit personally. He'd fight to the death for the Harringay Traders' cause, but I don't think there's ever been any suggestion that he'd use any influence he has for his own benefit.
Yeah, must be another Mehmet.
Anette, looking forward to the move. There's a stretch of semi-regenerated North Circular blight up there where I'd really feel at home. Let Paddy Power have Wightman.
Is it the Hermitage Brook making a bid for freedom?