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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

A recent mailer from traffic organisation Living Streets included the following:

As a result of work with Haringey Living Streets, low traffic neighbourhood groups have formed in St Ann’s ward, Bruce Grove and Stroud Green.

I know that the St Ann's one in the areas around Chestnuts Park proposes some clsoures. I suspect the Stroud Green one does too. Many of you will already be aware of recent trials in Crouch End and Hornsey.

I'm pleased for all those areas. I hope they manage to reduce their traffic. But of course that raises the question of where all the displaced traffic will go. Last week's events offer ample demonstration of how little Haringey Council consider the impact of traffic on Ladder roads.

With or without the threat of traffic being displaced from nearby areas, one has to ask if now isn't the time for the Ladder to start considering asking for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood of our own. Local experience suggests that the Council feel bound to accept a 'properly constituted bid' and engage in constructive dialogue. 

The Living Streets mailer also says:

A presentation from Haringey Council’s Head of Carbon Management Joe Baker included the announcement of two further Liveable Neighbourhood bids for Haringey in Tottenham.

I assume that St Ann's is one of these.

If we do nothing, we'll only have ourselves to blame if we find ourselves surronded by yet more traffic free areas. So,

If you would be interested in being put in contact with Haringey Living Streets members in your local area to join one of these groups, or to start your own group, please let us know!

I've written asking if there's already a Harringay group. If not, I know there are people locally who are members. So setting up a group wouldn't be hard. Anyone for tennis?

Tags for Forum Posts: liveable crouch end, liveable neighbourhoods, low traffic neighbourhoods, st anns ltn, traffic

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I’m in

Where do I sign?

I visited the Wightman Rd Mosque yesterday. I walked from Harringay Green Lanes Station at around 6pm, I didn't jump a bus as I was walking faster than the traffic. As I walked down Green Lanes I noticed how clear the ladder roads were, I walked up Seymore Rd and onto Wightman Rd which also appeared remarkably clear. I noticed the, I believe, traffic calming measures which seemed a bit odd. I am assuming from Hugh's comments that all is not well despite what appeared to be very little traffic. I would be grateful if someone could fill in the gaps.

Wightman is currently closed between Effingham and Fairfax for Thames Water Works. I think that after the first day or two, overall traffic levels have decreased. But it's apparently become awful for a few roads. These threads will give you a flavour. 

(Of course this does raise the point that it is possible to slow the flow on Wightman without major impacts on nearby areas/roads ....... worth a thought or two.)

Hugh - I realise this will sound like a cracked record, but it's clear that, once again, Green Lanes has borne the brunt of the displaced traffic, as it always does when Wightman is closed (even for part of its length). The northbound 29 bus I was on on Wednesday had to make an unscheduled stop before the railway bridge to let masses of passengers off as the driver warned of "stationary traffic ahead" and yesterday's one (about 7.45pm) took over 15 minutes to move from the Arena to the Salisbury, about twice as long as scheduled. Maximum frustration all round, while doing nothing for greener transport, pollution reduction or pedestrian health.

GL is at capacity and the long Wightman closure showed exactly what happens: bliss for the Ladder, misery for everyone else. No, I don't have a solution (I previously suggested trams in GL or closure of the junction from the North Circular as possibilities, but who knows?), but the local geography means that ANY road closures in our area force traffic onto a main artery that already suffers from the vehicular equivalent of high cholesterol. Some Ladder residents on HoL have apparently been spitting tacks for 15 years or so since the Gardens successfully lobbied for their own barriers, so isn't the idea of even more roads being closed likely to make things even worse? I believe any long-term solution must lie further out: the fundamental problem is that GL links the North Circular with Manor House (and hence central London), with no lateral room to move round it, but tinkering with Harringay roads isn't the answer.

I recognise that Green Lanes gets messed up when Wightman closes completely. Let me raise a couple of points though.

1. As usual, a lot of traffic has still been using the Ladder as much as they can to avoid Green Lanes. They join Wightman as early as possible and leave it as late as possible. This means that an unlucky few Rung roads have had long periods when literally the whole road has been bumper to bumper. Even at the best times during the closure, the traffic volumes have been extraordinarily high on those few roads. At the same time, many if not most other rung roads have experienced higher than normal traffic volumes. So, the picture you paint of it having been bliss for the Ladder is far from being an accurate one.

2. It's a historical fact that Wightman Road became the default Wood Green bypass when the Seventies Wood Green bypass scheme was left incomplete. Wightman and Hornsey Park Road were aligned to form a Wood Green Shopping City feeder road. At the time, a bypass was to be built to the east of Green Lanes. That bit never happened. So the newly aligned Wightman became the bypass. In the ensuing years, our area's road system seems to have been based on the unofficial Wood Green Bypass.

We have to live with that accident of history, but it doesn't mean we have to walk away and do nothing. What it means for me is that it makes it difficult to completely close Wightman. Personally I've not advocated complete closure. But I think its use can be restricted. It doesn't have to bear the amount of traffic that it does.

I think Ladder residents have been 'spitting tacks' with some justification. They have experienced a huge increase in through-traffic since Hermitage and the Gardens were closed off. Before then through-traffic was more widely dispersed.

The changes happened in the east of Harringay with not even a thought about traffic displacement let alone any consultation. Compare that with how far and wide the consultation about the temporary Wightman Bridge closure went. 

The point of this post was twofold. Firstly, with past experience under my belt, I wanted to give voice to fears that displacement may be about to happen again and to try and make sure it doesn't. Secondly, I support the general idea of low-traffic-neighbourhoods (as opposed to no-traffic ones) and I thought it was about time we picked up on good ideas being used or discussed elsewhere and thought about implementing them here.

Just to clarify: when I said "bliss" I was referring to the five-month Wightman closure, praised by so many Ladder residents, not the current closure that has caused severe jams in some roads, as you say.

Without revisiting every previous post, I'd also say that your comment about the Gardens exactly illustrates a point I made during the full Wightman closure: nobody bothered about the knock-on effect. Ladder residents may well have been justified in complaining that their traffic increased when the Gardens closed, but many who called for Wightman never to reopen were equally at fault in ignoring the impact that would have on GL and neighbouring streets - exactly their own complaint about the Gardens effect. Ladder roads congestion in the last couple of weeks is just what everyone else had to put up with when Wightman was closed for the bridge works, as drivers found other routes and clogged them up instead.

Which brings me back to my general point that I don't think closing roads locally is a solution - and I don't know what is. You contrast the Gardens closure (no consultation) with the new Wightman restrictions (masses of consultation), but nobody seems happy with the outcome even so. Cars off the pavement: tick; chicanes to slow traffic: tick; new pedestrian crossings: tick; trees planted: tick. End of complaints? No way! So either the consultation was flawed, or ignored, or the real problems still need to be sorted out further afield than just in the sector from Turnpike Lane to Seven Sisters.

Woodlands Park is already a low-traffic zone, or at least gated, to stop lorries using it, so they use the neighbouring roads instead. It's obviously not on the scale of Wightman traffic, but there's a limit to how far the problem can just be shunted into other people's streets. Chestnuts Park would doubtless benefit from having fewer vehicles using St Ann's, Black Boy Lane or Cornwall Road; but what happens with the hospital site redevelopment? With the best will in the world, not everyone there is going to be able to cycle or walk to work in the West End or the City, they'll still need access for deliveries and utilities, and some will have no option but to use cars for work and socialising.

Of course you and other Ladder residents don't want more traffic displaced from elsewhere - but nor do the rest of us, either! By all accounts, the Crouch End/Hornsey trials just replicated the chaos caused by the long Wightman closure, so they don't look like a good role-model. I'd rather see lobbying for a solution that considers the A1/A406/A10 block as a whole, rather than tinkering with local streets.

I agree that care must be taken with displacement during works or when considering any change, but attention ought also to be paid to preventing certain roads from taking an undue burden in the normal course of events.

It was sod's law that the roads which suffered the most during the most recent works were those very roads that already have higher than average traffic flows on a daily basis.

With regards to the reaction to the major Wightman works, as is usually the case, we hear more online from those who aren't happy with the changes than we do from those who are; that's the way of things.

Having said that there have been a good few comments by those who see the change as an overall improvement. Even within that group, some quite rightly suggest simple improvements to certain aspects.

The works programme was a compromise solution which Haringey knew wasn't going to please anyone completely. Nevertheless, it's certainly not universally disliked and could garner more support with a few final changes.

Don: the answer is very simple (a) eliminate traffic from local streets , forcing it onto the intended A-roads then (b) manage the resulting flow on the A-roads (e.g. adjust timings of signal-controlled junctions, remove parking etc.). Green Lanes doesn't get clogged purely because of the volume of traffic, or because it suddenly narrows (it's not like your 29 bus has a dual carriageway from Trafalgar Square to Manor House then suddenly goes down to one lane). It's mainly because of the high volume of parking and turning movements along Grand Parade (plus some oddities like a higher than necessary number of northbound vehicles wanting to turn right at the Salisbury because they can't at Manor House).

Spot on Joe.  The proper management of Green Lanes is the key.  The 29 bus route is a good example of how the management of major roads happens along its route. It’s not until it hits the stretch of GL from Homebase that everything clogs up and the thing that distinguishes that part of the route is parking.  It has been the traders who have objected to any change to the parking regime,   I lived here long enough to remember a proposal back in the 80s to ban all parking on GL.  Residents, as I recall, were behind it, but it fell because of organised objections from traders.

I agree about our stretch of GL it's crazily congested, removing parking would make a positive difference I think. If GL flowed better then perhaps fewer drivers would be bothered to detour via Wightman.

I don't agree with closing more and more roads, I am with Hugh with aiming for 'low traffic' areas rather than 'no traffic' areas. And I'd like to see higher quality driving - no road rage, stop u turns/crazy manoeuvres, no speeding, safer roads for cyclists and pedestrians, basically everyone sticking to the highway code!

My children really struggled getting home from school when Middle Lane and the other Crouch End roads were closed. Their buses packed, late, on diversion and terminating early. My son has SEN and after years of help and support he is now able to get the bus home, but he can't cope with that level of disruption to his journey so I had to drive to pick him up. Thankfully it was only 2 weeks, but it reminded me of the nightmare we had trying to get around locally when Wightman was closed for 5 months.

Like Don I don't know what the solution is but I agree that it needs to be thought about on a wider scale, maybe the expansion of the ULEZ will help, but I know that doesn't come into effect for a couple of years.



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