Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Without warning, two weeks ago my Ladder road was closed to facilitate the Wightman Road project.

There was some confusion initially because no warning was given and no information nor signage was provided about temporary two-way operation of the road.

Once that wee hurdle was surmounted, the experience has been a tantalising glimpse of how things could be. 

in the ordinary course of events, our road is no longer as awful as it once was, but there's still a regular hum of traffic. Now, all of a sudden, peace reigns.

Another outcome of the closure has been parking. Recent Ladder parking surveys parking have shown that our road has near 0% free space in the evenings and overnight. It's quite odd because it all changed very suddenly about two years or so ago. We went from a situation where parking was reasonable to one where it became almost impossible to find a parking space after 5 or 6. With the road closure, suddenly it's back to how it used to be. I can only think that this means the excess parking comes from people who don't live in our road.

You'd think that all this upside would come at a price of inconvenience to vehicular traffic. If it has, it's been very well hidden from me. Residents have managed just fine executing a three-point turn on arrival or departure. Deliveries by van have continued unabated, the milk still lands on the doorstep, the Veolia carts have still come and gone and we've even had large lorries delivering: this morning a huge earth-moving truck arrived to dump fill on a two-metre square hole dug by Carillion (I've no idea why such a huge lorry was required for such a small hole, but it proved that a large vehicle was able to navigate the current set-up). Yesterday a long scaffolding lorry came to retrieve some scaffolding, apparently without any problem.

Litter seems to have reduced and the dumping spot at the bottom of the road has been strangely empty.

So life has gone on, apparently with little disruption. And for the duration, it's been an absolute pleasure for many of us. The street is quieter, cleaner and emptier.

It's tempting to ask, if it's so easy to close one end of the road and for life to go on so smoothly, why can't this be made permanent across all rung roads?

I'm expecting comments by people who haven't enjoyed their own road closure for one reason or another and for others flagging-up of issues I've overlooked.

Anyone else had the same reaction as me?

Tags for Forum Posts: harringay traffic study, wightman road improvements

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No, we didn't all have "six months of bliss" when Wightman was closed. The traffic in Green Lanes practically ground to a halt and buses took twice as long to get from Endymion to the Salisbury or vice versa, causing major problems for everyone who relies on them, while goodness knows what it did to pollution – though probably somebody here will have figures that claim this is all “anecdotal” evidence and can therefore be discounted.

Perhaps the "two wheels good, four wheels bad" faction that so often dominates this discussion area might once in a while consider that cycling - though doubtless healthy - is not an option for people with small children, heavy shopping, elderly relatives, bags of stuff from Sainsbury's or plain old physical infirmity, all of whom need to use cars, buses or other vehicles at some point. And, unfortunately, not everyone can afford to live within walking or cycling distance of their work: some people have no option but to live in the much-criticised (on HoL) Hertfordshire and work in central London, so they may just need to pass through Harringay en route. 

Similarly, previous complaints that because Gardens residents managed to get their roads blocked to through traffic ("Unfair!" goes up the cry) then so too should Wightman residents ignore the fact that Harringay is not just one group of streets on the west side of Green Lanes but a wider area with numerous competing needs. Impeding buses by forcing traffic off Wightman onto GL really doesn't help those unfortunate enough not to live on the Ladder but who still have to get to work or other activities - just look at the recent GL grid-lock when Wightman was closed again for work on the traffic-calming measures that so many had called for.

We all know that part of the problem is geographic, with the railway an impenetrable western barrier and GL a major artery between the North Circular and Manor House for access to central London, so surely any solution has to start further out? Block traffic from the North Circular, send everyone down the A10 and give them the problem instead, perhaps? Reinstate trams from Palmers Green to Finsbury Park? I don't know either, but I don’t believe closing Wightman and/or Ladder roads permanently and creating misery for the rest of the area is the best answer. 

I’m interested in your solution, Dan. I’m sick and tired of having my health and well-being adversely affected by the cars of people who don’t even live nearby. I want my residential street to become residential. My solution is to close Whightman. What’s your solution to these issues please? I’d prefer a longer and healthier life. That would be super. How can you help me with this, if you’re against the obvious solution?

You live in the city which has its advantages and disadvantages., one of the disadvantages being traffic. Have you considered moving to somewhere more rural and, if you have to come into the city for work, coming in by train ?

Or how about we try and change things for the better? This is a really poor argument

By extension then, we close every street in London ? Or just yours ?

I think we're getting into reductio as absurdum there. My belief is we should reduce traffic over residential streets, and prioritise public transport, is that really that terrible?

You're quite right. But how ?

Filtering Wightman sent most of the traffic onto Green Lanes. People live on Green Lanes too and work and do their shopping on it.  What you need to do is persuade ( compel ) people to stop using internal combustion vehicles. But how ?

Electric vehicles won't work - where are we going to charge them ? Not many houses on the Ladder have garages. Charging for use won't work - people will pay anything for their convenience, flexibility and for load-carrying capacity. The Central London congestion charge has now little if any effect.

Everything in life is a compromise. If you won't move to Hertfordshire you have to put up with the pollution.

Removing parking on Green Lanes would be a start,  potential having 2 dedicated bus lanes on either side with one way traffic (obviously that would have to be part of a bigger area wide changes).

Everything is a compromise yes, but the compromise doesn't have to be the status quo.

I think this simple offers a strong argument for removing parking on Green Lanes, and I think it's one of the reasons there isn't stronger support for doing something about Wightman. Simply closing Wightman would be good for the residents but it's needs the bigger picture looking at. I totally agree looking at something wider would be be the way forward.

However this been said driving should be discouraged, there are of course people who need to drive for example, but I'm sure plenty of people who do could use alternatives and by prioritising buses for example over cars goes a long way to help with this. Other things like electric bikes are making bike transport more appealing to the lest lycra inclined, however there needs to be better and safer understructure to make this more appealing.

Several years ago I outlined a suggestion as to how motor traffic could be halved.

Introduce rationing to entitle motorists to a maximum amount of fuel equivalent to 5 thousand miles a year. 

Simple to operate, democratic and leaves the choice of how to use the allowance up to the driver. 

Surprisingly, the suggestion has not yet been taken up by the authorities 



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