18 months ago a Council report set 2015-16 as the timescale for strengthening the road bridge over the railway [see attached]. This was re-iterated at Cllr McNamara's initial community traffic meeting. I can't find any mention on the Haringey website other than the attached report document. Several points strike me:
So the doomsday scenario could be: no planning, bridge closed for months, total chaos, then re-opened with a 40 T weight limit and an open invitation to lorries of all sizes with current signage removed.
Council engages with the community, to use this as an opportunity to trial some thought through schemes which will protect residents during the work phase and continue to address the wider traffic concerns of residents after the work is completed.
The uncomfortable truth is that both the Council and TfL want Wightman Road to serve as a pressure bypass valve for Green Lanes. This is the mind-set which has driven so many of the schemes [configuration of Wightman/Turnpike Lane junction, mini-roundabout at Alroy/Endymion, pedestrianisation of Wood Green High Road proposal, creation of Mary Nuner Road, exclusion of Wightman Road from original Ladder 20mph zone, inadequacy of Wightman traffic calming, absence of safe crossing points - sic Alroy and now this hugely costly over strengthening exercise] which have been imposed largely in the absence of consultation and entirely against the residents' interests.
TfL have a purely pragmatic motivation for this - they want the buses to run on time. The Council view, one suspects, is driven by the imbalance of political sway between the overly influential traders on Green Lanes versus the disengaged and substantially transient on Wightman Road. Remembering that both TfL and the Council have a responsibility to protect the interests of Wightman residents-no don't laugh.
The problem, for both the Council and TfL, but principally for the residents, is that Wightman Road is simply physically not suitable for this. Now over the years the Council has chipped away making cheap little changes to try to make it suitable, but short of purchasing all the houses between the road and the railway and knocking them down to create an A road it will never be suitable.
So where does this leave us? With the latest Council scheme to conspire with TfL to spend an unnecessarily large sum to strengthen a bridge way beyond reasonable need with the clear aim of enhancing the argument that Wightman Road is a suitable Green Lanes bypass. Recall that the total spend on traffic calming for Wightman was less than 200k [and contrast with the latest traffic calming spend east of Green Lanes where there is by comparison virtually no traffic].
And as an angry afterthought. If TfL and the Council are so keen suddenly to spend on Wightman, then can we have our flagged pavements [which the Council vandalised] back and some dropped curbs for parking and proper traffic calming and wide enough pavements for bins and buggies and the sort of environmental enhancements we have seen recently on Green Lanes. In other words, if you want to make Green Lanes better at our expense then spend the money on improving our environment or restore our original status as a residential side-street.
All very valuable, and no doubt justified, points Paul. I have emailed one of the council officers who I know has some responsibility for the bridge redevelopment. Hopefully he will come back to me.
In the mean time, stay tuned to the Traffic Study that is coming up and stay engaged. That said, the bridge redevelopment is due to commence *before* the Study concludes I beleive, so this is something that it may be important to look at quickly *before* it begins if changes to the plan are to be made etc.
Justin, I fear I may be failing to communicate the degree of our frustration on these issues. Wightman Road residents have been working to cause the Council to understand, acknowledge and change their approach to this issue since at least 2006. It was the residents and then Lib-Dem councillors who pushed for traffic calming measures for example. That was like pulling teeth and look what we ended up with. I myself left contact details at the 'traffic meeting' which happened prior to the election and have heard nothing back from the Council. That meeting occurred as a result of the [no disrespect intended] relatively minor issues relating to Hewitt Road. Now we have the suggestion of a Study. But as you say yourself, the decisions on the bridge have already been taken. It is not a matter of residents staying engaged or tuned, it is for the Council to communicate effectively with all stakeholders instead of the usual self-serving practice of picking and choosing. I'm afraid the evidence from the opening paragraph of the Study bid document and what we have established in respect of the bridge work point towards no change in thinking at the Council and undermine the impression of open minded engagement which Cllr McNamara was at pains to create.
I have copied this thread to Cllr Gail Engert, who is leader of the Lib Dem group on the Council, who was a board member of London Travel Watch from 2004 to 2012 and who currently attends the Haringey Transport Forum. She has responded with the following useful information:
"The Wightman Road Bridge was mentioned in the agenda papers for the Cabinet Member signing on 7 July 2015. The subject of the signing was 'Sustainable Transport Works Plan 2015-16'. The mention is on p.28, where £110,000 is allocated to 'Wightman Road Bridge (strengthening)' and the commentary says that 'Further allocations will be received for Wightman Road with works aiming to be completed by with [sic. I expect that this should read 'within'] the 2016/17 financial years. The papers can be found on the Council website under 'local democracy'; 'meetings and agendas'; 'Cabinet Member signings'; 7 July 2015.
Further mention of the Wightman Road Bridge over rail is made in the agenda item 14 'Local Implementation Plan Annual Spending Submission for Transport 2016/17' in the papers for the Cabinet meeting on 15 September 2015. The LIP submission goes to Transport for London. Item 14 spans pp. 393-414 of the agenda pack. On page 411, under the heading 'Bridge Maintenance and Strengthening' it gives 'Wightman Road over rail' and a figure of 2,800k.
At the last meeting of the Haringey Transport Forum, there was due to be a discussion on the 'Highways works programme/engagement 2016/17', but this was postponed to a future meeting as we ran out of time. It seems that this would be the best forum to raise any questions you have about the bridge strengthening and to push for a local engagement with local residents and traders about both the works and the implications."
In the circumstances, I would suggest that members post specific questions which they might wish to have put at that later meeting. I shall of course prepare a summary for Gail to use.
Former Lib Dem Cllr, Harringay Ward
Hiya David. I have e-mailed you direct about this.
There's a Public Meeting on 16 December (1830 - 2030, St Paul's Church Hall, Cavendish Road/Wightman Road} - more details here.
Re Primary route classification see my latest comment on this discussion.
See here for a report of the meeting.