Yesterday I blogged about the severe limitations of the Green Lanes Traffic & Transport consultation. There’s a lot in the consultation, however, much of it pretty good, some of it excellent, and you should answer it. It is long, but comes in several sections (packages), and you only need to answer the ones that interest you. Here are my answers, item by item, with a bit of further explanation.
Package AW: Area-wide improvements
01 Improve streetscape. Support. Mostly simple inoffensive stuff, enforcing rules that already exist. In this spirit, how about also taking out those extra wide new “phone” installations on Green Lanes, which are just Trojan horses for hoardings on busy sections of pavement?
02 Greater provision of car clubs. Strongly support. Makes cars available when needed while discouraging over-use & taking up less space for
03 More effective traffic calming. Neither support nor oppose. How could one not love traffic calming? Two reasons. One is that it’s often a second best substitute for either (1) filtering the traffic altogether – would you rather live on a rat run with speed bumps, or a road that isn’t a rat run? I thought so – or (2) speed enforcement (give us cameras since there’s no budget for cops). The other is that the devil is in the details: some common traffic calming measures – including ones which show up in the study – make things difficult for cyclists. Specifically, sudden road narrowings that create dangerous pinch points; chicanes (those staggered fences which make cyclists dismount, and block mobility scooters / wheelchairs / cargo bikes altogether). But there’s good stuff in this category, too.
04 Minimise impacts of school run. Strongly support. Even though, as detailed in yesterday’s post, there’s no real action proposed here, and the very idea contradicts the inaction proposed in the rest of the study.
05 Improve efficiency and reduce impact of deliveries. Strongly support.
06 Introduce ASLs at junctions throughout area. Neither support nor oppose. ASL means “Advanced stop line” – it’s for cyclists to pull to the front of the queue at junctions. These can be very helpful to cyclists but overall they’re considered yesterday’s cycle infrastructure.
07 Provide more on-street bike hangers. Strongly support. Councils can’t keep up with demand for these.
08 Make the study area more green. Neither support nor oppose. I love street trees. On side roads, I think we’re crazy to squeeze them onto the pavement rather than taking space in the strips of road dedicated to subsidized private car storage – put them there a bit further from the houses and let them grow big. But what’s being proposed here is trying to keep trees alive on Green Lanes and it’s a fool’s errand, and there’s not room for it.
09: Minimise noise and vibration through the use of improved road design Support.
I don’t know anything about the costs and benefits of this, but it does sound nice.
10: Emissions based parking charges. Strongly support. Now being done in various forms by other councils – Islington, Westminster. A small step to cleaner air & reduced carbon footprint. Should be borough-wide, of course, not just Green Lanes.
Package PC: Area-wide pedestrian and cycle network
01 East-west route 1. Support. Crossings at Hornsey rail station, Green Lanes at Duckett’s Common. For cycle purposes, the Hornsey station crossing is a bit pathetic – unless you spend buckets of money and take a great deal of space for an actual ramped bridge (not on the cards), it will just be a channel for the cycle wheels so you can push a bike up those high stairs. I assume that the only reason they want to claim it as a cycle route is that they have no proposal for making the Turnpike Lane route safe. Another part of this route, a bike / ped crossing of Duckett’s Common & Green Lanes that actually follows desire lines, would be good to have, and channels for cycle wheels are better than stairs without them.
02 East-west route 2. Strongly support. This is a very important route, particularly in providing a link from the Stanhope Road side of the Gardens through the St Ann’s Hospital site. Without that, the future development at St Ann’s will lack decent foot and bike connections to both Green Lanes business and transport (buses, rail stations, and underground), and will instead be a terrible traffic generator. The proposal notes the need to get developers of the site on board. Also needed on board are the Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust, because part of the route needs to continue parallel to the overground line to Hermitage Road, with round the clock permeability there: in addition to the cycle route, that provides the best pedestrian access to buses on Seven Sisters Road, and on Amhurst Park Road for Stamford Hill / Hackney.
At the other end of Route 2, two way cycling on Burgoyne Road and a railway bridge adequate to accommodate cyclists are both welcome proposals.
03 East-west route 3 and 05 New River path. Strongly support. I don’t know if my neighbours here on Lothair Road will share this view – I know that some think opening the bridge across the canal to link Lothair North & Lothair South will bring in too much foot traffic, but most of those walking through are already here, coming from Finsbury Park’s Endymion Road gate. The biggest benefit of East-west route 3 would be to people living on these roads, shortening the walk from Lothair Road South to Green Lanes, the Overground and Sainsburys, and from Lothair Road North to the Harringay rail station: to me, that part’s a no-brainer.
04 North-south route. Strongly support. This route has a lot of parts, extending as it does from Downhills Park at the northern edge of the study area, across St Ann’s Rd and through the notional St Ann’s Hospital site development, under the railway in a disused arch, across the New River on a new bridge, and through the Woodberry Grove estate in the borough of Hackney. And various points between. Beyond the obvious obstacles of budget and permission from diverse landowners the devil, for cycling purposes, will be in the details of the road crossings. If all that can be put together it would be an exteremely valuable quiet route for cycling, and also a much improved walking connection from South Tottenham to the New River / London Ring.
05 New-river path. Strongly support. This has four elements, each of which has value independently of the others.
The most exciting part is the section between Provide a new section of path between Turnpike Lane and Hampden Road. Hampden Road is the eastern approach to the Hornsey rails station, where the existing path breaks off. As it stands now, to walk from there to the path’s continuation (which takes you to Alexandra Park), you need either to climb many stairs to the bridge across the railway and then cross three roads, or go around through the ugly Turnpike Lane / Wightman Road junction – neither is the nicest Sunday walk. The proposal is to let you continue along the canal and through the old canal tunnel under the railway – this small segment would be a huge improvement to outdoor access for people in the Green Lanes area, and fill in a gap in a good long-distance path.
Improving the surface of the path between Hampden Road and Wightman Road is also welcome.
The short New River Path segment between Lothair Road won’t be loved by those whose back gardens it passes (as is the case elsewhere on this long and indispensable path), but would be well used: it would provide a substantial improvement to an important cycle route, which enters Finsbury Park at the Endymion Road Gate but currently lacks a direct connection to any quiet street – you need to do a dog-leg across Endymion.
06 Better access to parks Support.
07 Harringay Passage. Strongly support. The proposal here is for a pedestrian crossing at Turnpike Lane, connecting the Passage to Burghley Road. This is the natural walking route between the Ladder and Wood Green.
Green Lanes. There are two packages here, one labelled Minor Improvements, the other with a cycle lane and reduced parking. The Minor Improvements apply with or without the cycle lane.
10d Ban U-turns on Green Lanes Strongly support
Alternative package GL2: Continuous cycle facility
Two items here – a northbound cycle lane, and the possible elimination of parking & loading. The first doesn’t work without the second. The second would require moving parking & loading onto side roads, which would cause some friction with residents. The combination of merchant and resident opposition are likely to make this proposal fail, even though most of the customers arrive by foot or by bus, and the idea of reserving space for parking on such a congested arterial is more than a bit retro. Strongly support both.
Package WL: Wightman Road / Ladder area package
WL1-01a: Move pavement parking onto the carriageway Strongly support
WL1-02: Improve Wightman Road / Turnpike Lane junction Strongly support
WL1-03: Discourage through traffic from Willoughby Road Strongly support
WL1-04: Discourage through traffic from Warham Road Strongly support
WL1-05: Install traffic calming measures on Endymion Road Strongly support
Package HE: Hermitage area package
01 Move pavement parking onto the carriageway Strongly support
02 Area-wide junction improvements Support
03 Widen footways at Hermitage Road rail bridge Strongly support. This would require one-way working vehicular traffic under the bridge (the other way gives way & waits), not a bad thing. Far better would be an option not offered: filter this rat run (which is a short cut from Seven Sisters Road to St Ann’s). It produces toxic air and hazardous school run conditions at St Mary’s School, and a dangerous route for cyclists.
Package SA: St Ann’s / Gardens area package
This is overall the most disappointing package, since the option of filtering north-south traffic between West Green Road and St Ann’s Road is not offered. That would have been a substantive initiative for traffic reduction in the area. As it stands, we have a traffic consultation with nothing in the way of real traffic reduction unless you want to close Wightman Road, which has bigger knock-on effects. A real shame, discussed at some length here. Meawhile, let’s look at what’s on offer.
SA-01: West Green Road improvements Neither support nor oppose These are vaguely described traffic calming measures – many such make roads more dangerous for cyclists, so need more detail.
SA-02: St Ann’s Road improvements Neither support nor oppose. See previous.
SA-03: Improve zebra crossings on St Ann’s Road. Oppose. “Improve” seems to be code for replacing with pelican, making pedestrians wait.
SA-04: Improve access arrangements around Chestnuts Primary School. Strongly support. However, the details here are vague – there should be an actual zebra or pelican crossing St Ann’s to the school.
SA-05: Improve St Ann’s / Hermitage Road / North Grove roundabout Strongly support.
Good improvement to cycle route legibility.
SA-06: Discourage through traffic from Woodlands Park Road Strongly support.
The consultation documents say it won’t do any good to filter just one of these north-south connections (as discussed here), so what they’re offering is this half-filtering of one of them. Strange logic, but, baby steps…
SA-07: Provide passing places on Gardens roads. Oppose. Shouldn’t be in such a hurry that it matters, on these quiet streets.
SA-08: Convert Warwick Gardens rising bollards to a permanent closure Strongly support. The moving bollards are usually broken these days, and cost a lot to maintain.