The prospect of going back to work on public transport – used in normal circumstances by most working people in AP, I believe – must be daunting  for many as we come out of lockdown, and not only for those who are in some respects vulnerable, or who have vulnerable relatives at home. With TfL limiting passenger numbers to 15% of the usual volume, how are all these people going to travel? And there'll be more parents joining the commuters in a couple of weeks time as primary schools re-open.

Reclaiming Crescent Road during the lockdown (see also video of partying at the bottom of this post):5412410676?profile=RESIZE_400x

Driving would seem to be the safest option with regard to Covid-19 for those who own a car (so not an option for over half of Haringey residents). Cycling is another option – for the intrepid – but the lack of 'whole route' cycling infrastructure in Haringey, and the volume of traffic, are major deterrents to potential cyclists (count me among that number). Thus a massive shift to driving seems likely, resulting in traffic gridlock and more air pollution which, apart from other evils, helps spread C19. We need other means of safe travel, as well as trying not to lose the healthy streets that we have enjoyed for the past few weeks

 

 

Photos of Crescent Road pre-lockdown: two lines of traffic confront each other, an altercation between drivers, motor vehicles claiming the pavement

5413731873?profile=RESIZE_400x 5413494500?profile=RESIZE_400x 5413526660?profile=RESIZE_180x180 5413518694?profile=RESIZE_180x180

 

 

Government proposals and statutory obligations

The Government and Mayor of London are only too aware of the dangers of increasing the rate of infection via public transport, as also of creating gridlock – witness the extraordinary announcement on May 9th by Grant Shapps that local authorities in areas with high levels of public transport use (Haringey is the third highest in the country) would be required to take measures to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling … as swiftly as possible, and in any event within weeks (statutory guidelines), and that some funding would be available. The Mayor also issued guidelines and promises of funding with his Streetspace scheme, and has been closing roads in the City. The proposed measures, apart from pavement-widening, focus on the introduction of temporary cycle lanes on main roads, and low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in residential areas, to create both alternative means of transport, as well as street space for walking and exercising while maintaining physical distancing.

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

So what are LTNs? These block through-traffic by such measures as the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition Cameras, which allow certain categories of motor vehicles through -  e.g. buses, emergency vehicles, Veolia trucks, disabled drivers, the milkman – and not others, including motorcycles. Residents' vehicles may be included amongst those that are exempt, but if they are not, they will sometimes have to drive a little bit further to get to their houses than in un-filtered roads. The ANPR camera on the street lamp in the picture (below) of a 'filtered' road (Orford) in Walthamstow will record the registration number of any vehicle which is forbidden from driving through, and fines will be collected by the local authority (unlike fines from speed cameras, which go to the police).5411667279?profile=RESIZE_400x

The design of the LTN has to ensure that traffic is not simply rechannelled from one residential road to another in the neighbourhood. If this is achieved, then some of the traffic is expected to evaporate. It is not like water in a pipe, which has find a way out - people make choices, and some of these choices - at least for the 40% of urban car journeys that are less than 2 miles - will be to walk or cycle instead of driving. And the more some people do this, the more others will too - it may be slow, but is cumulative.

An LTN benefits both pedestrians and cyclists, making the neighbourhood an altogether pleasanter and healthier place to live in. Shops also benefit from increased footfall, although shopowners often assume (as did those in Orford road) that the lack of motor traffic will be detrimental to their businesses.

Cycle lanes and LTNs make good combinations because research has shown that providing cycling infrastructure on its own will not be successful in persuading most people to take up cycling.[i]

LTNs make an area slightly less attractive to drivers and more attractive to cyclists, nudging the former towards alternative means of travel. Cycle routes could then consist of temporary cycle lanes on main roads, interspersed with temporary LTNs ('temporary' meaning up to 18 months) in residential neighbourhoods.

In the current emergency, more temporary measures may be used than ANPR cameras, such as planters and gates to block roads. It will, however, provide an unprecedented opportunity to try out new approaches to traffic management, and hopefully may lead to more permanent measures.

Proposals by Haringey Council

The plans being developed by the Council are not public as yet, though an article in the Ham&High indicates that they are creating east to west and north to south cycling routes, and that LTNs are lower on the agenda. Contrast this with the much more advanced programme in Lambeth, who are seeking to appoint an LTN Programme Lead who will co-ordinate the introduction of LTNs in different neighbourhoods.

Our MP has been talking to the CEO of Haringey Council about implementing an Emergency Transport Action Plan, asking for an unprecedented level of action on our streets without delay.

Working with other neighbourhoods

As our roads gradually fill up again, more commuters who would normally come into London by rail from beyond the north circular may also choose to drive – many coming through our neighbourhood – rather than run the gauntlet of public transport.

This through traffic does not just affect our own neighbourhood (here I am referring to the Palace Gates neighbourhood, which I am familiar with - Dukes Avenue, Alexandra Park Road N10 and Muswell Hill less so, but contributions from residents of this area would be very welcome!). Much of it is the same as that taking a short cut down Winton Avenue before crossing Durnsford into Crescent Rise and Crescent Road, then exiting from our neighbourhood over the Buckingham road railway bridge, it carries on to add to congestion on Hornsey Park Road, Wightman and the Ladder roads, and on into Islington and Hackney. Many of these neighbourhoods have their own campaign groups (often under the umbrella of Haringey Living Streets) to try and reduce rat-running and increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Should we start our own, and work with these other groups to pressure the Council to do more to restrict through traffic, making cycling a more viable option for local people, and our neighbourhoods healthier, safer and more attractive places to walk?

The introduction of 'Low Traffic Neighbourhoods' in some areas would thus benefit some other neighbourhoods nearer central London, while possibly causing problems in others. So it is essential that we work with other groups to suggest measures to the Council that will increase benefits and reduce negative impacts for all. We are not traffic experts, but residents are likely to be the most knowledgeable about local conditions in their neighbourhood.

Reducing the number of motor vehicles is of course a key climate issue, with transport now accounting for more emissions in the UK than the entire energy sector - a quarter of the total - and cars being the worst offender.

[i] S. Melia, Urban Transport without the Hot Air (2015), pp. 224-6 and chap 7.

 photos and video courtesy of Tom Pigott-Smith and Gudrun Parasie

Celebrating lack of traffic on Crescent Road during Lockdown:

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  • All, I have mentioned a meeting with Haringey Traffic Planning officer attended by us Councillors, Alexandra Low Traffic Neighboorhood Group and the Bounds Ground and District Resident Association last week. These below are my main takeways. Others who have attanded may have captured other points and may want to add. Comments and feedback welcome.

    • TfL bids for LTN are closed at the moment, but is possible that there will be a chance to bid for funding later in the year. Once fund are awarded the design of the scheme needs to be completed in ~ 4 months, so there woudl be a very short time between award and implementation and therefore the bid woudl need to be almost a final design.
    • the best way to make sure our bid is as strong as possible is to show we have engaged as wider as possible, since modal filters will restrict movement for LTN residents and could displace traffic in nearby roads, is important that as many as possible are aware and agree
    • while it is true that LTN are implemented via Experimental Traffic Order, on which the Council consult after 6 months is also true that TfL needs certainly that Haringey can deliver the LTN with the consultation so this is why we need to show engagement and make sure that we are removing everything after 6 months because the consultation has failed 
    • We also need to show that we have thought about where the displaced traffic would go and engage, this certainly will prove a challenge in case of roads with heavy traffic like Dunsford Road, either because  traffic is likely to be displaced to  Bounds Green Road - this is a major road for TfL -  or other in roads in Alexandra and because there are three bus routes. Again TfL does not want diversions that will increase the route journey time, unless there is a bus gate implemented. The bid will need to show that where the modal filters are the impact on network has been considered and mitigated 
    • TfL will only fund infrastructures , not cameras (unless a bus gate). Also using cameras to allow only residents through will not work in practice as it cannot account for deliveries and visitors, so any road closure will mean road closed to everybody so this is why any solution will need consensus from residents as well. We still need to understand why not use CCTV to only allow emenrgency services as easier and implemented in other areas
    • Will meet again in 6 weeks, end of September , to see how we have progressed and ideally with some ideas on how much traffic we want to close, use of filters, bus gates ?  and level of consensus. 
    • In October the Council will also be ready on its 'Walking and Cycling Plan' and LTN can also feed into this plan
    This was before we heard about the Quiet Neighborhood in Enfied and Bowes Park in particular, soon to be implemented, so there will be more things to consider in the next weeks and learn from. Not sure if this has alrready been mentioned , in case this is the link to th enearby scheme:
     
     
    Bowes Primary Area Quieter Neighbourhood
    Overview We’re working with residents to make our streets quieter and safer through our Quieter Neighbourhoods project. Residents in the Bowes Prima…
  • I would also like to share a link of a letter on the LTN we sent to the local Ham&High which also contains an intervention from Stephen Brice, of the Pinkham Way Alliance on the Edmonton incinerator decision by the NLWA.

    https://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/ham-high-letters-incinerator-and-nat...

    Readers’ letters: Waste Plan, naturism, traffic calming, renters and heritage
    Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Ham&High readers this week.
  • Dear All,

    I would like to share with you the response we have received on our submission for for Haringey Street Space from Haringey Council. Still a lot to do , but hopefully the idea is getting a bit more of traction adn forcus on the area. We also have a meeting with Transport Planning officers next week that the local residents associations and the Low Traffic Neighborhood group have been invited to attend and I hope there will be more incoraging news to report.  Comments welcome.

    Dear Alexandra Ward Councillors,

    Thank you for your email.

    I note the concerns about rat running across Winton Avenue, Bidwell Garden, Crescent Rise, Crescent Road and down into Wood Green and beyond and your request for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) to be introduced, starting temporarily. The suggestion for cycle lanes to link the two transport hubs and shopping areas have also been noted. Colleagues from our Transport Planning team have advised that they are unable to submit further bids to TfL or the DfT for additional LTN projects. They will need to wait to see if further funding opportunities are made available. However, they can discuss the process and begin discussing the effectiveness of an LTN, and what it could look like, in this part of borough in preparation for future funding. They are also developing a strategic policy approach to LTNs across the borough through the Walking and Cycling Action Plan, so these discussions will feed into the preparation of the Action Plan.

    An additional crossing between Alexandra Park Road and Durnsford Road will be explored and considered for inclusion in future works programmes. With regards to your constituents suggestion to extend the Alexandra Palace Way road closure period to 24 hours, permitting only the W3 bus, it should be noted that Alexandra Palace Way is managed by the Alexandra Palace and Park Charitable Trust and not Haringey Council. I would therefore suggest that your constituents contact the Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust direct with their traffic management suggestions via - https://www.alexandrapalace.com/contact/get-in-touch/

    In the interim, your constituents can report dangerous, illegal, or antisocial road user behaviour directly to the police via their online reporting tool, RoadSafe London. Every report helps the police and TfL to understand where and when bad road user behavior takes place. The information and intelligence gathered via this tool is used to inform the activity of the police and partners. The tool is available online at https://www.met.police.uk/ro/report/rti/rti-a/report-a-road-traffic...

    In January 2020 we had a report commissioned, investigating observations and recommendations for measures to improve the safety around schools in Haringey. Where suitable, school street timed road closures have been recommended and where not practicable, other measures such as improved pedestrian crossings and enforced School Keep Clear (SCK) markings. Rhodes Avenue was one of the school identified that would benefit from School Streets AMPR monitoring between Albert Road and Grosvenor Road. This proposal is to be explored and will be considered for inclusion in future works programmes.

    With regards to the proposed safer crossing on Bedford Road, we have produced designs for a zebra crossing at the location in question. However, as you may be aware, the majority of all transport funding in Haringey and indeed across most of London comes via Transport for London (TfL); this includes our traffic management and road safety programmes. Due to the current situation and TfL’s financial position, all TfL funding for existing projects, has been removed. 

    TfL are reprioritising what funding will now be available towards measures that would support social distancing, although we are expecting that levels of funding will be lower than we previously had. LB Haringey is working with TfL to try and secure some of this social distancing investment but we are unable to say when TfL will be in a position to fund our traffic management and road safety programmes.  We appreciate this is a difficult time but LB Haringey will work with TfL to secure as much funding as we can for the borough and a formal crossing on Bedford Road is one of our top priorities to be considered by TfL. 

    I hope the above information is helpful.

    This below was our submission for reference:

    We, Alexandra Ward Councillors,  would like to make a submission representing the views of those that have contacted us and supporting the range of request made in the map.

     

    Unsurprisingly, and clearly noticeable from the map so far, the main issue in the ward is and rat running across Winton Avenue , Bidwell Garden, Crescent Rise, Crescent Road and down into Wood Green and beyond. This is created by motorists - mostly coming from outside the borough, keen to avoid the traffic lights on Bound Green Road. This has been an ongoing issues for years and residents are dismayed by the lack of follow up to requests for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) and traffic calming measures. Many believe that Haringey wish to avoid inconvenience to residents of other boroughs and outer London rather than tackling the traffic, poor air quality and road rage caused by rat running here. We hope that an LTN can be introduced, starting temporarily.

     

    Other areas with issues we would like to highlight:

     

    Speeding up from Alexandra Park Road to Dunsford Road well beyond the 20 mph limit. 

    • This is dangerous to pedestrian and does not make walking or cycling or using the local shop much of an option, with residents preferring to get on their car and buses to get to Muswell Hill. We launched a petition in 2017 for a zebra crossing to help reducing the speed and allow residents and pupils to nearby schools to walk safety. This receive the support of hundreds of residents in the area.
    • The area is also used by pupils of 2 primary schools ( Norfolk House School and Rhodes Avenue Primary School)  and a secondary school (Alexandra Park School) so pedestrian zebra crossing, LNT as well as traffic calming measures would be welcomed.  Rhodes Avenue would also be a good candidate for a school street. Cars often park without any enforcement from the council.
    • Cycling could also be improved as there is no cycling lane here at present and is way too dangerous: The whole of Alexandra Park Road from Colney Hatch Lane to Alexandra Station and Durnsford Road would benefit from a cycling lane so that residents could reach the two transport hubs of Alexandra Station, Bounds Green and Highgate station and  shopping areas around the Alexandra Library, Place Gate Road and Muswell Hill Broadway via bike. The island crossings also create dangerous pinch points for cyclists which should be looked at.

     

     Anti-social behaviour (ASB) and traffic on Alexandra Palace Way and nearby area (Bedford Road , Alexandra Park Road, Palace Gate Road). 

    • Cars and motorbikes racing illegally are the norm and have increased during COVID-19, often starting from as early as 5-6 pm. Residents are fed up by the noise, ASB and unsafe walking have requested extending the closure of Alexandra Palace Way to 24 hour , leaving open only to the W3 bus.  
    • The area is also affected by increased traffic and parking during THFC event days and will be even more so by the incoming car parking charges for Alexandra Palace. 
    • A safer crossing at the corner of Bedford Road/Palace Gate Road has been requested, allegedly approved but we have not heard anything since last November. 

     

    Get in touch
    If you have any questions then please get in touch via email, online or phone!
  • Looking forward to the first AP Low Traffic Group meeting (which can't come soon enough!).

    I am also organising - as agreed at The Sweet Tree streets survey meeting - a 'safe cycle' ride for anyone who would like to cycle but is inexperienced or timorous and for cyclists wanting to accompany those. This has been delayed for maybe obvious reasons but would be best soon, before traffic returns to 'normal' ie heavy, and we can still cycle more or less in a group.

    Given that 2 major contributing factors to Covid19 have been identified as pollution and obesity, cycling (and walking) addresses these directly, cheaply and efficiently. Meanwhile, lest it needs clarifying, to cycle you don't need to be young or fit or brave: you simply need vital organs and four limbs - that's it! And any bike will do (fancy bits optional).

    To be clear, this position in no way implies those who drive or are unfit are in some way culpable. The obstacles to car-free travel are inadequate safe infrastructure for non-motor trips, unhelpful messages from the fitness industry and misinformation from the motor industry.

    Let's, those of us who can, use our bodies to move and free up road-space and public transport for those - including the elderly and disabled - who genuinely need them, getting our selves and our environments healthier in the process.

  • Couldn't back such an initiative more Grant! A few of us met early yesterday evening for a little lockdown photo shoot of safe cycling like never before (in my 30-plus years living in London at least). I still plan - tardily - to get together a group, as agreed at the Sweet Tree meeting in March,  to go on a supported cycle for anyone who wants to test cycling out (and others who want to support them to do so).

    The Covid horror, with the twin issues of pollution and obesity being major contributing factors, has at least wakened people to the need for cleaner and more active transport. I'll post the pics on the site shortly. 

    • Great, Tessa! This is the time to do it ...

       

  • Thank you Annabel - this is a great idea and I will try to help out where I can, although I'm spread rather thin as it is! A good step would be to touch base with the Healthy Streets St Anns group who have been very effective in engaging the community and developing viable plans. Thank you!

  • So I'm definitely interested. I'm keen to help us create our own solution in collaboration with the council. We can work together to create a solution that listens to everyone's needs.

    There are plenty of 'tools' we can use to listen to our community and collectively design solutions.

    • Alex, many thanks for offering to help. You did an excellent job of facilitating the Palace Gates Neighbourhood Traffic Meeting in February, so help with running online community meetings, activating your contacts in the Council, and working with local people on a mutually agreeable arrangement would be brilliant.

      There's also the need to work with other neighbourhoods ...

       

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