I am concerned about the increase in disruptions during recent events in the Park, and wondered how these have affected other people? I am thinking in particular of the Classic and Sports Car Show (28-30 Oct, see picture) and the Fireworks Festival (over 2 days, and for longer each day, this year). Briefly, the issues which I have experienced/been alerted to include (further details below):
(1) Closure of Alexandra Palace Way and consequent diversion of the W3 bus over most of 3 days for the Car show, and over much of 2 days for the Fireworks.
For the Fireworks Festival only:
(2) The erection of barriers in the Park for 3 days from early Thursday morning, preventing people from using large areas of the park on the Thursday, and from crossing it north/south on the Friday.
(3) The closure of the footbridge over the railway (when Alexandra Palace Way was closed) in expectation of overcrowding. Pedestrians and railway passengers were instead sent round over the road bridge, whose footpath is no wider than the footbridge.
(4) The lack of any notice about the diversion of the W3 bus on the bus stop in Station Road; the arrivals indicator continued to announce buses that did not arrive.
These issues are likely to arise more frequently in the future, given the expected increase in the number of events in the Park, and the proposed closure of Alexandra Park Way for some of these. I am not personally averse to some increase in events in the Park – theatrical productions without amplification (apart perhaps from opera!) seem a great idea, and the occasional silent disco might not be a problem. The Palace does, after all, need to recoup the loss of subsidy for the Park from Haringey Council.
In general, I think the AP&P Board and Trust have done wonders to turn the fortunes of the Palace around. We are no longer threatened with a giant casino or unnecessary cinemas. It is no longer a white elephant accumulating debt at the top of the hill, and the refurbishment of the old theatre – unthinkable until recently – will be the most amazing achievement. But if the People’s Palace needs to increase the number of its events, it also needs to consider the resulting disruption to the local – and wider – community, and take some measures to alleviate it. And maintain satisfactory co-ordination with Govia ThamesLink and Arriva/TfL.
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Filling out the issues which I referred to above:
(1) Diversions of the W3 bus (between Lordship Lane N22 and Middle Lane N8) between 10.30 and 3pm each day of the Car show, and for several hours each day of the Fireworks Festival. A few residents living near the Park were notified a fortnight before the Car show, but since this bus route stretches right across the borough, this was of no use to the many others who use this excellent bus service. The diversion of the W3 bus for the Fireworks Festival cannot, of course, be avoided because of the massive crowds in the Park (but see suggestions below) - it is an annual custom. But diversions for random events throughout the year are a quite different matter. It makes a mockery of a bus service if people cannot rely on it.
The Palace has been reluctant to discuss this issue. I understand that the closure of Alexandra Palace Way for the Car show was not even mentioned to the residents’ and interest groups attending the special meeting of the Consultative and Advisory committee on Sept. 29th. I also had no response to my two emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The road was closed during the Car Show because of some short supercar parades which were very badly attended – see the photo above taken a minute before the start of one of them – and were hence a very poor reason for suspending the bus service (see my email about this). The road was not closed for last year’s event, and I hope they will reconsider doing so for next year’s.
I realise that Alexandra Palace Way is a private road, but the Palace presumably does not wish to alienate local people (and the many other users of the W3 bus) who, like other Londoners, are very reliant on public transport.
(2) Erection of barriers in the Park – various people walking to school/work have complained of not being able to get across the Park on Friday 4th Nov. One mother with 2 children and their bikes was particularly incensed, having instead to get the train from Ally Pally to Hornsey (just one person can have problems trying to get on the train at that time!).
(3) Closure of the footbridge – I was crossing the railway at 6pm on Friday 4th in the opposite direction to the oncoming crowd, and was alarmed at the narrowness of the footpath on the road bridge which you cannot get off because of the concrete baffle extending the length of it. We had to use this bridge because the footbridge had been closed, in expectation of overcrowding,
Meanwhile (4) the crowds were accumulating in Station Road because there was no notice on the bus stop indicating that the W3 bus was suspended on that part of its route. I understand that it is not possible to stop the arrivals indicator from announcing buses that do not arrive, but the suspension could be announced on the lowest line of the indicator, where other such notices appear. The 184 bus was also diverted for just 45 mins, curiously, late on both evenings of the Fireworks.
Rather than getting buses diverted from the area, so that crowds of people fill the local roads, it would make more sense to have shuttle buses going to Wood Green (and other?) stations. During the Fireworks, shuttle buses could take advantage of the lack of traffic and parked cars at the bottom of Alexandra Park Way to turn in the layby there. This is much more necessary since the Fireworks Festival lasts several hours now, on each of 2 days.
For other events which do not attract such massive crowds as do the Fireworks, but which need to use the road, perhaps it could be closed to regular traffic, but not to the W3 bus.