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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I know the work hasn't finished yet and I've been trying to hold off passing judgment until the road updates are complete but I just cannot see how these changes are an improvement. 

I used to cross the road a lot using the island by Mattison Road. I have a two year old with limited road sense and right now I'm heavily pregnant. Trying to cross the road with my son and bags is a total nightmare! Before I just needed to look one way at a time - now I need to check for traffic going both ways and coming out of Mattison Road too. I find it quite stressful!

I don't feel confident weaving between traffic when it slows for a chicane because your view is blocked and I worry that a moped might be weaving through so end up waiting for ages to cross. Motorists are too busy trying to navigate the road to also look out for pedestrians. 

On top of that - all the queuing traffic makes the road feel busier, even if there are fewer cars and the amount of angry beeping I hear now has definitely gone up! (although I appreciate there are still temporary traffic lights further down so perhaps this will improve)

What options do we have to lobby the council to make further changes? I wrote to express my concerns about the 'informal crossing' points when they sent details of the road changes but that had no impact. I feel like a few zebra crossing at key points along the road could help - especially where lots of kids are crossing i.e. at Mattison or Pemberton near the school. 

But what is most effective way to get the council to listen? Emails and complaints to local councils and councillors might elicit responses - but actual action? 

And more to the point - does anyone else share this concern? 

 

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Hi Genevieve, I live on Wightman Road and feel your pain! I'm hoping things will improve when it's finished though (for pedestrians at least). The plans we received through the door shown a zebra crossing near the top of Pemberton Road where the speed bump is (and I think there were some elsewhere as well). I'm not sure what order they're doing the works, as there seem to be a lot of sections incomplete, but I hope they are still planning to put these in place. Can't answer your question about who to lobby I'm afraid, but good luck! Kate

I rarely cross it on foot but totally empathise. I don't understand the aversion to zebra crossings, I'd put one between every ladder street.

It’s not the Zebras per se but the zig zag no parking areas either side that I assume would be no for Haringey 

And one at the end of every side street to reinforce the priority. 

The new scheme in the main replaces traffic islands with build-outs and informal crossings.  Only one new zebra was proposed - at the top of Pemberton (this should help you once it's put in place Genevieve). 

The sub-committee of the local residents group tasked with responding to the initial proposals on the Wightman works made strenuous objections to the informal crossings. They carry no legal obligation on motorists to stop and all evidence showed that they are not appropriate for Wightman and are universally disliked as unsafe. 

I dug up the following with advice from Highways England which we put in our submission:

The Highways England Design Manual for Roads and Bridges gives very clear guidance about where informal crossings should even be considered. Our understanding of this guidance is that a road with the conditions of Wightman Road is well outside the scope of consideration. Table 6/1 in the Manual (reproduced below) provides criteria to assist in determining whether ‘informal at-grade crossing facilities’ are appropriate, based upon Average Annual Daily Traffic flows (AADT).

The average flows on Wightman Road, as counted by the Council last year were 16,000 per day. This is 30% above the maximum suitability celling given by Highways England.

I also dug up some studies on the crossings which we quoted:

There are also many studies which have shown that informal crossings are the least popular type of crossing. For example, a study done by 'Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors' (a multi-disciplinary consortium, supported by a wide range of partners in industry, government and advocacy), concluded informal crossings and uncontrolled crossings are the least popular type of crossing. Typical comments from participants were:

“These are risky and confusing because of the uncertainty of who has got right of way”

“A nightmare – you can’t control it at all”

The response from Haringey was to add one Zebra by the New River Path near Alison and to reduce the number of informal crossings by three.

They also offered the following in their response:

The scheme is to be monitored post implementation to establish its effectiveness in achieving the set objectives, and to identify areas requiring further improvements.

One of the the problems with adding too many additional zebras is that each one has a much bigger no parking zone on both sides than is the case with informal crossings. This consumes much more parking space than an informal crossing. 

It's also worth pointing out that the cycling lobby came out strongly against the retention of the traffic islands since they create such a danger to cyclists. 

If anyone has any suggestions that can balance the need for safe crossing with the competing needs of parking and of cyclists, I'm sure the residents group would be interested. 

There is no need to balance the need for safe crossing with the needs of parking and cycling, these three needs are not in competition with each other. The thing that is in competition with all of them is 1200 vehicles per hour on Wightman Road which is totally unsuitable for carrying that volume of traffic.

The council pays lip service to prioritising walking and cycling over cars but doesn't seem to grasp that meaningful change requires a reduction in road capacity - such as closing Wightman Road to through-traffic.

Genevieve. Its not optimal is it. I have heard a lot of people saying they just feel the works have made no improvement, and may have inadvertently made it worse. In reality we just won't know until the works have been completed as you say.

The solution the council went for is not what what a number of local community groups advocated while there was a Steering Group process in play to discuss various options. However the council in their wisdom (which was never fully explained I should say) chose the option before you. The reality is what ever option was chosen (including 'do nothing') would have had someone (or most of us) up in arms. The council's (apparent) key driver was to keep traffic moving, and sadly Wightman (and the Ladder rung roads) were deemed as expendable.

In fairness the option chosen does try to meet one locally requested objective which was to make the footpaths passable by getting vehicles off them. The difficulty has been clearly designing chicanes so that cars can safely navigate the road but the problem is that folks just want to travel too fast. Therefore there is not enough room for cars to move safely. The council refused to put up speed cameras to force drivers to slow down- I guess because it costs too much and they don't see the revenue- though they were happy to put up a camera at the bottom of Hewitt from which I believe they *do* see the revenue!

I am about to put something together to go to the council about points residents have raised, but they were not responsive before the works began when we asked to meet and talk about their plans and their impact on residents. We got a totally blank wall, even after one of your three ward Councillors (Zena) pushed for such a meeting. So we will keep pressing, and we will be asking for a post implementation review to identify where unintended consequences have crept in.

As to crossings. I don't think a lot of red paint is going to help in the slightest, in fact I am worried they could be dangerous in lulling pedestrians into thinking they have the right of way (which actually they do). There is going to be a zebra crossing at the top of Pemberton, and one at the top of Allison/Hewitt near the New River path.

I think the most effective way t be heard is to lobby all three of your ward Councillors and have them earn their keep. Go to their surgeries, email, whatever and get them on the case and fighting your corner.

I completely agree.

I contacted the council several times during the consultation period (and afterwards).

As Hugh says there is plans to put a zebra crossing at the top of Pemberton. Despite the fact that the Junior's school entrance is on Mattison (and the infants entrance is in the middle of the passage between Pemberton and Mattison) so Mattison would be a more logical choice. I did raise this with the council and was told that they couldn't move the proposed zebra crossing because it would reduce parking. Although I am yet to understand how moving a zebra crossing would reduce parking but simple move it along the road to where the original zebra crossing was planned to be.

I also suggested an additional crossing around Hewitt Road as, as it stands there is nowhere to cross between the new zebra crossing on Pemberton and the current lights at Fairlands Park.

I also raised the issue about removing the islands making it harder to cross. And it really really is harder to cross now, even with the sticking out pavements.

I haven't seen any revised plans since the end of the consultation period and, from the work that has taken place so far, it appears no changes have been made to the original plans. Which, cynically, makes me wonder whether the consultation was a box ticking exercise rather than a genuine attempt to engage with, and respond to, concerns by people who use the road every day.

I hope, as you do too, once the work is completed it will be better. However at the moment I have my doubts. The road doesn't seen wide enough to fit the parked cars, and two lanes of traffic causing a lot of grumpy drivers - more beeping as you say - and more people speeding away from the chicanes as soon at they can, making the traffic even more unpredictable. And I predict a lot of damaged wing mirrors on parked cars (I hope that is the extent of the damage, but I fear it won't be).

For bikes too it looks more dangerous and I've notice a massive surge in bikes choosing to take the pavement. I don't blame them, I wouldn't fancy cycling along the road either. But that makes it more precarious for pedestrians as a result.

All in all, I hope to be proved wrong but the changes that have been made seem to benefit no one. Make life harder for a lot of users and aren't very well thought out.  

In terms of who to lobby all I have done, and will continue to do after the work has been completed, is email the councillors. I've had some lovely responses from them so far though very little action, but like you I don't know who else to contact about this. 

I would encourage the councillors to cycle to Wightman at 8:30 one morning, then park, and try and take their children or grandchildren across the road to school. This might help hit home how little the changes have done to improve the road. 

I've cycled along part of Wightman and found that vehilces can't pass me so, one is relying on a patient driver behind. They of course should be doing no more than 20mph, not an unrealistic speed for some cyclists ... on the flat.

Your request and ours was listened to and the revised plans did add a zebra between Hewitt and Allison - a blessing and a curse since Seymour, Hewitt and Allison have the most congested parking on the Ladder. 

Hi Genevieve, I couldn’t agree more with you. 

Crossing Wightman is more dangerous for the exact reasons you stated. I’ve experienced this myself many times.

I also find driving through Wightman much more stressful than before.  I now prefer to get stuck in Green Lanes traffic than endure the stress of navigating the narrowings of the road with dangerously inadequate markings. There are too many of them and hardly visible, especially in the dark. 

I hope that people who don’t live locally also make a decision to avoid Wightman and the Ladder. 

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