This morning we walked along Wightman Road towards the train station and the pollution was unbearable. We noticed cars breaking hard when approaching the narrowing bays (drivers seem genuinely surprised by those bays) and then reaccelerating once they wiggled their way through them. Also we saw drivers not moving past the bay as they seemed concerned about the width and hitting oncoming traffic. This caused further build up of traffic which prevented ppl from moving on the green temporary traffic light.
The changes the council is making seem to cause all sorts of serious problems such as deteriorating road safety, build up of traffic and worsening air pollution.
What can we do about this?
I have to say that the traffic has decreased on Wightman Road and it's possible to cross the road quite easily now without angering motorists by using light-controlled pedestrian crossings. I think it's an improvement as far as pedestrians and local residents are concerned but maybe not for impatient motorists. But then aren't we all being encouraged to use private vehicles less, and to walk or cycle more?
The new bits are also much safer for cyclists - cars are moving slower & are more predictable, the islands in the middle of the road are gone etc.
Slowing down the traffic will be very important in reducing the volume of traffic, as the navigation apps like Google collect data from their users on road speeds and put them into their routing analysis. If Wightman Road is slower, then less traffic will use it, and pedestrians and cyclists will have a safer journey. Wightman has always been a potentially useful cycle route, but it has also always felt quite dangerous (speaking as a very experienced urban cyclist). A safer Wightman will promote more cycling.
Of course some drivers will be surprised the first time they see things have changed - and it's always going to be confusing when the work is in progress - but the new lay out is more straightforward than the old one.
It's been well established for decades that traffic fills the available roadspace, and this is even more true now with navigation apps helping to automate this. Unless we want to knock down thousands of houses (as was proposed in the 40s/50s), traffic management is the only answer. This is even more true when you consider air pollution, climate change and the health and social benefits of active travel.
I've used Wightman Road every day for the last 28 years. What was the problem that prompted the "chicanes"? I don't remember seeing any road traffic accidents, or vehicles going too fast. In fact, the bays that jut out can cause accidents as "macho" drivers refuse to give way to others. Parts of Wightman road are now single track, where you have to stop to allow oncoming traffic to pass you. If the intention by the council was to "calm" and slow traffic down, they've succeeded, but at what cost?
Maybe if it’s as unattractive to motorists as possible they’ll take their cars elsewhere? I’d certainly be happy if that was the outcome
like the filtering during the bridge replacement ? I was ok with that.
From my default glass-half-full perspective, as far as traffic speed and volume is concerned, it seems that the signs for residents and pedestrians are promising. I’m happy to wait and see what the final outcome will be.
Cycling on Wightman Road was mostly a nightmare before, now the nightmare is complete.
Agree with Kevin that the chicanes have been an unnecessary experiment. Transport engineers in local government, usually the old ones, always prioritise vehicle over peds and cyclist movement. They are the most difficult to work with as they think urban design is all flowery and secondary to making public spaces work. Ive clashed with Haringey Highways several times over their works/ consultation. The quality of these works continue to frustrate me.
Agree with Dyl, did anybody consider the danger to cyclists having to pull out in front of vehicles behind them, when passing the protrusions?
I've just walked past a couple of these chicanes on my way home from Hornsey station and noted that the walls of the chicanes where they meet the kerb at right angles are slanted downwards to road level as if the intention was to provide a cycle path in the gutter at some future date. Of course, the earth between these slanted bits would need to be replaced with something solid but it wouldn't be difficult to do this alteration.