1st Feb 2016
More than 1,000 Islington and Haringey residents have signed petitions calling on Transport for London to re-think its controversial plan for the Archway gyratory.
TfL’s works are due to start today, February 1st, continuing until summer 2017. A public protest is planned in Archway for Saturday, February 6th .
The protests focus on two aspects of the plan: the relocation of bus stands to the bottom of Archway Road, and the banning of the right turn from St John’s Way to Highgate Hill and Archway Road.
Residents and parents are alarmed that TfL is pressing ahead with construction despite concerns expressed at public consultations and meetings. The proposals will mean:
- Routing up to 120 additional vehicles an hour through Vorley Road , just inches from Archway Children’s Centre, increasing already dangerous levels of pollution and the risk of accidents.
- 50 buses an hour U-turning on Archway Road , halting A1 traffic in both directions.
- Narrowing the bottom of Archway Road to a single lane to accommodate new bus stands replacing those currently on Vorley Road.
- Traffic dispersed by the banned right turn from St John’s Way will have to use local residential streets to go north. This will include Vorley Road south of the gyratory and the Whitehall Park network of roads to the north.
Protesters fear the plans will lead to greatly increased pollution, especially around the children’s centre and Whitehall Park conservation area; increased congestion around the Archway area and displaced vehicles being forced to use quiet residential streets as rat-runs.
In a letter to residents dated 11 January 2016, TfL asked for comments on the bus routes serving the Archway area, but stated that ‘decisions on the layout of the roads and the location of bus stops and stands have already been taken as part of the earlier consultation on the road layout’. (In January 2014)
“I am surprised that TfL considers the 2014 consultation closed when there are so many unresolved issues. We have been in dialogue with TfL and Islington Council for more than a year now, because we know the scheme can be better. Space constraint, performance and safety standards are not insurmountable problems and we have a dedicated team of architects and traffic planners proposing alternatives,”
says #n19air campaigner Kiat Phua.
“It is a complex project with repercussions for residents and roads users, so we are asking TfL to come back and address stakeholders’ concerns.”
Other residents say they have been continuously challenging these earlier consultations but their arguments have fallen on deaf ears. They are also angry that road works are starting three weeks before the bus consultation is concluded.
“What TfL disingenuously calls ‘consultation’ has barely been lip-service; every suggestion has been dismissed out of hand or later misrepresented. There is fury at such blatant disregard of serious concerns,”
Jenny Thompson, local resident.
TfL claims it will ‘make the town centre a more pleasant accessible and safe environment for all road users’. That’s exactly the problem, say people who live in the area – local residents, including the area’s young children, are being sidelined – in favour of road users.
A coalition of local community groups, businesses, schools and residents have put forward alternative solutions to TfL, but say that they have been rebuffed. They also claim that Islington Council has failed adequately to represent their concerns, and even exacerbated the problem by allowing a left turn into Vorley Road on top of the traffic from St John’s Way.
“Islington Council said in Aug 2015 that traffic past the nursery won’t increase as a result of changes to the gyratory. We strongly disagree and have yet to see convincing evidence to support this. Additionally, five months later and outside of the public consultation, they have added another stream of traffic from Junction Road. Even if traffic on Vorley Road doesn’t increase – which is inconceivable – this creates a dangerous intersection outside a nursery,”
says Ginny Hendricks, of Archway Children’s Centre Parents & Carers Forum.
Whitehall Park and Highgate residents, Jess Sofer and Anna Squires, say:
“Many of us welcomed improvements to Archway when the concept was presented back in 2014. What we’re getting is one giant leap backwards as it’s been taken out of the hands of the community groups who drove it.”