9th February 2016
Dear Leon Daniels,
Re: Ongoing consultations for the Archway Gyratory improvement scheme
I believe that you are well aware that, although this scheme is broadly supported, there remain a number of details that concern the many thoughtful people who live locally and know the area well. There is a view that, despite many months of consultations, TfL have failed to listen and give due regard to these concerns. Sadly the recent briefing note will I suspect do little to alter this view.
Right turn out of St. John’s Way
Most recently residents of Whitehall Park and Hazellville Road (not previously consulted) have suggested that additional vehicles will use the side roads to get to Hornsey Lane. The number of vehicles is relatively low and a local traffic management scheme could be considered by the Council if problems materialise.
More worrying however is the fact that north-bound vehicles (including the 210 and 41 buses, whose journeys will be extended and which are not as yet listed for change to cleaner technology) will turn right from Junction Road into Vorley Road, a narrow street with restricted pavements where the Archway Early Years Centre and planned new housing are located. TfL have attended meetings and well know that parents are concerned for the physical safety of children as well as the quality of the air they breathe.
There has been little mention of blue light vehicles, particularly travelling from St. John’s Way to the Whittington Hospital. Are they really expected to pass at high speeds into the narrow Vorley Road and past the Early Years Centre?
Residents have been told that the right turn out of St. John’s Way is not feasible because there is limited space and it would necessitate an additional phase of the lights, so leading to the build-up on traffic on the Archway Road, although detailed figures and modelling have not been shared. Residents request that a road layout be installed that would enable the reintroduction of the right turn should future conditions allow. It is extremely unfortunate that at present TfL appear to be unwilling to consider this, or to share the data on which this decision is based.
No left turn from Junction Road into Vorley Road
This would reduce the volume of traffic passing the Early Years Centre and I plan to take this up with the Council.
Positioning of the bus stands and possible extension of routes
It has been pointed out that TfL’s current proposals make the arrangements for interchanges between the Tube, the increasingly busy Upper Holloway Overground Station and the various bus routes even more difficult than they are at present.
Better Archway Forum and others have suggested that the number of (empty) U-turning buses on the Archway Road could be reduced if two alternative turning points were implemented. These arrangements would both improve public transport interchanges and reduce car usage and parking around the hospital.
The Whittington would in principle be willing to allow buses from the south to set down and turn in the forecourt at Magdala Avenue. This would improve access to the hospital for those experiencing difficulty with the walk up Highgate Hill. (I gather that TfL have now discussed this proposal with the hospital, and should consider diverting, not extending, route 41 as well as route 390.)
Buses from the north (the W5 and 143) could turn right from Holloway Road into St. John’s Grove, set down for Upper Holloway Station and stand outside the church. This too has apparently been considered by TfL and rejected on cost rather than feasibility grounds. TfL argue that additional buses would be required to maintain frequencies, but surely this also applies to routes where empty buses are U-turning on the Archway Road. (It has also been pointed out that a stand at Upper Holloway would shorten journeys to the Holloway Bus Garage operated by Metroline.)
TfL claim that traffic “will run as smoothly as possible” while six bus routes do their U-turns and Archway Road traffic is stopped in both directions. It seems illogical that TfL find this acceptable but not the delay that would be caused by the right-turn out of St. John’s Way.
Pedestrians crossing the Archway Road
Whilst I understand TfL’s reasons for closing subways across London, there is concern locally that sole reliance on a surface level crossing could lead to accidents, particularly involving students from St. Aloysius College at the end of the school day. Further consideration of these arrangements is needed.
The current consultation does not allow (re)consideration of these details, many of which have been raised on numerous occasions. I repeat however that local people (the majority of whom support the scheme in principle) do not feel that TfL have shared their data or listened to their reasoned concerns. There is a lack of trust for a scheme that should enjoy widespread support in the area.
It is not too late to review these matters and I and my colleague Catherine West would be happy to attend an early meeting with you and a representative group of residents who have worked on these issues for many years. I’d be most grateful if your office could contact my diary secretary Janet Chapman (firstname.lastname@example.org) about the arrangements.