London’s Mayoral Candidates respond to Child Safety Fears due to Archway Gyratory Enlargement

In March 2016, we asked the London Mayoral candidates an important question:

Local groups are asking for:

  1. retaining a right turn from St John’s Way to avoid rat-runs through residential streets and substantial increases in traffic past nurseries and schools and
  2. buses to run to the Whittington Hospital/Upper Holloway Station. TfL has rejected this thus far for reasons varying from journey times, junction efficiencies and space constraints, despite the fact architects and planners have proposed ways these technicalities can be resolved. For details, please see Archway background with chronology attached.

If you are elected as London Mayor in May, what steps would you take to address these concerns? 

They all responded:

CAROLINE PIDGEON, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, SAYS:

“While supporting the principle of removing the gyratory, I have serious concerns about the details. Work should be paused pending a review, with particular focus on reconsidering:

  • Bus stands placed on Archway Road, with 50+ U-turns an hour
  • No right turn from St. John’s Way
  • Traffic levels on Vorley Road

 This is also a good opportunity to examine about whether some bus routes can go via Whittington Hospital to improve access to it and I have asked Transport for London to consider this.”

SIAN BERRY, GREEN PARTY, SAYS:

“Archway was the place I first lived in London and I now represent nearby Highgate Ward in Camden. Alongside Greens in Islington and on the London Assembly I’ve supported a project to get the traffic-dominated Archway gyratory removed and a quality public space created in its place for many years, including putting it in my 2008 manifesto when I last stood for Mayor of London. Giving more priority to walking, to a quality public transport interchange, to people spending time in the area and to people cycling – at the expense of road space for motor vehicles – is a big step forward in the current plans.

However, the details of all schemes like this are important to get right and it is disappointing that Transport for London has not made certain changes that would have removed completely the one-way system and cut the risk of creating new rat-runs and increasing traffic past the children’s centre on Vorley Road, despite strong calls from the community.

My colleague Councillor Caroline Russell in Islington has called for this to be looked at again and has helped organise meetings between Better Archway and Whitehall Park residents and TfL. She has also called for empty bus running to be eliminated by running buses to points of demand such as the Whittington Hospital. I joined her recently at the children’s centre to warn of the increased pollution that would be suffered by the very young Londoners there.

As Mayor I wouldn’t want to delay the project, but would look again at the option of completing the main layout changes without making the details of all the traffic movements permanently fixed until other options, including allowing right turns from St John’s Way, were tested on a temporary basis.

If we did this, I don’t believe the right turn would necessarily cause the longer journey times or new traffic on side streets predicted by TfL’s models. As with similar projects to create space for cycling elsewhere in London, car trips tend to ‘evaporate’ when road space changes are made to make places better to walk and cycle to and from and, with strong community support, I believe we could find a way to make these options work if we were more flexible with this project.”

ZAC GOLDSMITH, CONSERVATIVE PARTY, SAYS:

“As Mayor I will always work with boroughs to make sure that the views of residents are heard and represented. 

I have looked carefully at the plans for Archway and can see residents are concerned to see the retention of the right turn from St John’s Way.  TfL may need to look again at their plans to make sure the proposals work for the benefit of the majority of road users, residents and businesses. 

If I am elected Mayor I will make sure we get this right so that the proposals work for local road users, residents and businesses.  My Action Plan for Greater London will keep London moving by continuing to invest in infrastructure and tackling congestion in Archway.”

SADIQ KHAN, LABOUR PARTY, SAYS:

“Many thanks for your email to Sadiq on the subject of the Archway gyratory.

TfL have an ongoing programme to remove gyratory systems, many of which were installed in the 1960s and 1970s. The aim is to make major junctions safer for cars, cyclists and pedestrians and generally improve the local environment. I believe this is the right approach.

Of course, it is absolutely crucial that any proposals are developed in full with local residents, and that there is a full and open public consultation process. This maximises the chance of problems being ironed out.

Your email raises two specific concerns – the right turn from St John’s Way and buses running to and from the Whittington Hospital/Upper Holloway Station. It is Sadiq’s understanding that Islington Council, together with TfL, will be carefully monitoring any changes in traffic movements in the area. In the event that additional changes are needed, further public consultation will be carried out. On buses, Islington Council have asked TfL to continue to look at this, but it is a decision for TfL and the Whittington Hospital. If Sadiq is elected in May, he will ask TfL to look again closely at this.”