Representatives of the Highgate Forum and Highgate Society have been in discussions with TfL and the boroughs for some years over possible changes to the 271 bus route. TfL has now launched a consultation on a proposal. We strongly support this.

Over the many years that these discussions have been going on our aims have been to:

  • Improve bus interconnections, and facilitate east-west journeys
  • Improve the look of North Road
  • Remove the 271 terminus from the High Street/South Grove
  • Stop the 214 making its dangerous turn outside St Michael’s primary school
  • Make Highgate safer for all but especially pedestrians and bus users
  • Have no loss of parking spaces

We feel that the proposal now being consulted on by TfL (until 13 March) does all of that. In essence, it is proposed that the 271 shares the 214 terminus on North Road. (Scroll down for a plan.) The alternatives – to run the bus to the bottom of North Hill, run it round Castle Yard and Southwood Lane, stop it at the Whittington and stop it at Archway – each have supporters, but do come with greater issues of practicality, disruption or cost.

Improving bus interconnections

The current 271 bus terminus is the only bus stop for the 271 in Highgate village for passengers heading south (the next being outside Channing School). This modest extension to the route will create 10 new interconnections for the 271 users (214 x 2, 210 x 2, 603 x 2 and 143 x4). This is the first step to better east-west connections.

Improving the look of North Road

Between St Michael’s School and the Gatehouse, North Road is an urban freeway, not a pleasant village road. This proposal will see a more sympathetic look with new trees being planted and new road surfaces. The “motorway” will go and traffic speeds will fall.

Removal of the 271 terminus from the High Street

The current location of the 271 terminus is an eyesore. It blights the centre of Highgate village. Its removal will improve traffic flow as well as amenity. We propose to hold meetings to gather ideas of what to do with the space vacated by the terminus, and then consult, once the stop has moved.

Make Highgate safer for all but especially pedestrians and bus users

Safety is paramount. This proposal:

  • eradicates the need for the dash across the High Street which has always been a danger to bus users wanting to take the first bus south
  • slows traffic on North Road to a pace consistent with a “village” road with perhaps 5,000 pupil crossings on a school day
  • introduces a new crossing on North Road
  • stops buses turning at the roundabout outside St Michael’s School
  • stops the 271 turning in the High Street causing less blockage (and less road rage)
  • makes the 271 accessible to those who cannot take a large step up or down

TfL has tested the turning of buses where the new roundabout would be located.

If you have any questions or queries please contact the Highgate Society and Highgate Forum teams at info@forhighgate.org or fill in the comment box below.

Historical footnote: The present 271 turn around was used from 1939, it seems, when the 611 trolleybus replaced tram no 11, the last to operate in north London. The 271 route itself has been running since 1960.

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