HNF response to Haringey’s Walking and Cycling Action Plan

by | Nov 19, 2021 | Economic activity, Open Spaces, Social & Community, Traffic & Transport | 1 comment

A number of HNF Committee members have commented on this Action Plan. We hope their thoughts will encourage others to comment on the Plan  and, of course, influence Haringey’s future policy.

Maggy Meade-King, HNF Secretary and lead HNF Green Working Party

  1. We welcome the emphasis on active travel in the Borough + Objectives in 1.8 and 1.9 are spot on.
  1. The MTS Healthy Streets approach is a useful framework.
  1. We approve policies 1-5
  1. Walking in Haringey in the future 7.6 Local Centres: no mention of Highgate High Street or Archway Road commercial hubs – looks like we have been lumped in with Muswell Hill, which is inappropriate and accentuates the danger that we will be left out – once again – of new walking and cycling networks. This is a great pity as, not only does Highgate offer two interesting and characterful shopping areas, but we are also the gateway to Hampstead Heath for many Haringey residents.
  1. 12 This is born out by the exclusion of Highgate from planning for future walking corridors. We strongly object to this.
  1. Likewise, we would like to be included in planning for a green grid for the borough. To that end, we are working on developing our own green corridors within Highgate.
  1. Cycling in Haringey – the future: 8: again Highgate has been left out of plans. We strongly object to this for all the reasons outlined above.
  1. 8.25: Glad to see Highgate included in Recommended Cycle Corridors

Alicia Pivaro, HNF Chair: Key issues for discussion:

  • Joined up/linking to Camden and Islington (so working with other forums in this) another joint project (like Hoppa) would be great.
    • also overlaid with new work on green corridors inc. greening of roads, street trees for walking/eco routes = CREATING MAPS FOR THESE
  • High Streets – include Highgate and Archway – include issues of traffic calming/slowing speeds particularly on narrow high streets eg. Highgate
  • Electric bikes, scooter and cycle hire needs to be emphasised
  • 5.13.need to add Highgate
  • 7.11 add Highgate with routes to Crouch End – also enhance E – W connections across key barriers roads/rails
  • Proposed new cycle 8.11 – none in Highgate
  • 8.24 recommended cycle corridors add to Crouch End
  • 11.66 Car Free Day – would be wonderful to see this on Highgate High Street
    Richard Webber, HNF Transport Lead:As regards the overall strategy, there is a difference between monitoring the success of the plan (which is what Haringeuy plan to do) and monitoring the impact of the plan (which is what is needed).The plan is successful if it is implemented in the manner proposed but the more important issue is whether the actions lead to a measurable change in, for example, % children walking to school, % reduction in obesity, improvement in pollution and so forth.  Without regard to measurable impacts it is easy to spend money on project which signal virtue but do little else.

    So, if and when we talk to the authors of the plan, I hope we can tax them on what metrics we can put in place to establish whether these changes will have made any difference.

    Ian Henghes, HNF Green Working Party:

    Overall

    •  Good priorities (Walking first then cycling, public transport, EV, others)
    •  Needs an executive summary and/or companion document as OMs (Ordinary Mortals) are never going to wade through this.
    •  Not enough about positive planning for a sustainable zero carbon future
    •  Borough boundary location is a huge issue for Highgate which seems to be very literally ‘peripheral’ to the plans. A strategy like this only works properly if implemented cross-borough in close collaboration with neighbouring authorities. The fear is that cycleways (especially local) and LTAs may not be properly ‘joined up’. Poor implementation will be very negative especially for residents near borough boundaries.
    •  Where there is opportunity for green spaces pathways these should be prioritised so long as the are not to the detriment of local flora and fauna
    •  Positive incentives should be encouraged
    •  Negative incentives are necessary but need careful communicating (e.g. cars must wait for pedestrians and cyclists / be slowed down / charged more)
    •  There is a certain amount of repetition in the document some of which is likely unnecessary
    •  Strategy needs to do more on how it makes a contribution to CO2 reduction.

    Data

    •  Cycling is positive for small retail centres (9th avenue manhattan up by 49%) p13 section 3.4
    •  Parking spaces converted to leisure (open space) = + 172% retail sales! P14
    •  20% men cycle 8% women P17

    Questions

    1. In 2019 a climate emergency was declared in Haringey. Does this have any tangible consequences or is it merely a token recognition of the need for change.
    2. 40% of Haringey households have a car and this is falling – how does Highgate compare?
    3. BAME less likely to cycle – how can communities be encouraged?
    4. Switchable trips are shown on P26 – What evidence is there to support these figures?
    5. Can UK data be found? Can inferences be made in relation to specific centres?
    6. Is there evidence to show that LTNs result in real traffic reductions rather than just shifting the problem onto ever more congested main roads?

    Air quality & health

    •  Evidence on health of walking
    •  P20 map – Air Quality on Highgate Hill is worse than shown – don’t understand the ‘switchable walking trips’
    •  P33 NO2 levels seem low. – By way of comparison see

    https://forhighgate.org/air-quality-update/ – Surely Highgate should be in the red?!

    Need for

    •  Cycles routes to Hampstead / Camden town / Muswell Hill / A ‘Northern Heights’ route. Important to show how routes reach into neighbouring boroughs…
    •  Map p24 are the three squares on borough boundary in Highgate which should be shaded as they are also ‘network gaps’ in cycle routes. No obvious connection to Camden / Islington.
    •  Shared car schemes / hybrid travel planning (people changing transport modes)
    •  It is important that boundary roads are not ignored in planning for cycling. Co-ordination with neighbouring Councils is vital so that they are properly integrated into a cross-borough approach.

    More specific notes

    •  Add walking routes on P42 map
    •  P45 connections through Highgate to neighbouring boroughs for cycling.
    •  p47 Future Cycling Network shows Southwood Lane as an axis for a route. It is narrow and dangerous as there is not room for cycles unless perhaps cars were made one way at a time with traffic lights. There is also no clarity on how it would connect through Highgate. The South Grove route that is implied would involve a right turn in the middle of a narrow and busy road.
    •  P49 shows there is not much east west being planned at the south of the borough.

    Low Traffic Networks P55 onwards

    LTNs need to be developed in partnership with neighbouring councils where they approach borough boundaries. Otherwise they could readily end up making certain streets nigh-on inaccessible for residents in motor vehicles.

    A public communications campaign is needed with the introduction of LTNs – Forum can play a role but must be coordinated with Camden, Islington, Barnet and other forums.

    P60 map shows castle yard as inside a ‘no through access for vehicles’ zone! This is incorrect.

    The Archway bridge may be read by planners as presenting a ‘junction’ with Archway road which of course it does not. Worth highlighting as access to and from the Archway Road for residents in motor vehicles is important such as at the foot of Cromwell Avenue.

    Aside from increasing congestion on larger roads, there is a real danger of LTNs increasing CO2 as journey times increase due to longer routes to get in to and out of LTN areas.

    If Sat Navs are significantly responsible for non-local traffic in local roads it should be possible to find a technical solution to getting LTN areas delisted as through routes. This would require legislation but ultimately be much cheaper than other measures.

    P61 9.24 re piecemeal and isolated LTN problems needs putting in context of working with neighbouring boroughs to avoid spill-over and ensure there are accessible access points for residents approaching from different areas. Saying ‘main roads generally have the capacity to cope with increased volumes’ could be a recipe for change resulting in intolerable levels of congestion, pollution, delay and all-round dissatisfaction.

    Is it possible to develop ‘smart LTNs’ perhaps ones which allow electric vehicles through rising bollards or similar? This would also be an incentive to move to electric vehicle ownership.

    It is not clear if any studies indicate that the reduction in overall traffic in an area properly accounts for main roads and what the long term impact on main roads is following LTN introduction. Highgate Village and Archway road are congested as it is. Making them intolerably congested would drive shoppers and residents away from their own local centres.

    An AAP (Area Action Plan) should be prepared for the whole Highgate Neighbourhood Forum area including Camden!

    P70 map – Highgate is a local centre and should be shown as such

    Louise Lewis, HNF Green Working Party:

    Major problems with this paper.

    Its aims are worthy if ’motherhood and apple pie’ but

    1. The writers do not seem to have engaged with knowledgeable parties from the Community eg Haringey Cycling Campaign
    2. The writers do not appear to have walked or cycled the areas they talk about
    3. A lot of the presentation is impenetrable from the language and acronyms used to the obscure visuals
    4. The supporting data is problematic
    5. It is unclear how proposals will be implemented on the ground
    6. It would have been salutary to read the 2004 cycling report which says much the same. Although the big London Cycling Route (LC1) part of the London Cycling Plan has been implemented (some time ago and with huge problems) not much has been done at the local level.
    7. A realistic cycling and walking policy cannot be formulated in isolation. It needs to be an integral part of the transport policy. The competing interests of traffic, pedestrians and bicycles/scooters/skateboards need to be taken into account. The use of the entire highway, the pavement and the road, needs to be apportioned to maximise positive effects while minimising the negative. The Council also needs to find a way of maximising support while minimising dissent.For a vision, Haringey should remember the wonder of the first lockdown in March 2020. The streets were empty; we could walk and cycle without fear; we could breathe the air without coughing and gagging, we could hear the birds. It was all very peaceful. Not only was there an increase in walking, some of which has been maintained, there was a huge increase in cycling. We still see the sporty leisure cyclists, but the families with children and the children and young people individually, have largely disappeared. The key driver is safety. No parent want to let their child loose on the roads as they are. This plan does not address the problem in any meaningful way. The emphasis seems to be on adult commuting.The absence of Highgate is noticeable. The fact that Highgate is high is mentioned but not the fact that it rises from 200 feet to over 400 feet within a short distance. While there are many cyclists who welcome the challenge, many would prefer to use electric bikes or scooters. There is no mention of any such encouragement in the paper.The Highgate Neighbourhood Plan has objectives and policies that should be taken into consideration in any Cycling and Walking Plan.

      Core Objective 1: Social and Community Needs

      SO1.3 Successful joint working between and with the various authorities to ensure a mix of housing and access for all to well-maintained community facilities

      It is not clear that this Plan has consulted or co-ordinated with Camden, or Islington, in any meaningful way.

      Core Objective 3: Traffic and Transport

      SO3.1 To promote sustainable modes of transport with special regard to the wellbeing of pedestrians.

      There is no mention of electric bikes or scooters. There is no mention of upgrading pavement surfaces to accommodate wheel chairs.

      Core Objective 4: Open Spaces and Public Realm

      SO4.1 To promote safer and more attractive open spaces and public realm

      Our key problem in Highgate is the sheer volume of traffic both in the High Street and in the Archway Road. The slow snailsnake of traffic spewing exhaust makes our air as filthy as Crouch end, Muswell Hill, and Wood Green. It is unclear where the figures in this paper come from but according to the current Air Quality Survey

      https://www.londonair.org.uk/london/asp/annualmaps.asp?species=NO2&LayerStrength=95&lat=51.56960650036727&lon=-0.15223172451377387&zoom=15

      demonstrate that NO2  in our two main roads is as bad as anywhere in the borough with the exception of Tottenham Hale and Turnpike Lane.

      Highgate’s needs

      With 4000 children coming into the area every school day, many by car, we need a far more robust approach to The Active School Run. Planning Permissions for school development  should highlight the need for cycle parks; there should be strictly limited stopping in the areas around schools between certain hours. (kiss and drop).

      We need far more cycle stands and cycle hangars.  Again, any planning permission should have a strong, enforced Condition for cycle provision. There are no cycle stands in Haringey part of the core village area.

      Co-ordination with TfL to provide far more cycle parking at the Underground Station.

      The development of LCN 6: Barnet – Alexandra Palace – Hornsey – Camden – West End (an extraordinarily circumlocuitous route) There is the start of such a route but it fizzles out at Highgate Underground Station.

      Bus Lanes should be shared with cycles but should be made 24/7 so cyclists always have use of them.

      The pavement in Highgate village is very narrow. It does not permit people to pass with any gap, let alone 2 metres. It is also unsuitable for wheelchair users. This area has to be co-ordinated with Camden, who control the other side of the road. The issue of balancing parking, road use and pavement; pedestrians, cyclists, cars, vans, lorries needs a holistic approach co-ordinated by the two boroughs.

      Muswell Hill Road needs a proper cycle lane and the traffic island outside number 44 needs to be moved so it is in the centre of the road.

      Traffic lights to be phased to favour cyclists. It is impossible for an average cyclist to get from Muswell Hill Road/ Wood Lane intersection lights, through the Archway Road/Southwood Lane lights before the latter turn red.  The lights due north on the Archway Road change so quickly that a cyclist can be caught going across, even if the lights were green going across.

      Temporary traffic lights to be phased with cyclists in mind. When long sections of road are disrupted the lights do not leave enough time for ordinary cyclists to get to the end before the oncoming traffic starts.

      In fact the whole of this plan has that elephant in the room: traffic.

      Take Southwood Lane: The width from wall to wall outside number 97 is 9.9 metres. The width of the two pavements is 4.7ms (2.06ms + 1.65ms ) the width of the parking is 1.9ms leaving 4.3ms for the road. Many cars are now 2.2 metres wide. Eg Range Rover. This is nearly 50 cms more than smaller cars. Eg Volkswagen Polo.1.75. When cars are parked there, as they usually are, two smaller cars can pass each other but two larger cars cannot leading to hold ups and bad temper. Cyclist just get in the way! Indeed, these larger cars can barely fit into the parking space and often park outwith the lines.

      There are, I believe, rather more pedestrians than cars as it is the route from the station to the village. However, the amount of highway, allocated to pedestrians is just 4.7ms while cars have 6.2. The situation is worse north of the Jackson’s Lane junction as there is only one narrow pavement. There are far more pedestrians using this road, despite the fact it is so steep but far more room is devoted to traffic.

      Not only is there no mention of e-bikes but no one, anywhere, seems to have seriously addressed the problem of scooter and e-scooters or skateboards and e-skateboards. Should they be classed as road or pavement users and how can they be accommodated.

      There is no thought of producing a SatNav App for cyclists or pedestrians or using QR codes eg on lampposts. It is all rather unimaginative.

      To end it all, this is all a bit of a charade. Haringey had a Cycling Policy which they never adopted. The authors of this paper do not seem to have read it. Under that Haringey was supposed to appoint a Cycling Officer, but they never did. They did produce a very good pamphlet, “Smarter Travel Cycling Guide” with a map which the authors of this paper could have usefully referenced. Sadly the map isn’t even on Haringey’s website.

      Haringey would do better to look at their current cycling policy and Local Government Plan and implement those. They need to tell the entire Highways Team to read it, particularly the transport section and particularly page 88 onwards. They should reference that approach in all their schemes.

      Haringey needs to have a Cycling Officer and a Walking Officer to work within the team.

      There is no point spending more money on writing a new policy when the current one has not been implemented.

       

RELATED POSTS:

Proposed changes to Highgate’s bus services

Proposed changes to Highgate’s bus services

TfL are proposing to merge route 271 with routes 21 and 263 to provide a new structure for the local bus network. The 263 would be re-routed via Highgate Village and the 21 would re-routed to run between Holloway and Lewisham. The day service on route 271 would no...

1 Comment

  1. Tony Baker

    For the elderly and infirm cycling is NOT the natural choice, especially in winter. Cycling should not be promoted at the expense of public transport. I took a 43 bus recently from lower Upper Street in Islington. The bus took 9 minutes to get from the stop before the Highbury roundabout to the next stop just past the station. During that time not a single cycle used the cycle lane. A cost/benefit backcheck on the whole new roundabout layout would show a very negative return. I would not wish to see Haringey promoting similar “poor value” schemes.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *