The independent London newspaper

We can draw lessons from the Highbury Corner ‘consultation’

18 September, 2020

• CORRESPONDENTS who complain about the lack of consultation for the temporary measures designed to bring Low Traffic Neighbourhoods should reflect on the experience of Highbury Corner.

That scheme ticked all the consultation boxes. It was the subject of several consultations over more than 10 years.

These consultations excluded the one scheme that might have worked, advocated by James Dunnett, of closing the eastern arm.

As well as providing a bay for the 277 bus directly outside the station, it would have mitigated the loss of trees and green space which is now planned for Dixon Clark Court.

Instead we have six lanes of traffic which are a hazard to pedestrians, a cycle route that encourages many cyclists to weave through traffic and pedestrians, and a severely diminished bus service along St Paul’s Road.

No phasing of the traffic lights (which are too close together to work properly) has yet been found to prevent traffic build-up and consequent rat-running that the LTN schemes seek to address.

Nonetheless, and somewhat against the run of play in other spheres, there is unanimity between the mainstream political parties that we cannot afford to allow the private car to take the place, even temporarily, of public transport restricted by social distancing and a requirement to wear face coverings.

We have to explore measures that facilitate walking and safe cycling. The temporary measures may not be as visually attractive as permanent ones, but they are an improvement on the unsightly row of vehicles that were not present to disfigure our streets when they were first built.

Some of the changes will have unforeseen or unintended consequences, residents are not traffic engineers and traffic engineers are unlikely to have the direct local knowledge of residents.

Far better to consult when we know what these consequences are.

Wall Street, N1


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