With all the attention on the benefits and disbenefits of the current closure of Wightman Road , we haven’t yet spent much time thinking about what the future of Wightman Road might be. With both the current closure and traffic study, now is the
ideal time for us to start that process.
I should perhaps begin by saying that I write in full knowledge of the problems caused by the current closure, including the significant impact on some businesses and longer queues at some ‘pinch points’ especially at ‘rush hour’. I’m also very aware that there is more traffic on some roads such as Hornsey High Street, Green Lanes and Turnpike Lane as well as other roads further afield. Alleviating those problems needs to remain uppermost in our minds.
It seems like the most discussed longer-term solution to Wightman Road’s woes locally is permanent closure. Could limiting access, in the current way be the best solution to the danger, pollution and noise caused by the traffic in the block of residential roads made up of Wightman and the ladder roads?
I was one of those who previously thought this was impractical. But now I’m beginning to question this assumption. I’ve been taken aback by seeing and hearing how significant a difference it’s making to people lives; small children cycling to school, cyclists calling out to each about how lovely it is, Wightman Roaders being able to open their windows for the first time, kids skateboarding, hearing birdsong, walking to the station actually being pleasant.
The dangerous pollution levels along Wightman Rd which breach EU limits presumably have been eliminated, taking significant numbers of people including children out of real danger. As others have said this option could also create a pleasant and safe cycling, jogging and walking route, not just for residents of the immediate area, but for a wider group of people across Haringey and beyond.
The other reason for my change of heart is that as time goes on, the level of negative impact gives cause for hope that it may be possible to find good mitigating solutions for the traffic and pollution dispacement. Does anyone have any ideas about what could be done in the surrounding area to help buses flow or/and avoid traffic queues? Can anything be done about the pollution in Turnpike Lane and Green Lanes? What else would we need to think about?
If permanent closure is not the answer, it will be gut-wrenching just to go back to the old status quo and I think the Council will have a fierce fight on its hands if it wants to do that. So what other possible solutions are there that might both allow for an improved quality of life but allow some traffic flow to other Haringey residents? I’ve read elsewhere on HoL about the idea of road-pricing, or limiting access to HGVs. What could we do to drastically reduce cross London traffic rat-running along Wightman and the Ladder roads, yet still permit some access to more local traffic?
Is permanent closure the only option or is there another way?