Please Don’t Let The Council Make Our Traffic Even Worse!

Living Wightman campaigners will be delivering a leaflet to local households soon, the text of this is reproduced below. If you can help deliver leaflets please get in touch via email, Facebook or Twitter; you can also make a donation via Just Giving to help us pay for the leaflets and other materials for campaign events. Thank you!

Please Don’t Let The Council Make Our Traffic Even Worse!

Haringey Council has been running a transport study, set up to reduce our excessive traffic burden. Over 114,000 vehicles a week on Wightman Road - higher than on Turnpike Lane and several other local A-roads!

We expect our councillors to protect residents from the accumulated bad effects of past decisions - we want traffic greatly reduced and nothing less will do. However, we are concerned the Council will
take a decision that will make traffic even worse, at the expense of the people who live, work or go to school here, or like to walk, run or ride a bike through the area. Many of you signed our petition and surveys during the Wightman Road bridgeworks – thank you, this showed around 80% in favour of a drastic reduction in traffic – we now need your support again!

Online Survey

The Council has just launched an online survey for local residents. The survey asks what you think of four option packages to change the road layout in our area:
  • Package 1 – Minor changes
  • Packages 2 & 3 – Make Wightman Road one-way (either north or southbound)
  • Package 4 – “Filtering”
If the wrong option is chosen traffic will get worse: we understand the Council’s favoured option is to turn Wightman Road into a one-way road, thus making the whole Ladder a huge one-way system. Let’s look at each Package in a bit more detail.

Package 1 Minor Changes

Some of the options in this Package are desirable, but even taken together they would not solve the problem of excessive traffic. Wightman Road would remain fully accessible to through traffic, and since Wightman Road has far fewer interruptions than Green Lanes, through traffic will continue to use Wightman, plus a Ladder “rung” as a rat run.

Packages 2 & 3 – Make Wightman Road one-way (either north or southbound)

At first glance you might expect a one-way road to reduce traffic – if traffic was one-way northbound then all the southbound traffic would have to go elsewhere? However it could mean the exact opposite – one-way systems increase a road’s capacity and so over time actually attract even more through-traffic into the area. This is particularly true over the next few years with several new housing developments already underway and a Council plan to completely rebuild and expand Wood Green as a “Metropolitan Town Centre” to serve neighbouring boroughs. Traffic will also increase because a one-way Wightman would make rat running up and down the rungs even easier, for example northbound rat runners wouldn’t have to cross oncoming traffic to turn right at the top of a rung.

One-way systems have many other negative impacts too – that is why most cities around the world, including London, are doing away with one-way systems. They have been proven to:
  • increase traffic speeds
  • reduce safety - one study showed that collisions are twice as likely on one-way roads
  • reduce livability  - vehicles stop less on one-way streets, which is hard for bikers and pedestrians
  • significantly increase traffic
  • increase crime rates

Package 4 Filtering

“Filtering” means allowing residents’ vehicles and deliveries to access their own homes, plus pedestrians and cyclists to use the roads safely, but filter out through-traffic from all other motor vehicles. In the Ladder road layout this is achieved most simply by placing physical barriers or gates at intervals along Wightman Road, thus creating a series of loops which exit Green Lanes on one rung but return on the next. It is similar to the road layout in place during the Wightman Road bridgeworks in 2016 (so is proven to be effective at eliminating rat running), but would be accompanied by mitigating measures in the surrounding area to keep traffic flowing. (“Mitigation” means clearing all the obstacles on the local A roads that hinder traffic and adjusting traffic light phases to match the new flow. These hindrances were the main reason for delays when Wightman Road was closed but it doesn’t have to be like that!)

Filtering will bring many significant benefits:
  • Traffic reductions of 60% or more on most rungs, and 90% on Wightman Road itself.
  • 8% of traffic in the surrounding area will disappear, as people use their cars less, reducing pollution not just on Wightman and the “rungs”, but also Green Lanes and the wider area.
  • Health improvements – e.g. reductions in stunted lung growth in children, heart disease, cancer, asthma and dementia.
  • Less noise, pollution and better road safety encourages adults and children to walk and cycle more.
  • Benefits to the economy by cutting NHS costs and reducing time off work because of illness.
  • Residents will be able to enjoy the space at the front of their home without noise and pollution, which promotes a friendlier environment, sense of community and lower crime rates.
  • Reduced stress-related and mental health issues caused by eroded sense of community, interrupted sleep and other traffic-related problems.
The cost? During the Wightman Road bridgeworks in 2016 some car and bus journey times increased at some times of the day or became unreliable particularly in the first few weeks while traffic patterns adjusted. Of course there were no mitigation measures in place at that time, which would have significantly improved journey reliability. But even if a car journey take a bit longer at certain times of day - isn't this a price worth paying in return for all the benefits listed above?


We believe that Package 1 “Minor Improvements” will make no difference, Packages 2&3 will make matters worse and that only Package 4 offers the only viable lasting solution to excessive traffic.


Complete the Council's online survey here before May 14th. Please encourage your neighbours, friends and colleagues to complete the survey too! To find out more, show your support for our campaign or get involved you can:

WE ARE ALSO FUNDRAISING TO PRINT LEAFLETS AND RUN CAMPAIGN EVENTS. Please donate to the Living Wightman campaign by making a donation at our Just Giving page here