Living Wightman Comments on Haringey Draft Transport Strategy

Haringey has recently been consulting on its Draft Transport Strategy  (see Living Wightman submitted the following comments:

The draft strategy borrows heavily from recent Mayoral/ Greater London strategies but needs to have a more Haringey-centred view. To be effective, the strategy must recognise the implications of an obvious fact about Haringey’s geographical situation and consequent impact on transport – that many people live in outer boroughs, but work in, or want to visit, inner boroughs (including Haringey itself).

Much of our traffic is therefore “through traffic”. Haringey is virtually a box enclosed by red routes that run round the edge and much of our problems arise because of drivers seeking to find ways through the middle instead of staying on those main roads. The council’s recent transport study in the Green Lanes area found that over 50% of traffic is not local – not local residents or business employees, or residents’ visitors or customers of the businesses. A significant proportion of Haringey traffic as a whole is also not local – it is vehicles driving say between Enfield or Barnet or further afield, and Islington or Hackney or more central locations.

One implication of this is that many measures to promote active travel will have limited effect – they might encourage a few Haringey residents to walk or cycle rather than use the car, but will have no effect on non-Haringey residents. However there are measures which the council has the power to implement, for example by modal filtering to eliminate rat running, and restricting road capacity (except for buses), Haringey’s roads will become less attractive to both local and non-local traffic.

Specific comments:

1.       Where we want to be in 2026 (page 7)

·        “That more journeys will be taken by walking and cycling than by using a car”

Comment: We understand the modal share of active travel  (3% of journeys are by cycle and 37% by walking) is already higher than by car. We suggest a better target might be something like “to reduce the number of car journeys by 20% overall by 2020” and/or “to increase the modal share of cycling to 10% by 2020”. The targets also need to be time-based in a way that is meaningful for councillors and officers currently in post – targets for 2026 are just too far in the future to be effective in influencing current decisions. There need to be targets for 1, 3 and 5 years ahead.

2.       The four “Outcomes” (page 7):

·        “Outcome 1 - A public transport network that is better connected, has greater capacity and is more accessible, supporting our growth ambitions

·        Outcome 2 - Active travel the easier choice, with more people choosing to travel by walking or cycling 

·        Outcome 3 - An improved air quality and a reduction in carbon emissions from transport

·        Outcome 4 - A well maintained road network that is less congested and saferIt would better reflect Mayoral/TfL strategy”

Comment: We suggest it would better reflect Mayoral/TfL priorities if the active travel outcome - Outcome 2 - was listed first.

3.       Transport Geography diagram (page 8):

Comment: The diagram shows a dotted line along Wightman Road which the key indicates is part of a “Green Grid” for cyclists and pedestrians. Note that Wightman Road currently has a traffic flow of well over 1000 vehicle movements per hour for most of the day (actually higher than some neighbouring A-roads such as Turnpike Lane), as there are no restrictions on vehicles using the Harringay Ladder “rungs” as a rat run to avoid Green Lanes. This level of traffic discourages walking and cycling. We would welcome measures such as modal filtering of Wightman Road which would then facilitate its use as a Quietway and part of the “Green Grid”.

4.       Outcome 1 priorities (page 8)

·        “To increase connectivity, capacity and accessibility on our road and public transport networks to support our regeneration and growth ambitions for businesses, housing and jobs”

Comment: The capacity of the road network should not be increased (unless purely for the purpose of public transport), this will merely induce more traffic.

5.       Outcome 2 Priorities (page 9)

·        “increasing the use of electric vehicles and car sharing schemes”

Comment: Increasing electric vehicle use and car sharing does not promote active travel. This priority belongs under Outcome 3 (improved air quality). Also note that since the majority (60%) of Haringey residents do not own a car, promoting car sharing may increase car use rather than decrease it. Also note that although electric vehicles may decrease NOx gas emissions (a) they still contribute to pollution and climate change elsewhere (where the electricity is generated) and (b) they may increase particulate pollution since electric vehicles are heavier (batteries are heavier than fuel tanks). Petrol and particularly diesel cars need to be reduced, but electric vehicles are not a “silver bullet”.

We would like to see some specific measurable goals for the active travel outcome. For example, under Key Facts it states “Just under 40% of vehicle movements in Haringey could be replaced by cycling” – so what is the target level of replacement by cycling in 1, 3 and 5 years time? Specific targets should also be set for specific underrepresented cycling groups such as women, children and older people.

6.       Outcome 4 Priorities (page 10)

·        “To minimise the use of our back streets as ‘rat runs’.”

Comment: The strategy should be to eliminate (e.g. by modal filtering) rather than minimise (e.g. by width restrictions or right turn bans etc.). We note the Council has recently decided not to minimise rat running in the Harringay Ladder (an area of 13,000 residents currently blighted by excessive traffic) – which could be eliminated by modal filtering of Wightman Road.

7.       Comment: The strategy should clearly state the council’s policy as regards the borough’s willingness to bear the burden imposed by traffic that wishes to use its roads purely as routes for private vehicles to pass through.

8.       Comment: The strategy should include concrete data about the dimensions of roads in the borough and their suitability/capacity for carrying traffic. If a road such as Wightman Road is not wide enough to accommodate two lanes of traffic without pavement parking, then it should not be expected to carry over 1000 vehicles per hour. The strategy should state that meaningful measures should be taken to significantly reduce the traffic flow in these circumstances.

9.       Comment: Population growth is mentioned on page 6 but only the projections for Haringey itself. The strategy also needs to take account of the projected population growth not just in Haringey, but also the even higher projections for neighbouring boroughs such as Enfield and Barnet (plus the higher levels of car ownership in those boroughs), and the potential adverse impact of this on Haringey residents if our roads continue to be fully accessible to through traffic.

10.   Comment: The strategy should be clear that any new housing in the borough will be provided with zero car parking spaces other than for disabled or designated car-sharing spaces; but should have sufficient high quality cycle parking provision.