Haringey Cycling Campaign have met with Haringey Council and provided a detailed response to the Wood Green Area Action Plan consultation, based on discussions with members at our last monthly meeting. But we know that many of our members and supporters will want to add their own voices to this consultation. Remember, you have until this Friday 31 March to have your say!
We’ve outlined our thoughts below, and highlighted in bold some of the main points we feel really need to be made. Please feel free to cut and paste into your own response, or write your own response if you’d prefer. As we are a cycling campaign, our comments relate only to proposed cycling provision and related traffic management in the area. We do not feel it is within our remit to comment on any of the other elements of the plan, but as individual responders, you are of course welcome to do so yourselves.
While we accept that plans are at an early stage, we welcome the stated intention to encourage walking and cycling and to improve the local cycle network. However the routes shown in the plans are mainly existing cycle routes which are of a poor quality. The new connections proposed do not suggest cycling is being planned for as a serious mode of transport. Although the proposed cycle routes are welcome additions as leisure routes or connectors to a proper cycle network, they cannot form the backbone of a comprehensive provision for cycling. Overall, the network shown does not seem central to the transport element of the regeneration plan, and does not deal with the key issues currently limiting the take-up of cycling for transport in this area. Significant modal shift towards more sustainable methods of transport will come about principally by a reduction of through traffic in residential areas and the provision of protected space for cycling on the main north/south and east/west main road routes. The AAP should include at its core a high quality cycle network if it wants to reflect a truly modern approach to traffic management that enables anyone to choose to cycle to work, shops, school or to leisure facilities.
The plans as they stand appear to represent outdated ideas about traffic management. Making more space for motor traffic is a sure way to attract more traffic to the area, a phenomenon known as ‘induced traffic’ that has been observed by transport professionals repeatedly since 1925. Allowing more through traffic on Mary Neuner Way with no restrictions to traffic on adjoining roads will only exacerbate the current unacceptable traffic levels in this area, Wightman Road to the south and the residential areas to the north. This project is an opportunity to sort out these problems once and for all and must not be missed. A coordinated policy for traffic reduction is essential and we suggest that all possible measures to achieve this be considered. Haringey’s neighbouring boroughs have shown that a reduction in road capacity for motor vehicles is a reliable way to reduce overall motor traffic volumes and enable active travel.
As part of measures to modernise roads in and around the area, the dangerous junction at Turnpike Lane/Wightman Road must be overhauled or it will remain a key barrier to north/south cycling to and from the Heartlands area. Suggestions that reductions in capacity at this junction will exacerbate traffic problems simply do not stand up to scrutiny.
One of the stated aims of the AAP is to bring more shoppers to Wood Green from the Palace Gates/Alexandra Park area and beyond. These efforts will be seriously undermined if principle routes into Wood Green, such as Station Road, remain hostile to active travel. To attract more visitors from north and south of the area, the creation of dedicated, protected space for cycling on Wood Green High Road must be a priority. Enfield Council are currently building cycle tracks on Green Lanes that will stop at the border. Hackney Council are considering doing the same on Green Lanes to the south of Haringey. Green Lanes will remain the principle north/south route for cycling in this part of the borough and should be modernised to form a continuous network with our neighbouring boroughs.
The AAP provides the opportunity to break with the past and begin to build the kind of inclusive, modern road environment that Haringey residents deserve. Cycling in Wood Green is currently mainly the preserve of the quick and the brave, meaning most residents do not feel safe enough to benefit from active travel due to a road environment that is heavily balanced towards the private car. The opportunity presented by the AAP to rectify this unfairness must not be missed.