Last year, 2020, was our busiest in a long time. Despite the pandemic we kept up our conversation with St William about noise and odour, the Moselle Walk (where they cleared a huge fly-tip) and our proposal for a crossing by the lime-trees on HPR.
We carried through our work on the linear pocket park between Martins Walk and ‘Mayes Corner’ (including historical research for a notice board) and collaborated with Haringey on their overlapping scheme for the same site – a noticeable side-effect has been the end of ‘ponding’ outside Umoja House. No more flooded street. Most importantly, with support from MP Catherine West, we organised a petition to full Council. This showed Haringey that residents in ‘Noel Park West’ really, really want to see a reduction in traffic through the neighbourhood. Members of the council’s Cabinet took an interest and, alongside Catherine, we had a meeting online with Councillor Matt White, who is in charge of the Transport Strategy, before Christmas at which the idea of a fair distribution of traffic (bringing in Mary Neuner Road and Western Road) was established and Haringey agreed to look at options for a weight or width reduction on Horney Park Road (HPR).
Compare and contrast: Southbound traffic on the morning of the tube strike, July 9th 2015:
Let’s start with the good news. There is funding for the second phase of Mayes Corner, narrowing the road and greening the area at the back of the Shopping Mall. And there will definitely be a crossing at the entrance to the new ‘Hornsey Park’ - a massive hit with younger children and their parents. But the broader picture is not so good. At January’s follow-up meeting with Catherine West there were no councillors present and Haringey’s transport planners made it clear they do not see how a redirection of through traffic can be done. Beyond the measures already agreed they have no plans for weight or width reduction. While the southbound traffic-calming at Mayes Corner looks promising they don’t intend to reengineer the northbound entrance to Clarendon Road. Their emphasis was all on the Borough’s walking and cycling strategy – as if it is residents’ travel choices and decisions that cause the problem. They were even anxious not to have to consult about reducing parking spaces on HPR.
So has the trail gone cold? Well, negotiations continue about the road layout opposite the lime-trees. With encouragement from Catherine we plan a further meeting with officials about the future of the street. But in the meantime the Council has published a map. This shows its plans for Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) – areas where through traffic is banned. They plan to spend money on this in Bounds Green, Bruce Grove and St Ann’s. The rest of the borough is divided into zones – areas that are already low-traffic, areas that will eventually become so and the through routes that will remain unchanged. Clarendon and the other development areas by the railway are said to be ‘low-traffic’ and most of the Parkside Malvern neighbourhood is intended to become so. But Hornsey Park Road remains a through route. A bit more restricted, perhaps, but its purpose unchanged. Not a ‘living street’.
So we face an uphill struggle. Not least because the attention of officers will be elsewhere. But we know it’s no good getting bitter. We’re not back where we started in the summer. There are still opportunities to pursue. We are building a better relationship with Haringey’s regeneration team. We have Catherine West’s support and encouragement. A letter to the Leader of the Council is in draft. Councillor Moyeed, who helped engage the planners with the crossing, has called for a weight reduction on HPR. But we need to engage all three of our ward councillors and bring the neighbourhood back together again. The PMRA committee is due to discuss a proposal that we hold our first residents’ meeting online. And, lastly, we have staying power - we’ve been working on this issue for years. But, sadly, it looks like we still have a lot to do to achieve that fair distribution of traffic we’ve been calling for.
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