Time to improve area below dangerous bridge

Hornsey railway bridge roadworks

UPDATE 18th March, 2014 - email received from Tony Kennedy, Group Manager - Sustainable Transport, Haringey Council

We are currently identifying stakeholders to invite to the inception meeting. We will liaise with the Local Ward Councillors to identify local groups who may want to participate in this process. If you would like to suggest any groups we are happy to consider them. We are keen for the community to assist us in developing for this area.

Funding of £255k is to be used specifically for pedestrian and cyclists improvements underneath and close to the widened bridge and the junction of Tottenham Lane and Turnpike Lane. Additional funding is available to improve lighting and the general appearance under the bridge. No further funding is identified at this present time.

You will have the opportunity at the meeting to air your views and discuss issues with other stakeholders.

I hope that I have addressed your concerns and look forward to hearing your views at the meeting I will be arranging, the date of which I will be finalising in the near future.



We are starting a blog on the impact of the temporary narrowing of Turnpike Lane/ Hornsey High Street beneath the railway bridge, installed as part of Network Rail’s work to widen the bridge.

Narrowing the road was proposed by PMRA back in 2008 and widely supported by, amongst others TfL, the local LibDems and GLA LibDem member Caroline Pigeon.  Proposals back then were
sidelined by Haringey’s Frontline officers because there was no money for either a study or permanent works. Now, in spring of 2013, there are both. The temporary works provides direct evidence – far better than any desktop study, while the council is holding £800,000 for improvements to the immediate area (received from granting planning permission for the development of Coronation Sidings). Meanwhile, its own policies are to improve east-west lines under the bridge, to encourage and make safer walking and cycling and better connect the east and west Heartlands.

A look at the temporary works proves there is space for wider footpaths and cycle, whilst maintaining sufficient carriageway width and traffic flow. The change would make the area under the bridge much more pleasant and safer. Only a very short length of bus lane would be affected – with negligible effect on bus reliability (4pm to 7pm). However, the benefits for pedestrians and cyclist would be immense.

We would need to mobilise support, particularly those who walk to school or walk or cycle this way. This is our most important link and the beginning of the infamous Haringey east/west social and economic divide. The suggested improvement will help get a better Heartlands too.

Join our blog and tell us whether traffic or bus journey times are really any different.

13 comments on “Time to improve area below dangerous bridge”

  1. I often walk that stretch of the road and would agree generally with the comments above and would add to them the following :

    1. There needs to be some thinking behind the traffic heading eastwards, how the bus lane merges with other lanes. One a number of occasions I have seen near misses with cars pulling out of or into the bus lanes as the case may be during different times of the day. The problem lies behind traffic speeding from the top of the traffic lights by the pump house and they often don't see the cars pulling out until it becomes hazardous. Perhaps a 20mph speed restriction from the pump house with a camera would help ease the traffic along and prevent queues building up with cars fighting for space on the road.

    2. Until 1 above is addressed, cyclists would continue to be threatened by fast moving traffic flying down the hill from the junction to New River Village. Railings would certain help pedestrians but should be accompanied by barriers part way across to stop cyclists flying down the pavements. Perhaps a cycle lane could be incorporated into the bus lane over some stretches, this would encourage its use and prevent cyclists taking their chances with the rest of the traffic during peak hours.

    3. Better lighting is definitely needed as well as stopping the incessant dripping from the tracks.

    4. Consideration needs to also be given to the guaranteed increase in traffic to come when the Heartlands development gets into full swing. We will see and increase in both pedestrian and vehicular traffic, all of which need to be catered for and some forward planning is definitely required here. Otherwise, traffic would come to a virtual standstill during peak hours.

  2. Thank you for your e-mail, on behalf of Parkside Malvern Residents Association, requesting the council to consider widening the pavements and adding space for cyclists below the railway bridge between Turnpike Lane and Hornsey High Street.

    I can assure you that we regard pedestrian/cyclist safety and accessibility as a high priority. We are committed to increasing these forms of travel through our behavioural change programmes as we realise the benefits to the health and wellbeing of our residents, as well as reducing the borough’s carbon footprint. We actively promote these objectives throughout all of our highway schemes.

    The section 106 agreement provides a £255,000 contribution to fund a comprehensive scheme to improve conditions for pedestrians /cyclists on Turnpike Lane underneath and close to the widened bridge and an amended layout to the Hornsey Lane /Turnpike Lane junction to enhance pedestrian safety and amenity. It also provides a further a £50,000 contribution for additional lighting improvements in the vicinity of the widened railway bridge at Turnpike Lane, including a lower arm backlight to the lighting column outside the pedestrian/cycle access off Turnpike Lane.

    As you will appreciate these works cannot progress until the completion of the bridge widening works currently being delivered by Network Rail. We will however commence with feasibility and preliminary design in 2013/14 and fully engage with local residents and other key stakeholders as part of this process.

    Yours sincerely,

    Tony Kennedy
    Group Manager
    Sustainable Transport

  3. I cycle this way a fair amount. The worst is travelling from east to west - because there is a slight slope upwards under the bridge a bike can't travel that fast, and that can become very difficult as you exit from under the bridge if drivers want to turn left. I once had a bus overtake me in frustration (I guess) at my lack of speed and turn left a few feet later - it was terrifying.

    Coming back (west to east) isn't much better if you want to turn into Wightman road, as the traffic can be travelling at speed in two different lanes which you then need to cut across.

    I don't know what the answer is, as I know that it isn't a very pleasant route for cars or pedestrians either. A two way bike lane on the north side might be worth considering as that seems to be where there is more space?

    In my view this road and the width limitations under the bridge are major factors why the Sainsburies development I've heard discussion about (on the site currently occupied by the recycling centre) is totally unsuitable - it will lead to traffic gridlock, along the lines of what regularly happens by the Arena development on Green Lanes.

    Best of luck with the campaign.

  4. I don't think that the temporary narrowing forces cars to slow down. If anything, a narrowing-widening effect causes friction between cars lining up early and those squeezing in as far as they can. I personally don't drive around rush hour so can't comment on what happens during the 4-7 slot, but at times it looks a nightmare! I really think that the bus lane should remain. But we must find ways to slow down cars and make the bridge safer, healthier and more fun to go through.

    Perhaps narrowing the car lanes would force cars to slow down? Say, for instance, by adding a cyclist lane for bikes going West (i.e. uphill)? This lane could be physically separated from the car lanes, increasing safety for cyclists as well as pedestrians. So it's not exactly widening the pavement (which is wide enough as it is) but creating a buffer lane.

    There are other ways of forcing cars to slow down, such as creating bends or roundabouts, but I've not thought of how (or if!) this could work.

  5. Well, now that I have been to have a look, I wonder if there isn't a bit of exaggeration going on here. The pavements under the bridge are already wider than the average round here
    ( certainly wider than those on Wightman Rd.)

  6. As far as I can see, the present temporary restrictions have had no effect on traffic flow. Traffic going west under the bridge meets a single lane immediately afterwards. Most traffic going east
    fails to notice that the bus lane is operative for restricted hours so forms an orderly one-lane file at all times of the day.
    Widen the pavements and install cycle lanes if there is room :-)

  7. I second comments above as regards pedestrian under bridge safety and lighting.
    A good precedent for a relatively inexpensive bridge project
    Is in Camden
    Here brightly coloured steelwork, bold graphics and under bridge lighting combine to improve safety while providing a proud gateway and identity to the area

  8. According to the Commununity Streets Action Plan Section 106 funding has been agreed to
    undertake improvements at Turnpike Lane junction with Tottenham Lane and with design
    work carried out laims to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety at the junction. Contact Councillor Nilgun Canver Cabinet Member for the Environment

  9. I am in total support of widening the pedestrian pavements and providing a safer way to cycle underneath this bridge. It is horrifying to travel under this bridge. During the years of walking my child to school two incidents spring to mind.
    1. - a lorry with a crane on the back hit the bridge, the chains holding the crane in place broke and the crane went in to a terrifying wobble. We and another family ran sprinting down the hill fearing this crane would land on us. There was not a lot of room to run, one of the kids fell and nearly got stepped on, and the lorry carried on completely ignoring the damage to the bridge and our fear.
    2. - another time walking up the hill under the bridge I walked on the outside of the pavement to protect my son and a car came so close to the pavement that a side mirror hit me on the shoulder. It hurt a lot but I couldn't help thinking how serious that would have been if that had been someones head.
    My heart rate increases every time I go under this bridge and this whole section of road and junction has not been well planned. I don't see why we need what is essentially a short stretch of dual carriage way encouraging speeding and drivers are then not slowing down when they turn in to Wightman Road, Hornsey Park Road etc. The speed sign on Wightman Road is constantly flashing.

  10. It flowed very nicely yesterday and all last week. This morning, HPR was quiet and but there was slow traffic up the hill when a some vehicles turning into Tottenham Lane caused everything to come to a halt: it was one of those infamous concrete lorries meeting an artic.

    Railings were discounted five years ago - you can barely pass on the north path as it is now but railings would remove a quarter of the current width. It would also make it a very threatening, as you walk into what would be a trap with no escape, and would make it impossible for anyone with children and buggies. It is not a nice path to pass older (Grieg City) kids walking in groups, either.

    The route is not safe for cyclists: something needs to be done for this reason alone. Why shouldn't our kids be able to cycle to school, as posters tell them to. Traffic doesn't flow well when it is busy anyway: when it is empty, it goes fast, making it even less safe. It is recognised that railings increase traffic speed. It would be a good idea to have a look and, better walk a child or cycle this way.

    More walking or cycling could also avoid a lot of congestion on the buses in the morning, when school kids use the bus instead of walking a mile. It is often not possible to get on a 41 or 144 heading towards Crouch End or Hornsey.

    It's time for a change. We can do better than condem our area to being a traffic corridor for drivers from outside the area: if it is us who are driving, it would be nice to have a safe and pleasant alternative for short journeys.

  11. I walk under this bridge nearly every day. It is not the most pleasant of experiences. As you walk through you have to dodge water drops from the roof. The pavements are not that wide and a lot of people are reluctant to allow others to pass and appear to think everyone else should walk in the road. Some of this is attributable to rudeness, some thoughtlessness.
    Sometimes cyclists decide to ride on the footpath, often at speed, which adds to the existing danger.

    The traffic tends to be fast. Vehicles travelling East frequently try to beat the traffic lights. Cars often enter the bus lane to beat others. Traffic travelling West can also be fast, particularly after the lights have changed, and often when they emerge from Wightman Road.
    This situation can be improved if a metal barrier fence is erected between the pavements and the road. That will prevent fellow pedestrians misbehaving, and protect pedestrians from the traffic. It would be nice if it were possible to stop the drips from above. They are present all the time, but obviously worse after rain or when ice is melting. If the pavement could be widened that would reduce the feeling of being trapped between a high brick wall and speeding traffic. If a vehicle misjudges their direction, they could at present run down any pedestrians there, and there would be nowhere for pedestrians to seek refuge.
    It is also rather gloomy under the bridge. I imagine some people would feel uncomfortable walking under the bridge as it is quite isolated and they would feel vulnerable.
    I spend a large part of my life walking around the Home Counties. This bridge is just about the most unattractive place I ever encounter. If you want to encourage walking, this bridge is not a good start. But I do not find this Borough to be walker-friendly. They may talk the talk, but they do not walk the walk.

  12. I think we need to monitor the traffic flow, before leaping to support permanent narrowing. This has often a jamming point in the early evening in particular. I have been away for a few weeks, so have not yet had a chance to observe for myself.

    As a driver, I noticed, some time ago, a big improvement in traffic flow when the bus lane opened to cars between 7 am and 10am and note that there were often severe jams in the afternoon when it is in operation. That would suggest that we DO need as much carriageway width as possible.

    As a pedestrian, I prefer to walk beside moving traffic rather than beside a static, smelly, hooting traffic jam. But I have oten thought that:

    - stout railings between motor and foot traffic are needed to protect us from those lorries that squeeze by with two wheels on the pavement,

    - that something should be done to drain the railway somewhere other than on my head and to remove those horrible hanging roots down which the water flows.

    - and that something to lighten the gloom would make it pleasanter to walk under the bridge. Paint would work, but would need to the regularly redone.

    Perhaps residents would just make a note on this website of how they find the traffic flow while this temporary narrowing is in place - the time of their journey would assist.

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      Sometime in the next week or so the work on Mayes Road will near completion. It will be a new benchmark for the look and feel of our neighbourhood and enhance its biodiversity. (photo: Luke 'Duke' Newcombe)

  • © Parkside Malvern Residents Association 

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