Haringey Council has recently consulted on plans for major changes to Wightman Road. The proposals included:
- pavement parking being replaced with on-street parking
- the creation of so called ‘informal’ crossings for pedestrians
- the removal of ‘pedestrians islands’ that create ‘pinch points’ where cyclists can be forced under the wheels of cars.
However, local Lib Dems are warning that more drastic changes are required before Wightman Road is pedestrian and bike friendly.
In a reply to a consultation on the proposals, whilst welcoming the removal of the dangerous ‘pedestrian islands’ and the end of pavement parking, Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison, Haringey Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson argued that:
- Many pedestrians will be uncomfortable using ‘Informal crossings’ that are really just some paint on the ground that are hard for drivers to see. They need to go.
- There should be proper segregated bike lanes and cycle parking.
- Reflect the fact that this is a residential road and consider the introduction of ‘modal filters’ or shared spaces, giving priority to people walking and cycling, not motor vehicles.
Commenting on the proposals, Cllr Cawley-Harrison says that:
“This appears to be a scheme that prioritises traffic over pedestrians and cyclists. This directly contradicts both the Mayor’s and the Council’s transport plans which strongly encourage walking and cycling, and for good reason: they get people doing exercise, whilst also reducing pollution and congestion.
“Taking vehicles off the pavement will be good for people with visual or mobility impairments, or using wheelchairs and pushchairs, but the Council needs to take braver, bolder steps to prioritise active travel such as walking, cycling and via kick scooters. We should no longer be focussing on how to improve road networks for motor vehicle travel, but rather how roads can carry the required volume of people safely and healthily in a way that works in harmony with the local neighbourhood.”
Karen Alexander, Liberal Democrat campaigner, former councillor for Harringay and local resident commented that:
“Wightman Road and Harringay Ladder residents have had to put up with years of failed tinkering to resolve the problems of excessive traffic and pollution. Enough is enough – Haringey Council must be bold and innovative in tackling these problems once and for all. Talking up strategies for reducing car use, increasing journeys by bike and on foot is all very well but now the council has to step up to the mark and robustly introduce them – residents are demanding nothing less.”