The Highgate Society has issued the following statement:
The Highgate Society strongly opposes making permanent the no right turns from Swains Lane into South Grove and Bisham Gardens. The proposals and the way the consultation is being run are wrong in so many ways.
The Highgate Society has a long history of speaking up for residents and businesses on traffic issues and was originally formed in the 1960s to oppose the conversion of Highgate Hill / High Street and Archway Road into a giant one-way system. How times change!
We agree with the objectives set out by Camden, which are “to make it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle locally, shop on their local high street, reach their local green spaces, schools and NHS sites….”
The timing of this consultation means we’ve not yet seen the full impact of the ending of lock down restrictions combined with the start of a new school year. With the one month consultation running until 5th September, the danger is that the response rate will be low and only take into account traffic during the quieter holiday period over the summer.
Unfortunately, the scheme trialled over 18 months has clearly made things worse. We oppose the right turn bans because there has been:
- An overall increase in traffic levels in the area including “boundary roads” based on Camden’s own monitoring data, after their adjustment for pandemic effects.
- According to Camden’s monitoring, an increase of over 2,000 cars a day on Highgate Hill as a result of the changes. Shoppers and residents here, who are far more numerous than those on Swains Lane, and already suffer from worse pollution, have had their lives made much worse due to diverted traffic. Channing School occupies sites on both sides of Highgate Hill and so pupils will also be exposed to worse pollution.
- A significant increase in rat run traffic in Pond Square between South Grove and West Hill near the Gatehouse, causing traffic jams, damage to parked cars and a greater risk to pedestrians. The traffic monitoring shows there are now up to 400 vehicles a day using the square as a cut through.
- Diversion of traffic onto the top section of West Hill resulting in pollution from more queuing vehicles.
- No evidence of an increase in cycling within the Highgate area, as no counts of cyclists were undertaken.
- No traffic calming measures to reduce the ability of cars to speed in the area.
- Nothing done to manage traffic in Swains Lane between Bisham Gardens and South Grove where it is two-way, and traffic has to mount the narrow pavement in order to pass.
To read the Society’s submission to Camden Council click here