Opinion: Flowers could be planted on every main road - and how about more roadside trees?
PUBLISHED: 12:30 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:04 20 January 2020
When two relatively unused central roads, Middle Lane and Weston Park, were closed in the Liveable Crouch End trial last September they caused massive disruption and increased traffic pollution elsewhere.
Undeterred, the project has powered on regardless. With a budget of £6m (£5m from TfL, £1m from Haringey Council) it has not only refused to modify its plans - but is now consulting on even more controversial proposals. It released its latest consultation last Friday:
- Would we like to stop through-traffic (except buses and emergency vehicles) on key main roads on the Broadway, Crouch End Hill, Crouch Hill, Park Road or Tottenham Lane, for 24 hours or less?
- Would we like many residential roads ("not yet identified") closed to through traffic?
- Would we like road user pricing in Crouch End?
- Would we like parking facilities removed from our shopping areas?
- Would we like increased CPZ (parking zone) hours?
The consultation is loaded throughout with emotional statements like "Are you worried about air quality in Crouch End? Yes/No", unsubtly designed to ensure support.
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Crouch End has a lovely balanced community, with up to 200 thriving shops and restaurants - mostly independents. Closing the main through-roads risks many livelihoods. Why would you ever deter your visitors and customers?
The two hour per day CPZ works well. Most people already walk if they can, but access is vital for the elderly and the disabled.
As my parents became older and frailer and more housebound, I had to drive them to the shops, park outside cafes and help them in.
Banning cars and parking won't help the weak.
There are lots of environmental benefits that Liveable Crouch End's £6m could be put towards. A westerly bus to Highgate, continuing on to Hampstead and the Royal Free is an obvious solution - all three high street communities would gain, and we would finally enjoy public transport to the hospital.
Also, can't they spend the money greening our high streets?
One of the main problems in London is that whilst the residential streets are often peaceful and attractive - its high streets are generally not cared for.
For the last few years Holloway Road has introduced flowers in its central reservation - they could fund this for every main road. And plant more roadside trees.
Ironically Crouch End doesn't really have congestion, unless the roads are shut. Out of term time the traffic is remarkably light. Its biggest problem is probably the school run - and the parents who drive. I live on Haslemere Road and anyone who doesn't believe me should stand on the corner of Coleridge School where cars reversing or turning, parking on double yellows, stationed in the middle of the road as children are hastily emptied or boarded, and engines idling, are commonplace - not to mention the shouting and screaming from stand-offs from angry drivers.
None of this sets a good example to the children, who need to walk to school. Maybe a supervised trial, closing school roads at school run time, should have been tried first.