Traffic backing up on Wharfdale Road and York Way – and news of a residents meeting

A local resident who lives with their family on Wharfdale Road has sent in these pictures of the traffic backed up at 1738, 0317 (in the morning) and 2040.

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The resident says it’s like this ‘day and night’, ‘we have been getting headaches, coughing and my little boy’s asthma is getting worse’, (The council officer responsible for the traffic scheme) ‘Paul Taylor has agreed to a residents meeting, but so far the plan is to meet at the traffic light on Wharfdale Road on Wednesday,  March 4th at 7pm’

I shall see if I can get some confirmation of the meeting time etc and update here.  For some background on the Wharfdale 2-way see this blog post with a long comment thread including comments from Councillors Convery and Perry.

About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and South Oxfordshire, founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online and a trustee of The Indigo Trust , Good Things Foundation and ThreeSixtyGiving as well as Connect8.
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26 Responses to Traffic backing up on Wharfdale Road and York Way – and news of a residents meeting

  1. Lynne says:

    Hi Will, I live in Wharfdale Road and am furious about the effect that the changes have made to the traffic on Wharfdale Road. I have just tweeted you a photo that I took from a bus one Saturday afternoon, showing a huge traffic jam. I spoke to the bus driver, who said that she had noticed significant problems on Wharfdale Road since the changes were made. I have commented on the previous posts on this topic, and could have said a lot more, but was so angry at the arrogance displayed in some of the comments, that I decided to leave it. I have just had secondary double glazing installed due to the increased noise, and have started to use the tube rather than the bus, as it’s impossible to know how long the bus will take to get along Wharfdale and Caledonian Roads.

    Caledonia Street will never be a viable alternative to Wharfdale Road, due to the Tesco delivery lorries blocking one side on a regular basis. Islington Council could have done something about this several years ago, but chose a Premier Inn in preference to widening Caledonia St.

    There really isn’t a problem on All Saints Street. I walk along there regularly. When I did so the other day, I counted the number of vehicles that passed me. Three vans – all delivering to addresses in All Saints St. Two taxis – one dropping someone off, one destination unknown. Moped – destination unknown.

    Unfortunately, I will not be able to make the meeting on March 7th.

  2. Sophie Talbot says:

    I’ve always held that Wharfdale Road should NOT be a part of the horrific King’s Cross Gyratory and I’ll be sending another complaint to TfL ccd to the Mayor about the amount of traffic here. We need to follow up on what’s happening with TfL’s commitment to look at removing the gyratory and step up the KX Gyrations campaign – I’m a bit out of the loop on it. Squaring the circle between making our neighbourhood pedestrian friendly or having a stupid amount of standstill traffic is a position we should NOT be in. We need to join together on this, one clear voice targeting TfL and the Mayor might make the difference we really need.

  3. Elizabeth Boultbee says:

    In 2014 the residents of the Ice Wharf at 17 New Wharf Road were written to seeking their opinion on reverting Caledonian Road to 2 way traffic from Wharfdale Road to Caledonian Street.

    I strongly opposed the move and cited a number potential problems with the plan. However, without further consultation the change was made and came into effect on 29 November 2014.
    http://callylabourcouncillors.org.uk/2014/12/03/caledonian-road-returns-to-2-way-traffic-in-first-steps-to-remove-kx-gyratory/

    The change has caused chaos and traffic jams when none existed before and over 2 months later the chaos and traffic jams have not diminished. This has not been helped by the lack of road signs:
    • There are NO signs on York Way at the Caledonian Street junction indicating that Caledonian Road is now two way
    • There are NO signs at the end of Caledonian Street indicating that you can now turn left. In fact, on 29 Nov there were road works in Caledonian Street.
    • The black taxi drivers do NOT know about the change – I discuss it with them every time I get in a cab (3 or 4 times a week)!

    In the last 2 months I have seen 3 cars at the most drive north on the new north bound lane. On Saturday night it’s a parking lane. In the meantime the morning rush hour with now only a bus lane and one south bound lane to take a large amount of traffic has created long lines of traffic piling up to the Pentonville Road sometimes as far back as Copenhagen Street. At this time Wharfdale Road also has queues of traffic spewing out fumes while waiting for the lights to change so that they can enter Caledonian Road.

    It is also affecting New Wharf Road and All Saints Street which becomes a rat run at all times for people avoiding the wait at the traffic lights. I’ve seen a very near accident caused by cars hurtling around the corner from New Wharf Road into All Saints Street into oncoming cars. This is an accident waiting to happen.

    I know there is no easy way to control the large number of vehicles on our roads but this last bit of road meddling has caused problems, solved none and shows an extraordinary lack of foresight in management.

    Local residents, our safety from additional fumes from queuing traffic, our safety from traffic on residential roads and our well being is being sadly affected.

    This decision has not improved traffic flow, but maybe that is what you were trying to achieve!

  4. Lynne says:

    Another reason why Caledonia St will never be a favoured route compared with Wharfdale Road is the presence of very effective traffic-calming features on the former, and an absence of these on the latter. (Photo shared via Twitter).

    I remember being consulted on the then proposed 20mph speed limit. My response was that it didn’t really matter. The reason being that speed limits are irrelevant if nothing is done to enforce them – which has always been the case along Wharfdale Rd, and still is.

    OK, the frequent traffic jams could be regarded as a traffic-calming device; however, there are still periods during the day and night when there is little traffic. At these times, many vehicles are travelling much faster than 30mph, in my estimation. There is a bump in the road a few yards to the east of the zebra crossing – right outside my bedroom window – and even though my new double glazing cuts down the noise from concrete lorries and buses bouncing over this in the middle of the night, it does nothing to mitigate against the resulting earthquake effect – light fittings swinging, bed shaking…

    There are plenty of speed cameras along Caledonian Road – why are there none on Wharfdale Rd?

  5. Sophie says:

    Wharfdale Road should NOT be part of the horrendous Kings Cross Gyratory. We should not be in the position of having to square the circle between a pedestrian safe neighbourhood or a high density traffic smoothing one. We should step up the KX Gyrations campaign urgently, I for one am out of the loop about what is happening with TfL’s commitment to come up with plans for our crazy Gyratory. If we can all call with one voice for the Gyratory to be removed we may stand a chance… It’d be great if we can find a way of our community working together on this one… Anyone with me?

    • Ewa says:

      Well, my family and I, as well as my neighbours, shouldn’t be woken up 30 times a night by deafening engines rumbling, beeping, music blaring out of windows, brakes squeaking, the house shaking, and exhaust fumes filling up the place ! The traffic noise and air pollution are way above safe limits. It is a fact both are a
      serious health hazard.

    • Lynne says:

      Well I support removing the gyratory system in theory, but would need to have more idea about what the actual implications might be. It’s not simply a case of returning to the way things were – that would mean small residential roads becoming two-way again, and buses going down Balfe Street. The situation is not as it was decades ago, as the volume of traffic has increased enormously. The past is a foreign country: they do things differently…

      Whilst removing the gyratory may have unintended consequences, the removing of part of it has had intended consequences – or at least predictable consequences. The first battle is to get these unwelcome changes reversed.

  6. Andrew says:

    It is 2am, and the traffic is backed up from the lights all the way back to Pret. It is moving when the lights change, but when it is not there are buses outside making the windows rattle.

    • Lynne says:

      Yes, and I have the photos to prove it. My photos were taken at 1am, not 2, but I know the jam continued for quite some time.

  7. Andrew says:

    It is no 08:50, the traffic is still backed up the entire length of Wharfdale Road, including eight buses.

  8. Sarah Ward says:

    I understand the council’s desire to make the KX area more pedestrian friendly but so far this new traffic arrangement does not seem to be working. I saw two cars yesterday morning driving high speed southwards in the new northbound lane. They had obviously run out of patience and decided to ignore the new road layout. My husband was cycling north on Caledonian Rd this week and was nearly hit head on by a black cab doing the same old southbound maneuver. This is absolutely an accident waiting to happen.
    I live on Northdown St and although we don’t have stationary traffic on our road, we now feel surrounded by a ring of traffic and fumes at all times of day and night. I would be interested to know the impact on air quality in the area.

  9. I too opposed this change and at the consultation stage and the result is exactly as I expected.

    The simple fact that some people have to get used too is that we are in Central London, next to 2 of the biggest stations and there will always be lots of traffic coming through. If you don’t like it the solution is simple, move.

    Second point, TFL will never agree to making the bottom of York Way 2 way. So now we have a problem as we have 2 flows of traffic coming from the North down Cally Road and York Way and both essentially getting funnelled into the bottom of Cally Road. Which now has 1/2 the capacity it had before. So guess what? traffic is queuing up Cally Road and along Wharfdale Road. What really bugs me is we also have the extra lost capacity as the lights give equal measure to the virtually none existent traffic up the bottom of Cally Road. So everyone sits there like dorks for nothing. Spewing out diesal particulate, CO2, noise etc for no reason whatsoever.

    I have seen people using All Saints Street as a rat run and normally they drive pretty fast as they are so frustrated. Every time I see this my heart sinks. But in reality I cant blame them, I would use it too.

    I would be happy for reduced traffic and calming measures but where is this traffic going to go? If you can’t answer that you don’t have a solution. This half arsed, ill thought out plan has just made things worse for everyone. I don’t see a single winner. Not local residents, not local businesses and certainly not anyone driving through.

    I still predict the answer is to reverse it.

    Andy (top of Balfe Street)

  10. Sophie Talbot says:

    I agree, traffic should not be backing up on residential streets, it’s appalling that this is happening here. Before the change it was happening elsewhere in our neighbourhood so the change has shifted the problem away from one set of neighbours to another. The change made cannot possibly have been a solution to the intolerable amount of traffic on residential streets in King’s Cross, but it wasn’t intended to be. It was intended to be a campaigning move to help push TfL and the Mayor into removing the gyratory and taking traffic off our residential streets. I totally agree with Lynne, removal of the gyratory couldn’t be a matter of going back to what was there before and would need careful planning and traffic modelling. I don’t mean to belittle anyone’s experience of living with this traffic shambles, I too live on Wharfdale Road with my bedroom window facing the street. My hope is (and yes I know I am being idealistic/naive and so on, it has always been so) that we can unite to use our combined strength as a community both of shared geography and, in this case, shared interest, to voice our demand for safer, livable streets to TfL and the Mayor which is where they really need to have an impact rather than to Islington Council who, in this fight, are our allies.

    • Ewa says:

      traffic is not just backing up…it is so loud i have a duvet over my front window and 2 wardrobes pushed in front of my bedroom window and we are still woken dozens of times a night. Traffic noise causes cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. I have exhaust fumes in my house. They cause cancer,heart disease,respiratory problems and damage to the nervous system…we are all suffering from headaches and coughing-symptoms of carbon dioxide poisoning.

      • Ewa says:

        Paul Taylor will be on Wharfdale Road at 7pm tonight to talk about the traffic and 2-way Cally road scheme.

  11. Lynne says:

    Any info about what happened at the meeting? I was unable to attend.

    • Ewa says:

      About 20 residents came and local councillor Paul Convery was there as well. We started the meeting on Wharfdale Road but as it was so loud from the traffic, we moved to the Cally near Killick Street. Paul Taylor said the Scoot system was being turned on today-which is meant to turn the lights green if there’s no traffic coming from the crossing road. I saw a man working on the lights today, so that must be what he was doing. Having said that the lights should be green all the time now,(cause nobody uses the northbound Cally lane), except when there are pedestrians. But, so far I’ve had the same idling traffic today.
      He agreed to installing some air quality monitors around the junction to see how high the pollution is. He said we should wait til the Scoot kicks in and meet again after Easter! The residents said that was far too long to wait and we have been patient and suffering the traffic noise and high pollution for long enough. The residents exchanged email addresses and one of them wrote to both Paul’s the same night asking them to confirm what was discussed at the meeting and for some kind of plan of action. As they are the 2 main people responsible for implementing the 2-way Cally scheme, (the reason we have these lights), they are unwillingly and unlikely to admit they made a mistake, although it is plainly obvious to everyone else-residents, drivers and local businesses.

      • Lynne says:

        Thanks for this Ewa. Well, it’s quite a while until the next council elections – but I have a long memory.

  12. Ewa says:

    hi Lynne,
    Last night was one of noisiest nights ever!
    I have emailed the mayor and environmental health and I am going to do whatever it takes to stop this infringement on our lives. I am so angry about it.

  13. Pingback: Wharfdale Road traffic – signal changes and statement from Councillor Convery | Kings Cross Environment

  14. kerry says:

    The traffic lights are also blighting those of us who live north of Wharfdale along the Cally road as the traffic now regularly stationary up to Copenhagen Street. Please let me know if any more meetings are planned – the new road system is ridiculous and all that idling traffic has made it worse for residents and pedestrians despite what Islington say.

  15. chappy149 says:

    They are now broken and have been red for the last hour,
    I can see them from my balcony. A lot of horns and angry drivers

  16. Ewa says:

    Yea i saw that,everyone just started driving through the red lights, even a police car.
    Last night loads of cars were turning left when the lights were red and they weren’t broken, just pointless, as nobody was driving up the Cally.

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