Local residents group CallySouth organised a public meeting attended by 50 people at the Driver pub on Monday June 8. The meeting’s aim was to discuss ways to return traffic levels on Wharfdale Road to those that existed before the new two way traffic on Caledonian Road between Wharfdale Road and Caledonia Street was implemented in November last year.
Chaired by Daniel Mortlock, speakers were Councillor Paul Convery, Paul Taylor Islington Council’s Transport Engineering Manager and Martijn Coojimans Islington’s Senior Project Manager leading on removal of the King’s Cross gyratory system.
The two way system was brought in anticipating Transport for London’s options for removing the King’s Cross gyratory, however these have been delayed. It’s aims were to:
- Reduce congestion on Caledonian Road south of Wharfdale Road;
- Calm aggressive driving and use physical ways of slowing traffic;
- Make the pedestrian crossing between Wharfdale Road, Caledonian Road and Killick Street safer for pedestrians; and to
- Make the area covered by the new layout safer for cyclists.
Paul Convery apologised to residents for the new, possibly worse, problems the two way system has thrown up stating, ‘This is not how it was meant to be’. He explained that the new Wharfdale Road/Caledonian Road traffic lights have never worked properly – they stay red for far too long on Wharfdale Road allowing traffic to build up and remain stationary outside residents homes. One resident living next to the junction has covered their window with foam and more than one have started sleeping in alternative rooms because of the noise and fumes. He previously promised to have this fixed in March this year, the new promise is that they will be fixed by 18 June.
Residents felt that the new system was a huge mistake and unacceptable even if the traffic light phasing is corrected. The overwhelming majority present want the two way system removed and the roads returned to their pre November 2014 design. One of the two residents against reverting to the old system lives on Caledonian Road south of Wharfdale Road. He felt that prior to the new system the traffic build up on Caledonian Road had resulted in himself and his neighbours suffering worse problems than currently experienced by Wharfdale Road residents as they had three lanes of static traffic at busy times of day.
Cllr Convery promised to send residents a copy of the traffic modelling report completed prior to the new two way system, road traffic accident statistics for the area and details of what standards were used to decide that new traffic saturation levels on Wharfdale Road would be acceptable.
CallySouth campaigners have achieved a major victory in getting the council to install air quality monitoring on Wharfdale Road. The Council will have their first results shortly and these will be used to compare to 2010 levels – the last year air quality monitoring was done on Wharfdale Road. The results will be made available to residents.
A number of specific issues were raised and discussed including:
- Requesting that Transport for London give permission for Islington Council to ban HGVs on Wharfdale Road (although enforcement of this is highly problematic due to loopholes in the law that would be used)
- Stopping New Wharf Road and Lavina Grove being used as short cuts for A road traffic stopped at the new traffic lights
- Keeping the no right turn at Goodsway to prevent additional traffic heading onto Wharfdale Road. This is governed by Camden Council, Islington Council will request they keep the no right turn.
- Requesting that Transport for London review traffic light phasing and design of the Wharfdale Road/York Way junction. Ideally the constant flow of traffic from both north and south York Way needs to be interrupted. A north/south crossing at York Way removing the pedestrian sheep pen would also be desirable.
- Getting a voluntary agreement from the Cemex cement works not to send cement trucks down Wharfdale Road. The route via Goodsway and Midland Road to Euston Road would be more acceptable as these are not residential.
- Stopping Tesco lorries and taxis blocking Caledonia Street as this discourages its use as the alternative to Wharfdale Road for Caledonian Road northbound traffic.
- Making the south section of Killick Street no entry onto Caledonian Road. This would allow more time to be given over for traffic to have a green light when on Wharfdale Road.
Cllr Convery made the commitment that if the problems with the two way traffic system cannot be fixed it will be returned to its previous design.