Gyratory Comments

Many of you have concerns about the development of the Archway Gyratory and the Town Centre in general. Below we publish some of your comments. If you would like to contribute, email w-gyratory. Comments are published as received; opinions and factual and typographic errors are contributor’s own.
Brad Duncan, Dresden Road, 17/10/15
I made a FoI request for information exchanged between LBI and TFL regarding the bus stands and received the information attached (see Gyratory Documents page). You may want to read through as I have done although there is a lot of information. I think it is extremely interesting to note that (i) a consultation on bus stands was always contemplated so the fact that one has not started (presumably due to the numerous issues that would be raised) is of great concern and likely grounds for review of any decision to proceed with the works and (ii) the relocation of the bus stands, rather than being part of the results of the gyratory development, has been a major driver for it and in fact was originally a source it seems of some angst between the departments as LBI refused to grant TFL a lease extension for the site because it wanted to move the stands to build new housing. It is also worthwhile noting that for some time TFL objected to moving the stands (and has quite recently sought clarification that the move is still required) as TFL saw problems with it from a management and operational perspective, particularly in the case where too many buses arrive at the stands, which can be accommodated at Vorley St but not on the Archway Rd stands (something I have raised with TFL previously).

You should also note that LBI and TFL acknowledge that presentation of traffic data was confusing but I actually think what is more interesting is that LBI and TFL had the modelling redone when the initial results were not to LBI's liking (ie massive delays) and also introduced certain assumptions in order to achieve results which then met with TFLs strategic plan which is not to decrease capacity of the roads. In one TFL email from 25 June they just refer to traffic "disappearing" as it approaches the corner from St John's way (by which they mean all traffic goes through local streets rather than into the gyratory) and the response from LBI is "didn't we agree to say 50/50" which to my mind means LBI was trying to downplay the amount of traffic that would be displaced through local streets like Cressida Road etc whereas TFLs original model actually suggests that it all would.

There are a number of emails regarding increased assumptions about the number of cars that will use other roads once the works are done so as to bring down demand and proportionately keep capacity the same through the gyratory. In particular an email from Catharine West at the end of 2013 refers to the traffic forecasts indicating material increases to displaced traffic into local streets. LBI also asked in September 2014 if anything could be done to the A1 to decrease the cars that would use the area as the works on the Upper Holloway Bridge had done.

I'm happy for this information to be shared as it is now public and some people may be able to make better sense of it than I and raise it with relevant people. I certainly found it extremely interesting to read that, as set out above, one of the main drivers for such a massive and expensive scheme such as the gyratory improvement seems to have been LBIs desire to free up Vorley Rd for housing despite protests from TFL, including a suggestion that LBI was out of line in making such demands relating to the bus stands in a time of austerity. I also note Jeremy Corbyn was supposed to attend a meeting on the Vorley Rd Childrens centre to address concerns but when it was realised tensions were running high, another senior rep from LBI decided he should go; although I don't know if Mr Corbyn turned up given is was in August when he was in the process of running for Labour leader.
Clare Furey, Harberton Road, 12/9/15
Q&A With Martijn Cooijmans (Islington Council) About Proposed Bus Stands At The End Of Harberton Road

What is Proposed: Transport for London (TFL) are proposing that the Bus Stand on Vorley Road is re-located to the bottom of the Archway Road. There will be one Bus Stand on the Southbound carriageway (at the end of Harberton Road) and one on the Northbound carriageway opposite.

"most of the buses will stand on the Archway Road before travelling towards Highgate Hill" as these routes serve Highgate

How Big:" Each of the two stands on Archway Road provides space for up to six buses to stand. Each stand would be 79 metres in length".

How many buses: "Approximately 50 buses per hour during the day will stand for some time on the two bus stands on Archway Road combined, so 25 buses per hour on each side of the road"

One Bus will stand there all night as it is a 24 hour service.

Toilets for Drivers: It is proposed to have a 24 hour toilet (1 gents/1 ladies for the bus drivers). ."TfL is looking for a suitable location that is as discreet as possible and meets four requirements (enables a solid foundation to be provided, connects to main sewer (dirty water), connects to clean water supply, and connects to electricity). Potential locations of toilets will be discussed with Islington Council, and also needs to be discussed with Thames Water and National Grid"

Bus Lanes: "The Bus Lanes will not be closed and Bus lanes will continue to be provided on Archway Road alongside the bus stands in both directions" This means reducing the lower Archway Road to one lane to keep the bus lane.

Exit from Pauntley Street to Archway Road "Vehicles exiting from Pauntley Street will need to cross the bus stand and bus lane to join the rest of the southbound traffic (this is not an uncommon arrangement). TfLwill consider installing keep clear markings at this location"

Screening/hedging to shield the Conservation Area from the Stands: "Islington Council are investigating the possibility of planting a hedge along the retaining wall, and are considering how drainage will work at this location alongside the retaining wall and next to existing tree pits".

Construction work required: "The only construction work proposed (apart from the erection of screening and the toilet) is the changes to the carriageway, the underpass will be filled in, although the retaining walls will remain.  No trees will be removed".

Timescale? Work will start in Spring 2016 and be completed by Spring 2017.

Further Consultation: "There going to be a further TFL Bus Consultation on the proposed stands in October 2015. The consultation will be open to the public, including local residents who will able to comment on the changes."

Alternative places for the Bus Stands: One alternative would be for the Bus Stand to move closer to the roundabout or further up Archway Road towards the Bridge. However, Martijn Coojmans says "it is not possible to locate the stand closer to the station as there would not be enough space for standing the buses on the southbound side.  It is also not possible to locate the bus stand closer to the bridge, as this would cause too much delay and empty running for buses".
Brad Duncan, Dresden Road, 5/8/15
In response to D. Boswell (below):

I have just read the post from D Boswell and I wanted to make a couple of points as I was one of the people challenging the LBI planner (in a respectful manner) at the residents meeting.

Firstly, I think the underpass will be safer than a crossing at which 50 buses an hour will be doing a u-turn. It is very different from the existing crossings at the gyratory.

Secondly, I'm not sure anyone at the meeting had a problem with affordable housing per se but not at the expense of others already living in the area. Islington is the most densely populated borough in the UK so I don't think LBI should be squeezing new housing in everywhere and certainly not without creating more services first (I've suggested to LBI that they use Vorley for either a revamped bus station or for an extension to the leisure centre given all the new houses being built around the gyratory)

Thirdly I questioned the traffic data used to make the decision regarding the gyratory because it is wrong and I worked that out by looking at the consultation document for 10 minutes not from studying traffic myself. Your trust in public officials is admirable but perhaps misplaced. I have raised the data issue with LBI and TfL with responses promised but not received yet.

Fourthly, I think the main concern of residents was displaced traffic in Whitehall Park as a result of increased delays in Archway Road but you this is not mentioned at all. I don't want my street becoming a main road for trucks and vans and I would rather not have 12 idling buses at the end of the street fouling the air whilst drivers hang around the newly installed public toilets.

Finally there is the issue about Archway tube being made safer. To be honest the prospect of Archway tube being operated like Covent Garden with lines our front at peak times was something I hadn't thought about and whilst agree with the concern over safety my preference would be for prevention rather than cure.
Dorothy Boswell, Harberton Road 31/7/15
I’m delighted that the decades long blight seems to be finally lifting from Archway. It’s a real shame that so much attention has been given to rumours that have confused the real issues. Did anyone ever really believe for a minute that Islington would cut down the mature trees at the end of Harberton Road? They’ve actually recently planted a new one to fill a gap.

Personally, I’m thrilled that the grim tunnel under Archway Road will be replaced with a crossing above ground. I use it frequently when coming back from the bus stop, often on my own at night and it always feels threatening. I can’t see why a pedestrian crossing controlled by lights should be considered any less safe than the one nearer the gyratory. Local parents may now be happy for their children to use the underpass to get to school but might well reconsider in a few years time when their teenagers are coming home late at night.

I am extremely concerned that the turn from Pauntley Street onto Archway Road, which is already very difficult, will become more dangerous. The visibility there is already very poor, necessitating pulling out and illegally blocking the existing bus lane to check that no bikes are whizzing down the hill. Perhaps there could be a junction box or a Keep Clear sign to allow bikes and cars to get out?

I was concerned that a line of buses parked at night, whether at the bottom of Harberton Road or further down by Archway Park, would create a dark, hidden corridor that would not feel safe for pedestrians, but I’m reassured that only the 390 buses will be parked overnight. .

I was really saddened by the tone of the WHPARA meeting in June and the lack of respect shown to the planner who was there to answer our questions. I haven’t chosen to spend my life monitoring the minutiae of traffic movements but I’m glad someone else has, and without being naïve, I’m happy to have some faith in their professional judgement. Traffic lights controlling buses doing U-turns on the Archway Road don’t seem that crazy to me. This stretch of dual carriageway should never have been built and anything that slows down the traffic racing through our neighbourhood could be viewed as traffic calming, rather than increasing congestion. It might even reduce the sound of speeding motorbikes that residents near the Archway Road often complain about.

Yes, Islington intends to build social housing on the site of the existing bus stands on Vorley Road; given the desperate shortage of housing in London, I’m saddened that anyone lucky enough to live in our desirable area should object to others being provided with decent homes.

I am very concerned, however, that the platforms of Archway station will be unable to cope with the dangerous levels of passengers at rush hour when all of the new housing developments – Hill House, Archway Tower and the Peabody development at Archway Campus - are completed. I hope that they will install the kind of electronic safety barriers used at newer stations, which only open when trains have stopped making it impossible for passengers to fall, or be knocked onto the rails.

It has been suggested that WHPARA should start a petition on this matter, but given all of the different concerns and opinions this would be impossible. We all need to take responsibility for keeping ourselves informed about what is going on and take part in the consultation that is happening in the autumn.
Ian Bucknell, Harberton Road 19/6/15
I’d like to minute our opposition to this scheme both because of the effect it will have in particular on Harberton Road and more generally the idea of buses doing regular U-turns across the main access road to London sounds both impractical and dangerous. I have real concerns about the Archway plaza with a main cycle route straight through it and cannot see any use for the space as currently proposed, you cannot hold a concert or put on children’s games with a main (cycle) road running through the event. I gather this solution is driven more by the councils wish to develop housing on the present bus stand site than any good reason for this particular solution. There must be a better way. Overall the present set up is preferable to these plans.
Chantal Coves, Harberton Road 19/6/15
From day one, I have been concerned by the TfL garage at the end of the road. We will benefit from the pedestrian area in Archway roundabout, but passing through a bus “garage” is a high price to pay by the Whitehall neighbourhood. We will be affected by noise, hazardous manoeuvres and fumes, many drivers leave the bus engine on. The other danger being than by narrowing down Archway road, the traffic will be absorbed by the White Hall area. Mainly these great changes don’t seem to work in our side. I really hope that TLF we hear our concerns.
Chris Bailey, Harberton Road 5/6/15
If the wall is not to be removed alongside the subway works then this will create an odd environment for the new surface crossing with potentially poor sightlines and a curious (and dangerous) relationship to the slip road off the southbound A1 into Whitehall Park. The new crossing will also located in an odd and potentially dangerous conjunction with a busy bus stop and placed at a point where cars speed out of a cutting (research suggests cars always travel faster on road surface which has no active frontages alongside as well as on wider roads).

I am also distressed to hear that the proposal is to leave the road surface as wide as currently and simply park buses on the 2 extra carriageways as this will lead to vehicles continuing to speed on this stretch and almost inevitably to the potential for fatalities on the new surface crossing. Finally if there is to be no work around the new bus stands, where is the drivers toilet building to be located?
Martijn Cooijns (LBI) 5/6/15
To Councillor David Poyser:

Thank you for raising Mr Bailey’s concerns with me about the proposed relocation of bus stands to Archway Road. Fortunately his fears are unjustified... The buses will stand in what is currently the southbound bus lane. There are currently three southbound lanes on Archway Road: two lanes for general traffic and one bus lane. Under the proposals there will be one southbound lane for general traffic, one bus lane, and the space of the remaining lane will be used for buses to stand. It therefore uses the existing carriageway space, without the need to remove the retaining wall or remove any of the trees along this stretch. We are discussing with TfL what can be done to shield the residential area from the standing buses, including the suggestion of a hedge. We will get back on this once we know what can be done. I hope this is helpful and gives some clarity on Mr Bailey’s concerns about the bus stand.
Chris Bailey, Harberton Road 2/6/15
A few points:

  • Walls - these will come down as they are actually just part of the subway structure rather than a structure to defend / protect us and the subway is being removed
  • walls and trees will also be removed because there will be wholesale re-surfacing to accommodate the new layout and infrastructure including the drivers toilet you mention (yippee!), new bus stop and the new crossing place
  • 6 buses on each side of the road is a massive impact; welcome to the Whitehall Park bus station kiss the phrase ‘desirable area’ goodbye; (maybe we should all sell up now)
  • buses parking on each side of the road all night will create a dark canyon along the pedestrian paths and a serious issue for pedestrian safety on both sides of the road, especially our side. Expect muggings, attacks, etc as pedestrians particularly on our side are sandwiched into a long strip with no oversight - i.e. no windows look that way from the street side and the buses hiding attackers from the view of cars passing by, and from the residential windows on the opposite side of the road.
  • Finally I will say again our area was damaged, fortunately not fatally, by the original gyratory and road widening this new scheme should be an opportunity to remedy that not to move the major blight to a different area of Archway from last time (ours this time instead of Vorley Road and the Girdleston Estate and town centre).
  • It would be a tragedy if just as Archway finally regenerates the Whitehall Park area starts going downhill, with negative change driven once again by destructive transport infrastructure interventions
  • I do wonder if we need to appeal to worst nature as well as best and try and persuade them that this is a potentially valuable development site instead of a potential bus park; but, whatever the detailed strategies we pursue, I really think these 12 new stands are not an issue we can take lightly, their impact is going to cost our estate literally millions in lost property value, as well as endangering the safety of those crossing the road and local pedestrians especially at night. Why on earth should we allow this to happen?

On the detail:

  • Re page 28 of the report I know our concern on bus stand relocation is noted in passing in the intro in but the bullet points do not include anything about this - such as ‘do not position bus stands on Archway Road’;
  • The point on the Metroline garage is tenuous on their part, Metroline run some of these buses and work for TfL, TfL don’t own the bus stands they use currently, the land is owned by LBI (London Borough of Islington), from whom TfL lease it, LBI have now noticed it is prime developable land...
  • Incidentally they aren’t meant to leave engines running on current stands but often do.

We need all parties to feel that every resident of these streets opposes this. I recollect some years back getting virtually every resident of my street to sign a petition against the opening of a strip club in the Archway Tavern (a successful campaign, after initial laughable responses from the spineless council bureaucrats suggesting that they believed that they could not oppose it); - I think that this is the sort of level of mobilisation we now need.

I know you may feel that I am being sensationalist but trust me I am not, these things just happen and you have to cause huge pain and suffering for the bureaucrats and preferably the political class as well, to get any traction at all against a major transport scheme - we are about to come out of this very badly and we won’t win by moaning about our property values either, for all that this is what will hurt all of us most in the long-term.
Chris Bailey, Harberton Road 29/5/15
My understanding was that concerns had been expressed by WHPARA, among others, over the proposed wall of buses with their engines running which TfL proposes to position across the ends of our roads on the new bus stands on the Archway Road southbound side (our side).

In future the Whitehall Park Conservation Area (including Harberton Road where I live) will of course be more exposed to the main Archway Road in future, as the subway removal will obviate the need for the walls which currently protect Whitehall Park from the dual carriageway. However this concern is not expressed under the summary of the WHPARA response in the attached report. I wondered if you had any thoughts on that and whether you could formally query this point.

I believe the bus stand works will be disastrous for this area and would also expect removal of most of the mature trees including a rare surviving elm alongside the Archway road / Pauntley Street, as part of these works. I am very concerned about the impact of the bus stands in terms of pollution, road safety (children, including my own, crossing between high-sided vehicles directly onto a busy main road), noise and frankly severe damage to the value of our properties in all these streets, which will now terminate in a bus park.

I believe we can still fight this, bus stands are unnecessary in an area which already possesses one of the largest bus garages in Europe (off Pemberton Gardens) and simply encourage polluting and time wasting empty running to bus stands rather than to demand points. The empty running point is I believe is how TfL will say they have recorded our areas opposition to the bus stands while not actually mentioning this opposition.

We really need to lobby councillors, GLA representatives etc about this. It strikes me as madness to utilise superfluous road surface in such an non-environmentally friendly way when public space or linear planting of greenery and trees could really improve our polluted and noise impacted area in relation to the A1, rather than making it worse.

This scheme just moves pollution and wasted space from one area of Archway to another and I think we would be foolish to underestimate the damage of the proposed scheme to our amenity, air quality and noise levels as well as its impact on our house values, potentially also impacted by rat-running which may be created along Cressida Road.

I did incidentally respond to the consultation myself highlighting the bus stand issue. I am very supportive of gyratory removal which will I hope go some way to giving Archway a town centre back, but I think it will be tragic if one of the Archway's nicer areas is blighted as a result.
Malcolm Jack, Robert Borsje, Whitehall Park 9/12/14
We are sending in our views as long term residents of Whitehall Park on the proposed gyratory system for Archway. We are daily users of the roundabout area as pedestrians, tube, bus and car travellers. So far as residents of Whitehall Park we are very concerned, the proposals effectively cuts us off from access to Archway going northbound and Highgate Hill going northwards, including in the latter case road access to Whittington Hospital. Nor is there any provision for residents and traffic to have access to Holloway Road southbound from Junction Road. The present convenient location of the bus stops are to be replaced by bus stops further from the tube exits involving masses of people having to cross the roads to reach them.

The scale of the whole gyratory proposal is a massive one potentially affecting thousands of people in and around the area as well as considerable thru traffic, both commuter and commercial that links Archway Road and Holloway Road. The diversion of traffic as a result of the proposed gyratory will be considerable and will lead to congestion on all the surrounding local roads. Traffic is not going to disappear. The whole proposal should be the subject of a full independent planning inquiry with an opportunity for widespread consultation not just limited email consultation which has been sent out in this case. The full link between council, developer and landlords must be transparent and available for public comment.
Bill Paterson, Whitehall Park 7/12/14
While generally welcoming these long awaited proposals there are one or two problems that may have been overlooked particularly concerning the proposed bus stands on both sides of the Archway Road.

The area of the Whitehall Park conservation area to the east of the Archway Road has only one good access in, and particularly, OUT of the group of streets at Pauntley Street/Harberton Road (adjacent to the K bus stop on your plan). Even at present this is a difficult and dangerous exit to join the often speeding traffic on this dual carriageway stretch. With both stationary buses and buses moving out from the new bus stand on to the proposed reduced single lane this could be extremely difficult. What provision is being made for the pinch point that is being created? This exit is ESSENTIAL as alternative routes are very few and will throw even more traffic on to St John’s Way and Hornsey Lane. Apparently the reason for closing the present Vorley Road bus stand is to free it for ‘development’. It would be a shame if TFL’s plans for improvements would allow another of Islington’s grossly oversized developments like those around the Emirates Stadium and near Holloway tube station.

There will need to be a good reason for the considerable upheaval of moving this bus stand, which at present is one of the few things about the Archway Gyratory that actually works.
John Plews, Cheverton Road 6/12/14
These are my thoughts, which I’ve sent to TfL:
1. The increase in traffic levels thru our area from St John’s Way to Hornsey Lane will become very dangerous once motorists find out they cannot turn right at the Archway to go north or to reach Highgate. The same will happen to the residential streets between the Holloway Road and Junction Road.
2. The so called “town centre” outside the Archway Tavern has a cycle lane running thru the middle of it!! Not so safe for pedestrians who will now have to dodge speeding bikes instead of speeding cars (at least the cars are regulated by traffic lights!!). Old people will be especially at risk, bikes are much harder to hear.
3. I’m afraid many similar “town centres” have become playgrounds for drug dealers and those who have consumed too much alcohol. it would be better to develop the area around the library/post office/tube station.
4. Although I live in the WHPARA area, I run a business in Highgate so telling people who don’t know the area how to find Highgate from the Archway will be more difficult if the 210/143/271 bus stops are split.
5. The new bus park; correct me if I’ve misunderstood this plan, but it appears the buses that park outside the hospital (northbound) will then have to do a U-turn on the Archway Road to return into sound bound service - what sort of crazy idea is that??!!

The whole scheme needs a rethink, diverting traffic from the Archway roundabout to fill residential streets, for the sake of a few extra square metres of pavement reeks of being planned in an office on a laptop miles from the real location.
Jon Grayson, Harberton Road 6/12/14
Thanks Dorothy, a timely reminder. I don’t think enough is being raised about the stealth move to shift the bus park terminal from its existing location to the bottom end of archway road. Perhaps this is covered under a separate consultation? You just have to pull off an aerial shot from google maps to see just how many buses will be “parked” on these new stands on the west side of the Whitehall park boundary with Archway road. The consultation for the gyratory does not cover this and the way the TFL consultation brochure is presented suggests this has been carefully crafted to avoid raising this as an issue. The new stands on Archway road will drastically transform the area from both an amenity value perspective, safety and road pollution. The view from Archway bridge and the first view pedestrians and motorists will see when arriving at Archway will be one of parked red buses. The braking and departing of buses in both directions will result in increased noise and pollution as the stands are on an incline. The rationale/logic for relocating the bus park is poorly explained by the new bus routes. Chances are the relocation is driven by the resale of the land for the existing bus park. I would be interested to hear if other residents have picked up on this as it affects our end of Archway.
Kristina Kashvili-Michael, Harberton Road 5/12/14
Thank you for all this information. What I am concerned about is the relocation of BUS GARAGE from Vorley Road (behind Swimming Pool) to end of Conservation area - Whitehall Park, Harberton etc. Looks like buses are going to be lined up on both sides of the road. I am concerned about air pollution - buses revving up with diesel fumes - plus noise. Also given the foundations of these l892 houses I believe will suffer - and as a lot are privately owned houses, there could be subsidence issues and also devaluation of properties. I don’t want a bus garage end of my road...full stop! Please let me know if this issue was raised and how other people feel about it.
Emma Reuss, Harberton Road 5/12/14
Thanks for keeping us abreast of this proposal Dorothy. I’ve emailed the consultation and filled in the consultation form with my concerns particularly about the new bus stand at the end of Harberton Road on Archway Road. Nowhere can I find any reason for the closure of the Vorley Road bus stand. And the new stand seems to reduce the southbound Archway Road to one lane (am I wrong about this?). We all know about the southbound queues in the morning, when stationery traffic results in poor air quality and I can only see this as becoming even more of a problem if these plans go ahead.