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I've been trying to spot a speed limit sign the last few times I've walked down there. I'm presuming it's at most 30 but the traffic seems to thunder by an awful lot faster.
Since ditching my car in February, I'm getting used to going everywhere local by bus or on foot and though I've lived N8-ish for the past 12 years, I've only spent the last two years with an independently walking child. Where we'd previously drive to the swimming baths, we now catch the bus and walk from the W5 stop on Wolesley Road to and from the pool.
Pushing a buggy with a four year old whipping round your legs like an out of control puppy, with the weight and speed of the traffic is death defying. There's a section where the pavement narrows to virtually single passage and there are no bollards or railings in between you and the wheels of a truck.
I may have come in very late to a raging N8 traffic problem, but I'd be interested to hear some background if that is the case.
I live in Park Road (nearly opposite the swimming pool), and I agree that some drivers go at more than 30 m.p.h. down here.
Also, there are a couple of 'dips' in the road and when the W7 buses go by and hit these dips the whole house shakes. As I'm sure all the others houses do on both sides of the road. It's been like that for a very long time, and I worry about the foundations and the cracks appearing in some of the walls. It's especially noticeable whilst in bed, as the bed shakes when the buses go past and hit the dips.
I was just thinking the other day that there should be a way of getting vehicles to slow down, especially at this part of Park Road as it seems to be the favourite part of the road for drivers to speed down (although I'm loathe to see any more signs on our roads).
Good news from the coalition You too can have a speed gun. These are only recommendations in a review at the moment. My Googling has not revealed what process the government will follow to implement or bin them. But I think they have merit.
I too have feared for my safety on that very narrow pavement, entirely without the attendant child to add to the frisson. If we had the opportunity to set a 20mph limit from say the petrol filling station up to the entrance to the playing fields, with a chicane at each end of the new limit, we would make the pavements safer and limit all those settlement cracks. In order to get the council to do anything, I think a pedestrian has to die.
Do you have any suggestions for that sacrifice Adrian?
I'm thinking maybe a persistant perpetrator of the epidemic of recent dog fouling? The owner, not the dog, I hasten to add.
But in all seriousness, it would be ridiculous if a solution to this inevitable outcome is not sought before it happens.
In what could have been shocking irony, I nearly witnessed a fatality on Park Road this afternoon. I was pushing the buggy down the narrow stretch we're discussing on my way to the doctors. A gaggle of Highgate Wood boys were on the pavement showing each other something on their phones. One of the lads asked his friend to make way for the buggy and the boy instinctly stepped out backwards onto the road. A black cab was passing, not too fast, and with startlingly quick response, swerved to avoid the boy. Luckily there was nothing coming in the opposite direction and the cab wasn't a bus or one of the heavy trucks I've seen thundering down Park Road.
It was violent enough to shock all the boys and left me with that appalling heart racing panic you get after an adrenalin rush.
I think Adrian's traffic calming method is a very sensible one and something I will start to campaign for. There can obviously be no railings or bollards in that section and 50% of the time traffic is at a standstill or slow moving anyway so speed bumps or "road pillows" as I've recently discovered could be a measure.
Also, although you don't want anymore signage, the ones that flash 20 at passing traffic have been proved to be very effective at getting people to slow down.
I feel very strongly about this issue, particularly as I'm down that way at least three times a week if not more and do not want my child to be that casualty.
This picture is of some bollards on the opposite side of Park Road. One can only guess that their purpose was intended to be road safety, maybe to keep pedestrians away from the kerb, or more likely to keep cars, lorries, buses and armoured personnel carriers from mounting the pavement. From the point of view of anyone wanting to mount a campaign for traffic calming it does at least mean the stretch of road has a history. This story in the Telegraph gives a pointer as to how to go about organising a successful campaign.
I do have another question - why if these bollards are designed to prevent the bad behaviour of motorists, do they have to be sited on the pavement. I noticed them (fortunately) while jogging home from Wood Green. I was about to overtake a tightly denim clad bottom when these obstacles appeared, so I was lucky to have sufficient attention left to avoid a pelvis height collision. Surely these bollards should be in the road as a deterrent to motorists, not on the pavement as a danger to pedestrians.
I can tell you why those bollards are there - because they are right outside mine and my neighbour's house.
When we noticed one morning that they had suddenly appeared (a couple of years ago), we independently phoned the Council to ask why they had been put there, as they are, to us, an eye-sore and totally unnecessary. It turns out that someone had complained to the Council about my neighbour, who is a professional drummer, parking outside (partially on the pavement so as not to block the traffic as much as possible) to load and unload his drum-kit! We were very annoyed.
Another point about this part of the road is that one can park completely on the road to load and unload (shopping, drums or whatever) - thereby causing traffic problems - but not partly on the pavement. Parking tickets are given to drivers who have the wheels on the pavement.
Also, there were 3 bollards, but one of them was recently accidentally knocked over by some builders who were working nearby. And I have to admit that I did say to them that they'd be doing us a favour if they knocked over the other two!
I wonder whether Lynn Featherstone's campaign to resite a bus stop in Muswell Hill to convey users of the polyclinic on Park Road more safely could be widened to make this stretch of road safer?