This post examines the merits of a change to increase public open space in the centre of Crouch End both in light of the Covid-19 infection and more generally.
This change has long been proposed under the heading of Liveable Crouch End.
Background and some of the players.
In the true spirit of not wanting to waste a good crisis a number of pressure groups are looking to leverage the current situation to change the way our roads work.
- Top of the heap, the UK government, which has updated its guidance under 2004 Traffic Management Act . Given that Covid-19 is much less easily transmitted out of doors than in, the government is encouraging out door areas for pubs, cafes and restaurants. In particular the guidance now reads:
Measures should be taken as swiftly as possible, and in any event within weeks, given the urgent need to change travel habits before the restart takes full effect.
Introducing pedestrian and cycle zones: restricting access for motor vehicles at certain times (or at all times) to specific streets, or networks of streets, particularly town centres and high streets. This will enable active travel but also social distancing in places where people are likely to gather.
- Our Crouch End councillors are also very active in pursuing various changes, which they have shared with the Forum and on which we have provided feedback.
- The Crouch End Traders Association examines and comments on proposed changes to the Town Centre
- And then of course there’s us, the Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum. We don’t usually think of ourselves as a pressure group. Our role is based around the concept of planning, that is, thinking about what is happening now, and trying to propose ways in which it might happen differently in future, or perhaps happen the same in future, but better. This short commentary has been produced to address proposals which may be implemented at speed and does not represent the formal position of the Forum.
This particular proposal
The drawing at the head of this post is taken from an earlier blog covering a number of possible changes .
Our LibDem councillors have described this very simply as
“Filter the western end of Weston Park”
From the diagram at the head of this post I am here discussing only the closure of a short section of Weston Park.
The Forum diagram goes beyond simple filtering and includes the creation of an outdoor , mainly pedestrian area.
For and Against
Why I think this is a good idea.
- This is a very simple intervention, it truly can be described as pop up
- It is an idea that has been aired for some time (see the Historic Footnote below)
- It is consistent with current government guidance on outdoor trading
- It is consistent with current government guidance, and the notion widespread around the world, that streets should be made more welcoming for pedestrians and cyclists
- It brings what I see as an improvement to the Town Centre which will make it more “Liveable” and improve trading conditions
- Implementing it soon will allow the result to be tested over the summer, allowing for a review in the autumn
- Traffic disruption will be slight – there are c400 traffic movements per day into this one way section
Counting against the idea
- There will be a loss of a loading bay, solo motorcycle parking, a disabled parking bay and some parking spaces (depending how far the pedestrianised space goes)
- There will be a need to change a stretch of Weston Park from one way to two way (unless the pedestrianised space extends to Felix Avenue)
- The Crouch End Traders Association have expressed opposition in the past to the loss of parking spaces for customers
Twitter abounds with examples of this sort of closure, in London boroughs and in other major cities. Broadly this is deemed to be a good idea.
Looks lovely. Well done
While this seems to be part of a longer term project a temporary arrangement along the same lines, but using temporary materials, in Weston Park would suit very well
This particular intervention has been proposed since the earliest days of the Liveable Crouch End project. This diagram is taken from a Haringey document dated October 2017. (More details are here)
This early concept goes much further than is being discussed in this note. Here I am looking only at a temporary, tactical proposal which might be easily reversed should it prove impractical.