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Transport chiefs urge patience as angry motorists complain over traffic chaos at Highbury Corner and Old Street junctions

21 Jun 2019

Angry motorists have slammed the planners of both the Highbury Corner and Old Street junction alterations, as transport chiefs call for patience while the projects are finished and finessed.


Officials at both Transport for London (TfL) and Islington Council have stated that the main priority should be to keep pedestrians and cyclists protected, with short-term disruption seen as an acceptable sacrifice.

However, motorists are less than impressed, after a year of construction work on the notoriously busy junction at Highbury Corner, which was finally opened to two-way traffic over Easter, has become continually gridlocked, and as a result highly polluted.


One motorist told the Highbury and Islington Gazette that because everything's messed up he is stuck in traffic all the time. He then went on to explain that because he is a courier he is losing around £10 a day.


He went on to add that he had even seen motorcyclists mount the pavement to avoid traffic. 

Another worker in the area has said that she likes the idea of designated cycle lanes, because it used to be quite hair-raising as a cyclist. 

Islington's councillor Caroline Russell, who has been collating complaints about the Highbury Corner scheme, has confirmed to the Gazette that residents are concerned about the air pollution from queuing traffic.


Another concern was that cars caught in blocked traffic can't always see when pedestrians have priority m, so move forward dangerously, therefore becoming a hazard.

She finally added that as a safety scheme the bike lanes offer real protection from lorries. 

Smart signals are due to be installed by TfL on 6 September and it is hoped that they will improve traffic flow aroind the area.

Meanwhile to the south of Islington, the Old Street junction, is still undergoing work and is set for completion next year. 


TfL have changed the road layout at Silicon Roundabout in May, opening part of it to two-way traffic.

The south-eastern junction is shut until November while a new entrance to Old Street Station and subway is built in Cowper Street.

Councillor Phil Graham said: "It was always going to be havoc, I think the timing on the lights are all wrong.”

Councillor Troy Gallagher explained to the Gazette that the redevelopment is needed as it has been one of the worst accident blackspots for cyclists and pedestrians. However he did add that he wondered if TfL had thought the project through, also stating that he felt that TfL may not have listened to residents’ concerns.

Councillor Gallagher has claimed to have received in excess of 50 phone calls in one day from residents complaining about the traffic and delays to their journeys.

Nick Fairholme, TfL's director of project and programme delivery, said: "We'd like to thank local residents and businesses for their patience.”

Mr Fairholme stated that TfL have been monitoring the area since the switch was implemented and have adjusted the traffic light timings to ensure traffic flows through the area effectively.

Councillor Claudia Webbe, executive member for environment and transport stated that they are unashamedly prioritising people over vehicles. 

However, some motorists, residents and business owners are not convinced as traffic at both Highbury and Islington and Old Street Junctions remain at a standstill for sometimes over 20 minutes at a time, compared to the once relatively "free-flowing" gyratory systems prior to the alterations.


Image Source: Transport for London

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