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Islington Council to rip up and replace controversial traffic measure costing £80,000

14:36 30 July 2012

Another car had to be lifted away in Drayton Park. Photo by Simon Jary

Another car had to be lifted away in Drayton Park. Photo by Simon Jary

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Controversial road restrictions costing tens of thousands of pounds will be ripped up and replaced – as campaigners celebrate a “victory for common sense”.

Traffic islands and bollards installed in Drayton Park, Highbury, costing £80,000, will be removed and a new layout installed.

Islington Council has conceded that the scheme, which is designed to stop lorries using the street as a cut-through, is flawed and has launched a consultation on a new design.

The measure has united drivers, cyclists and pedestrians in opposition since it was implemented in May – and has already seen multiple accidents.

Caroline Russell, chairman of pedestrian group Islington Living Streets, said: “It’s a fabulous victory for common sense, but I would much rather we had not had to run the campaign at all.

“It’s a tragic waste of money and a shame they went ahead in the first place.

“But the new design is an awful lot better and will hopefully lead to fewer collisions.”

Last Tuesday a driver was stuck trying to navigate the layout, which squeezes cars up to the curb. The car had to be lifted away as police closed the lane.

Simon Jary, 45, a publisher of nearby Whistler Street, who photographed the scene, said: “The whole thing is an expensive mess and a danger to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, and now they are changing it again.

“The only people laughing are the building crews.”

A motorist flipped onto a bollard days after the scheme was completed in May.

The council said it didn’t know how many accidents have happened, but it is not aware of any injuries. It also said the cost of the redesign is yet to be calculated.

Cllr Andy Hull, Labour member for Highbury West ward, said: “The way it was executed left a little to be desired, but it’s good that we’re open to people’s feedback when we receive it.

“It’s in the right place, but the specific design clearly has room for improvement.”

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said: “We are proposing to separate cyclists from the main traffic lanes, and introduce extra pedestrian crossings.

“We hope this will meet any concerns whilst continuing to keep lorries out.”

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