War to be waged on Islington’s one-way systems

A computer simulated image of the view north from Archway if the gyratory is removed

A computer simulated image of the view north from Archway if the gyratory is removed - Credit: Archant

The landscape of the borough looks set to change for ever as the town hall wages war on one-way systems.

View north from Holloway Road after the gyratory is removed. The northern tip of Holloway Road (left

View north from Holloway Road after the gyratory is removed. The northern tip of Holloway Road (left) and the bottom of Highgate Hill, which it leads into, would be narrow and only allow bus and bike traffic. Sandridge Street (left) would become two-way. - Credit: Archant

A plan is in place for five major gyratories across Islington to be scrapped in the next couple of years, the Gazette can exclusively reveal.

The one-way systems – Archway, Highbury Corner, Finsbury’s Old Street, Holloway’s Nag’s Head and King’s Cross – will all be ripped up, providing Transport for London (TfL) which is responsible for the roads, come up with the cash.

The roundabouts – Highbury Corner and Old Street – could be turned into ‘mini-Trafalgar Squares’ with one side taken out to create a large pedestrianised area.

Meanwhile at Nag’s Head, King’s Cross and Archway the traffic will return to a two-way system, with bus routes and other affected transport being re-routed.

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Cllr Andy Hull (right), Islington Council’s transport chief, said: “We want to replace all of these with two-way streets because they are safer for cyclists and pedestrians as well as motorists. We believe that gyratories divide communities and hope TfL will help us unite them.

“We are in talks with them about all of these roads and things are looking positive.

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“They are Tfl roads so we can’t go forward without them – we can’t just do it ourselves. But it looks like they will stump up the cash. It’s entirely plausible that all the major roundabouts in Islington will look very different in three or four years.”

Cllr Hull refused to be drawn on timings, as the final say was with TfL, and said while people will be asked about all these changes in advance, there was no point launching a consultation until the cash was in the bag.

Caroline Russell, chair of Islington Living Streets, said: “Getting rid of gyratories helps make streets less traffic dominated and more people friendly.

“It’s so important in a borough like Islington, where most people walk or take public transport, that streets are a destination rather than just motorways. Getting rid of these is a great step, which we have been campaigning for.”

The Archway Gyratory was built in 1969 as part of an ambitious project to improve traffic on the A1.

Cllr Lorraine Constantinou, who represents Hillrise ward which borders the gyratory, said: “After years of dithering and blame games between the council and TfL, things seem to be moving in the right direction.

“The devil will be in the detail. We don’t want to see the council roll over and agree plans that push traffic on to other local streets.”

A TfL spokesman said: “A TfL spokesman said: “As part of our work to reconnect communities and provide an improved shared road space for all users, we are working with stakeholders to review a number of gyratories. The findings will enable informed discussions about future options.”

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