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Controversial £130,000 Highbury road layout to be removed after latest in string of accidents

PUBLISHED: 13:10 21 June 2013

The scene of the accident

The scene of the accident

Archant

A dangerous and much-maligned road layout will finally be ripped up after yet another car flipped over on it this morning.

The controversial width restriction at Drayton Park, Highbury, will be torn up after the latest in a long line of accidents saw an American tourist turn her vehicle over at about 10am today.

Cllr Catherine West, leader of Islington Council, made the dramatic decision – long called for by people in the area – about two hours later.

Allison Webber, who was driving the car, had just landed from San Francisco and luckily only suffered minor injuries.

She said: “I was going really slowly – my air bag didn’t even deploy. It’s incredibly narrow and as I tried to drive through my wheel caught one of the bells [bollards] and lifted me up.

“The other bell cracked my windshield – if I hadn’t been wearing my seatbelt it would have hit my head. As it is I’ve cut my arms and I’m a bit shook up.

“The men from the scrap metal dealers helped me out of the car – they said they had helped the last person out too.

“I don’t have a record of driving badly – it’s an incredibly dangerous bit of road.”

Since the layout was installed last May, at least three cars have flipped over on it, with one local shopkeeper saying there were minor accidents every other day.

In September it was pulled out and rebuilt and another modification was made in April this year, costing a total of almost £130,000.

But, speaking to the Gazette shortly after the accident, Cllr West admitted enough was enough.

She said: “I’m intervening to take steps to remove this traffic calming measure. It hasn’t been successful. Sometimes as a council you make mistakes and this has been a mistake.

“The fact there has been another accident here is very worrying for me.

“We need to make sure lives are not at risk. One accident is too many. The money pales into insignificance compared to people’s safety. “

Simon Jary, who lives near Drayton Park, said: “My wife saw the crash this morning and she was quite shaken. There’s a school right next to it and it makes you think what would happen if a car flipped over and went crashing into it.

“I’ve never really seen the need for it and it has made a relatively safe road dangerous. The council have managed to create an accident black spot.”

Christine Eisen who lives in Drayton Park, said: “There have been umpteen accidents on it. My daughter had a bang on it. It’s a complete disaster.”

Caroline Russell, chair of Islington Living Streets, said: “The council need to have serious look at this. While we applaud anything that reduces the number of lorries through Drayton Park, they need to investigate a better way of doing it.”

The width restriction was branded the worst ever for motorists being fined in Islington when a Gazette investigation revealed the council had raked in more than £1million in Penalty Charge Notices (PCN)’s at the troubled junction.

The town hall have since agreed to refund any tickets issued at Drayton Park.


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