Letter: 'Highbury Corner is unsafe and unhealthy for pedestrians'

Highbury Corner

Highbury Corner - Credit: André Langlois

Kate Pothalingam, chair, Highbury Fields Association, writes:

The Highbury Fields Association has a membership of over 210 households, many of whom are concerned about the changes that have occurred over the last few years with regards to the Highbury roundabout/gyratory system.

We realise that Islington Council and TfL wanted to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists when it decided to replace the roundabout with a road junction, however the redesign is not delivering on its promise. 

There appears to be a very great increase in queuing traffic which is having a serious impact on air quality, and on journey times for bus users, delivery vehicles and private cars. 

The pedestrian area close to the entrance of the tube station and in front of the arboretum is neither pleasant nor safe. Inconsiderate cyclists and motorised bike riders regularly ignore the no cycling signs, often travelling at speed – and e-scooters are doing the same.

Highbury Corner

Highbury Corner - Credit: André Langlois

All of this makes the area unsafe for pedestrians especially those with limited vision or mobility and the HFA has been told of several dangerous near misses. A lack of road-markings means that cars often block the busy pedestrian crossing to the tube making it an additional hazard for pedestrians and cyclists.  

The HFA has repeatedly asked Islington Council to enforce the pedestrian zone, but as much of the land belongs to TfL, they are not able to do so. It is a great pity to see this area so neglected, with snapped off trees, empty tree pits (a further hazard for pedestrians) and an overgrown weed-infested hedge. What can be done to improve things?

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Richard Watts, former leader of Islington Council, is now working for the mayor; might he be able to raise this issue with him? Sadiq Khan was happy to formally open the new pedestrian area – would he be as happy to see how the space is being used today?

Could the council work with the local businesses who benefit from the food delivery drivers by asking them to encourage mopeds to use the designated loading bay just a few yards away on Upper Street rather than the pedestrian area? Could they increase their litter picking in the area?

We are therefore asking Islington Council to address these issues and please do it soon.