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Readers' Letters

Editor’s comment: Highbury Corner plan is to be welcomed, but we must change our transport habits, too

PUBLISHED: 10:27 18 August 2016 | UPDATED: 15:01 14 March 2018

Highbury Corner in 1956. Picture: Islington Local History Centre

Highbury Corner in 1956. Picture: Islington Local History Centre

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This column originally appeared in the Gazette in August 2016 following a consultation on changes to Highbury Corner.

As someone who cycles round Highbury Corner twice a day, I’m overjoyed this dastardly junction is one step closer to being ripped apart.

In fairness, I’ve only been navigating it since TfL dug everything up to rebuild the railway bridge, so I probably have an unfairly negative impression of its gyratory system.

And I’m under no illusion that the work will likely cause greater havoc to start with by turning the roundabout into a building site.

All the same, if I am still around in a decade, I like to think it will be easier to get about – unless, of course, you want to get between Upper Street and Holloway Road, in which case you’ll still have to do three sides of a square.

Discouraging, then, that this isn’t the first time transport bosses have claimed to have the answer to this seemingly cursed junction.

On Friday morning James Morris emerged from the Gazette archives smeared in ancient newsprint* declaring that a comprehensive fix for Highbury Corner had already been proposed, agreed and executed in 1957.

That’s right – Islington’s answer to Hyde Park Corner was not a tragic infrastructural accident but something someone actually designed with the intention of making everyone’s lives better.

Apparently at the time it really did improve things. What has changed since then are London’s transport habits. And no amount of making it two-way or closing bits of it off will solve the issue that there is simply too much traffic.

In the interests of not re-treading the column I wrote two weeks ago on parking, I will simply say that redesigning Highbury Corner is a sticking plaster. It might make things better, for a while, but the cause of our road woes is not simply poor layout – and there is more than congestion at stake.

* Details have been embellished


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