‘Rat-run’ anger over traffic around Highbury Fields
It’s ‘not particularly tranquil anymore’, say residents
06 December, 2019 — By Helen Chapman
CONCERNED residents are calling on the council to curb “rat-run” traffic surrounding Highbury Fields.
The Town Hall announced an experimental traffic order last Friday stopping vehicles from accessing Highbury Crescent, which cuts through the park between Highbury Place and Highbury Terrace.
Officials are looking to hold a consultation survey after the election period.
Opponents say more should be done to help reduce traffic and pollution in the neighbouring roads that they say is being caused by the changes.
Andrea Michell, who lives on the corner of Fieldway Crescent and Highbury Crescent, said: “I think there should be a consultation about the whole of the Fields area. The small section of road shut means traffic is orbiting the entire Fields.
“There is a lot of frustration. People want to see all vehicles stop cutting through but allow access for locals and essential vehicles.”
The changes came after the council declared a climate emergency and pledged to be carbon free by 2030.
And in April this year work at Highbury Corner removed the roundabout and changed the traffic flow to a new two-way road layout.
A parent who lives in Fieldway Crescent and did not want to be named said: “I’ve got a five-year-old and a seven-year-old at William Tyndale School. The children used to like going through Highbury Fields but it isn’t a particularly nice tranquil place anymore.
“There is a lot of traffic now at the bottom of Highbury Fields crossing near Barclays Bank and one of my sons is a bit concerned when crossing the road. He now walks down Holloway Road so he doesn’t have to deal with the traffic.
“In London you have pockets of green oases unlike in many other cities but the benefits have been eroded. It is a real shame.”
Green councillor Caroline Russell said: “What we need to do is reduce traffic everywhere. It is not right that Highbury Fields is used as a rat-run from Highbury Grove to Holloway Road. Any consultation has got to look at the whole neighbourhood so that everyone benefits from less traffic and less pollution.
“We have heard from the British Heart Foundation that the impact of living in Islington on heart health is the equivalent of smoking 150 cigarettes a year. The council is right to look at ways to reduce the impact of air pollution on residents’ health but the consultation needs to be a big conversation.”
Islington Council said it could not comment due to pre-election period rules on communications.