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No two ways about it: Stoke Newington High Street at present. Photo: Hackney Council

We are delighted that Hackney Council is consulting on the future of Stoke Newington’s streets. Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor of London control the A10 [which includes Stoke Newington High Street], and they won’t budge unless there’s an unequivocal demand for two-way from the borough.

Scrapping the gyratory is a longstanding aspiration for many residents, visitors and traders. To them, the advantages of returning to two-way are clear, and a few months’ disruption while the changes are made will be a price well worth paying in exchange for people-friendly streets.

Others, though, are understandably concerned about the cost and timescale of this change, and are thinking of ways in which the negative effects of the current system might be reduced while keeping it one-way.

Our view is that there’s no future in tinkering with a broken set-up.

The problems which we all currently have to put up with – fast motor traffic, reduced crossing opportunities, ratrunning, and diverted journeys – are a direct result of the streets being one-way, and will be difficult or impossible to fix while the streets stay one-way.

Let’s look at each of these issues in turn.

First, speed. Multi-lane one-way streets inevitably result in higher motor traffic speeds. Give people a race-track, and they will race. Twoway working, with the expectation of traffic in the other direction, and little chance of overtaking, causes people to moderate their speed naturally, reducing the need for technical fixes such as cameras and humps.

The non-High Street sections of the current gyratory in particular suffer from inappropriately high speeds, as people put their feet down to get around the tedious southbound diversion as quickly as possible. A two-way High Street will see lower speeds, while Northwold Road, Rectory Road, Manse Road and Evering Road will be returned to borough control, allowing them all to be included in the council’s commitment to 20mph as the default speed limit.

Second, crossing the street. We will campaign with residents for as many pedestrian crossings as possible, both on a two-way High Street, under TfL control, and on the three-quarters of a mile of streets which will be returned to borough control. On the latter, we would like to see frequent zebra crossings, because these give the maximum degree of priority to pedestrians, and work well on two-way streets where speeds are low. On the High Street, TfL will probably insist on signal-controlled crossings, and we would push for a good distribution of these, together with allgreen pedestrian phases and diagonal crossings at junctions. Even away from formal crossing facilities, it will be much easier to cross due to the reduced speed of motor traffic all round.

Third, rat-running. We advocate widespread ‘filtering’ of residential streets, which will allow residents’ cars and service vehicles to reach every address, and return to the main streets the same way. This is the most effective way of eliminating through motor traffic and creating peaceful, low-speed streets. Look south to De Beauvoir for a well established example of this technique (and home-owners, check out their house values!). But filtering the minor streets while keeping the main streets one-way would result in long diversions around the one-way system for residents and deliveries. Filtering is only really viable if the main streets are two-way.

Last but not least, diverted journeys. The current one-way system inconveniences everyone, but its worst effects are on bus journeys and on cycling. Currently, people using buses (the majority of trips in our borough) are forced to walk to remote stops, inconveniencing residents and discouraging people from coming to the High Street to shop. Down in Shoreditch, where a similarly outdated one-way system was scrapped in 2002, bus journeys are now far more straightforward, and the effect on retail custom has been dramatic. Bus priority measures were also introduced at the approaches to the town centre – something Stoke Newington could benefit from too.

Cycling, meanwhile, is massively suppressed by the gyratory system, which makes journeys longer, more hazardous and downright confusing to navigate. Following the return of Shoreditch’s main streets to two-way in 2002, there has been a cycling renaissance, with people on bikes now making up more than half of the vehicular traffic flow through some junctions on Old Street in the morning peak. Stoke Newington can have that too – though not via contra-flow cycle tracks, which simply can’t offer the required level of service, and have disadvantages for pedestrians and deliveries.

We encourage everyone to respond to Hackney Council’s consultation survey. Be aware that the most important questions come near the end of the survey, especially question 20, which asks: “Would you support the removal of the current one-way traffic system if it is replaced with two way traffic flows on Stoke Newington High Street, Northwold Road, Rectory Road and Evering/ Manse Road?”

We would like you to answer YES to this, please! Anything else is a fudge, and won’t get Stoke Newington the more people-friendly streets we deserve.

To have your say, see Hackney Council’s Stoke Newington gyratory consultation

Article originally published by the Hackney Gazette

Copyright © 2010 Trevor Parsons, London Cycling Campaign in Hackney, Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 UK Licence: England & Wales

CAZENOVE AREA ACTION GROUP (CAAG) and STOKE NEWINGTON COMMON USER GROUP (snug) fully endorse the views above and urges you to express your support to this proposal.  CAAG, SNUG and neighbouring groups have campaigned for many years to have the one way system reverted to 2 way traffic, and have local streets returned to local control.

There will be a public exhibition in Stoke Newington Library between 18 October 2010 and 10 January 2011.


Drop in sessions:

Friday 12 November 2010

5pm – 8pm

Morrison’s Supermarket

47/49 Stamford Hill N16 5SR

Saturday 4 December 2010

10am – 2.30pm

Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market

William Patten School, Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0NX

Deadline for responses:  Monday 10 January 2011

 More information

 For more information about this consultation, please contact the Traffic and Transportation team on 020 8356 4891 or email: consultation@hackney.gov.uk

More police bike tagging sessions

There are more police bike tagging sessions coming up in Hackney. From previous experience, they might not stay till the very end of the session, so best to go early.

Bike tagging ad

help plant a tree  & learn skills in tree care with the Tree Musketeers.

All ages welcome and no experience required.
Sunday 28th November 2010, 10.30 – 1pm
Stoke Newington Common.
Planting a tree on South Common and formative pruning by the railway on East Common.


As always, please check the Noticeboard or Programme page on our website shortly before each meeting, in case of any late changes to details.

If you arrive after a meeting has started and you can't find us, please phone the mobile number on the Contacts page of our website.
Sunday 28th November 2010, 10.30 – 1pm
Stoke Newington Common.
Planting a tree on South Common and formative pruning by the railway on East Common.
Meet on the South Common by the bus shelter near Rectory Road / Brooke Road junction. MAP

Saturday 1st January 2011, 2–4pm.
Abney Park Cemetery.
New Year tree walk in Abney’s woodland.
Meet by the Stamford Hill entrance to the Cemetery. MAP

Tree Musketeers
All for Trees & Trees for All

3 events on Stoke Newington Common before the end of the year.

2. SNUG Winter Fair, Sat 4th Dec, 2- 5pm, in St Michaels' church


Stoke Newington Common Fun Day, 19-Sep-2010


More information ABOUT US

Stoke Newington Common Playground

Stoke Newington Common Users' Group (SNUG) has campaigned, obtained funding, designed and project managed the construction of a playground on the Common. The playground was opened in September 2006.

More info.

Fly Tipping

Fly tipping is a nuisance and an eyesore that we all end up paying to get it cleared indirectly. If you witness anything that you suspect may be fly tipping you can report it to environmental enforcement.

Stained Glass Windows

We are lucky to live in an area that was well designed from the beginning. The Tyssen-Amhurst family, whose estate this area originally was, kept a tight control on the layout of the streets and house design.

Scrap Stoke Newington One Way System

Transport for London is considering getting rid of the Stoke Newington one-way system. Local campaigners are supporting this move. The gyratory cuts people off from the common and blights High Street shopping.

Last Updated: Wed 01-Dec-2010