Sunday red route restrictions: just say no

Transport for London are proposing to extend the red route restrictions on Holloway Road to Sundays. Lib Dem objections have meant the process has been suspended for now but the threat of the extension is still very real.

The decision to extend the operation of the A1 red route seems to have been made without any consultation with local traders and residents. Sunday is now an important shopping day, especially for leisure-oriented shopping like DIY or furniture – just the things for which people who normally shop on foot might need a car. So the impact on local businesses could be significant.

Red routes are about giving priority to through-traffic. It’s a necessary evil during rush hour: Islington would grind to a halt without it. It’s unrealistic to let people to drive and park anywhere in London, anytime. And yes, I want to see support for greener travel. But Sundays?

The reason given by Transport for London is extra traffic flow from Arsenal matches, but matches rarely happen on Sundays. In fact just 6 matches are scheduled for the Emirates on Sundays in the 2008-09 season (and one of those has already taken place).

By contrast, something that happens every Sunday is people going to church. From St John’s and St Gabriel’s in Upper Holloway to St Mary Magdalene and St Mary’s Upper Street further south, there are churches along the A1 corridor. Congregations are not vast hordes, and many come on bus, foot or bike: people who do drive to church tend to be those who really need to do so.

So this plan brilliantly unites Sunday worshippers and Sunday traders – in opposition! Another triumph for Boris….

If TfL have a better rationale for the plans, they should be honest about it. Six football matches a years is simply not reason enough.

Meanwhile, local Lib Dems have launched a petition calling on the Mayor to scrap the plans to extend red route restrictions on Sunday along Upper Street and Holloway Road. You can sign the petition here.


1 Comment »

  1. Councillor Andrew Cornwell said


    You seem to be saying that ‘greener travel’ is fine, but not on a Sunday!

    I agree with you that Transport for London is once again up to its old tricks in not consulting properly with boroughs and local residents. But in terms of the substantive issue, it does nothing for your green credentials to oppose a policy which would benefit bus passengers and cyclists. OK, you get to take an easy shot at Mayor Boris. But this kind of campaign gives the Lib Dems a bad name: when you were an Executive Councillor in Islington, you pushed hard for a sustainable transport policy, now you seem to be backtracking on that for short term political gain.

    Meanwhile the Lib Dem administration at Islington Council is working hard on climate change issues – and that actually means measures to discourage car use in favour of buses, tubes, cycling and walking. Why shouldn’t bus passengers have the same priority measures on a Sunday as the rest of week? Why shouldn’t cyclists have bus lanes available to cycle in on Sunday, rather than seeing them full of parked cars?

    If there is an issue with loading on a Sunday, that could be dealt with by varying some of the loading restrictions – although I suspect there are fewer deliveries on a Sunday that on other days of the week.

    I really hope you will think again on this.


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