Thursday 6 January 2011

What better way to spend a bank holiday?

What did you do on Monday 3rd January? On one of the precious few national holidays we get here in the UK?

Well, what better way than to spend it combining three of the UK's favourite past-times: spending time with the family, driving and shopping?

Which is exactly what these motorists were doing. And to increase the pleasure of motoring, by allowing the motorist to spend lengthy periods of time bonding with their car, the traffic jam for Tottenham Hale retail park stretched from Broad Lane, through the gyratory, back through Ferry Lane to the Blackhorse Tube Station. And, of course, once the motorist finally arrived at the car park the traditional game of "find a parking space" could truly begin. After which, there was barely any time left, to queue up at the shops before they closed and allowed the motorist to, once again, become better acquainted with the inside of their car, as they queued round the gyratory to go home again. Some motorists were so excited by the prospect that they tried to jump the queue to go into the retail park car park, thus blocking all three lanes of the gyratory to allow everyone on four wheels the pleasure of spending their free time sat in traffic, whether they were going to the retail park or not.

I may mock, but it is clear that there is absolutely no alternative to the motor car when going to the shops at Tottenham Hale.  Apart from the large number of covered parking spaces for bicycles. Or the tube station next door. Or the rail station. Or the bus station. Aside from these, absolutely no alternative at all.

And TfL will perpetuate the insanity by re-organising the gyratory roads with "traffic flow" top of the list of priorities. Despite what they may say when talking about hierarchy of provision. Despite the fact that congestion like this is not caused by the road capacity, but by the parking and traffic through flow capacity in the car parks. And despite the fact that, no matter how much "traffic-flow" is engineered into the gyratory, it will always be filled, and that maybe the way to engineer traffic flow is to try to reduce the amount of traffic.


  1. Just got a TfL leaflet through the door this morning - dated November 2010 - about phase 1 of the work to remove the gyratory. This is the bit where they modify the High Road, build a cycle path to nowhere that will be in direct conflict with pedestrians, and remove the bus lane. I think there's a traffic engineer somewhere laughing maniacally.

    And to those who say that they need a car to carry home their new 3D TVs and fridge freezers (who has a car with space for a fridge freezer?) - well, all the big-box shops in that retail park will deliver to your home. Many for free - they want the sale!

  2. Although, to be fair, how else is TfL going to manage to get 5 lanes for traffic without removing bus lanes!

    The more I look at the scheme, the more it seems a disaster. If I cycle from Ferry Lane to Monument way, I either need to take my chances on road (with the junction at Monument Way looking "interesting" for on-road cyclists), or I can use the off-road "facilities" which look like I would need to use 6 separate crossings.

    Then, it looks like the retail park will be able to be accessed from Ferry Lane for cars, but the queuing is because the car park is narrow, not because of the entrance. I can see the queues are going to go for miles back past Ferry Lane and Monument Way. Still, may make cycling a bit easier...

    I have, before now, got to the retail park on a Sunday with the better half via bus or tube, bought a big item, and then asked the shop to keep it until I can pick it up in the week. Thus avoiding the queues. Or, as you say, they will deliver, and big ticket items they will deliver for free. Most eleectrical appliances have to be delivered anyway as they won't have on-site stock of big products.