Makeover recommended for Highbury-Hamilton intersection
One of London's most dangerous and traffic-clogged intersections is getting a makeover.
But the recommended fix in a consultant's report for Highbury Avenue and Hamilton Road, isn't going over well with a number of businesses in the area.
Rising traffic volumes at the intersection fuel the growing safety concerns for London drivers.
There were 110 reported collisions from 2010 to 2014 - making it among the most collision-prone intersections in the city.
“I do see accidents or almost accidents. Traffic doesn't flow well going east to west, that's the worst part,” says driver Tom Whelan.
Factors contributing to its problems include:
- The four lane divided section of Highbury enters from the south.
- Bus stops block lanes.
- There are high truck traffic volumes.
- There are no bike lanes and sometimes reckless riders.
- Cars backing out of nearby driveways.
- Vehicles entering and exiting a cluster of three gas stations, several fast food restaurants and a plaza.
According to a consultant retained by city hall, the best possible solution may come from a technique called managed access.
It prioritizes the flow of traffic through the intersection by reducing access in and out of abutting properties.
Proposed changes include closing two entrances to the Shell gas station and forbidding left turns into and out of numerous commercial properties, including the entrance to the Fairmont plaza.
That's unacceptable to stores that worry no left turns into the parking lot will drive customers to competitors with easier access.
“Definitely would hurt us a lot, cause most people will avoid a place entirely if they don't like the traffic,” says Lyndon McNamee.
In 10 years, rush hour volumes are projected to back up vehicles almost 400 meters from the intersection, creating a three-minute delay.
And longer lines of traffic would further complicate access to driveways along Highbury, where homeowners are already challenged backing out.
Residents and business owners will learn city hall's preferred solution at a public meeting in September.