Block Work Update

To answer a couple of resident’s questions:

The block work at Carlingford and Waldeck is being laid out in the grey and the dark blocks will then be added to ensure a complete pattern – the guys from Volker felt this would be the quickest way of working – we spent the first morning working through the pattern with them and it makes sense.

We want to be able to order all the trees for the project at the same time. There is no facility for us to store them during the building process. We have been told it is also sensible to wait until later in the year to plant the trees to better ensure their survival. We want to be able to take delivery of the tree grills and guards at the same time – again we have no where to store them as works continue. Therefore it has been decided to wait until structural works have been completed before installing the trees. In order to ensure structural integrity of the block work tables it is necessary to lay the sand foundation and blocks before removing a certain number, reusing them elsewhere, to the plant the trees at a later date. Since these trees are in the carriageway it would not be possible to simply leave a hole in the ground or earthworks until we were able to fit the tree and grill.

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33 Responses to Block Work Update

  1. JS says:

    “It’s a bit low. Isn’t it?”

    Yesterday the new ‘table-junction’ with Waldeck and Carlingford Roads opened to vehicular traffic. We passed diagonally over it during a quiet moment, briefly discussing the end product with a Volker Highways worker. The above comment was his; echoing our own sentiment. The ‘sloped’ gradient of the table entry points appears disappointingly shallow. And seems to provide little speed impediment to passing cars (visit Woodside Avenue nr Muswell Hill to see how it could be done).

    In addition, each ramp is ‘blended’ with its corresponding roadway via a broad, very poorly laid strip of undulating black tarmac. These swathes of fill-in surface stand as stark contrast, sandwiched as they are between neat brickwork and the original road surface. On first impression, they suggest a lack of accuracy when the table was first dug out. One might expect a foot-or-so of tolerance. But these bands are overly-generous in their scale. Lets hope the Volker team’s process improves as the remainder of the tables are created. It would be a shame for this scheme to leave a legacy of scarred road surfaces to the area – which only widespread resurfacing would cure. Fingers Crossed.

  2. We are looking into the tarmac strip and its application. I will update asap. Thanks.

  3. JS says:


    Now the regular travellers through the Waldeck/Carlingford junction are returning to the newly-opened table a worrying practice became evident this early evening. Cars travelling in the direction of Langham Road, including those turning left off Carlingford into Waldeck are cutting the corners.

    Given the road and pavement is now one level, I witnessed one particular driver ignoring the kerbstones entirely. To that end, if you were a pedestrian travelling on the pavement along Waldeck (with the intention of turning right into Carlingford) you might turn the bend and find a moving car sharing the pavement. As there is a fairly overgrown Buddleia bush obscuring the view to the right into Carlingford, this corner could now be quite dangerous to negotiate. It would seem the initiative to slow cars might also be putting the pedestrian at risk.

    Here is a shot of the tire tracks:

    As there are ROAD CLOSED signs covering the other corners of this table, these corners are ‘safe’.

    • Thanks for this information – we will be monitoring this junction (along with every new installation) to see how traffic and pedestrians behave. Once the trees are installed this should help with the potential problem. However, if there remains an issue the simple installation of a corner bollard will resolve the problem.

  4. It looks to me that the whole idea has not been properly thought of. I think another meeting should be arranged with residents and council to discuss this before someone gets hurt. I think that what will happen is what occured when the road was narrowed at the end of Langham road by belmont and the pavement was extentded. when the council realised that cars were mounting the pavement and this was dangerous they then came and removed it. what a waste of money… This will happen again as more residents start to complain about the latest project!

  5. V says:

    Re. cars cutting the corner. Surely the trees will stop this when they are planted?

  6. Paulette says:

    Yes, I also feel alarmed to discover there is no longer a kerb on the corners of Carlingford and Waldeck Road. The table itself is low and doesn’t prevent any obvious speed deterrent, while the blurring of the road and pavement could encourage cars to mount the pavement, either through carelessness or to get past each other. If anything this makes us more vulnerable as pedestrians.

    Was the levelling of the pavement and road part of the plan? I would certainly have raised an objection if we had been consulted on this and wonder why we were not informed of this in advance and/or consulted.

    • The raised table was always going to create a single surface at that point between the road and pavement. Similar examples are seen throughout London. Once the trees are installed this will help with the potential issue. However, we are monitoring the situation and if necessary we can install a simple bollard to provide further protection to pedestrians.

      • VB says:

        Could you give us similar examples in London to visit and observe? Having seen a raised table installed Park Avenue South N10 or N8 with Priory Road- They have 2 nice bollards either side of each pavement crossing. I would have thought you will need 4-8 bollards on each corner of table to be safe from being hit. Happy to look at your examples to compare. With thanks …

  7. JS says:

    Brick monitor
    Midday SUNDAY 30th October. Passing over the junction – noted a mysterious figure with clipboard and ancient trolley bag planted in the road just off the kerb. Some covert government operation? He undercover and pen in hand. As I drove by another car paused to my left. Who had right of way? I took the initiative, and nearly ran over a pedestrian who had suddenly decided he was in Tokyo – crossing on the diagonal. Deep in mobile phone discussion, I had to sound my car horn, just to alert him to the slightly foolish practice of wandering out into Tottenham tarmac. I’ll save readers blushes and not publish his response.

    The main issue – midday Sunday is not particularly ‘normal’ operating hours. So one hopes the trolley monitor might sneak back during the week, and jot down some more realistic data.

    One positive observation – the hanging gardens of Babylon have been cut back, so one might at least get a good view of the cars turning over your toes as you take the corner by Waldeck.

    • How bizarre! I can only imagine the comment regarding the “covert government operation” is a tongue in cheek comment, but just in case I will put minds at rest that this mysterious individual is nothing to do with the project or Council in any official (or unofficial) capacity. As I have said previously, we will be monitoring the junction shortly – on both weekdays and at the weekend – and providing an update as soon as possible. Should you require any further reassurances please feel free to contact me directly –

  8. nick says:

    I recived a telephone call from Joan Hancox regarding this problem. She has promised that they will be monitoring the table and that measures will be taken. Dont know what they are but she promised to get back to me….

  9. VB says:

    Residents are aware you are monitoring. I think we don’t really like being an experiment. Where are there similar examples ? Would be great to see!

  10. I believe you made the same comment yesterday asking for examples.We are currently in the process of putting together a list – resut assured that there is nothing “experimental” in the raised table located at Carlingford and Waldeck Road. The purpose of this blog is to provide feedback but you must understand that you cannot expect an immediate response to every question. I will endeavour to respond to queries in a timely fashion as has been the case throughout.

  11. nick says:

    I drove over the new table in carlingford and didnt even see it. These tables are very low…what a shame that more thought hasnt been given to reach a solution that will work. The waldeck table is equally not slowing down the cars as I have seen cars drive over them without slowing down. In fact until the supposed extra measures are in place…exactly what they are is not known…monitoring period….this junction is more dangerous. I nearly collided twice using it as no cars seem to want to give way!!!!!

    • I was on site this morning and it was possible to see that each car passing through the junction slowed as a result of the table. However, in order to provide detailed statistics we will be collecting post project data and comparing this with the information collected prior to works starting. We expect these statistics to show a reduction in speed. The height of the table is obviously limted by the height of the surrounding pavements – however, the ramps and the table are at the recommended height for slowing traffic down to a suitable speed. We expect that the trees, once they are put in place, to add an additional traffic calming element.

  12. nick says:

    Well i am definetely going back to spec savers and get my glasses changed as everytime I have stood and monitored , cars have been driving over the table as normal …no slow down …i def want my money back spec savers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • DPR says:

      Nick, Nick, Nick – my dear sparring partner – you’ll tell me off again I’m sure, but are you only interested in this project to criticise and complain??? Ben has said clearly that proper monitoring will be carried out to compare speeds before and after the work in order to make a proper assessment of whether or not it has helped slow traffic. They’ll be doing this with proper equipment and when the installation is completed with the trees which are an integral part of the design and across the neighbourhood as a whole. It’s so easy to make sarcastic comments like the one above but really it would be nice if you could let the guys complete their work, monitor and report back before rushing to judgement.

  13. Vivien Burgoyne says:

    The trees – when the arrive – will narrow the passage of the cars and hopefully this will slow the traffic down. Vivien

  14. nick says:

    DPR check other comments too as above such as Paulettes and VB…It appears that more residents are not happy with the tables yet it appears that Sustrans are trying to justify what we belive is not going to work. The tables are not high enough to slow the traffic enough to make a significant difference to justify the amount of money it has cost and if Ben is correct that each table cost around 15000 then what a waste in times when everyone is cutting back just to make ends meet. I do however appologise for being sacastic but not my upset or criticism against something I believe is wrong and certainly will not appologise for my attitude towards the council and sustrans!!!

  15. Veronica says:

    2 weeks ago I put up a comment about raised table examples with trees but no give way lines etc in London we could look at. I felt that this information would reasure residents about the final finished look. I was firmly and I guess fairly told that I could not get an immediate response to this and that I should wait. I have done this and two weeks I am still being patient and have not added any more to the blog until now. As a resident who likes the look of these raised tables (but is a little concerned), I understand the council would like to get on with the job in hand and therefore I really look forward to the finished scheme and it being the success we had hoped for. A postive note from a resident…at a difficult point in the consultation it would seem.

    • That is a fair point and I had meant to post the images much earlier – it has been sitting on a ‘to-do’ list that has grown steadily longer. I will get them up on the blog this evening. Thanks.

  16. Veronica says:

    Thank goodness we now have double yellow lines and give way lines now on two of the raised tables in our neighbourhood. It has been confusing until now and residents have been unsure if this was going to happen. However this is so much better. It is starting to look like a junction with directions on how to stop and look. Great! – I have no idea if this is residents pressure and or council monitoring ..maybe a bit of both but I am much happier.

  17. jimcaig says:

    I’ve been coming back to the blog after a while away, and I admit to feeling slightly disappointed at the tone of some of the debate.

    I totally understand the appeal of traditional, more satisfying and apparently more severe measures, but this is an area of behavioural study where the conclusions can often be counter-intuitive to the way we think things actually work.
    Studies have shown that taking away conventional boundaries between pedestrian and vehicular zones is actually safer because people have to pay more attention. Also, signs don’t work as well as structural interventions because they’re easily ignored.
    These traditional solutions can be diffcult to resist.
    But so is scratching an itch. And we all know that doesn’t work.
    And it’s normal to be resistant to new ideas. There’s a quote from the economist, JK Galbraith: “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”

    Granted, there’s also some scepticism from what people have witnessed so far. I too would like to see proof that the interventions work.
    But I’m minded to trust independent measurement (ie a repeat of the previous speed/volume traffic study) over people’s eyes and perceptions. And that includes my own. Especially my own.
    It’s also the case that people aren’t really driving under test conditions yet. Some roads are closed, which means some drivers may be taking less care than usual. Also they’ve been diverted from their usual route, so might be more exercised than usual.

    I’m also sad at the way the debate is being conducted.
    Having been involved as much as I can since I first met Ben, I wanted to attest to the impeccably consultative way in which Sustrans have run this project. Unfailingly patient, Finn and in particular Ben have always striven to be objective and representative of as many residents’ views as possible.
    The debate here seems to portray them and their help (and without them we wouldn’t HAVE a project) as somehow unilaterally enforcing unwanted solutions. The prospect of this portrayal emerging in petitions to Haringey council seems grossly unfair.
    I only hope the door-to-door canvassing described in a previous thread about one-way systems is conducted with the same degree of open-mindedness, consultation and grace that Sustrans have always shown.
    But the tone of the debate on the blog suggests I’d be unwise to bet on it.

    The project allowed for full discussion about every road, including mine, Stanmore.
    We reached conclusions collaboratively, weighing residential priorities, statistical and local insight, evidence of effectiveness and a range of preferred methods.
    Without wishing to devalue any of the individual concerns Langham residents have about that stretch of road, the debate on that thread doesn’t feel in keeping with the spirit of everything we’ve worked on for 18 months.

    It seems preoccupied with lobbying for one specific solution, rather than weighing up options.
    It is ignoring evidence that highlights the one proposed solution as perhaps the least effective (remove the one deterrent to even faster driving? Really?) and other evidence that suggests loads more that will actually solve the problem.
    And, perhaps most disappointingly, it has dismissed as ‘irrelevant’ the output of numerous workshop sessions, the time spent by many people, the depth of the engagement, and the resulting sense of community it has generated.

    In short, the spirit that this resident felt had been fostered seems sadly absent.

    Which is a real shame.

    Sorry for the essay, or if I’ve offended anyone. Had to get that off my chest!

  18. Veronica says:

    According to Sustrans the blog is here to deal with feedback from all residents providing healthy, polite, debate and reassurance. In many cases this blog has proved to be successful at this but I do agree that recently it has gone through a turbulent time. Understandably maybe because a bit like putting on a show – the time has come to see if all the ideas comes together and work…

    If I could reply to Jim’s comment regarding Langham Road Residents….
    “It seems preoccupied with lobbying for one specific solution, rather than weighing up options.”

    The recent discussion of the Langham Road bend has proved heated at times but I thought it must help to explain that some of residents have just become aware of the scheme from July and from some like myself have have been involved right from the start. My views may vary from other Langham Road residents and so it is best not to put everyone together in the same box.

    I myself am asking for the council to monitor and consider “a number of additional speed resistrictions’, not just one option on the bend. Since the traffic calming feature changed from
    A) a island tree (which was supported at design meetings and which cars could pass around) to
    B) a raised table which was supported by Langham residents petition in September;(their houses did not want to lose the parking space).

    I think this was an acceptable change and I have no problem with this but I do feel that we returned to the challenge of cars having the space to pass each other at a speed of up to 30mph on the bend where parked cars are often hit. A number of options ( One- Way was just one of them ) were submitted to the council by letter in October and I have a response from them regarding One Way schemes and the 20 mph schemes. (I am still waiting for a reply to other speed calming options to be considered in future).

    It maybe helpful for other residents to see and understand that there has been clear and polite correspondence with the council from Langham Road residents and maybe that the blog serves it purpose to give a platform for feedback but maybe not the complete picture.

    Reply from Council Project Engineer

    The DIY Streets project has been funded through our Local Implementation Plan which already sets out our projects until 2014, it is unlikely that there would be funding available in 2012/2013 for further traffic calming features necessary to self enforce a 20mph zone if it is deemed to be required following our after surveys. However this does not mean that funding may not be available in the future years to assist with the implementation of a 20mph zone.

    It is also unlikely that a one-way system will be considered in future years as this could potentially lead to an increase in traffic speeds. Surrounding roads would also see a rise in traffic volume, even if these were made one-way in the opposite direction, the resulting gyratory could result in streets having increased traffic speed and volume. Unfortunately with these likely repercussions, and mindful that residents voted against restricting access during our consultation process, it is unlikely that a one way system would prove to be beneficial in Langham Road. Current streetscape design discourages one way roads as they often serve to bisect communities, raise safety concerns through traffic speeds and volume and are inconvenient to those that live along them. To this end, many one way streets are now being removed.

  19. nick says:

    I found the comments very interesting to read. I accept that alot of work has been done to get the changes that are already in place. However more should have been done to engage all residents perhaps a door to door or vote concerning the one way system. How do residents like myself, veronica and others feel when their cars are constantly damaged? To say that residents did not want a one way considered is grossly misleading. 28 residents attended this vote and 25 voted against. How can this be a true account on what residents want. further i do not believe John Mcqueens statement that one way routes are being removed. If this is the case what a waste of money putting them in to start with. This only proves to me that being an engineer or council trained in road issues arent always right. I am calling on all my immediate residents to write to their MP and ask for more safety measures especially around the langham road bend.

  20. nick says:

    One point I have noticed that a speed traffic monitor has been placed by the Langham bend to monitor traffic and speeds i presume. Now why was this not done before and is done now that they say they have no money to change anything? i would be interested in the results of this monitoring!

  21. Rob says:

    Regarding give way lines at the Waldeck/Carlingford junction, I don’t think they should have been repainted, but can understand concerns of the residents having seen myself the failure of motorists to be courteous to each other and pedestrians.
    However, if there must be give way lines, then they should be the other way. I.e. Waldeck road road should have the priority as there is less opportunity for speed buildup as there is on Carlingford.
    Also, the lines should not be painted onto the table itself, but stop short, as this breaks up the visual barrier of the table and undermines the “authority” of the table to slow traffic down.

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