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Highbury Corner is now a mega mess-up

13 November, 2021

Andrew Hodgson, president of the National Federation of the Blind UK (NFBUK), with NFBUK volunteer Devaki Sivasubramanian and Sgt Ferguson at a police bike-marking event

• I READ with interest the report (Blind are put at risk by ‘cyclists cutting Corner’, November 5), and also claims that bike and e-scooter riders are using space for pedestrians near the revamped roundabout.

Unfortunately this is all too true. When this Highbury Corner scheme was first proposed there were a lot of letters in the Tribune against it.

What happened? Both Transport for London and Islington Council pooh-poohed these, saying that we were silly people who did not know what we were talking about.

Now we read about the blind lady, Deborah Persaud, who lives in the Newington Green area and who travels through Highbury Corner almost gets knocked down and has her cane wrecked by a cyclist.

We also get a belated apology from Helen Cansick, TfL’s head of healthy streets delivery, saying that they are very sorry to hear about the experiences of a local resident.

I should think so too. Perhaps now they will listen to what people have to say. It’s all very well saying that the paved area is only for pedestrians but what about enforcing it?

If TfL want to make it safer then get some enforcement teams out there and do a blitz – not just for a couple of hours, but stay there for a month and dish out fines for every person caught riding on the pavement anywhere in the area of the roundabout. And if that doesn’t work then confiscate the cycles and e-scooters from the riders who keep on doing this.

Then perhaps the message will get through that the pavement is for pedestrians and not people who are too idle either to use the cycle lanes or obey the traffic lights. After all, TfL is quick enough to dish out fines for motorists who ignore traffic restrictions.

All too often when working in the Marie Curie charity shop on Highbury Corner, especially at night when putting out our rubbish, I take my life in my hands with cyclists and e-scooters tearing up and down the pavement outside the shop.

During the day I also see people riding on the pavement. I am a pensioner, aged 74, but fortunately I can see and also have my mobility.

What has to happen before TfL and the council see sense and admit that the so-called revamped corner roundabout is not the success that they said it would be, but a disaster waiting to happen.

How many more people have to go through what Ms Persaud went through before things are sorted out? Do we have to have somebody killed or seriously injured?

I fully support what both Andrew Hodgson and Deborah Persaud have said: if this can happen to her then it can happen to any of us who use Highbury Corner.

So come on, TfL and Islington Council, have the guts to admit you have made a mega mess-up.

Clissold Crescent, N16


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