Options and Ideas
All kinds of idea have been put forward from Archway. Here are a few.
Most popular suggestion is to knock down the much hated Archway Tower. However, the rough cost of that is £20m - £10m to buy it and £10m to demolish, during which time the tube station would be shut.
It does cause enormous wind blight. That is because it faces the prevailing wind, has fins down it, and a space underneath. Any wind which hits the side can’t go round so is funnelled down, creating on-going turbulence.
You can’t change the way the tower faces but you could strip it back to its basic structural skeleton, and re-clad it with a smoother, rounded surface so the wind goes round, not up and down, filling in the space at the bottom to prevent that drawing through more wind, promoting the wind tunnel effect.
A new cladding could include a green wall.
One of the interesting discoveries recently is quite how popular Archway station is, with user numbers growing by 5% ever year between 2005 and 2010.
There is also Upper Holloway Rail station offering transport right down to places like Kew and east to the Lee Valley.
At the same time the centre of Archway has at least as many pedestrians as vehicles, though the vehicles are given the lion’s share of the space.
Prioritising pedestrians around the centre of Archway would make it much more attractive for the majority of users. That in turn would attract more of them, who would make greater use of the local businesses, so improving not just safety on the street but the local economy and social network.
This is a low cost, high returns option. Evidence from Kensington High Street indicates that decluttering doesn’t just make the street feel more cared for and therefore better valued, it also improves safety. For more on the subject see www.blitzandblight.com/street-furniture , www.english-heritage.org.uk/protecting/heritage-at-risk/conservation-areas-at-risk/interactive and www.english-heritage.org.uk/protecting/save-our-streets.
Repair the Archway Road
Old almshouses and more were demolished to make way for the widening of the Archway Road to a dual carriageway. However, evidence from the Walworth Road shows that reducing traffic to one lane in each direction speeds traffic, reduces congestion, and improves air quality. Doing that to the Archway Road would also free up land to recreate buildings on that site and repair the urban fabric.
Archway is much greener than it appears - because all the greenery is hidden round corners, away from the centre.
The Greening the Grey project on St Gabriel’s Church on Holloway Road shows how much greening improves the look of an area.
More greening of walls, such as at the bottom of Highgate Hill, would really improve the feel of the centre.