Gazette letters: Standing at football, cycling, parking in Magdala Avenue and air pollution

Fans arriving for a recent match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture: TIM GOODE/PA IMAGES

Fans arriving for a recent match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture: TIM GOODE/PA IMAGES - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Football supporters will be appalled at sports minister Tracey Crouch MP’s refusal of West Bromwich Albion’s request for a trial of safe standing, writes Steven Powell, Highbury Station Road, Islington.

Ms Crouch says fans who want the choice to sit or stand as they prefer are a “vocal minority”. She couldn’t be more arrogant or poorly informed.

Repeated surveys of Arsenal supporters – the most recent by the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, which had 7,239 responses – showed massive majorities in favour, in this case 96 per cent. 85pc of those who prefer or must sit (which includes myself as a wheelchair user) still want a choice for their fellow fans. 91pc of women were in favour, 99pc of under 35s, 85pc of over-60s, 95pc of LGBT supporters were in favour. Support for safe standing is universal. Similar majorities can be found at other clubs.

How can it be right or logical for standing to be permitted in Scotland, the lower divisions in England and Wales, rugby league, rugby union and horse racing, but not the Premier League and EFL Championship?

At the Islington transport hustings (April 16), Cllr Claudia Webbe claimed she enjoys cycling. But does she ever cycle on Islington roads, 95 per cent of which are her own responsibility? writes Anita Frizzarin, Wedmore Gardens, Tufnell Park

I dance the twist in my own kitchen, and am quite good at it. Does Cllr Webbe cycle in a similar space?

Nobody has ever seen Cllr Webbe cycle, and she does not claim to cycle on Islington roads. Is it because the roads she administers are not safe?

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The truth transpired when the question was asked: “What is the safe cycle route between Tufnell Park and Highbury?” Cllr Webbe was then forced to admit that there isn’t one.

So she cycles in her own kitchen, does not cycle in public presumably because Islington roads are too dangerous, but also has done nothing in all the years she has been in charge of those roads to make them safe.

The rest of us cannot do it ourselves, because we would probably be arrested if we tried. Changing the layout of 95pc of Islington roads needs to be initiated by the local transport executive – for the last four years, Labour Cllr Claudia Webbe.

It would seem therefore that Islington Labour is for the few who drive, and not for the many who don’t – and who would like to cycle, if the roads were not so dangerous that the person in charge of them won’t use them for cycling on herself, but does not improve them either.

There is a chronic problem in Magdala Avenue with cars parking on double yellow lines outside the Whittington Hospital. Buses struggle to manoeuvre past the cars and I have never ever seen a parking warden in the vicinity, writes Gillian Crow, Maiden Place, Kentish Town.

The council could make a fortune nabbing these illegally parked drivers. Why is nothing done?

Just been reading Tim Sayers’ letter. I think what he says is quite polite, considering, and couldn’t agree with him more, writes Mr J E Kirby, Clissold Crescent, Stoke Newington.

It was stated by TfL that allegedly there were several accidents involving cyclists and motorists in the 36 months up till March last year. I wonder if the fact that there has been and still is only one lane in each direction at this point in Holloway Road could be a prime cause of these accidents. But of course TfL would deny this.

Also, in that edition, the Gazette wrote about the computer graphic portrayal of the wonderful rebuilt Highbury Corner roundabout. Of course TfL won’t show it warts and all, as it will be. I also notice there are people wringing their hands about the fact Islington has some of the worst air pollution in its streets – I wonder why.

If you look at the insistence of building the pavement out by a vehicle’s width at bus stops, for instance, it means that traffic can’t pass a bus there, especially when there is traffic going the other way, and then you get buses held at stops to regulate the service, inevitably sitting there, engines idling. Another example of this is where White Lion Street opposite the Tube station at the Angel has been narrowed at this point from three lanes to one.

Often traffic waiting to get out into Upper Street has to wait and, when you get past Liverpool Road going north, again the road width has been reduced to two lanes, again by building the pavement out from the bus stop, effectively forcing traffic to use one lane. What doesn’t help either is the number of traffic lights between Liverpool Road and Islington Green. Again it seems the timing of going from red to green is excessively long, again causing traffic to sit there idling, again a cure for this is to let the traffic flow.

I appreciate some of these sets of lights are there to allow people to cross the road and also to allow traffic out of side streets. But instead of sorting things out to allow traffic to flow, the powers that be would rather do nothing and then complain about the air pollution that results. Why the bus stops northbound had the pavement built out so far is beyond me.