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THE LONDON Borough of Camden has launched a consultation to gauge public opinion on whether to keep the current ‘trial’ street layout that runs between Torrington Place and Tavistock Place. 

In November 2015 the council introduced a trial that changed the route that motor traffic used in the area by making the corridor mainly eastbound only for motor vehicles and introducing a partially segregated (protected) cycle lane on the southern section of the street. The existing segregated cycle lane on the north side was kept and some changes were made to parking and loading.

Consultees are now invited to give their opinion on whether to keep the current layout (with improvements such as wider pavements and stepped cycle tracks) or to remove it completely and return the street to its former, pre-trial layout (with two traffic lanes and a single, two-way cycle track).

If a decision is taken to keep the current (trial) street layout, Camden is proposing the following improvements to make the route safer and more attractive for all users:

  • Wider pavements.
  • Raising the road to the level of the pavement at junctions to improve safety and provide more priority for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Improved cycle safety at signal junctions (subject to traffic signal modelling and approval from Transport for London).
  • Remove kerb used to separate the cycle lane from the traffic lane and the rubber blocks used for the trial. These would be replaced with stepped cycle tracks, eastbound and westbound, on either side of a single one-way traffic lane. (A stepped track runs between the pavement and the road. It is lower than the pavement, and higher than the carriageway for traffic.)
  • More cycle parking facilities and where possible, new trees and other planting.
  • Retain the taxi rank and loading bays provided as part of the trial.

Whilst some may be of the opinion that the trial scheme has been a success, not everyone shares this view. GMB Professional Drivers branch president Simon Rush feels that the current road structure has been a disaster and is calling on road users to reject Camden’s proposal and return the road to its original condition.

Speaking to PHC Magazine, Mr Rush said:

• Simon Rush, GMB branch president

We have to stop this nonsense and revert the implementation of this failed experiment. It has caused gridlock on surrounding roads, creating longer journey times and increasing emissions.

It appears Camden is pushing their traffic problems into Westminster with this disaster. Likewise, the idea of closing Tottenham Court Road with two way traffic in Gower Street will also create havoc.

London’s former cycle tsar Boris Johnson said vehicular traffic will simply disappear. This obviously has not and will not happen.

Torrington Place and the like shows this, with the majority of road traffic suffering for a minority of road users who only use the space for a couple of hours a day.

If you would like to respond to the consultation, click here

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