CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

We welcome Camden’s initiative for Gray’s Inn Road

10 January, 2020

• I WRITE in response to Nicky Coates of the Bloomsbury Residents’ Action Group regarding Camden’s proposals for Gray’s Inn Road, (Proposed changes to Gray’s Inn Road are dangerous and detrimental, December 19).

These proposals include the provision of segregated cycle tracks between High Holborn and Harrison Street (just south of the King’s Cross gyratory) which are part of the planned cycling network included in Camden’s transport strategy, designated for implementation by 2025.

As explained in Camden’s consultation leaflet, this is the third phase of improvements to the area for pedestrians as well as cyclists. The results of the first two phases show that such schemes can bring great benefits in the calmness and safety of the area while continuing to enable motor vehicle access.

It is accepted by most residents that we desperately need to reduce our reliance on motor vehicles. The reasons hardly need restating (air quality, carbon emissions, inactivity-related health issues).

Cycling is part of the solution but it is well documented that encouraging more people to make trips by cycle will require protected lanes on busy roads as well as motor traffic reduction on minor roads. So we welcome Camden’s initiative.

Ms Coates points out that the planned route does not include the King’s Cross gyratory. Ideally it would, but the roads in the area are operated by Transport for London not Camden.

In fact, the proposed scheme provides an excellent link to recently-completed quieter and protected routes that avoid the KX gyratory as well as alternative safer routes into King’s Cross and St Pancras stations. The argument that a cycle route is no good if it ends somewhere could be used to argue against any improvements, anywhere!

She claims cycle collisions on Tavistock Place increased by 57 per cent when the segregated tracks were introduced. Official government casualty statistics show that there were 36 collisions involving cycles or pedestrians including five that resulted in serious injury in the three years before the tracks were installed and 25 (one serious) in the three years after.

This is a significant decrease, not an increase, and is even more impressive if we note there has been at least a 20 per cent increase in the flow of people cycling following the installation of the tracks.

She claims removal of islands at junctions represents a safety risk for pedestrians but does not back up this assertion. In fact, such islands may actually decrease safety by encouraging pedestrians to cross informally rather than wait for a signal.

She claims the proposed bus stops will be dangerous. Camden has implemented a number of island bus stops and in spite of initial opposition these have been successful, especially with the addition of mini-zebra crossings to make it clear pedestrians have right of way when crossing the cycle track.

She claims that buses will be slowed down whereas Camden’s analysis shows bus journey times will decrease. She claims the capacity of parts of the road will be reduced by 50 per cent.

Apart from a few short sections, the road currently has one lane in each direction and this will remain the case. Add to this an estimate of use for the cycle lanes and total capacity is actually increased.

Instead of opposing the plans, we invite BRAG to join us in supporting Camden’s 2018 transport strategy in aiming to achieve a zero casualty rate while transforming our streets to enable a large increase in walking and cycling.

JOHN CHAMBERLAIN
Camden Cycling Campaign

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