Camden Council is asking people living in the borough to put forward their ideas for making our streets better for safe travel by walking, cycling and social distancing. In some parts of the borough they have already made improvements. Now it’s our turn.
“We want to make it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle locally, shop on their local high street and reach their local green spaces while maintaining physical distancing,” says Camden. “We are also looking ahead to respond to future challenges caused by a predicted rise in car use and decline in public transport use once some of the lockdown restrictions are eased.”
So in response to this call for action, I’ve made around a dozen suggestions for cutting out through traffic in Fitzrovia and improvements for walking, cycling and those using mobility aids.
I’ve asked for the whole of Fitzrovia to be made “access only” by motor vehicles so that business can get deliveries in and out but as much through motor traffic as possible is removed. I have been mindful that closing one street may mean that drivers will just get through via another street and shift the problem elsewhere. So I’ve suggested that all east-west routes have bollards installed so that people can walk and cycle freely but the amount of motor traffic in the neighbourhood is hugely reduced.
Tottenham Court Road is difficult to cross for pedestrians, so I have asked for the pedestrian crossing times to be increased to allow more time to cross the road. We used to have a zebra crossing at Store Street, I have asked for this to be put back.
Grafton Way (east) has a hospital and hundreds of people have homes there. Yet it is a busy road outside of the Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone because it is part of the Euston Road gyratory. I have asked for this road to be removed from the gyratory and brought within the CC and ULEZ.
In Torrington Place where it meets Tottenham Court Road there is no protection for cyclists who often have to mix with large numbers of vehicles and often heavy lorries. I have asked for a protected cycle lane to be installed on this busy approach. Others have already asked for the short section of cycle lane on Tottenham Court Road to be re-opened and I have added my support for this.
Many of our streets are clogged with parked cars out of hours of the controlled parking. I have asked that single yellow lines be converted to double yellows which will prevent drivers dumping their cars on our streets, and also free up space for businesses and residents to continue to get goods delivered. In the long term I would like to see more deliveries by electrically-assisted pedal cycles like Pedal Me.
Finally I have asked for all streets in Fitzrovia to have a 10 mph speed limit. After several collisions on Tottenham Court Road last year when buses hit pedestrians, Transport for London introduced a temporary 10 mph speed limit for all buses. If we can have 10 mph for buses on Tottenham Court Road we can have it for traffic in Goodge Street and every other street.
No doubt many more improvements can be made. If you want to support these suggestions or add your own, then please visit the Camden Safer Streets website and submit your comments.
Linus Rees is co-editor of Fitzrovia News and a director and trustee of Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association.