Camden Council takes action to make travel safer and healthier
Camden Council is responding to meet the needs of the increased numbers of people walking and cycling as a result of covid-19 – but also to address a rise in car use and its associated harmful health and environmental impacts.
“As the lockdown eases, there is set to be a continued rise in walking and cycling but also car use as public transport capacity shrinks due to social distancing.
“This change in the way people travel will mean extra pressure on our streets. Both the government and the mayor of London have been clear that local authorities need to be taking steps now to address this.
“Locally, a recent report by climate charity Possible has warned that Camden could be the hardest-hit borough, with a potential 74% rise in cars used to commute. We need to make sure our roads are clear for people who can only travel by car, for enabling buses to take key workers to their destinations, and to reduce air pollution and reduce the carbon emissions from transport.
“We are therefore putting in place measures to make it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle locally, shop on their local high street, reach their local green spaces, schools and NHS sites – all while maintaining physical distancing.
“To make sure we hear from people about their needs at this time we set up the online Commonplace webpage, giving the opportunity for residents, businesses and visitors in the borough to suggest locations to meet the covid travel challenge. We received 1,535 comments and suggestions, which we are now reviewing, having already made improvements at number of suggested locations including Red Lion Street in Holborn and Savernake Road in Gospel Oak ward.
“To support hospitality, we have now enabled Camden’s first Streatery in Belsize Park, with more in in the pipeline across Camden including at Drummond Street and in Fitzrovia”
To assist in implementing these wide ranging schemes, the council have to date secured approximately £1.5m of funding from Transport for London’s (TfL) Streetspace for London programme as well as £100,000, the maximum available, from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Emergency Active Travel funding, with further opportunities being pursued.
Councillor Harrison continued:
“The steps we have taken to meet the safe travel challenge include ten full road closures that enable walking and cycling whilst restricting through-traffic; four ‘cycle permeability’ schemes; widening pavements at over six locations across our town centres, high streets and residential roads that have only limited footway space; pop-up cycle lanes and improved existing cycle lanes, and facilities including installing new cycle hangars, with 84 now available across Camden.”
During this period, Camden Council also continued work to complete a number of longer-standing transformational walking and cycling schemes including the West End Project, as well as at Camden Park Road, Brunswick Square and Prince of Wales Road (eastbound permanent cycle lane).
Councillor Harrison continued:
“We will continue to carry out a wide range of measures to enable safe, healthy travel as clear alternatives to car use. For example, we are currently implementing two new pop-up cycle lanes, on York Way (southern section) and Prince of Wales Road (eastbound), as well as improving the cycling connection at Patshull Road-Kentish Town Road.
“We are also developing plans for further pop-up cycle lanes, Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes across different parts of the borough, a range of through-traffic restrictions, and more new cycle hangars.
“We will also roll out new dockless bike hire bays – which will mean that riders will need to leave the dockless bikes in designated areas, rather than anywhere. This will help address the clutter these bikes can sometimes cause.
“By the start of the new school year in September, eight further schools across Camden will have timed road closures at the start and end of the school day as part of our Healthy School Street programme, making it safer and easier for parents and children to walk, cycle or scoot to school.
“Building on Camden’s success on healthy streets we have recently been rated top in London, in the published results of the London Boroughs Healthy Streets Scorecard.”
For more information on road safety changes we are making in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) visit our dedicated webpages.
Since lockdown the council have:
- implemented 10 full road closures – “modal filters” – enabling walking and cycling whilst restricting through traffic
- introduced two further traffic reduction schemes which restrict vehicle movements whilst enabling cycling (Swain’s Lane and Millfield Lane)
- implemented four cycle permeability schemes
- widened footways at over six locations across the borough’s town centres, high streets and residential roads with limited footway space
- worked with TfL to implement pop-up cycle lanes on Hampstead Road and Euston Road
- Improved the cycle lane on Goods Way,
- Started to build pop-up cycle lanes on York Way (southern section) and Prince of Wales Road (eastbound)
- implemented three further cycle hangars, with 84 now across the Borough
Further plans include:
- Pop-up cycle lanes on Chalk Farm Road and York Way (northern section) - funding dependant.
- further pop-up cycle lanes, subject to funding, on Haverstock Hill, St. Pancras Way, Fitzjohn’s Avenue and Adelaide Road, with other schemes also at early feasibility stage
- developing Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes across multiple areas in the Borough, including Kingsgate Road area in Kilburn, South Hampstead, Arlington Road area, Camden Square/Murray Street, and around Kentish Town, with further areas also being developed at early feasibility stage.
- developing “Streatery” proposals in a number of locations, including Drummond Street and Fitzrovia
- implementing a range of through-traffic restrictions in the Seven Dials area to help enable local businesses in the area to re-open and provide a more attractive space for pedestrians and cyclists, and a number of other proposals in the vicinity of the West End Project area and Holborn
- eight new cycle hangars to be installed across the Borough in July
- implementing 70 dockless bike hire bays across all parts of Camden south of the Euston Road over the summer, with further locations north of Euston Road following on shortly afterwards