Camden gives the green light to transform Tottenham Court Road area
Following extensive public consultation, Camden Council has given the go-ahead to a £41 million plan to transform the Tottenham Court Road area, making it safer and more attractive for residents, boost business and create new public spaces, ahead of the opening of the new Crossrail station in 2018.The project will replace the one-way system on Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street with two-way tree-lined streets, helping to cut traffic and congestion in the area, reduce pollution and accidents, and make bus journeys up to three minutes quicker.Wider pavements and safe and direct pedestrian crossings will be installed on Tottenham Court Road and New Oxford Street. Gower Street will have segregated cycle lanes and a new extra wide crossing outside University College London.
The project will create five new public spaces, including a new pedestrianised plaza at the foot of Centre Point next to the new Crossrail station. In addition, the West End’s first park for a century will be created in Alfred Place just off Tottenham Court Road.A network of safe cycle routes will be opened including four kilometres of segregated cycle tracks connecting Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia with the West End to encourage more people to cycle.The project will address issues which have affected the area for some time, including traffic congestion, poor air quality, narrow and cluttered pavements, and a lack of public space. The existing one-way system on Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street increases journey times, while many bus passengers find the area confusing. As a result of the Tottenham Court Road station improvement works, traffic has dropped by 30% in recent years, and this project would further reduce traffic through the area.
This is the largest and most ambitious transport project that the Council has undertaken and it will help transform the Tottenham Court Road area into one of London's premier commercial, cultural and academic districts.
The Council is leading the way in tackling traffic congestion and this project will help to address one of London’s worst areas for pollution.
This project will make journeys quicker and safer, as well as creating a more attractive place for people to enjoy and will benefit the whole community.
Over many years we have been an active supporter of the reversion of Tottenham Court Road to two-way operation primarily to benefit bus users, but also to benefit pedestrians and cyclists.
This is the most important central London bus priority scheme of the last decade. It will have direct benefits for the users of seven of London’s major bus routes. Bus users that use buses along Tottenham Court Road will clearly benefit from shorter journey times, but also from a more understandable routing – two-way bus operation is almost always better than one-way. It is also the case that bus priority benefits all the users of a route, not just those travelling along the priority section itself, because bus priority improves the general reliability of the whole route. Over 66 million passengers a year will benefit from this scheme.
We welcome Camden Council's overall vision for the West End with the reallocation of carriageway space for walking, cycling, green areas and new public space on Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street and for fewer buses on New Oxford Street. The West End project presents a real opportunity to show how even the busiest London streets can begin to be reclaimed from motor traffic dominance so as to make them safe and attractive spaces for cycling and walking.
The overall benefits delivered by the project are significant, but it is inevitable in such a busy and central location that some difficult compromises have had to be made.
Following comments received in the public consultation, a number of significant changes have been made to address key concerns. Camden Council has now included segregated cycle lanes on Gower Street, more taxi ranks, disabled parking and pedestrian crossings. Camden Council has also brought forward proposals to reduce traffic on some residential streets. With these changes it is believed that the project represents the best balance that can be achieved to make this area one of the capitals finest places to do business, to visit and to live and work.Camden Council is planning to start works on the three year project in summer 2015.Visit camden.gov.uk/westendproject to find out more.