Camden to make permanent safety improvements at the junction of Southampton Row and Theobalds Road

Camden Council is to begin work on permanent road layout changes at the junction of Southampton Row and Theobalds Road.

The changes are being made following a public consultation and will help to make the junction safer for cycling with segregated cycle lanes, bus lane improvements and improved traffic lights for cyclists.

This follows the immediate road safety changes that were made at the junction in September 2021.

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden

We are determined to do all we can to make the Southampton Row-Theobald's Road junction as safe as possible for cyclists. In September we said that the changes we introduced then would be just the beginning. We are now set to make the permanent safety improvements needed to make this junction safer for everyone.

We have worked together with the local community, ward councillors, cycling groups, TfL, London's walking and cycling commissioner, and the mayor Sadiq Khan to agree changes that will transform how cyclists use the junction and ensure that their safety is prioritised.

It is important to understand that this change has come about thanks to the pace of work undertaken by Camden and TfL staff, who embarked on a highly focused project, rapidly delivered, to make this junction as safe as possible.

But money played a role here too, as TfL committed a significant sum using funding they were still able to draw on. I believe this approach of working at a rapid pace to tackle unsafe junctions is one that TfL and boroughs should adopt more broadly, in order to bring us closer to 'Vision Zero' of no road deaths and casualties as soon as we can. To keep people safe on our roads, London desperately needs a proper deal. Uncertainty over what TfL can fund next means we may not be able to fix what we need to, and in discussions about other parts of the borough of Camden where I have concerns it is clear that the current situation means we are unable to plan properly for other, much-needed safety changes.

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden

The changes being made at the junction of Southampton Row and Theobalds Road are:

  • New sections of segregated cycle track northbound and southbound on Southampton Row
  • A new “cycle gate” southbound on Southampton Row at the junction with Theobalds Road. This is where cyclists are held at a red signal while motor traffic flows through the junction, then cyclists get a green signal to enter an enlarged cycle box area so they can then move before the motor traffic
  • New cycle boxes (advanced stop lines) for cyclists in all directions providing safer spaces for cyclists
  • An “early start” of around 4 seconds at traffic lights for cyclists in all directions to help reduce conflict between cyclists and motor vehicles
  • Cyclists will be able to turn right in two steps (stages) on all approaches. A two-stage right turn allows cyclists to more forward when signalled, before waiting in a safe designated area before turning right
  • A bus, cycle, and taxi lane southbound between 150 Southampton Row and the junction with Theobald’s Road running 24 hours a day with two loading bays available (10am - 1pm and 8pm - midnight)
  • A bus, cycle, and taxi lane southbound between the junction of Southampton Row and Catton Street running 24 hours a day with no loading provision
  • An extended eastbound bus, cycle, and taxi lane from Vernon Place to 124 Theobalds Road. This lane will be 24 hours a day between Vernon Place and the junction with Lamb’s Conduit
  • A relocated bus stop X on Theobalds Road to the south of the junction to provide even spacing between stops and allow cyclists easy access to the segregated cycle track
  • A newly realigned and widened pedestrian crossing on Vernon Place
  • A new left turn for cyclists from Southampton Row into Vernon Place
  • The removal of the pedestrian guardrail around the junction to reduce potential harm to cyclists

Work is scheduled to begin on Monday, 24 January 2022 and will last approximately six weeks.

There will be two weekend road closures (except cycles) on Southampton row, between Bloomsbury Place and Theobalds Road, on 19-20 February and 26-27 February 2022. Bus stop B (Bloomsbury Square) will be suspended throughout the works.

Camden Council is committed to working with TfL and the Mayor to reach ‘Vision Zero’ of no deaths or serious injuries on our roads.

The council is also continuing to bid for funding from Transport for London’s Liveable Neighbourhoods programme to improve the environment for pedestrians and cyclists in the wider Holborn area, as well as creating an enhanced public realm and access to public transport.