Safe Travel programme delivers real change for the streets of Camden

The covid-19 pandemic brought home the importance of protecting the environment to keep us all healthier and safer.

Camden Council, the mayor of London, and the government all agreed that averting a car-based recovery was vital. As a result, the council introduced a wide-ranging emergency programme to enable people choose healthier forms of travel.

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden
“How we travel has a direct effect on our health and wellbeing, but for too long this has not received enough attention.

 “With support also from the government and mayor of London, over the last year Camden Council responded to the pandemic by transforming the streets of Camden into places that are safer for all. Alongside this, we have greened our streets and looked for new ways of supporting businesses to recover.

 “We also want to help children get to and from school safely, breathe cleaner air and make more space outside our schools for social distancing.
“To this end, Camden Council successfully bid for £6.8m from Transport for London and the Department for Transport over the last 12 months – a radical investment that is making a real difference on the ground.

 “This brings our streets more into line with where many Camden residents have already long been. Two-thirds of Camden households do not have access to a car. And during the first lockdown, many people experienced a cleaner and quieter environment that suddenly become tangible and possible as traffic from elsewhere diminished.
“The data shows that around half of all Camden residents’ trips are now made by walking and cycling. For example, cycle volumes on York Way increased by 78% between 2019 and 2020 following the installation of pop-up cycle lanes there.
“I am also particularly pleased that, in Camden, pedestrian and cycle collisions appear to have fallen, bearing out the vital importance of making our streets safe.”
Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden

In the year since the first national lockdown was announced, the council has made roads quieter and safer through the following actions:

  • Protected more than 20 streets in the borough from traffic using them as cut-through routes, which means there are now over 100 streets in the borough with such restrictions.
  • Introduced 15 new Healthy School Streets to encourage healthier travel to and from school.
  • Added 4 new pedestrian crossings.
  • Temporarily widened the pavements on 15 busy streets to support social distancing, creating over 3,500 square metres of new or improved public realm space for pedestrians.
  • Made street corners – where collisions often occur – safer by converting single yellow lines to double yellow lines, creating clearer sightlines for pedestrians trying to cross.
  • Helped local businesses by establishing 8 new ‘streateries’, in the summer and autumn of 2020, creating new space outside for socially distanced eating and drinking.

Improved local environments by:

  • Planting 20 new trees as part of our Safer Travel programme.
  • Installing more Electric Vehicle charging points – with 175 added since the first lockdown, increasing the total for across the borough to 317.

Supported cycling in the borough by:

  • Adding 150 cycle hangars, providing secure storage for 900 bikes.
  • More than doubling the length of segregated cycle network to 13 miles in tota.l
  • Delivered 19 new smaller-scale cycle ‘permeability’ schemes, making it easier to get around by bike.
  • Adding over 100 new dockless bike hire bays to provide dedicated spaces for hiring bikes and removing street clutter.

Further information

You can read further information on the changes that have been implemented and are planned on our website.

Data available to Camden shows that this has had a major effect on people’s choices.

York Way pop-up cycle lanes

  • Cycling on York Way has increased by 78%.
  • Lime bicycle usage increased by 61% between March 2019 and October 2020.
  • Motor vehicle levels on York Way have increased by 10% (including adjustment due to COVID-19).

Prince of Wales road pop-up cycle lane

  • A 15% increase in cycling along Prince of Wales Road.
  •  A 68% average increase in Lime bicycle usage along Prince of Wales Road from 2019 to 2020.
  •  A 25% decrease in motor vehicles along Prince of Wales Road.
  •  Bus speeds have been unaffected by delivery of the Cycling Scheme.
  •  An average decrease in Nitrogen Oxide of 18.6% between October 2019 and October 2020.

St Pancras Way cycling scheme

  • Cycling on St Pancras Way has increased by 115%.
  • Lime bicycle usage increased by 102% between September and December 2019 and 2020.
  • Motor vehicle levels on St Pancras Way have increased by 11%.