Todays reply from Camden, regarding the current traffic system being trialed in Byng Place, Torrington Place and Torrington Place.
thank you for your email.
The reasons for the trial are set out below.
The road forms part of an important east / west cycle link connecting Marylebone, Fitzrovia, Bloomsbury, King’s Cross and Angel. The most recent surveys in 2015 recorded 1,009 cyclists during the morning peak hour and 880 in the afternoon peak hour. These figures demonstrate that the route is the busiest street for cycling in Camden and one of the busiest in London. The route now suffers from a number of issues:
• The number of cyclists has grown to a point where the existing cycle track does not provide sufficient space and also makes it difficult to safely overtake.
• It is estimated that 50,000-60,000 students are based at the University of London Bloomsbury colleges, and they generate a large number of walking and cycling journeys. The area is extremely busy with pedestrians (over 1,800 pedestrians were counted on Torrington Place during the morning peak hour, rising to over 2,580 between 1pm and 2pm).
• The current road layout with narrow pavements, a two-way protected cycle track (on one side of the street) and a traffic lane in each direction does not provide a safe and attractive environment for the large number of pedestrians.
• The route suffers from a poor casualty record, particularly due to collisions between motor vehicles and both cyclists and pedestrians.
• Residents have also raised concerns that crossing the cycle track and then two traffic lanes can be difficult and confusing.
• A number of local groups, residents and institutions have asked the Council to look at ways of reducing the impact of through traffic in the area. As part of the approval for the West End project, the Council agreed to bring forward proposals for a trial to reduce the impact of through traffic on local residents in Torrington Place between Gower Street and Tottenham Court Road.
Because of the width of the road it is not possible to provide more space for walking and cycling without significantly reducing the space available for motor traffic. The experimental trial gives the opportunity to test a potential solution to these issues.
The changes introduced with the trial will provide a safer and more attractive cycling route, which will improve conditions for existing cyclists, while also encouraging new cyclists. Removing westbound traffic will also make the corridor a more pleasant environment for pedestrians, with improved air quality and streets that are easier to cross.
The existing taxi rank will be retained outside the Tavistock Hotel. Where a ramp is required to pick-up / drop-off disabled passengers, taxis will need to stop on a side street for a left hand side kerb.
So there we have it. There's not enough room for cyclists racing each other to overtake!
And wheelchair users can be dropped off in other streets and make their way round, under their own steam. How caring of Camden Council!
While this is the scene in Tavistock street as portrait by Camden today