Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck College

Dear Councillor Jones and Camden Council,

We are members of the Department of Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck College, University of London, and write in strong support of the changes that Camden has made in traffic flow on Tavistock and Torrington Place.

The previous arrangement of a single two-way cycle lane with two-way motor vehicle traffic was very dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians, and unpleasant and unpredictable for drivers. Indeed, one of us was hit by a car in the cycle lane at Gordon Square just before the change in traffic flow, and others have witnessed very serious accidents, with cyclists being hit by cars turning into Gordon Square. The two-way cycle path was hazardous enough that some department members deliberately avoided it, even though this added to the length of their commute along roads without cycle lanes.

The current arrangement, with wider cycle lanes on each side of the street, and a single one-way lane for motor traffic, is not only much safer, but also has made life for cyclists and pedestrians – both residentsandtourists-healthierandmorepleasant. Thecongestionalongthisstretchofroadhad become extreme over the last years, with a great deal of exhaust and noise from stopped traffic. As psychologists and neuroscientists, we are particularly aware of the damage that small particulate emissions have on cardiovascular and respiratory fitness; the increased stress from high levels of noise pollution is also a serious health risk.

The two-way cycle lane was also very dangerous and congested, and caused confusion with pedestrians trying to cross at the many intersections along this stretch of road. The current single-lane arrangement is much better; one minor suggestion for further improvement is to make the barriers between the south cycle and traffic lane more prominent, as the current small bumps are quite confusing for motorists. Additional signage at Bedford Way and Gordon Square would also be useful for guiding motorists.

As residents, workers, and commuters in Camden, we wholeheartedly encourage the Council to make the changes to traffic flow along Tavistock and Torrington Place permanent. We thank you for making these positive changes which are to be strongly commended, and encourage Camden to continue making roads in the borough safer, healthier, and more environmentally sustainable.

With best regards,
Dr Frederic Dick (contact: f.dick@bbk.ac.uk)
Ms. Naomi Adams
Ms. Natalie Berger
Professor Rick Cooper
Ms. Nicole Cruz de Echeverria Loebell
Ms. Georgina Donati
Dr. Simon Green
Mr. Tobias Katus
Mr. Oliver Pain
Ms. Anna Peng
Mr. Avi Reisman
Professor Anne Richards
Mr. Nicholas Sexton
Dr. Alex Shepherd
Dr. Tim Smith
Dr. Adam Tierney
Dr. Eamonn Walsh