Camden’s public consultation on reversing the direction of motor traffic on Tavistock Place was extended for a couple of weeks to compensate for failures in their website. It eventually closed on 6 January 2019. At the time of writing we await the results of the consultation.
Many thanks to all who responded in support of maintaining the current eastbound flow of motor traffic. We hope that this is the final act in the long-running saga of Tavistock Place!
In case you wonder why there’s yet another consultation…the brief history is:
Nov 2015: Tavistock Place trial starts (with motor traffic eastbound only)
Autumn 2016: Consultation on making the trial permanent received over 15,000 responses with 79% in favour but Camden decides to hold a public inquiry.
Autumn 2017: Public Inquiry
May 2018: The Inspector’s report recommends not making the trial permanent but suggests that Camden could consider reversing the motor traffic to flow to westbound.
Sept 2018: Cabinet decision to make trial permanent and then consult on westbound option.
Why should people who walk and cycle reject westbound motor traffic?
The westbound option would provide a clear run for motor vehicles all the way from Grays Inn Road to Edgware Road, allowing them to avoid the Euston Road, using instead Sidmouth Street (part of the CS6 route) and the Tavistock Place corridor. The eastbound option was designed to eliminate this rat run.
With the westbound option, at peak hours there are predicted to be 300 – 400 extra motor vehicles on Tavistock Place between Gordon Square and Bedford Way. (This motor traffic will eventually reduce when HS2 closes the top of Gordon Street – maybe in 2022).
With the westbound option, there are critical safety disadvantages on the corridor at two of the junctions:
Gower Street Junction: In the existing eastbound option only cycles (no motor vehicles) cross Gower Street. But westbound motor flow introduces a very serious safety risk for cyclists. All that is offered for westbound cyclists at this junction is an ASL with early release, so anyone arriving during the green stage is at serious risk of a left hook by motors turning from Tavistock Place into Gower Street southbound.
Gordon Square (west) Junction: In the westbound option, right turning motor vehicles will cross the track; and there will be 100-300 more of them using the west side of Gordon Square, which must increase the likelihood of a collision.
There are difficulties joining the corridor at four other junctions:
Bedford Way and Woburn Place Junctions: In the westbound option, on each of them the current left+ahead cycle lane on the northbound approach is removed to provide a left-turn-only motor lane with no provision at all for cyclists. Very unpleasant for people joining the westbound cycle track.
Marchmont Street Junction:
For the popular right turn out of Marchmont Street, cycles have to turn onto the track sandwiched between southbound and westbound motors – not safe or comfortable.
Judd/Hunter Street Junction: The westbound motor and cycle traffic is mixed but passes through a narrow funnel ensuring that each vehicle (motor or cycle) runs separately. The additional straight-ahead motors will make this junction far less comfortable for cycling
Camden’s consultation closes on Monday 24th December.
We need positive responses from the vast number of people who see the importance of this scheme. Since it is a vital link in the central London Grid and the street is used by staff and students of the colleges in the area, Camden will accept responses from a wide area.
And please tells us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help out with leafletting!
The Public Inquiry was held from 10th October to 2nd November 2017. You can read a detailed report on the proceedings. on Camden Cyclists website.
Camden’s decision on #TaviPlace 22nd Feb
Cabinet decision: to maintain trial layout while a public inquiry is held… more detail at
Nov 2016: Preliminary consultation results show 78% in favour
A press release from Camden Council tells us:
In total the council received over 15,000 responses, which included 1,387 residents, the highest number ever for a Camden council consultation. 78% of the total were in favour of making the trial street layout permanent, 21% not in favour and 1% had no opinion. Of residents, 61% were in favour, 38% were not in favour and 1% had no opinion.
The news is at:
Camden also says:
Following a full analysis of the consultation results the scheme will be taken through the democratic decision making process. The consultation responses, consideration of alternative proposals for aspects of the schemes and other information including but not limited to air quality, traffic counts and road safety, will be used to inform the Council’s final decision on the scheme. It is anticipated that a decision will be made by the Council’s Cabinet in early 2017. Until a decision is made the current trial road layout will remain in place.
The campaign that produced this result
The campaign had many contributors.
- In early 2016 we ran the Safer Bloomsbury campaign to gather support from local businesses and colleges. We targeted cyclists on Tavistock Place with leaflets suggesting that they persuade their CEO or similar to write to Councillor Phil Jones expressing their support. This was successful in getting authoritative statements of support from 37 businesses, colleges and institutions.
- In September 2016 when Camden opened the official consultation Camden Cycling Campaign mounted a huge effort to contact cyclists, pedestrians and local residents with flyers. Details of that campaign can be seen on the Camden Cyclists website.
We are hugely grateful to all who responded to either of the above campaigns and to all the energetic campaigners who gave their time to bring about this resoundingly successful result!
The information below is retained to provide context. The consultation is now closed and Camden have issued a preliminary report (see above).
Last December, Camden set up a 12-month trial that doubled the space for cycling in Tavistock Place and Torrington Place. This was achieved by making Tavistock Place one way eastbound for motor traffic. The former bi-directional cycle track became the eastbound cycle track and the former westbound vehicle lane became the westbound cycle track. The fairness of this re-allocation of roadspace is indicated by the graphic below which was based on 2015 counts.
The scheme has been hugely successful in encouraging more travel by bicycle – with average increases of 30% at peak times over counts in 2015. Feedback during the trial indicates that the street feels safer for both cyclists and pedestrians. Air quality has improved both on Tavistock Place and in some nearby streets.In addition, it won the ‘Best Borough Infrastructure Scheme’ at the LCC awards in May 2016. Download Camden Council’s report on changes during the trial. [PDF]
The trial ends soon
Unfortunately, there are many objections to the scheme. To start with, taxi drivers have been very angry that they can no longer travel westbound between Bedford Square and Gordon Street on their way to Euston Station. The Imperial Hotels group has made a big fuss about the fact that east-facing taxis are unable to lower their wheel-chair ramp in the Taxi bay outside.
More recently, a group of local residents mainly from Judd Street has created a petition to kill the scheme and are delivering flyers to that effect to households in the area. They are concerned about the increase in motor traffic in Judd Street since the trial started. But Camden has already consulted on two proposals (concerning Brunswick Square and Midland Road) to reduce traffic flow in Judd Street to well below the level before the trial started. We use the idea of a ‘Bloomsbury Cell‘ to explain how it will be possible to access any address in the area in the presence of the proposed closures.
It would be a disaster to have to take out the trial and return to the original dangerous and overcrowded two-way track.
We need positive responses from the hundreds, if not thousands of people who see the importance of this scheme. Since it is a vital link in the central London Grid and the street is used by staff and students of the colleges in the area, Camden will accept responses from a wide area.