Residents should matter …. do we?

… is the key concern behind the creation of Bloomsbury Residents’ Action Group, set up by residents of Judd St.

Local traffic is the group’s main concern right now – but the founder members see a wider need. Debbie Radcliffe explains her motivation for establishing the group: –

“The main reason for BRAG’s creation is the simple fact that we feel the streets south of the Euston Road are being targeted by decision-makers who do not live here, and who seem to have forgotten that a very large number of people do.  That really distresses me, having lived in Judd Street for so many years. We have therefore formed BRAG to be a voice for residents, who have been excluded for far too long from participating in decisions which impact on our daily lives”.
BRAG has been arguing actively against the Tavistock Place trial, with a petition on its website. But it doesn’t want to be seen as a single issue lobby. To that end, the group has organised a community planning day on Thursday 8th September, 1pm – 8.30pm at One KX on the corner of Judd Street and Cromer Street.
“Everyone is welcome – drop in for 10 minutes or stay all afternoon.”, says Debbie. “The key thing about the Community Planning Day is that it’s all about participation, not consultation.  Structured informality – practical involvement – not sitting around listening to other people speak. It is NOT a traditional ‘meeting’ as such, but we want to gather information and provide a platform for people to feel they can have their say, and it will be recorded and fed back to the Council.”
More info in the flyer below ….

 

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Residents and cyclists meet to discuss Tavi Place

Ahead of the MA organised public meeting on Tavistock Place – to be held on 19th September at the Lumen Church – three committee members from Bloomsbury Residents Action Group (BRAG) recently met with representatives from Camden Cyclists, to discuss respective views on the traffic trial.

Richenda Walford of Camden Cyclists – also a local resident – writes:-

“It was a very friendly and useful meeting with a lot of common ground being agreed.   CC presented some maps which give a holistic view of the streets in our area.  The maps show how the traffic would work if all three of the current proposals that Camden is planning were to be  implemented – not just the Tavistock Place scheme but also the ban on left-turning from Judd St into Euston Rd, and the plans for closing Lansdowne Terrace to through motor traffic.

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Combined these measures should substantially reduce the volume of motor vehicle traffic in the area bounded by Euston Rd, Grays Innd Rd, Guilford St and Woburn Place – greatly benefitting residents and all of those who travel into the area to work and to study. It would also leave residents free to use a taxi or their car when they need to make journeys in and out of the area.  In LCC’s experience changes like these usually result in more people walking or cycling instead of using motor transport – so motor traffic levels drop even further.

Ahead of the public meeting, Camden Cyclists’ want to share these maps with everyone in the area – you can find them here: http://camdencyclists.org.uk/2016/08/motor-traffic-congestion-in-judd-street/

Owen plaque unveiling

The Marchmont Association will be unveiling the latest commemorative blue plaque to go up in our area – to Robert Owen, father of the Co-operative Movement.

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The unveiling event will take place on Monday 5th September from 2pm at 4 Burton Place, London, WC1H 9AH, where Owen lived from 1832 to 1840.

We are grateful to the owners of 4 Burton Place, One Housing, for permitting us to install the plaque on their beautiful Georgian house and for generously sponsoring the plaque.

All are welome – we look forward to seeing you there.

Tavi Place – public meeting reminder

A reminder that the Marchmont Association has organised a public meeting to allow local people to have their say about Camden Council’s proposed improvements for walking and cycling along theTorrington Place/Tavistock Place route. The meeting will be held on Monday 19th September from 7pm (doors open 6.45pm) at Lumen Church, 88 Tavistock Place, WC1H 9RS (close to Regent Square).

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The Council’s Transport Planners have been asked to present their proposals for “Torrington Place/Tavistock Place route: proposed improvements for walking and cycling”, based on the outcome of their analysis of the one-year trial scheme, which ends in November 2016. This will be followed by Questions and Answers, before the meeting is opened up for debate.

Camden Council will have distributed their formal consultation documents prior to this meeting, giving interested parties prior notice of the proposals, which will enable them to come to the meeting with their prepared questions. Everyone will be given the opportunity to speak and we will be asking speakers to declare their interest, e.g. resident, business, cyclist, motorist, pedestrian etc.

We intend to hold a ‘straw poll’ at the end of the meeting in order to gauge the level of support or opposition to the proposals.

 

Khan seeks to re-assure RNIB on Judd St cycle plans

Spotted in the Evening Standard, last Tuesday – 2nd August, though doesn’t appear to be online  ..

“SADIQ KHAN has reassured the Royal National Institute ofthe Blind that building a cycle superhighway beside its headquarters will not put its members at risk. The Mayor has written to the charity after concerns were raised aboutJudd Street being used as parl of the route for the extension of the North-South superhighway to King’s Cross. Transport for London will announce in the autumn how it plans to proceed. Mr Khan has not given the go-ahead but said the superhighway would make a “big difference”. He said: “I’ve asked TfL to look very carefully at issues raised by the public.”

The RNIB said TfL has not addressed RNIB’s concerns about how the dramatic increase of cycling on Judd Street will impact upon blind and sighted pedestrians. ”

 

Arrival of the night tube – demands for Russell Square to close at midnight

Twenty-four hour tube travel starts beneath our streets on Friday 19th August – less than two weeks time. How is it going to affect residents of the West End, Covent Garden and Bloomsbury?

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Although local community groups, including the Marchmont Association, have not been against the introduction of the night tube – it’s seen as useful in helping people get home from late night venues, and will improve journeys for night workers and residents alike – there are a number of concerns that many still believe need to be addressed.

Civic groups in the West End – including our neighbours in the Covent Garden Association – are asking for help from the Mayor’s office, following two fruitless years of no community consultation. One of the measures they are pressing for is the closure of Russell Square station at midnight.

Russell Square, as Covent Garden, is predicted to take heavy night-time traffic despite being in a residential area that is currently very quiet at night.  Late night visitors to the area tend to walk away from the residential streets around Russell Square tube, and towards the main routes with night buses.  But TfL predicts thousands of people using Russell Square station during the night. These journeys could easily be served by stations on major thoroughfares like Holborn, Kings Cross and Tottenham Court Rd. All are stations  5 to 10 minutes’ walk away, in areas already busy with night transport and having high ambient noise in wider streets. 

Civic groups have asked TfL to operate midnight closures for both Covent Garden and Russell Square stations. So far TfL has been unwilling to consult or discuss the suggestion, saying that “closing stations confuses customers” – angering local people who say this shows what little weight is attached to the interests of residents.

A second big issue of local concern is the rumble of the trains beneath our beds. Many of us – and not just in basement flats – are used to the sound of trains until 12.30am, followed by the early morning resumption at 5.45am, and fear the night tube will bring this disturbance throughout the night. Residents need reassurance that TfL both has the technology to deal with this disturbance and will be able to deploy it very quickly.  If this is not possible, community groups are asking TfL to secure a commitment to suspend services while any necessary works are carried out.

70% back North-South Cycle Superhighway

TfL has today published the report on its consultation on the North-South Cycle Superhighway.

Nearly 1,400 responses were received. 53 per cent fully supported the proposals, rising to 70 per cent once those who partially supported them are included.

In our area the route is planned to go along Judd St, east onto Tavistock Place, Regents Square and Sidmouth St to Grays Inn Rd. The consultation question on this section was answered by less people and the result was closer than for the route as a whole – but still in favour. Of those that answered, 49% fully supported the plans, 7% partially supported and 41% opposed.

There was higher opposition to the plans for the Judd St section than other parts of the route, and the report highlights that one of the key issues mentioned in feedback was the concern raised by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), and others, that running the route along Judd St would make the area less accessible for visually impaired people. Another concern was the plan to take away the pelican crossing outside the RNIB headquarters, and replace it with a zebra crossing.

We can expect this to be an issue that TfL will continue to work on. What happens at the top of Judd St, at the junction with Euston Rd and Midland Rd, is a different consultation with the results of that still awaited.

TfL says it plans to announce how it will proceed in the autumn.
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