Tavi Place public meeting – the follow up

Camden officials gave a detailed run down of the reasons behind the Tavistock Place trial at the MA organised public meeting on Monday night (19th September), and fielded some tough questions from residents, both for and against. We’re grateful for their time. Here’s our follow up to some of the issues covered …

Have enough people been informed about the consultation?

More efforts are being made to distribute the consultation document, with Camden telling us that more targeted deliveries and more notices in the affected streets are on their way.

What measurements has Camden done, and how?

The consultation document can also be found here. It contains a lot of numbers, with figures on cycling, walking and motor traffic, both before and after the trial, during peak morning, lunch time, and peak evening hours. The counting of motor vehicles took place on 12th May 2015 and 17th May 2016. Cyclists were counted in March 2015 and June 2016.

There were questions at the public meeting about why these dates were chosen. They are in similar times of year, outside of school holidays or Easter, so they offer a good basis for comparison – although it does seem to us that the cycling counts could have been closer together as there are likely to be more cyclists in June than March.

There is also data on air pollution, measured in terms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre of air. These measurements cover a three month period between July and November 2015,  before the trial, and seven months from December 2015 to June 2016 during the trial. It isn’t entirely clear in the document but we understand the measures given are for the average amount of nitrogen dioxide pollution over the whole period. Some people at the meeting questioned the reliability of these measurements – here’s Camden’s answer on that one: –

“Camden uses a range of different types of equipment to monitor nitrogen dioxide emissions (the main pollutant of concern in Central London, due to its effects on human health).  The device used at Russell Square is an automatic reference method monitor.  Data from this equipment is sent directly to King’s College London, who are contracted by the Greater London Authority to manage London’s Air Quality Network.  King’s College then relays the findings to the Council (this data is publicly available). King’s are recognised experts in this field, and London’s air quality network is one of the most advanced in the world.  The monitors in Gordon Square and Tavistock Place are mobile real time monitors.  The data from these devices is held on a server at a specialist environmental management company.  Camden’s air quality officer then accesses this server remotely to download the data.”

Do the data tell us anything we haven’t seen for ourselves?

Certainly air quality campaigners, cyclists and local residents supporting the new road layout have seized on the falls in pollution, especially the 21% reduction on Tavistock Place itself, which provide clear evidence of what a dramatic improvement reducing motor traffic can have on air quality. The cuts in pollution on Russell Square and Gordon Square  are less but still significant. Cycling has increased on what was already the busiest route for bikes in Camden, with an extra 100 cyclists heading west on Tavistock Place during the morning peak hours, and over 80 more in the evening heading east.

Wow interesting to see an up to 21% improvement in from Tavistock Place cycling trial – fall in poisonous nitrogen dioxide


Others will point to the increase in traffic on the main North-South routes as a cost too high for the improvement on Tavistock Place – though the picture is not entirely even. Judd St has seen a 58% increase in morning peak period traffic heading north – an extra 146 vehicles in one hour; though the increase is a lower 11% (36 vehicles in the hour) in the evening. Woburn Place north-bound traffic was 19% higher in the morning but actually 8% lower in the evening; whilst the increase in traffic on Endsleigh St was 166% in the morning (113 vehicles) and over 200% (156 more) during the evening hour (though as some have pointed out, this is likely to be partly due to the closure of Gordon Sq north for the entire period). Of course these measurements don’t take account of how long vehicles spend sitting in traffic.

The one surprise we’ve noticed is Guilford St – where there has been less traffic throughout the day. This is interesting since those with long memories will recall that one of the objections to the original design of the cycle way on Tavistock Place was the fear it would increase traffic outside Coram’s Fields.

Do residents’ views matter?

We asked the Council whether people passing through the area that do not live or work here have an equal right to comment on the proposals. The answer came: “We welcome comments from people passing through the area as well as those living or working there. We will analyse the consultation responses by postcode so that we can distinguish between the level of support (or not) for the scheme from local residents and businesses and from people from outside the area. Recommendations from officers on whether or not the scheme should become permanent will take this distinction into account.”

So there you have it – yes, resident views (for and against) matter, but Camden will be taking into account the responses.it receives from wider London as well.


Tavistock / Torrington consultation out

We now know the question Camden Council is putting to us in the Tavistock / Torrington consultation. Just the two choices….

Would you like the current street layout (with a cycle track on each side of the street and one-way, mainly eastbound, motor traffic) to become permanent? If made permanent, improvements would be made, including wider pavements and stepped cycle tracks to replace the rubber blocks used in the trial.


Would you like the street to return to its pre-trial layout (two motor traffic lanes and one two-way cycle track)?

This is something of a surprise as many were expecting the Council to come out with a preferred option. But the consultation webpage simply says, “Feedback received and data collected during the trial, along with the results of the consultation, will be considered when making a decision.”

Detailed data on the trial results can be found here including traffic counts for cycling, pedestrians and motor traffic before and during the trial.

The consultation runs from 12 September to 21 October, with drop in sessions at Camden Town Hall (Judd St), Committee Room 3 on Thursday 22 September (12 noon to 2pm) and Wednesday 12 October (6.30 to 8.30pm)



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.


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/

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).


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. ”


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.

Hotel group and taxi drivers make Tavi Place proposals

Further Tavistock Place ideas ….. for those that missed it, the exhibition run by Imperial London Hotels last week-end, with support from the ‘Mayfair Mob’ taxi drivers, proposed – as we predicted – a return to the pre-trial set-up.

MV has searched in vain for any details of the proposals online. In their absence, the main details are: –

• A continuous bi-directional cycle lane between Judd Street and Malet Street, on the northbound side of the road – but on a wider lane (4m) than the 2m that existed before the trial. The carriageway would theefore be reduced from 8.5m pre-trial to 5.5m.
• Return to two-way traffic between Woburn Place and Malet Street. Traffic between Judd St and Woburn Place would remain one-way east-bound.

Exhibition boards_finalproof

The exhibition also presented a second option, of keeping the one-way traffic movement, but switching it to west-bound only.

The organisers were running a survey at the event and will no doubt tell us what it found soon. They are also talking to LB Camden about their ideas and would like them adopted as the Council’s preferred option when it goes out to consultation in early September  –  though worth noting that Cllr Phil Jones tweeted this ….

poor quality proposals designed to prioritise taxis over others