The Route 38 Bus route goes from Victoria to Clapton and has buses every 2-4 minutes. The improvements are intended to help bus flow. CCC is currently being consulted on the proposals for the section along Charing Cross Road (north of Shaftesbury Avenue. Other bus routes will also benefit.
The outline bus proposals can be seen at:
The additional drawings with technical details show the following:
The main gist of the proposal is to allow access to this section of Charing Cross Road only to buses, taxis, service vehicles and cycles in both directions
Thus Charing Cross Road is being recreated as a normal two-way two lane road. There will no longer be a contraflow bus lane.
We welcome the proposal that Charing Cross Road (north of the junction with Shaftesbury Avenue) should become a normal two-way two-lane road with access only to buses, taxis and cycles. This scheme will provide safer and more accessible conditions for cyclists.
We have the following detailed comments:
St Giles Circus
It is not clear from the technical drawing whether there is intended to be an ASL at the northern end of Charing Cross Road. There should be an ASL and feeder lane for use by cyclists going straight on or turning left.
Andrew Borde Street junction
LCN+ Link 50 which runs from Theobalds Road to St Giles Circus has not yet had its CRISP. However, if it cannot use Bloomsbury Way westbound, it is likely that St Giles High Street and Andrew Borde Street will be on the westbound part of LCN+ Link 50. As far as we can see, Andrew Borde Street westbound will not be affected by the Bus 38 proposals.
However this junction requires pedestrian facilities. It is essential that pedestrians should be provided with some means for crossing the eastbound bus lane and the westbound road.
The proposal says that access will be only for taxis, permit holders and service vehicles. Pedal cycles should also be allowed to us this road, following the general principle of permeability.
Two stage junction Denmark Street- Manette Street
We have interpreted the remark on the drawing about introducing a 2-stage junction, to mean that westbound vehicles on Denmark St turn left and then right into Manette Street. This will be a very useful cycle route from St. Giles High Street for cyclists heading south east. However, we are concerned that it could become over used by other vehicles.
Old Compton Street
The plan shows a left turn into Charing Cross Road for taxis and service vehicles only. Cycles should also be allowed to make that manoeuvre.
We are concerned about a potential rat run using the right turn into Charing Cross Road at this junction. There would be a vehicle route all the way from Hyde Park Corner to the theatres, via Brook St, Bond St, Saville Row, Brewer St, Old Compton Street, Charing Cross Road. We therefore think that Old Compton Street should be included in the
pedestrian area. As Old Compton Street is treated more or less as a pedestrian area at the moment (i.e. they just wander everywhere) this will be an important change.
The signs are not consistent as to who is allowed – one says
permit holders other do not. But more seriously, at all possible entry points to this area, the proposed signs announce a pedestrian zone with cars and motorbikes excluded. However, it allows commercial vehicles (nominally for access, but we know what that means), it allows buses and taxis, and it’s bound to allow emergency vehicles.
We wonder whether it is misleading to call this a pedestrian zone. The traffic will become two-way, and therefore perhaps a bit slower, but there will still be plenty of it and there seem to be no plans to install any of the usual special paving arrangements such as you see in
genuine pedestrian zones. This will actually be an improvement for cyclists, but is almost certainly a worsening of conditions for pedestrians.