Holborn Circus Area Enhancement Scheme

Dates: consultation 3 March 2011; reply due 14 April 2011.
Officer:John Futcher(Camden), Neil West (C0L). CCC member dealing with it Jean Dollimore. RESPONDED 1st April 2011

Open Street Map Cycle Map Location

City of London and Camden Council propose radical changes to Holborn Circus. The proposed scheme is exhibited in St Andrew’s Church until 14th April from 8.30 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

Click here to see the consultation leaflet.

Currently Holborn Circus is a six armed junction with a statue of Prince Albert in the middle. Technically it’s not a roundabout although it appears to be used as such. The proposals include the simplification of the junction by connecting St Andrew’s Street via New Fetter Lane and cutting off southbound access via Hatton Garden. Thus, access to the junction is more like a staggered cross roads. The downside for cyclists is the lack of southbound access.

We have already lobbied the officers about two-way cycling in the southern end of Hatton Garden as this is part of a useful quite route. They seem willing to try to incorporate this, but have no idea as to how to do so.

The consultation states that the principal objectives are to:

• Improve the safety of the junction to reduce personal injury rates;

• Simplify the junction operation, making it clearer to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians how the junction works.

The proposals include the following:

  • Move the Grade II listed Prince Albert Statue west onto High Holborn to improve sight lines at the junction
  • Narrow the carriageway around the junction to improve road safety and as a result increase space for pedestrians. This will also open up opportunities for public realm improvements, particularly at the western gardens of St Andrews Church
  • Install new controlled pedestrian crossing points on all arms except Hatton Garden
  • Provide cyclists with advanced stop lines, lead-in lanes and a general simplification of the junction making it safer and easier to use
  • Change Hatton Garden to operate one-way northbound at the junction of Holborn.

CCC’s response

CCC discussed this consultation at a meeting on 21st March as well as on our mailing list.
We all agree with the aim of improving safety and simplifying the operation of the junction. We also agree with the proposals to move the statue and narrow the carriageway around the junction.

Unfortunately, the plans ignore the fact that cyclists regularly cross Holborn Circus in both directions between Hatton Garden and St Andrew’s Street when using the quiet route parallel to Farringdon Road from Pakenham Street and Phoenix Place to Shoe Lane and St Bride’s Street.

Considering that the plans presented in the consultation are schematic, it would have been entirely appropriate to show two way cycling in Hatton Garden and northbound cycle movements out of St Andrew’s Street and then resolve the detail at the design stage. We object to your approach in which cyclists’ requirements are left out and all we have is a promise that the details will be resolved at design stage, which, at best, will result in cyclists having to make difficult manoeuvres out of Hatton Garden and across the junction, and at worst, substantial detours including the use of the very busy Farringdon Road.

The more vulnerable transport modes should have priority of consideration over the less vulnerable ones. Thus, at this junction, having chosen the best provision for pedestrians, cyclists movements should come next. Oddly, the consultation document states that it is possible to deliver a scheme which will significantly improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists with no detrimental impact on traffic congestion. However, the accessibility for cyclists is reduced by this scheme.
Having studied the draft signal stages, (kindly provided by Neil West), we can see that there is no opportunity for crossing straight over the junction southbound from Hatton Garden. We therefore request that you provide an additional (all red) signal phase to allow cyclists to make this manoeuvre and pedestrians to cross in a single stage over the other arms of the junctions. The situation can be compared with Wellington Street: when southbound cyclists (crossing over the Strand to Waterloo Bridge) have the green light, pedestrians can cross the bridge approach.

Regarding the ASLs and lead-in lanes: they already exist on all arms except New Fetter Lane. A new one there is welcome; for the others, please ensure that they are long enough for cyclists to pass the longest queues of traffic.

Follow up

There have been two further meetings (May and September 2011) with officers from City and Camden to look at proposals for contraflow cycling at the southern end of Hatton Garden. The timescale for the development is still unsure, but we are promised a solution to this problem.