Camden’s proposals for changes in Royal College Street (RCS) came from a desire to make the road safer: they decided that the only way to achieve this was to put the southbound (contraflow) cycle track on the correct (east) side of the road and to reduce the traffic speed by narrowing the motor vehicle space to a single lane. You can read about Camden’s preparatory study and earlier proposals in our news item Proposed Changes in Royal College Street. That report describes the stage where we felt that having a one-way cycle track on each side of the road could be beneficial, provided that the track is wide enough, separation from both parked and moving vehicles is adequate and that southbound cyclists could access Goldington Crescent directly to continue on the southbound route. Throughout these negotiations, we have held our agreed position that the proposed replacement for southbound cyclists would have to be excellent (as good as the current track) before we would support replacing the current two-way track on the west side.
Meeting with officers 7 November 2012
John, George, Paul and Jean met with John Futcher and Brian Deegan to look at their latest proposals. Our first impressions were:
– pleasure and astonishment that they now plan to considerably extend the scheme north across Camden Road as far as the junction with St Pancras Way.
– pleasure that they have dropped the idea of requiring southbound cyclists to cross RCS by College Place and join the old two-way track to continue on the route via Goldington Crescent.
– that they have some good ideas for lightweight segregation
The starting point is to put a 2 metre wide segregated cycle track on each side of the road, leaving about 3.5 metres for a single northbound vehicle lane, when car parking is taken into account. The narrow lane will slow vehicles and there will be no overtaking or lane changing. Instead of the speed cushions, there will be a full-width table across each junction.
Car parking will be outside the segregated cycle track. Most of it will be on the east side of the road, where the parked cars will be facing north. On this side of the road, it will be the driver’s door that is beside the track. Also since doors hinge at the front, the edge of the door will be pointing back. In a 2 metre track with a 0.3 metre separator, cyclists should be able to keep well away from car doors except when overtaking another cycle, in which case they may need to check that nobody is about to open a door.
Camden’s plan has two stages:
Stage 1 between Crowndale Road and Randolph Street will be consulted on in January and work will start on building the junction tables at Plender Street, Pratt Street, Georgiana Street and Baynes Street before April. This will be followed by building of the two tracks, one after the other.
Stage 2 will depend on negotiations with TfL regarding the junction with Camden Road, but these have already started.
Stage 1: Crowndale Road – Randolph Street
Described from south to north. Click on the map to see an enlargement. Junction with Crowndale Road. Southbound cyclists will wait for a signal: on green they can turn left down St Pancras Way or proceed ahead, through a gap in the central reservation and onto the existing track at the north end of Goldington Crescent.
Northbound cyclist will enter the track as they do now; it will be reduced from 2.5 metres to 2 metres in width.
Bus Stops: the track will raised up to footway level, but we are promised sinusoidal slopes instead of the current horrors. We suggested that the track should narrow to about 1.5 metres to enable a decent bus boarding platform which would also project into the road a little.
No motor vehicle will be able to pass a bus when it has stopped: for this reason, the first stop will be moved north away from Crowndale Road.
Plender Street junction: a full-width junction table with a zebra crossing south of the junction. Southbound cyclists avoid conflicts by being on the other side of the road. Northbound cyclists are less vulnerable since they are travelling in the expected direction.
Vehicle cross overs: there are a few on the east side near to Pratt Street. The edge of the cycle track will be clearly marked past them.
Pratt Street junction: a wide junction table with a zebra crossing south of the junction. The cycle tracks are widened here to give more scope for keeping away from the junction. Camden proposes a contraflow cycle lane between St Pancras Way and RCS.
Concerns about motors crossing from Pratt Street west to Pratt Street east not noticing the southbound cyclists on the other side of the road: the drivers have only a single lane of motor traffic to cross and a good view of the cycle track which will be marked across the junction. We were convinced that reversing the direction of Pratt Street east would make things worse, but have asked for the stage 3 safety audit (after implementation) to test this aspect of the design.
Georgiana Street junction: a full-width junction table with a zebra crossing south of the junction. The traffic signals will be removed. Note that the left turn into the southbound cycle track doesn’t conflict with any other vehicle movements. Northbound cyclists will have only one lane of motors to cross before turning right. The alternative jug-handle track via the loop will still be available.
Baynes Street junction: a wide junction table with a zebra crossing south of the junction. The table will enhance the exit from the towpath. There is some concern about conflicts between southbound cyclists and right turning vehicles emerging from Baynes Street.
Randolph Street junction: a full-width junction table. We have requested a contraflow cycle lane on Randolph Street from St Pancras Way to RCS to give cyclists from Agar Grove the choice of joining RCS here instead of at Georgiana Street.
Stage 2: Randolph Street, across Camden Road to St Pancras Way
RCS between Randolph Street and Camden Road: TfL has suggested to Camden Council that there should be a southbound bus (and cycle) lane to enable the 274 bus to turn right and access Agar Grove via Randolph Street instead of going ‘all round the houses’.
Northbound, the cycle track will stop before the junction with Camden Road to allow cyclists to get into position to go ahead or make a turn.
Junction with Camden Road: the signals will need to be modified to allow for the new bus and cycle movements. We pointed out that the new canal alternative route (see notes on Dick Vincent’s talk) is likely to be on Bonny Street and then on RCS and that any design for the junction will need to enable these movements in both directions.
RCS between Camden road and Jeffreys’ Street/Wilmot Place: the pair of 2m wide segregated tracks with single motor carriageway will continue.
Junction with Jeffreys’ Street/Wilmot Place: a full-width junction table with a zebra crossing south of the junction. The unnecessary traffic signals will be removed. Cyclists will be allowed to turn right from Jeffrey’s Street into RCS southbound.
RCS between Jeffreys’ Street/Wilmot Place and St Pancras Way: the pair of 2m wide segregated tracks with single motor carriageway will continue.
Junction with St Pancras Way: the details are not yet fully worked out, but southbound cyclists will be able turn into the contraflow track on RCS.
Cycle Hire Stations: Camden proposes a new hire station south of Baynes Street (above map) and another near to Wilmot Place. The hire station will be outside the cycle track which will narrow to 1.5 metres; hire bikes will be pulled out into the cycle track.
Style of separation strip
Cycle tracks are described as segregated because they are separated from the rest of the road by some sort of strip. The existing tracks in RCS and TavistockPlace are separated from the road by a 0.7 metre wide strip with granite kerbs.
Materials: the strips with granite kerbs are very expensive to install and LB Camden tells us that they would not be able to afford to extend the track with that style of separator. They have investigated alternatives, some of which are illustrated below.
For the places where there is no parking, Camden say they would like to use planters that are 0.3 metres x 1.5 metres. There would be gaps between the planters to allow pedestrians to cross the road.
For use between the cycle track and the car parking, the separator needs to be something that car drivers and passengers can walk over. Camden would like to use either the rubber strip or the Zebra separators (see Zicla’s webpage). We preferred the Zebra separators and said that if the rubber strip is used, there should be white lines on either side.
Width of the track vs width of the separating strip: the width of RCS is about 10 metres, the minimum carriageway width is 3.6 metres, parking bays are 2 metres wide as shown in the diagram below.
Although 1.5 metres is the minimum width of a one-way cycle track according to London Cycle Design Standards (LCDS), members felt that this would be very inadequate. The standards were written in 2005 and there are now many more people cycling in Camden. The Dutch standards ask for 2 metres for up to 150 bikes per hour in both directions. Brian Deegan’s feasibility study counted 700 a day northbound and 400 a day southbound which would probably imply at least 150 bikes per hour at peak periods.
We therefore decided to ask for 2m wide cycle tracks which implies a narrower segregation strip. We believe that the use of 0.3 metre planters where there is no car parking will give adequate protection to cyclists e.g. from being hit by a wing mirror. LCDS states that cyclists should be 0.6 m from moving vehicles and this will be the case for any cyclist riding in the centre of the track. When the track was built in 2000, RCS has a 30 mph speed limit; the limit is now 20 mph and speeds are likely to reduce considerably with the proposed scheme.
When there is car parking alongside the cycle track, riders need to stay a metre away from car doors. As we said above, this is easily achieved with the 2 metre track and one of the separators shown above. The white line inside the track can be spaced away from the separator if necessary.
Camden think, and we agree, that this represents a radical new approach to cycle facilities in Camden and, indeed, in London. If it gets approval and proves successful then more schemes of this nature are likely to be rolled out and Camden will once again be in the forefront of cycle provision across London.
Jean Dollimore, John Chamberlain, George Coulouris, 10 Nov 2012