Camden Council is consulting on a draft plan for an area between Euston Road, Cleveland Street/ Charlotte Street, New Oxford Street and Gower Street. The plan is needed to deal with the impact of development pressure on the area.
The plan aims to ensure that growth delivers maximum benefits in terms of open space and other public spaces, housing, affordable homes, community facilities and locally produced energy. It sets out land use principles, urban design principles and development principles for 14 opportunity sites where development is likely to take place.
FITZROVIA AREA ACTION PLAN PROPOSED SUBMISSION DECEMBER 2012
Response from Camden Cycling Campaign
We have studied FAAP with a view to saying how it might be modified so as to improve the area for cycling. We will classify our response under two headings:
Permeabilty for cyclists
For cyclists, permeability is about being able to ride through a network of streets in the most direct manner. Unfortunately, routes are often made longer by one way streets and forbidden turns.
Going Dutch in Tottenham Court Road
London Cycling Campaign (LCC) initiated a Go Dutch campaign for the 2012 Mayoral elections. This means the building of continental-standard cycling infrastructure in London, so everyone has the freedom to cycle, whatever their experience, whatever their route, and whatever their destination. We would like Tottenham Court Road to be developed along these lines so that it will be suitable for cycling by people from 8 to 80+ years of age.
1. Permeabilty for cyclists
We note that the FAAP does appreciate the issue of permeability for Bedford Passage. [pages 106-7: Routes across and between sites should reflect the grid pattern of streets in Fitzrovia. A new link east–west across the block linking Foley Street to Chitty Street should be created, and a further link connecting south through to Tottenham Mews. These should cater primarily for pedestrians and cyclists. The east-west link would form one section of a potential longer east-west route from Foley Street to Torrington Place. Buildings should be designed to address the route where possible with windows and entrances]. Earlier on page 92 this is described as a new pedestrian link. This should be corrected.
Store Street and Alfred Place and Chenies Street
Chenies Street and Store Street are both one way eastbound between Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street which restricts westbound movements for cyclists. Since the building of the cycle hire station in Alfred Place, cyclists have been able to travel contraflow between Alfred Place and Tottenham Court Road. As Store Street is a neighbourhood centre, cyclist require two-way access. See pages 45, 73 and 74 of the FAAP which refer to Store Street as a neighbourhood centre and suggests widening the footway. We ask that any such widening will not compromise the existing contraflow nor prevent the construction of a new contraflow between Gower Street and Alfred Place (page 73).
We also ask that the ability to cycle in both directions through Alfred Place will not be compromised by any of the proposed improvements.
Two-way cycling is badly needed in Huntley Street. This will be very useful for accessing the surrounding area. It will be made all the more important after the development of the Huntley Street sites (Page 104,105, 112, 118 and 124). This should be regarded as an essential to go with these developments.
Tottenham Street and Goodge Street are both one-way eastbound. Cyclists would benefit from the ability to enter Tottenham Street from Tottenham Court Road and head for Charlotte Street. We note (page 82) that there are plans to redevelop Whitfield Gardens. These plans need to cater for accommodating a westbound cycle link into Tottenham Street.
Page 88 para 6.6 states: Create a widened footway along parts of Cleveland Street to support high levels of pedestrian activity and possibly tree- planting by reclaiming carriageway and parking spaces.
It would be very beneficial for cyclists to be provided with two-way cycling along the length of Cleveland Street. All the one way sections make direct journeys very difficult. The recent introduction of two-way cycling throughout Whitfield Street illustrates the benefits to be obtained. We suggest that some of the reclaimed carriageway be used to provide space for contraflow cycling.
It would make the streets of Fitzrovia more liveable if some efforts were made to prevent rat-running. This is about to happen in Warren Street where a mode filter will be used exclude motor traffic, but allow cyclists to pass through.
Howland Street is on a signed motor vehicle route from Tottenham Court Road to Oxford Circus and Marble Arch. It is also on a major cycle route. We believe that motor traffic should not be allowed to cut through Fitzrovia on its way to Westminster. We suggest a mode filter should be placed so as to prevent such rat running via Howland Street and Grafton Way, for example by placing a mode filter in Howland Street west of Fitzroy Street.
There appears to be rat-running in both Store Street (regarded as a neighbourhood centre) and Chenies Street which receives a considerable proportion of the motor vehicles emerging from Goodge Street. We suggest that some sort of mode filter should be applied so that these become truly local roads.
Going Dutch in Tottenham Court Road
We welcome plans to revert to two-way working in Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street. (Page 24).
We have already discussed the plans for Tottenham Court Road with officers in Public Realm and Planning. We understand that only buses and cyclists will be able to travel southbound, also that some northbound traffic will be shifted to Gower Street.
Tottenham Court Road will form very important north-south link for cyclists. We are therefore concerned that the resulting street will provide a comfortable environment for use by all sorts of cyclists. This means that where traffic volumes are high, cyclists need their own separated space, for example as proposed in the recent consultation for Royal College Street. https://consultations.wearecamden.org/culture-environment/royal-college-street-cycle-facility-improvements
Regarding the southbound side of the road (buses and cycles only): the experience of cycling in Oxford Street (east of Oxford Circus) inside the median strip is unpleasant for the slower cyclist: the road is not wide enough for a bus to overtake a cyclist.