The map summarises the main elements of Camden’s recent pedestrian and cycling improvements in the Farringdon area (you can see the consultation here). These changes, along with those made with the extension of TfL’s C6 route to Kings Cross should significantly improve the permeability and convenience for cycling throughout the area. Calming resulting from reductions in the permeability for motor vehicles are likely to make it more attractive to pedestrians and local residents too.
The route of C6 (originally CS6) through Farringdon is shown by the blue line running along Phoenix Place and Warner Street.
The two new important permeability improvements for cycles are shown in green:
- two-way cycling is now permitted through Eyre Street Hill between Warner Street and Clerkenwell Road. This is enabled by a closure to motor vehicles described below.
- two-way cycling through Laystall Street between Clerkenwell Road and Rosebery Avenue
The permeability reductions for motor vehicles are shown in red:
- Frederick Street is closed to motor traffic at its junction with Kings Cross Road, creating a 50 m x 6 m traffic-free space;
- Gough Street is now closed with bollards on both sides of its junction with Calthorpe Street and also at its junction with Mount Pleasant;
- Eyre Street Hill is closed to motor vehicles between Clerkenwell Road and Summers Street (with a bollard at the southern end);
- Laystall Street is permanently closed to motor vehicles (with signage indicating an exemption to blue badge holders and loading) between Clerkenwell Road and Rosebery Avenue. This has replaced a part-time weekday closure;
- and in addition (caption in faint blue), Pakenham Street was closed at Calthorpe Street as part of the development of C6.
All that loss of permeability for motor vehicles must have eliminated most of the opportunities for rat running and should help to send them to the main roads, where they belong.
Tiger Crossing over Calthorpe Street at Gough Street
This crossing (shown in Photo 1) links the two closed sections of Gough Street across Calthorpe Street.
The continuous footway across the new road closure is a much more attractive solution than the footway build-outs shown in the original consultation.
Can Gough Street provide a useful parallel alternative to C6?
This fully filtered alignment is potentially useful for destinations at the western end of Rosebery Avenue and Clerkenwell Road, the latter having been made accessible in a southbound direction by the changes in Laystall Street.
Unfortunately, a small section of Laystall Street remains one-way southbound between Mount Pleasant and Rosebery Avenue and until two-way cycling is provided, this route will not work in a northbound direction.
Further, the option for most people to cycle through Gough Street is undermined by its rough, poorly-maintained cobbled surface. It would be really worthwhile to improve this surface either with tarmac or by relaying the cobbles.
The consultation mentioned the creation of new open spaces, for example, associated with the road closures that are used to stop rat-running.
The green shading on the consultation map (although omitted from the map above) is, perhaps, a hint that these open spaces should be ‘greened’.
For example, the new space at the closure of Frederick Street (photo 2) would benefit from planting.
A particularly good example of greening in this neighbourhood is the cycle route through the housing estate on Ampton Street.
The few remaining potential rat runs
The ideal would be for there to be no direct route for motor vehicles between any two of the main roads on the boundary of the area (Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross Road-Farringdon Road and Clerkenwell Road/Rosebery Avenue).
The two ‘leaks’ that concern us are through Ray Street (1-way westbound from Farringdon Road) and through Herbal Hill (1-way northbound from Clerkenwell Road), both of which lead to the Warner Street – Phoenix Place – Calthorpe Street alignment (on the C6 cycle route), while Calthorpe Street provides direct access to Grays Inn Road.
Ray Street: We are concerned about the unnecessary motor traffic on the alignment of C6 and would like Camden to consider finding a means of alleviating it.
Herbal Hill: People on bikes are regularly complaining about being stuck behind motor vehicles when following the route of C6 on Herbal Hill. Before February 2011, a bollard blocked the way though – see our post about Islington Council’s consultation and our response. We urge Camden Council to consider re-instating the bollard urgently.
This set of measures has made a significant contribution to the Healthy Streets agenda in the Farringdon area by the introduction of six new road closures in addition to the four already in place. The latter are shown in orange on the second map together with indications of one-way streets. We believe that this scheme has made a significant step towards meeting the following of Camden’s objectives:
- Improved streets for walking and cycling, and reduced motor vehicle dominance;
- Clearer and easier access to move through the area on foot or cycle;
- Safe, attractive and less cluttered streets;
- A better place to live, work and do business.
In summer 2015 we sent suggestions to Camden Council, many of which were on the alignment of the SSL north of Calthorpe Street and were taken up in the development of C6. The remaining one – improving visibility at the junction of Frederick Street and Cubitt Street – has now been dealt with.
Our other requests were related to two different cycle routes starting from the Judd Street area, both of which converge on Hatton Garden†
- Tavistock Place -> Ampton Street -> Phoenix Place -> Hatton Garden
- Doughty Street -> Laystall Street -> Hatton Garden
The first has been enabled by the new scheme for two-way cycling in Eyre Street Hill.
The second is only addressed in the southbound direction by the introduction of two–way cycling in Laystall Street south of Rosebery Avenue, which has, as we suggested, effectively been converted to a full-time pedestrian and cycle street.
Here is a summary of our suggestions for making the area under consideration even better:
- two–way cycling in Laystall Street north of Rosebery Avenue which was included in our summer 2015 suggestions and also in our response to the consultation.
Additional new suggestions:
- a new surface on Gough Street suitable for comfortable cycling;
- re-instate the closure of Herbal Hill to motor traffic and allow cycles to go in both directions;
- devise a measure to remove all rat-running from the Phoenix Place-Warner Street alignment.
26th August 2019
† At that time we were unaware of the details of plans for the northern extension of C6 and saw Hatton Garden as the route to Southwark or the City but avoiding Farringdon Road. However, although there is fortunately no longer need to cycle across Holborn Circus, Hatton Garden is a useful destination in its own right.