Camden is proposing changes to High Holborn, Drake Street and Procter Street to make the east and south sides of the Holborn gyratory safer for cycling. Two cyclists were killed on High Holborn, in 2013 (Alan Neve) and in 2022 (Shatha Ali) and there have been numerous other collisions.
Here’s a map of the area showing the key junctions (as red circles):
These proposals follow the improvements at Southampton Row at the north-west corner of the gyratory earlier this year (blue circle). Longer term we expect the gyratory to be completely removed as part of the Liveable Neighbourhood scheme and Camden continue to have this in their plans.
The scheme involves a segregated cycle lane on the east side (Drake and Procter Streets) and a cycle gate at the High Holborn Junction. A cycle gate allows cycles and motor vehicles to proceed on separate signals by creating a reservoir which cycles can enter only while motor vehicles are held back. Cyclists are then released allowing them to leave the junction well ahead of motor vehicles while cyclists wanting to enter the reservoir are held at a signal at the entry to the reservoir.
This removes the conflict where cycles and motors compete for the same roadspace and follows the principle that, on busy roads, cycles and motor vehicles should be separated either in space or in time. A cycle gate was installed at the junction of Southampton Row and Theobalds Road as part of the earlier improvements.
This gate plus a segregated cycle lane on High Holborn with separate signals for cyclists allows cyclists from High Holborn and from Procter Street to arrive at the ASL on High Holborn (at Kingsway) well ahead of any motor vehicles.
Other proposed changes include:
- Reducing the number of motor lanes on Procter and Drake Streets from four to two
- Landscaping and other improvements to the west side of Red Lion Square
- Two-way cycling around Red Lion Square
- Early release and larger cycle boxes at the junction of High Holborn with Southampton Row
- Extending the bus and cycle lane south on Southampton Row
- Minor changes to the layout at Remnant Street.
The plans for Drake and Procter Streets and the junction with High Holborn look good. Our main concern is whether traffic congestion might mean that the section of High Holborn between Procter Street and Kingsway doesn’t clear before cycles enter it. But in spite of this concern, we do like the design and don’t know of anything better until the gyratory is removed and High Holborn has cycle lanes.