Towards the end of 2011, LB Camden invited CCC to meet with Mike O’Callaghan of TfL to discuss their plans for a complete re-design of Euston Circus. CCC felt that although the proposed scheme improved conditions for pedestrians by a reduction in the number of crossings, it did absolutely nothing for cyclists. In particular although there are ASL boxes at all three approaches to the junction, there is only one cycle lane (on the TCR approach). We raised the issue that according to LCDS Fig 4.1 the vehicle flows at this junction require that cyclists have lanes or tracks even at low speeds. Mike O’Callaghan said that inserting cycle lanes would require the loss of a vehicle lane and that if modelling didn’t allow that, then there wouldn’t be cycle lanes. He also told us that John Lee had looked at the plan and accepted it.
At the time, we thought that the design for the contraflow from Gower Street was an improvement on the existing one but were soon disabused of that idea by other cyclists. It would require waiting to cross two roads as well as mixing with pedestrians on the footway outside UCH.
We had further email discussions with John Lee and Mike O’Callaghan pointing out that our paper copy of LCDS from 2005 includes a letter from Peter Hendy saying that from 2006/7, TfL will comply with these standards in all new schemes. He stated: Fig 4.1 and 4.2 give guidance on the type of cycling provision that may be best appropriate. Bus lanes would be a normal alternative to a cycle lane. Those diagrams do not relate to junction situations, although they might give some guidance.
In january 2011 the consultation was published. TfL have posted details of a consultation on their proposals for Euston Circus (closed from 20th February). Look here
We were invited to make our own proposal for the redesign. Our main idea was to ask for a separate signal stage for buses and cycles together both northbound and southbound. In addition we proposed an alternative for contraflow cycling between Gower Street and Euston Circus.
We also asked for ideas from the LCC cpec group and Richard Lewis provided some ‘off-road’ solutions in which NB cyclists go onto the footway by Warren Street station and then cross each branch of Euston Road with the pedestrians, moving onto the footway at the SW corner of Hampstead Road and eventually rejoining the road beyond the bus stops.
These ideas were discussed at our members meeting in January. There was a definite preference for an on road solution rather than bike lanes on footways, which, especially round Warren Street Station, were far too narrow and crowded. The map circulated also showed them far too near bus stops where they joined the carriageway.
February meeting with TfL
Jean Dollimore with Rik Andrew and Tom Bogdanowicz had had a meeting with Mike O’Callagan (TfL), Mike Mavin (Hyder) and John Lee (TfL). She presented Camden Cyclists’ alternative design that proposes a separate signal stage for cycles and buses between Hampstead road and Tottenham Court Road
CCC proposal (actually version 3 with bus+cycle contraflow)
TfL agreed to carry out an internal review of the bus & cycle lane proposal. They subsequently issued instructions to their consultants to carry out the modelling (so that it can be considered at a later review process – i.e. the junction review). Rik Andrew also proposed a bus+cycle contra flow between Gower Street and Euston Circus, which was also considered by TfL.
March meeting with TfL
Jean Dollimore with Rik Andrew had a meeting with Mike O’Callagan (TfL) and Mike Mavin (Hyder). The latter presented the modelling of our proposal with three versions of the cycle contraflow (1. cycle contraflow only, 2: cycle and bus on north side of road, 3: cycle and bus on south side).
We argued for Option 3 on the grounds that it performs best but also makes very good sense for bus users (otherwise they have to go round via Grafton Way).
Our proposal adds two signal stages (one for the buses+cycles to go alone north-south and one for the contraflow). It also takes away one general traffic lane in each direction. To accommodate these, the cycle time is increased from 80/88 to 120 seconds – which would result in longer delays for pedestrians. Taking into account the above factors, it’s not surprising that a model based on capacity and flows would predict longer queues and a higher percentage saturation.
We argued that such predictions don’t match with what’s happening at the moment and should not be relied on as a single criterion. Also that the new political ambition is to re-allocate road space to bikes and pedestrians – there has been talk of pre-signals for cyclists.
Mike O’Callaghan told us that all three options with go forward to the junction safety review.
Junction safety review
Euston Circus is on the list of junctions to be reviewed by TfL for cyclists safety.
TfL put forward the following seven options
- TfL Option 1. TfL’s original proposal with Toucan across Tottenham Court Road
- TfL Option 2. Variations of the original proposal with improved ASLs with widened nearside lanes
- TfL Option 3. CCC’s Option 1: N-S cycle phase and contraflow cycle lane on N side of slip road
- TfL Option 4. CCC’s Option 2: N-S cycle phase and contraflow bus and cycle lane on N side of slip road
- TfL Option 5. CCC’s Option 3: N-S cycle phase and contraflow bus and cycle lane on S side of slip road. This is CCC/LCC preferred option
- TfL Option 6. TfL’s original proposal with contraflow bus and cycle lane on S side of slip road
- TfL Option 7. TfL’s original proposal with contraflow cycle lane on S side of slip road
Mike O’Callaghan said he favours TfL Option 6, but says there are issues with pedestrian waiting times: the signal cycle time will increase from 88 secs to 96 and to 104 at pm peak. We pointed out that across Tottenham Court Road, peds get more than one opportunity to cross within the cycle, but he denied that (I think he’s wrong because peds could cross during the additional stage for buses).
Regarding TfL Option 5 – CCC’s Option 3: Mike took the position that the junction saturation figures are unacceptable. He mentioned 150% (I challenged him although I didn’t have the figures in front of me, but having checked the modelling report we have in worst case 114%,105% and 104% in pm peak (89, 90, 88 am).
LCC reviews each of TfL’s proposals for each junction and briefs Gerhard Weiss who attends the review meetings at TfL. They decided to back TfL Option 5. In the end, the TfL assessors decided to defer decision on Euston Circus, asking the designers to modify their schemes to do more for ‘urban realm’.
July 23rd 2012 meeting with TfL (led by Nigel Hardy)
Rik Andrew and Jean Dollimore represented LCC. Simon Piper for Camden Council. Chair Esther Johnson. TfL Richard Cowan, Robin Buckle, Gillian Norburn, Joanne Elmer.
Following the redesign, TfL put forward the following seven options
- Option 1 is TfL’s original proposal
- Option 2 is Option 1 + deeper ASLs
- Option 3. is CCC vn 1
- Option 4. is CCC vn2
- Option 5 is CCC vn 3. (with the separate signals for cyclists and buses and a contraflow bus + cycle lane in front of hospital). They haven’t dealt with bus contention (at bus stops).
- Option 6 is Option 1 + contraflow bus + cycle lane in front of hospital
- Option 7 is like 6, but with only a cycle lane
- Option 8 is a scheme proposed by a blogger Dominic Leggett who also attended the meeting
- Options 9, 10, 11 all have early start signals for cyclists
LCC said that our Options 3/4 should be discounted to concentrate on option 5. It was then agreed to consider only 1, 5, 6, 8 and 11.
Negotiations were very tricky and long drawn out. We started at 10am, moved to another room at 12, then to a bar at about 1.15 and finally left at about 2.30.
Nigel Hardy said that any changes (to accommodate cyclists) would delay the scheme by several months. We felt there is little point in them asking CCC / LCC to comment / contribute if they are then going to make a meal of changing anything.
NH summed up with talk of ‘phased’ implementation i.e. do the original scheme first then add the cycle safety measures later – we were very wary of this…but he had no problem changing the design to improve bus flow (our suggestion !)
LB Camden confirmed their intention to make Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street 2-way (and 20 mph) with buses on Tottenham Court Road (only) and Tottenham Court Road being more pedestrian friendly. But only complete by 2016
Email from Esther Johnson (9th August)
The conclusion of the meeting was as follows
- TfL will proceed with the invitation to tender with Option 6, to maintain programme and timescales for delivery by early 2014
- TfL will ensure that there are no outright showstoppers in terms of amending the detailed design of Option 6 into Option 5 if a consensus can be reached that option 5 is both preferable and feasible
- TfL have agreed to carry out more detailed modelling of Option 5 by mid October
- TfL will investigate the feasibility of a design for Option 8 which may be applied as a possible future ‘add-on’ to Option 5/6
- Camden Council will include Cycling Campaign Groups in discussions regarding the future design of Tottenham Court Road
Telephone discussion with Mike O’Callaghan (6th February 2013)
Mike made the following points:
- the promised modelling of Option 5 was not carried out in October 2012 as new data had not been collected
- data collected for HS2 became available
- Mike Mavin of Hyder has built a base transit model for Option 5
- the model was audited at TfL and appears similar to the previous model in terms of predicted aturation and queue lengths
- Rob Edwards takes the view that the ethos is changing in TfL (e.g. segregation in CSH 2 extension)
- the new model will undergo further evaluation
- a Visim model (a micro simulation of the situation on the roads which could demonstrate a potential ‘lock up’).
- TfL has CAD drawings of Option 5
- the base scheme (Option 6) that is currently being implemented has been redesigned to allow Option 5 to fit in. i.f.e. kern widths pulled back outside Warren St station to make room for splitter islands. Similar on Hampstead Road.
- Timescale: evaluation of Transit model 2-3 weeks. Visim 4 weeks.
- the scheme being implemented includes the bus+cycle two-way operation between Euston Square station and Euston Circus.
Email from Mike O’Callaghan (10th April 2013)
Just to let you know that we are having the first phase of the modelling (the TRANSYT models) for your preferred layout audited over the next couple of weeks. Once that’s done we will be able to move onto the micro simulation (VISSIM) models once this is complete. I would hope to have the whole exercise completed in the near future.
Implementation Spring 2014
The new design has been implemented early 2014 but in spite of our early participation, there are no improvements for cyclists and several left hooks remain. The new scheme does incorporate LCC’s idea for a bus+cycle contraflow from Gower Street – which is good for buses. Currently (summer 2014) the design for westbound cyclists on Euston Road accessing the slip road has not been implemented correctly.
Regarding the north-south alignment: there is a potential left hook northbound on Tottenham Court Road. But LB Camden say that when the West End project is implemented, the left turn into Euston Road will be banned (northbound motors will need to use Gower Street and then get to Euston Road westbound via the slip road. But southbound on Hampstead Road, cyclists heading straight for TCR will risk left hook from motors going towards Gower Street. This will require a signal solution to cut out the left hooks.