Potential highway interventions to make it safer for cycling and walking during and after the Covid-19 emergency
Camden Cycling Campaign. Edition 3 29/4/2020
- To make the streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists during the Covid-19 lock-down.
- To lock in some of the widely-appreciated environmental benefits of the lockdown as the restrictions are lifted.
- Everyone appreciates the much cleaner air we are seeing and will want to keep it that way.
- Many key workers are travelling to work on foot and by bicycle. As the restrictions are lifted they and other people will want to stay off public transport as much as possible. So we need to maintain the current increased opportunities to walk and cycle safely on main roads and residential streets. The alternative is an uncontrolled growth of motor traffic to unsustainable levels potentially exceeding those seen before the pandemic.
- Walking and cycling for exercise have grown substantially during the lockdown, indicating a need for more space for these activities on our streets.
- In many shopping streets pedestrians are finding it difficult or impossible to maintain the required 2 m separation because of congestion, queuing and parking alongside the kerb.
The suggestions below address the above aims. They come from our members and were solicited at our recent online meeting and more have come via an email request sent to all our members and supporters in Camden.
We are also maintaining this map showing their locations together with a brief summary of each.
Social separation is likely to be one of the last restrictions to be lifted. Maintaining a 2m gap when walking (and sometimes cycling) in high streets is currently very awkward or impossible due to congestion on footways due often to the long queues outside shops. The four photos below were taken in Kentish Town Road on Saturday morning 18th April to illustrate some of the issues.
- Remove car parking and restrict loading hours
- Remove clutter from the footway
- Remove railings
- Cones/barriers in carriageway to demarcate additional safe space for walking
- Make it easier to access the high streets by filtering the side roads and allowing cycle exemptions to No Entry
Locations for consideration:
- Kentish Town Road – e.g. at the Coop, Lidl, Iceland and outside Boots
Kilburn High Road: temporary lanes and/or wider pavement and point closures of some side roads. Kilburn High Road is a very busy shopping area and there is local support for traffic reduction (photo right 23rd April).
- Camden High Street outside Lidl
- Parkway – reduce to a single lane
- West End Lane
- Brecknock Road
- Highgate Village
- Hampstead High Street
- Finchley Road
Safe space on main roads
The lockdown has brought about a boom in the use of bikes for travel. New safe space on main roads – temporary in the first instance – will enable more people, including key workers, to use cycling as a first choice for their urban journeys. It would also help tackle the rise in speeding drivers which has been a sad side-effect of the wide, empty streets.
We would like Camden to expand the cycle network by marking emergency bike lanes for the use of key workers and others during the lockdown. We suggest that this would follow Camden’s policy of developing contiguous parts of the network on roads managed by Camden, starting in Zone 1. So we suggest the following schedule for main roads:
- Theobalds Road – Clerkenwell Road
- Albany Street
- Prince Albert Road
- Prince of Wales Road eastbound
- Kentish Town Road north of RCS (probably northbound only due to space restrictions)
- Kentish Town Road between PoW and RCS (on both sides)
- Fleet Road – Pond Street2
- Haverstock Hill
- Highgate Road
- Camden High Street – Chalk Farm Road
- York Way
- Adelaide Road
- Belsize Roundabout
Also on TfL roads:
- Hampstead Road
- Camden Road
- Oakley Square – Harrington Square (westbound)
- Swiss Cottage roundabout, at least on the southern end and on the eastern leg
The installation of emergency bike lanes is going to require substantial removal of car parking on these main roads.
Some links in the network such as Arlington Road are supposed to be quiet streets but will need to be filtered by stopping through traffic. In the case of Arlington Road, northbound traffic might be stopped by a No Entry at Parkway and southbound traffic be stopped by a No Entry at Delancey Street. Other such links include:
- Guilford Street – Calthorpe Street
- Malden Road – Ferdinand Street
Making residential streets safe for travel and recreation
There is a very notable increase in cycling for exercise, including by family groups. This should be encouraged by reclaiming some of the space that has been released as result of the removal of most commuting journeys in cars.
Walking or cycling to a local shopping street
The motor traffic needs to be constrained in such a way that levels don’t return to previous levels when lockdown is lifted. We have a few suggestions for Kentish Town, Camden Town and West Hampstead and will send others when we receive feedback from our members and supporters.
The access roads in which motor traffic needs to be controlled are Gaisford Road, Caversham Road, Islip Street, Patshull Road, Anglers Lane and Holmes Road.
The recent O and D survey indicates that the following filters would be effective:
- No Entry to Busby Place at Torriano Avenue to remove the through traffic via Gaisford Road and Caversham Road.
- No Entry to Sandall Road at Camden Road to remove the through traffic via Patshull Road; while a complete closure of Sandall Road would also remove the through traffic coming from Bartholomew Road (southern end).
- The main flows from Islip Street go to Leighton Road east and to Leighton Grove. These can be filtered by means of a No Entry to the northern section of Bartholomew Road at the junction with Islip Street.
A proposal for the closure of Anglers’ Lane has already been consulted on..
- We have a single suggestion: to filter Hartland Road by means of a point closure at Camden High Street.
Point closures of side roads where they meet Kilburn High Road to provide safer access to the shops and to make more room for pedestrians on the footway:
- Point closure of West End Lane at the junction with Kilburn High Road to give more space on the pavement for the queue forming to enter the M&S store.
- Point closure of Birchington Road at the junction with Kilburn High Road
- Netherwood Avenue, Kingsgate Place and Grangeway at Kilburn High Road.
More suggestions for other shopping streets to follow
Walking or cycling as exercise or recreation
Locations for modal filtering:
- Swain’s Lane above Chester Road – a steep hill
- Constantine/Savernake Road – access to the Heath
More suggestions for other locations to follow
Signalised Junctions and Crossings
Changed signal timings
TfL issue, LLS are talking to TfL but Camden need to ask for reductions in waiting times for pedestrians and cyclists and replacement of on-call by timed signals.
Since these are too small for people to share whilst maintaining a 2m gap between them, the signals need to be changed so that people can cross in a single stage. Also all railings should be removed.
- London Living Streets: ‘Rethinking our streets: urgent policy responses to Covid-19’
- Coronavirus: ‘Nature is sending us a message’, says UN environment chief | The Guardian, 25 March 2020
- Transport in the time of the Coronavirus crisis: what we need to do NOW. | Road Danger Reduction Forum, 11 April 2020
- The Ranty Highwayman: It’s The Least They Could Do, 18 April 2020
- Coronavirus: Banning cars made easier to aid social distancing – BBC News, 20 April 2020 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52353942
- Milan announces ambitious scheme to reduce car use after lockdown | World news | The Guardian, 21 April 2020 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/21/milan-seeks-to-prevent-post-crisis-return-of-traffic-pollution
- Paris To Create 650 Kilometers Of Pop-Up Corona Cycleways For Post-Lockdown Travel | Carlton Reid, Forbes Magazine, 22 April 2020.
- Wuhan data (tweeted by Chris Boardman):