Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Kings Cross Pedestrians

Kings Cross Environment newsletter flew the flag for pedestrian issues in Kings Cross at www.kingscrossenvironment.com recently.

In a recent post from Kings Cross Development Forum about Pedestrians in York Way, (an artery which - problematically - also forms the border between Islington and Camden boroughs) the following suggestions were made;

1. Will LB Camden make York Way a friendler place to be a pedestrian? (It is regarded as a TfL trunk route and is widely thought to be used only by Islington residents to the east, as the west side in Camden is currently undeveloped...)
2. Will TfL provide more frequent buses on this important corridor?
3. Will someone (Kings Cross Central developers Argent / LB Camden) do something temporary with the wastelands along York Way while awaiting the property market revival - and some landscaping improvements along York Way?

Collaboration between Camden and the developers seems overly focussed on the controvery around councillor / candidate (Lib Dem) Ralph Scott proposing moving the Town Hall to Kings Cross Central, although not revealing full details...

Another arm of the Lib Dems asked for our views on Living Streets in Camden, in supporting the campaign for 20mph borough roads. I forwarded these few points, which Lee Baker took to Camden's Culture and Environment Scrutiny Committee in November:

1. Based on a walk and informal walking audit on Sunday afternoon the 26 April 2009 commemorating the life of Mary Wollstonecraft, the difficult points were
a) crossing Euston Road
b) pavement width on the west side of the new St Pancras Station and the wheelchair-inaccessible transition and barriers at the north end towards St Pancras Churchyard. Crossing Euston Road at Argyle Street and at York Way was also difficult, especially for wheelchair users and slow walkers. If traffic were slower, this would make the streets more pleasant to use.

2. Based on a night safety walk along the Regents Canal around 7pm on 4 June 2009, the most difficult and unsafe crossings were on York Way at Goods Way and at Wharfedale Road, especially difficult for wheelchair users and slow walkers. If traffic were slower, this would make the streets more pleasant to use.

3. As a cyclist, the traffic lights at Tavistock Street and Marchmont Street junction are difficult and unsafe, (see our blog post of 8 June 2009) and the design of the cycle lanes at Tavistock Street and Judd street are unsafe. I avoid the area by changing to a longer circumnavigatory route. If traffic were slower, this would make the streets more pleasant and somewhat safer to use.

4. As a cyclist and a pedestrian crossing Judd Street near Cromer Street, slower traffic would make crossing or turning safer. It would make the pedestrian crossing at this junction safer. Calmer traffic would also be safer for visually impaired and blind pedestrians near the national headquarters of RNIB.

I heard at the WSRAG Walking and Cycling Advocacy Committee to the Transport Committee the following evening, however, that the comments on 20mph streets at the Scrutiny committee were taken badly by the Transport Committee. Transport engineers regard the 20mph conversion as being dependent upon road engineering standards which Camden will not resource. They were dismissive of local community success in calming traffic in Hampstead, because national engineering standards were not achieved.

There is a danger of our campaigns being 'co-opted' by political parties for the election. As far as views on creating safer, more pleasant streets are shared by group members, it would be helpful to promote these though our own means.