Thursday, 8 December 2011
Islington KX and Euston Circus Update
On Wednesday 8 December I presented for Living Streets King's Cross at Living Streets Islington's branch meeting, at Islington Town Hall. My short presentation joined two others on removing gyratories at Archway and Highbury Corner. Although it is widely accepted that the replacement of gyratory systems with more liveable, walkable streets is very good for neighbourhoods, for economic vitality of local areas and streets, for environmental and air quality, much work is needed to promote these regeneration schemes beyond cosmetic changes, especially given the disenfranchisement of those who work and live on the existing gyratories.
Now that Islington borough has 20MPH streets, we can follow the initiative in King's Cross, including the Mayor/TfL controlled 'red routes' as a next step. The CNJ story about reclaiming the Olympic Lanes as cycle lanes in King's Cross had been noticed in Islington.
Formation of a 'Friends of the (former) King's Cross Gyratory' group was jokingly discussed as a way of balancing the burgeoning Friends of Regent's Canal group. Afterwards, excellent (home-made) festive season delicacies were enjoyed with drinks.
Our group was asked (via Camden Streets and TfL Programme Planner, Joanne Elmer*) to comment at Palestra on TfL proposals for Euston Circus (replacing Design for London's scheme). Propoerty Developers British Land have commissioned Hyder and McAslan to design improvements on the bridge over Euston Road cutting and pavement widening and planting is proposed as part of the s106 planning gain agreement. An anticipated 2000 additional pedestrian movements from Warren Street Station to the development on the north-western corner is the design basis, and LEGION traffic modelling was used. It is unclear whether overall vehicle movements would be reduced with fewer vehicle lanes and given future the two-way Tottenham Court Road. Future southbound contraflow bus lane passengers on the footways were not yet taken into account.
The 'smoothing traffic' agenda at TfL was discussed as "increasing vehicle journey time reliability".
York Stone and asphalt surface treatments, seating options and Liquidambar plantings were discussed, particularly adjoining the UCL hospital corner cafe curtilage. There will be green walls cladding the reverse of the new advertising billboards. Will anyone want to sit there on the bridge?
TfL Programme Planner Joanne Elmer told me that Camden's public realm design team (Sam Monck, Simon Piper et al) will meet monthly with Transport for London designers and the consultants to refine the design. Following detailed design in March, construction is planned to begin in October 2012.