Monday, 30 January 2012

King's Cross Development Forum 9 February

King's Cross Development Forum is a long established local group which is considering becoming officially constituted as a Neighbourhood Forum under the new Localism Act 2011. Planning structures are changing and resources are scarcer, and local government capacity is increasingly challenged under the new funding regime. A process of working with KXDF may be one effective way to work locally for safer and more pleasant streets where we live and work in the King's Cross area.

Advantages may be
- a better more cogent and more traceable line of communication on local issues.
- the appearance, at least, that local groups are better heard or more comprehensively and responsibly consulted by local government.

Disadvantages may be
- a tendency for local government skills and capacity previously used in responding to change being transferred to the voluntary sector - ie unpaid/retired/voluntary interests usurping the work (and expertise) of skilled council officers.
- a possibility that resources are not available to carry out well-intentioned community improvements.

Attending the meeting on 9 February would be a way to further investigate the possibilities.
Meanwhile, David Engwicht posits some DIY tools and strategies to bring the environment back to being a social space:
Wave to motorists. (Shaking your fist just tells them to go faster.)
Put something intriguing in the street.
Encourage local businesses to connect with the street by placing an activity or linger node outside their premises.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Bad Gyrations

Kings Cross Town Centre, largely known for the King's Cross Traffic Gyratory System, is composed of a mix of transport, commercial, residential and other uses with public spaces and highways. The town centre straddles two boroughs and contains public highways (streets for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport) which are part of strategic Transport for London motor transport routes (TfL Red Routes and TLRN roads) also used by greatly increased numbers of pedestrians. King's Cross town centre is made up of streets with an important public realm function, where local and travelling people (from across London, UK Europe and the world) all use streets to walk, live, shop, access amenities and entertainments, and to access and interchange between transport modes.

The Mayor says 'his' TfL gyratory system cannot feasibly be improved without major investment, and yet some of the largest redevelopment projects in London - like King's Cross and St Pancras International stations, King's Cross St. Pancras Underground Northern Ticket Hall, Regent's Quarter, and even the recent Gaylord's proposed Hotel at 1-11 Euston Road - all directly face these streets. The developers of King's Cross Railway Lands have built a huge private boulevarde. To date, investment in the public realm has been in the form of consultant reports, (including an ignored 2008 pedestrian safety audit), and some minor changes to three road junctions, still in construction. The public bridge across the station has become private. Tenants in the town centre on the gyratory seem disenfranchised or disinterested - how could the centre be regenerated to better suit the needs of the people who use this area?


Bikes Alive 9 January 2012
Bikes Alive 23 January 2012


Update December 2012:

Monday, 23 January 2012

King's Cross Go Slow

Living Streets KX is a local group, working closely with Living Streets Islington, and with other local groups like KXDF and FoAS  to try to make Kings Cross streets safer and more pleasant places to live, work and play.

The Go-Slow action was organised by Bikes Alive. (e-mail
If you’re on Twitter, you can keep up to date by following Living Streets KX at @livingstreetskx and @BikesAlive or look for Kings Cross / Go Slow / #friendsoftheformergyratory...

After the first Bikes Alive event (which involved around 200 people, including pedestrians), the organised wrote on their wordpress site:
"We need to make it clear that the current lethal priorities of Transport for London will not be tolerated, and if the only way an existing road system can be made safe is to take it over and exclude motor vehicles – at least for an hour! – so be it"

The police presence was as friendly and accommodating as it was on the previous occasion.

The organisers at Bikes Alive wrote: "we’re expecting pedestrians (including many Kings Cross locals, who also suffer from the current road system in the area) to be part of the action. So please don’t be too cycle-centric, and be prepared to move – or not move – at a pace which suits them too! Since we’re trying to change the balance on our roads to a more human and more humane one, do come with a smile on your face, and in good voice."