[January 2008] saw local residents and King’s Cross St Pancras station users walking the streets of King’s Cross giving their feedback to a report for Transport for London (TfL) on how it feels to be a pedestrian here. Conducted by Living Streets, these street audits were thoroughly cathartic, giving us the opportunity to get our concerns heard by the people that could really make a difference..
Please make contact with our Greater London Assembly Members (GLAMs) and ask them to press TfL into putting King’s Cross walking routes at the top of their priority list by:
1. Publishing the Living Streets report as soon as possible; 2. Consulting on a detailed Walking Plan for King’s Cross immediately after the Living Streets report is published; and 3. Implementing the results of the report and consultation without delay.
As we now know, none of the above actions occurred. There were subsequent studies including one by Buchanan. The 2008 report was eventually released under Freedom of Information.
The main issues raised at the King's Cross Gyratory Review consultation meeting, as I understood it, were 1. Participate and engage properly (with at least two weeks' advance notice, with clear scope and with commitment to follow-up meetings) so that stakeholder participation is transparent, genuine and valued. (Noted by Claire Alleguen - Consultation Delivery, Surface Transport, Transport for London)
2. Ensure current professional urban realm design principles are applied in King's Cross; (priority to vulnerable street users, deterrent to polluting, heavy or fast vehicles - traffic evaporation principle), see Manual for Streets 2, TfL Valuing Urban Realm Toolkit, Living Streets pedestrian environment audits, etc. (Noted by facilitator Andy Firman AECOM, Camden Transport Planning officer Antony Holloway and Islington Transport Planning officer) 3. Heed, review and update previous research including King's Cross Place Plan (LB Camden and LB Islington), TRL Living Streets Audit 2008, Buchanan 2009 (cycles and pedestrians omitted), Neighbourhood Plan (in progress). Gather thorough objective evidence on pedestrian and cycle environments and safety existing and planned when setting clear, measurable, achieveable objectives for the redesign of the area - twelve mixed use streets and 16 junctions and other places around motor routes A201, A501, A5202, A5203, A5200. 4. Assess pedestrian routes and journey time reliability for the entire surface transport interchange (for example between Bus Stop H and Bus Stop M) 5. Camden Transport Planning Officer Antony Holloway is leaving soon and will hand over to a colleague. He was unable to provide minutes of the July KX Gyratory objective-setting meeting with TfL and Islington, but believed no objectives were set, and that TfL would make public any information on objectives of the review developed in future... The end of the review, it was suggested, would run beyond July 2013. The facilitator (Andy Firman, AECOM) undertook to transcribe and distribute the findings of the session.
Meeting Transport for London today about the King's Cross gyratory review, we will ask to discuss 1. Validity of terms of community consultation and participation in the mayor of London's 'Gyratory Review' (Aarhus Convention), in relation to local plans (Kings Cross Place Plan etc) [ie how and why do we participate]
2. Tall Buildings and streetscape issues on the streets on the five routes and two bo
roughs which form part of the gyratory in question [streetscape]
3. Evidence basis for review and (re)design / regeneration of pedestrian facilities and public realm on sixteen junctions and twelve roads and streets forming parts of the gyratory system (PERS evidence, TfL Valuing the Urban Realm Toolkit, Manual for Streets 2, etc.) [public realm]
4. Evidence basis of vehicle speeds, modes and volumes in order to balance with pedestrian accessibility on the links and places which are part of the gyratory system [balancing link and place]
Neighbourhood Forum (Camden Town Hall 14 November)
Tobias, Hermann and I, and other King's Cross Local Group members helped run two launch events with the Neighbourhood Forum for King's Cross. There was a great deal of interest in what a neighbourhood forum may be able to do under the new Localism Act 2011 to improve King's Cross.
The talks with barbecue, bonfire and fireworks at Alara Camley Street on Saturday (10 Nov) were followed by an open evening, discussion and workshop at the town hall on Wednesday 14 November with a visitor from Spacehive and a community participation expert.
Meanwhile the local group will participate in a consultation session with Transport for London on 20 November in Kings Cross.
Fix my Transport Is a living street actually part of the transport system, the environment, or the public realm? That seemed to be part of the misunderstanding, when Deputy Mayor for Transport, Isabel Dedring was questioned about the King's Cross area on 17 October at Camden, and mentioning the project to review the gyratory, (the one-way traffic system of red routes in King's Cross) she spoke only of "roads". There was no mention of the public realm function performed by important routes (despite the existence of 'TfL London Streets' and Better Streets 2009) in the town centre of King's Cross:
A501 Pentonville Road, Gray's Inn Road, Acton Street, Swinton Street
A5203 Caledonian Road, Wharfdale Road
A5200 York Way
A201 Penton Rise, Kings Cross Road
A5202 Pancras Road, Midland Road, Goods Way
http://j.mp/MfS60seconds)There was also confusion about whether and how pedestrians are counted in street design. Safety at junctions took precedence in the discussion over wider notions of public space like environment, business vitality, and legible and walkable streets. Transport people (even keen cyclist Isabel) often think of transport systems as being mainly for wheeled transport. What will become of the public realm functions of these routes in King's Cross? Will the street environment (air, noise, trees etc.) - and its shops, offices, entertainment business es, and places to walk through and talk - be considered? (see Manual for Streets 2 http://j.mp/MfS60seconds) http://j.mp/fixmytransportkx Space Hive Will TfL and its consultants talk to the users (11 months, no word yet) and will they think beyond wheeled traffic flow? https://spacehive.com/kingscross
examines the planning and development history of the area around King's Cross station on the northern edge of central London(pdf) now in Punter ed. 2010 Urban Design and the British Urban Renaissance (London: Routledge) Chapter 11