Friday, 24 July 2015

King's Cross Orbital

King's Cross is a critical part of central London, a transport hub and a neighbourhood - but its boundaries are contested.

King's Cross, originally the name of a landmark statue at the junction of Euston, Gray's Inn and Pentonville Roads with York Way, is today widely understood to identify an area around the railway station named after the monument. There are two railway stations adjacent to one another, King's Cross and St Pancras International, which give the underground station its name, King's Cross St Pancras Underground Station. The former site of the monument to King George in front of the stations at the junction of Euston, Gray's Inn, and Pentonville Roads and York Way is on the boundary of two local boroughs and sits within the highway 'owned' and managed by Transport for London.

The hyperlocal news blog King's Cross Environment  recently carried Sophie Talbot's story about the identity of King's Cross, where the developers of the new private estate on the Railway Lands, "King's Cross Central" are occasionally wont to shorten the name and accidentally excise the surrounding areas from the 'area of benefit' as the developers understand it. The article is called Authoring King's Cross.

On a Monday in 2014 Living Streets' the Neighbourhood Forum for King's Cross Chair Zannthie and I workshopped some of the proposals for street improvement with an engineer from LB Camden. The proposals were Flexible Streets, School Streets and Clean Streets.

The first proposed a better balance between motorised and non-motorised street users day and night, which we considered highly relevant to greater Kings Cross (even the parts in Islington and managed by Transport for London).

The second proposal was for timed slow / safe / play / traffic free zones outside schools, and we felt Wynton Street should be an example.

The third proposal was for cleanability, which we suggested it would be better rewritten and directed toward local pride in mixed use high streets, based on greater vitality.

We were thanked for our time and had a cup of tea. To our knowledge, none of the proposals was accepted. We have not heard from Camden since.