Saturday, 19 March 2016

King's Cross Gyratory - TfL consultation

King's Cross Gyratory - TfL consultation

Living Streets King's Cross Local Group, and Margot and David and Caroline

We all seem in harmony. The KX Place Plan makes 'real' air quality improvement a priority, but is not made a measurable objective in the TfL proposals, nor are safe enjoyable and objectively efficient pedestrian journeys proposed to be a focus of planning. We will raise these points.

Thanks for your notes and points about the consultation response which I will put in tomorrow, trying to incorporate everything with overlaps with what we have below: 
Hi Sarah (cc John and LS KX people) dated early Feb

Thanks for your email. The main issues which John Hartley and Tobias Newland and I (with other LSKX members) have recently (January) discussed with LB Camden's gyratory lead are:

1. Genuine consultation is needed with TfL and the boroughs of Camden and Isington, collaborating locally on site in Kings Cross - not separately and remotely. Objective and achievable aims need to be agreed. 
The loss of (already too narrow) footway at Gray's Inn Road, and conversion into shared cycle lane following TfL consultation in 2011-2012 has had a very negative impact on the group - the TfL engineer could not justify this, based on Journey Time Reliability impact of "11 minutes"

This comes back to 'trust me I am an engineer' within TfL (as discussed yesterday) - between the engineer in charge and her colleague modelling JTR on this very short link at the junction. The JTR engineer prevailed over the project engineer and this led to the footway reduction.
2. A place-based approach to the gyratory area with TfL urban design and the boroughs urban design and placemaking is needed, rather than the movement, traffic and roads-led approach as is currently proposed in the email.
3. There is a need to assess and establish 'streets types' classification (RTF 2015) of each link in the King's Cross gyratory system for 1) before and 2) after the 'gyratory removal'. Improved King's Cross town centre place qualities to be clearly related to these changes.
4. TfL adherence to and careful consideration of the Camden/Islington King's Cross Place Plan for King's Cross town centre - developed over several years - is essential
The local group has spent years talking to many different consultation processes in a fragmented and contradictory way, and feels that while consultations have been "delivered" by TfL, they have been ultimately disempowering locally.

In regard to the four points in the TfL consultation email (from Clare, the same person who led consultation previously - then called 'consultation delivery manager') the main points would be:
1. two way traffic needs to be viewed in place context and all aspects of the streets modelled, not just motor traffic, with pedestrian journey times modelled as suggested yesterday by Prof Nick Wates to Dana Kelley OBE, as you heard.
2. 'traffic' needs to be clearly articulated: motorised public transport, (PT Lanes, stops and stands), commercial (Heavy and light) motor traffic and private motor traffic and cycle traffic and pedestrian traffic. A transport authority ignoring pedestrian traffic in modelling and design (apart from place implications) would be quite remiss according to it's own guidelines. The assumption  that traffic means motor traffic (in the TfL email here) is completely contradictory to the RTF 2016 and Streets Toolkit 2016 and a place making approach, and also the long-fought-for Place Plan.
3. junctions should be designed as places rather than traffic systems, as per the Streets Toolkit 2016, every junction in the system should be assessed as a place (including PERS as LS did in 2008, using also TfL Valuing Urban Realm Toolkit (possibly also micro-assessment of PTAL) rater than the current proposed TfL approach which is motor traffic engineering led.
4. cycling would be considered and modelled seamlessly as part of the place and movement equation - loss of walking space and footways (spuriously justified by journey time reliability in the G I Road case) is not only illogical and anathema under Street Toolkit 2016 guidelines, it disenfranchises voluntary action for walking and living streets.
I hope this helps to understand some of the local concerns, and I would be happy to discuss each point with you, potentially together with government agencies.

I will attach some slides from my presentation at Urban Design London - (Transport for London's forum for Urban Design critique and learning) on 26 January - Brenda Puech was there too - it was  about shared space and shows the Gray's Inn Road junction review site mentioned above.
I spoke in Feb with someone at the British Library researching who all the stakeholders are in King's Cross

for David, Margot and Caroline, I will forward this to Toby and Hermann and the James' who were at our recent King's Cross meeting - and can comment on what should be incorporated from your comments - see below

If there is any duplication of your individual submissions with ours from LS KX, that will be a good thing.

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