Proposed changes to Gray’s Inn Road are dangerous and detrimental

Friday, 20th December 2019

• THE council is planning major detrimental changes to Gray’s Inn Road and time is running out to object.

We are discovering vast numbers of people who will be adversely affected have not been consulted. Responses have to be in by today (Friday) December 20.

As usual Camden refers to proposed changes as “improvements” but their scheme to install segregated cycle lanes on Gray’s Inn Road will make for more dangerous conditions for cyclists and pedestrians, increase pollution, make buses slower and damage business and employment.

Cyclists will find themselves, when the cycle lane stops abruptly at the north end of the road, thrust into the King’s Cross gyratory system.

It should be borne in mind that when the Tavistock-Torrington Place cycle lanes were installed, cycle accidents increased by 57 per cent.

The plans threaten to remove the pedestrian traffic islands at the junctions of Calthorpe Street and Guilford Street with Gray’s Inn Road.

This is an excessively busy pedestrian route, used daily by large numbers of school children. These islands are vital for pedestrian safety. Pedestrians will have to leave the safety of the pavements and cross cycle lanes to reach bus stops.

This increases the risk of collisions; and is of even greater concern as we know that potentially frail patients attending the planned new hospital will also have to negotiate their way across busy cycle lanes in order to get a bus. And bus stops are being cut from 12 to eight.

The council admits there will be more queueing traffic, which means more pollution. Buses will have to stop on the main carriageway, leaving cars waiting, with idling engines behind them. Buses will be slower. The narrower vehicle lanes and extra queueing traffic will inevitably result in delays for buses.

This will mean big problems for businesses. Loading bays in Gray’s Inn Road will be removed; vans and lorries will have to park in side roads (contrary to the supposed policy to keep vehicles on main roads) and carry heavy goods along the pavements (supposedly being “improved” for pedestrians).

On top of all this Gray’s Inn Road will be a key route for construction lorries from the Mount Pleasant and Eastman Hospital developments.

The whole scheme is totally contrary to undertakings made by Camden at a public meeting on March 10 2016 in the council offices in St Pancras Square, when they stated their plan was to move traffic from the small residential streets on to main arterial roads, including Gray’s Inn Road, reserving these for vehicles.

It appears they have forgotten this plan, as the new scheme will cut the vehicle capacity on parts of Gray’s Inn Road by half, increasing congestion and forcing traffic on to side roads.

Bloomsbury Residents’ Action Group

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