Cllr Nasim Ali, Leader of Camden Council, took local democracy another step forward this afternoon by taking part in a live web chat on the wearecamden.org website. A number of issues relevant to the KX area were asked by various participants, and Cllr Ali gave the following answers:
Q How will LBC make sure the consultation to be done by TfL this year into removing the dangerous gyratory at KX is inclusive, transparent and truly effective? It’d be so easy for it to result in another ineffectual report on the shelf.
A It’s really important that the study and consultation engages with the right people. This issue can’t be buried away once completed. Both TfL, Camden and Islington need to look at the findings and work up a solution that benefits all road users.
Our culture and environment scrutiny committee has been looking into cycling in King’s Cross and I’m sure the chair Councillor Simpson and the other committee members would value input from you as to how the consultation can be as inclusive as possible.
Q Given the number of people that are going to pass thro as well as stay in the KX area during the Olympics, what will LBC do to ensure pedestrian and cyclist safety in the area given it’s so very dangerous
A Regarding your question about ensuring pedestrian and cycle safety during the olympics, I’ve personally been involved in meetings with TFL and Locog regarding pedestrian and public safety. I can assure you that plans are being developed to address these issues. Work to improve two of the junctions that we have concerns about will be completed before the Olympics.
Q The ‘improvement’ to the junction between EustonRd/PentonvilleRd/YorkWay will make the junction potentially more dangerous for cyclists. Given the number of fatailities at that spot, would you be willing to press for separate cycle lanes before the Olympics to avoid anymore casualities?
(Time ran out before answer could be given)
Q As a local resident, I just wanted to ask what the Kings Cross area was going to be like during the Olympics?
A King’s Cross will be a very exciting place during the Olympics. As you may be aware, most people will be travelling through St Pancras and using the Javelin train to get to stratford.
We will also have street dressing around the area and on some buildings, including projections.
We will also have the media hub in Bloomsbury where 20,000 members of the world’s press will be staying. We are well aware that this brings with it great opportunities and some challenges to manage the potential disruption.
You can keep up to date with plans around the Olympics on our websitehttp://www.camden.gov.uk/2012.
Q Tenants and residents in Elm Village are very concerned at the lack of information and plans for the Camley Street area. The road itself is scruffy and run down, and heavily used by the industrial estate very close to family housing.
This is such an important route from the centre of the borough to Kings Cross and the new developments (and soon the new town hall and leisure facilities) - for residents on foot, families, cyclists and others – that it should be a priority to improve.
Elm Village Tenants and Residents Association want to work with the Council and others on this. What can you do to help us work closely with you to discuss and develop environmentally and community friendly improvements and plans for Camley Street?
A I’ll ask officers to look into the issues at Elm Village for you. I don’t have the information to hand at the moment.
Q What priority does the Council give to private tenants (who are now the largest group of tenants in Camden) and do you think the Council should continue to fund the Camden Federation of Private Tenants ?
A We give private tenants top priority and we will continue to fund the Camden Federation of Private Tenants. One of the difficulties that private tenants face is the issue of rogue landlords and this is just one of the issues we are trying to tackle.
Q 1.The Regent’s Canal is 200 years old this year – how is Camden going to celebrate its very own iconic waterway?
2.The Regent’s Canal is only 1.5 metres wide in some places and at peak times can have over 800 users (including 500 cyclists) passing through in an hour. Pedestrians have priority on the towpath and the canal is enjoyed for its heritage and tranquillity. British Waterways runs the Two Tings campaign to encourage safe and friendly towpath use. What is Camden doing to provide safer and more attractive routes for cyclists commuting East/West?
3.In 2010 Camden Council commissioned a Green CRISP report for a Regent’s Canal Alternative Route between Regent’s Park and York Way. How many of these recommendations have been implemented so far or are committed in your future plans?
A I will ask officers to look into your questions about the 200 year celebration for Regent’s Canal and implementation of recommendations from the report. I walk through Regent’s Canal quite a lot with my family (and have done for years) and think it is one of the finest places in Camden. I even used to holiday on the barges when I was a child! As Mayor of Camden I held many fundraising events on one of the barges which I think was called My Fair Lady.
Cllr Ali ended the chat, signing off with, “I have to go to another engagement now. Thank you to everyone who took part – it’s the first time I have tried this and it was very enlightening and enjoyable. There have been a few questions where I have asked Matthew to follow up and get back to you. It was really good to see the diverse range of questions and the mix of people asking; this is definitely something we’d look into doing again in the future. Thank you”