We seek redress on traffic and pollution at Kings Cross!

The case of Ella Kissi-Debrah shows clearly what impact air pollution has. It kills, and by not doing enough to keep us safe, it could be deemed to be manslaughter, corporate manslaughter, an infringement of our human rights!

The Kings Cross community has campaigned for decades on air pollution, noise and road-safety.

We frequently pointed out, that Kings Cross is no longer just a through-fare, if it ever was, but that Kings Cross South and North pof Pentonville and Euston Road, East and West of Gray’s Inn Road and Kings Cross Road, is a place where people live and work, and children grow up.

We demand from TFL, the Mayor of London, Camden Council and Islington Council that this is finally and once and for all recognised and that the issue of air-pollution is finally solved. We had for too long have to witness, how traffic on roads like Euston Road, Swinton Street, Acton Street, Pentonville Road and parts of Kings Cross Road and Gray’s Inn Road and Caledonian Road are exempt from having to adhere to the most stringent of rules on air-pollution.

Kings Cross was and continues to be one of the most polluted places in terms of air in London, and therefore in the UK and in Europe. Stop excluding it from seeing what we know for decades!

It is now for clean air, for yesterday was already too late!

Posted in Bad Gyrations KX Campaign, Current Affairs, Road Safety in Kings Cross | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

School student Sofia needs our help.

King's Cross, London: how developers are constructing a community |  Financial Times

My name is Sofia and I go to a nearby state school in Finchley called St Michael’s. I am conducting my A-Level Geography fieldwork looking at the benefits of the regeneration scheme in Kings Cross.

I would really appreciate it if you could send this out to residents of Kings Cross who could help me by completing my survey.

I have studied the process of regeneration in great depth as part of my A-level syllabus. I have chosen Kings Cross as a case study since this is an area I have grown up around. My uncle and aunty both live in Kings Cross and nearby Kentish Town. I knew I would really enjoy discovering the history of the area and how it is continuing to change as a result of contemporary issues such as the coronavirus pandemic.

I remember going on walks in the past with my uncle where he would explain how the area is being regenerated. Being able to study this process in Kings Cross in depth is something really close to my heart. 

Getting this questionnaire out to an audience that could give incredibly useful results would mean the world to me. It will also give me an insight into how Kings Cross has changed and allow me to accurately complete this project to the best of my abilities. 

Posted in Big developments, Community stuff, Kings Cross N1C, New, Noticeboard, Young People | Leave a comment

After 50 years Kings Cross Roads about to become safer!

Kings Cross gyratory are about to become slower and safer!

Andrew Dismore, the Labour Assembly Member in London City Hall had asked a question to Mayor Sadiq Khan recently, if streets around the gyratory could be lowered to 20 Miles, given longstanding suggestions by local residents. These argued that the one way streets at Kings Cross, part of what is known as the Kings Cross Gyratory where too frequent providing space for quick thrill racing and speeding with excessive speeds. The area is highly populated with many residential blocks and huge amount of people walking and cycling around the often busy roads. School children, College and university students add to the mix. Soon there is also to be a Dementia Treatment Centre build.

Back in 2016 a consultation was made for road improvements at Kings Cross. Residents have been waiting for implementation since.

The point rose, after long standing local Kings Cross resident Daniel Zylbersztajn-Lewandowski posed that question, given that TFL and surrounding local councils had implemented many safety improvements in other areas during the lockdown in 2020, but omitted Kings Cross, which had been under discussion for improvements for a very long time. Kings Cross. In particular the area had passed consultation stage for TFL improvements in 2016. Daniel suggested, and local councillors in Islington and Camden agreed, that as a bare minimum, at least speeds should be reduced to 20 Miles on those one way roads, that make up the Kings Cross Gyratory.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan answered the question in City Hall as follows, on 2/11/2020

Transport for London (TfL) and I are committed to reducing road danger for all residents and visitors to London. TfL has a programme to lower the speed limit by 10mph on over 140km of TLRN over the next four years, subject to funding. This includes the introduction of a 20mph speed limit on A501 Pentonville Road, Penton Rise, Swinton Street and Grays Inn Road, which is consistent with the surrounding local road network in both Camden and Islington and will also support additional safety improvements around the Kings Cross area.”

As you will know, TfL is in discussions with Government over the funding support it needs following the impact of coronavirus on its finances. I hope that agreement can be reached soon so that vital projects such as these can restart.” (bold emphasis added)

Kings Cross residents hope that speeds will also be reduced on Acton Street, which was not specifically mentioned, but is part of the Gyratory and in fact connects Kings Cross Road and Grays Inn Road.

UPDATE 14/11/2020 Clr. Adam Harrison of Camden was assured by TFL that Acton and Swinton Street are in deed going to be slowed down as part if their Vison Zero road safety plan.

Soon no more that little speeding race track,like when this car crashed back 2017 on Acton Street

Posted in New | 2 Comments

St Pancras Hospital development

South Camden Recovery Centre | Camden and Islington NHS Foundation ...

For those interested in the proposed redevelopment of St Pancras Hospital – the one that backs onto Old St Pancras Church, click here to see the plans.

Posted in Architecture, Big developments, Green spaces, New, Noticeboard, Planning, Licensing and Regulation | Leave a comment

International Biodiversity Day

This Friday, 22 May, is International Biodiversity Day. An important day for everyone interested in ecology, the environment and a sustainable future.

Highly topical at a time when man made wildlife habitat destruction and the way humans use displaced wildlife are highly likely to have resulted in this zoonotic novel virus pandemic.

We live close to an important green corridor that includes the canal. We are home to a wide variety of urban wildlife from micro-organisms in the soil and the water, to water fowl, birds, bats and other mammals.

If you’d like to know more about how to help support biodiversity, here’s one link you may find of interest 🙂


Image stating "Join our pesticide free towns campaign". By the Pesticide Action Network.

Happy International Biodiversity Day everyone!
Posted in Green spaces, New, Science, Wildlife and Nature | Leave a comment

Criminal Damage to Our Local Trees

Stephan Shulte writes:

Yes I said “Criminal” in that if we could catch the culprits who have been vandalising our local trees we could & should try to make a case for prosecution.

Northdown Street – tree destroyed.

Northdown Street – tree destroyed.

I have been asked to make you all aware of the latest round of vandalism in our neighbourhood by our neighbour John from Wharfdale Road.  If we enjoy all the trees in our area, it can be safely said that they are only there due to the continued efforts of John and the relationship he has formed with the Council to improve our area.

This latest problem revolves around making dogs strip the bark off our trees which results in the trees dying.  When a tree is fully circle bark stripped, the tree cannot be saved and will have to be felled.  In this latest act of vandalism, 3 trees, funded by local residents about 15 years ago will die and have to be replaced.

Northdown St – second tree destroyed.

Northdown St – second tree destroyed.

I think you will all agree that this latest bit of vandalism is shameful and we must catch the culprits responsible. Gangs train their dogs to become fighting dogs by teaching them to rip tree bark.  We all now have mobile phones that have cameras so please if you see something like this going on snap a picture and send it to our Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team with a few words of explanation.  Their email address is: Caledonian.snt@met.police.uk.

As I write this several other neighbours have already started to help out with the problem.   If we want our area to improve we must all act together.

Northdown St – third tree destroyed.

Northdown St – third tree destroyed.

Bark damage. Winford Road.

Bark damage. Winford Road.

Northdown Street – tree saved so far.

Northdown Street – tree saved so far.

Posted in Anti Social Behaviour, Anti Social Behaviour, Crime etc, Crime etc, Green spaces, Local issues, New, Wildlife and Nature | Leave a comment

Make Kings Cross the heart of zero carbon!

Britain commits to zero carbon! Writing from Kings Cross, Central London, where we have campaigned for over 30 years against car pollution both in terms of air pollution and noise pollution, it is a tremendous national policy change for the better, with local implications. Sometimes it felt like we were radical unreasonable outposts talking about all of this.

I remember Transport for London consultants accusing us during a Kings Cross traffic-calming consultation only some ten years ago of “surely not wanting to stop business and transport only ten years ago.” No, we did not; we just wanted a change what the traffic did to our communities.

Writing as we speak, Kings Cross is still heavily polluted by above all car traffic though slowly it is changing.  This week a bad diversion due to road-works pushed even more vehicles stagnantly through our streets (on which on both sides people live who need to breath).   Changes should be implemented at Kings Cross with an absolute London priority because due to the main roads going through the area, its location in central London and due to the stations, people living and working here had to suffer particularly harmful pollution for decades.

Some of the main culprits, the Royal Mail and Black Cab Diesels are still very much part of the problem here, though both have at least begun to introduce electrics. Most TFL buses have cleaner engines now, though this is the area where battery and hydrogen buses should be running too. TFL should put some more funding into electric cab incentives, to make the acquisition of an e-cab no longer more expensive than the old  Diesel models and create more charging points around the stations. There could be even new rules as to what cabs can pick up passengers at Kings Cross and St Pancras without surcharges, following the Heathrow model. Both stations, and in particular Kings Cross need also far more cycle-friendly infrastructure and facilities.

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 23.26.28A cycle route is now complete West of St Pancras, and traffic further calmed and slowed down.  However, we are still waiting for the long-awaited changes to the Kings Cross gyratory system promised even before Sadiq Khan became mayor and reassured by him.


Many landlords still are slow on changes to heating and electrical challenges. You can probably count the solar panels here on the one hand. The council and related bodies must not make the fact that there are many period homes an obstacle to changes here. Only two years ago, one of the major social landlords in Kings Cross, Clarion, changed all gas boilers in the Kings Cross area. Although these are more efficient than their predecessors, they were yet again fossil fuel gas boilers.  Major landlords like them will have to rethink heating sources, consider centralised communal heating systems using new energy sources, installing solar energy panels and also providing safe parking spaces for bicycles, another matter so far not high on their priority list.

Councils like Camden alongside TFL will have to finally give way to reimagine space currently solely used for car parking. This is where more trees can be planted, community plots or flowering can occur and better and more inventive possibly underground local recycling points (Dutch model) could be installed, and cycle lanes constructed. Of course, some car parking needs to remain for people with disabilities and deliveries, and both of these must use the latest clean engines in their vehicles.

The funny things is, some of us imagined much of this 20-30 years ago. Some of us are now in our 50s and 60s. It says something about the generations of political and industrial leaders before us. One wonders if it had to be five minutes to midday for change to occur.

But let us not dwell on the past and change confidently and fast. Let Kings Cross be the centre of innovation and reimagination on green living and green economy. Not just the newly constructed North of Kings Cross, but also the older South of Kings Cross.


Posted in Bad Gyrations KX Campaign, Current Affairs, New | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Wait continues for Changes to the Kings Cross Gyratory

TFL says it needs more time and more consultations on Kings Cross.

It is not an unknown. In fact, most people in London will recognize Kings Cross as a manic place for traffic, pedestrians and cyclists. We at Kings Cross Environment have written in detail and repeatedly about the need for the gyratory system to go. See https://kingscrossenvironment.com/?s=Gyratory

After a consultation in 2015 by TfL, the third in 20 years, TfL suggested dramatic changes in 2016. It involved changing streets adding cycle lanes, adding crossings.

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 23.25.29

Here are some of the further particulars of the report.

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 23.30.08

see in fill https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/kings-cross-gyratory/user_uploads/king-s-cross-consultation-report.pdf

Of 1.042 respondents,

  • 81 % supported additional pedestrian crossings at various junctions
  • improvement to pedestrian experience and cycling rated as highest priorities
  • 70 % supported overall proposals
  • 63% supported some two-way streets and changing single lane streets
  • 63% supported the reduction of traffic an improvement of the environment
  • 67% supported new cycling facilities including counterflow lanes for bicycles

Last year, when I raised the matter, Islington Councilor Paul Convey, who keeps a close interest in this matter, believed that the process would begin this year, 2018. The only work that did however continue is further up South on Kings Cross Road, due to the construction of the Cycle Super Highway CS6.

As to the gyratory changes, Nigel Hardy, TfL’s Head of Programme Sponsorship, told Kings Cross Local Environment last week: “We continue to work closely with Camden and Islington Councils on our plans to promote healthy streets and make improvements for vulnerable road users at King’s Cross.” And further

The gyratory system runs through one of London’s busiest areas and construction work for our planned transformation needs careful coordination with a number of other significant schemes, including HS2. Work on the gyratory at Judd Street started this week and work at Midland Road is set to begin over the coming months, with further consultation and construction at other sections of the gyratory in 2019.”

In other words, brace yourself for more delays, in spite of some words we were given by the Mayor on London Sadiq Khan in 2016, that he would seek reassurances on implementation timetables:

“Transport for London (TfL) has been consulting on a redesign since 2011 and that they intend to consult on a high level proposal shortly and on final details in 2017. Sadiq understands there are frustrations around delays with the process and he will contact TfL to seek reassurances around the timetable and that local people are being properly consulted.”

This seems a long wait, maybe endless, for people in the area, not just those who live here, but the millions of pedestrians that go through that area. The traffic and pollution and obstruction are constant. Maybe there are also other reasons. Repeatedly one reads on TFL’s financial losses. Maybe there is simply no money in the chess drawer for new plans?

Example near Weston Rise. Still economy of car traffic over experience and safety of pedestrians?

When I recently asked, as I do from time to time, if a pedestrian crossing over Pentonville Road could be slightly improved by moving it a bit (at Weston Rise) to make this crossing at this very busy road an easier and safer pedestrian experience, I was right to be sceptical and wonder, if I should bother highlighting the issue at all.

The issue is but one small silly oversights of many. I had found through day-to-day observation over three years now (it is on my daughter’s way to school, which I frequent five days a week) that 90 per cent of Southbound pedestrians, amongst them many school children, did not use the push bottom operated crossing here at all, in spite of it being there. In other words, the local public condemned the crossing as totally not fit for its needs.

If you are interested in the partculars see the end of the article in (1). In any case, after highlighting the issue, I did receive a phone call from TFL An officer told me told that “traffic flow” was the all-important factor (so not pedestrian safety or experience), and even though my points were heard, nothing would change.

But TFL listened in the past (sometimes)

Over ten years ago, I informed TFL that at the beginning of Swinton Street (Eastern End) and Kings Cross Road, there was no traffic light crossing, making this spot on the fast running busy road very dangerous. After an accident, TFL finally decided to agree with me and be sensible and construct a traffic light there.


Acton Street – Kings Cross  Road

It is however only a push button operated traffic light, but still (see later for more on this point).

I had similar success even earlier with a change and improvements to the zebra crossings and lights on both sides of Acton Street

TFL improved this zebra crossing design on both ends, including the lights, because traffic frequently ignored it.

The crossing over at Pentonville Road and Rodney Street and Penton Rise was also a recent change, with some improvements (better, though not completely foolproof for cyclists). It required, however, more than my letters, but the needless death of Madeleine Rosie Wright, a female cyclist, who crashed with a lorry for that improvement to occur. Kings Cross Road – York Way junction was also redesigned, following the ferocious and spectacular crushing death of the St. Martins Art student Deep Lee.

So evidently TFL is not completely deaf to requests from well-informed locals, who know the streets best, though TFL seems to be more willing to listen and more in a hurry once the violent death of somebody confirms system flaunts. Sometimes the changes are however lacklustre, and they were so particularly under Boris Johnson’s mayoral regime. For example, the crossings at Swinton Street and Kings Cross Road (to Travelodge Hotel) are push-button only operated, even though traffic is always stopping at the junction between Penton Rise, Kings Cross Road. Pedestrian traffic lights at Swinton Street could be easy with these without holding up too many cars unnecessarily. One other simple change we are yet to see, and that was announced to be tested, is a 20 Miles Speed limit trial. So far this has only be implemented on the most Southern part of Kings Cross, leaving fast running one-way streets of Pentonville Road, Kings Cross Road and Swinton Street as racing tracks and potential death traps when the roads are emptier.

The many consultations are a testimony to TFL knowing that it has to act. Bit sometimes consultations can also be used to delay things, already known. One would hope for a rather sooner than later progression from the consultation stage to actual construction. This is particularly so, as I remember the very first consultation on Kings Cross traffic and the gyratory that I witnessed being around early 2000. 18 years have passed since, and the wait appears to be longer still, in spite of assurances. That is nearly two decades ago. Having to wait that long, is already too long.


(1) Weston Rise – Pentonville Road Crossing
50 meters or so westwards, a deviation for most who will try to catch any of

Screen Shot 2018-11-29 at 00.01.25

the buses somewhat Eastwards up the hill (Penton Rise Stop for 73, 214, 205, 30 -which until this day also has no LED display to show waiting times, another TFL initiative not sourced for Kings Cross here, and not only). Not only makes the crossing the way to the bus longer by some 150 meters,
but it also requires pedestrians to wait for over two phases (one for each side of the road), because each side is separately activated. So to get there you would have to walk some 40 meters Westwards. Then push the button. Then one must wait some 2 minutes or longer, then one walks across to the middle. Here one presses the next light. Another long wait. Then after crossing that stretch walk about 70 meter hill upwards to the bus stop, which can take sometimes five minutes extra. Trying to rush over Pentonville Road not using this crossing can take 20 seconds or your life. Not considering the later, the great majority of pedestrians crossing this dangerous road without using the traffic lights. Therefore the light is a). in the false place (pedestrians coming up from Kings Cross Road via Weston Street to attend to bus-stop Eastwards going Penton Rise Station ), b) and also takes ages to cross if used, due to a 2x need of pressing for each side of the street separately.
A crossing 250 meter up at Rodney Street – Pentonville Road – Penton Rise allows crossing in one go, and the traffic light is phased in a faster cycle after being triggered. The reason? It is cars that are waiting in Rodney Street, not pedestrians. Cars there trigger a movement sensitive traffic light and the wait is relatively short. Pedestrians likewise do not have to wait as long as at Weston Rise. It would be easy to connect those two traffic lights.


All I was asking to start with is moving the lights slightly Westly to go in line with Weston Rise, and if possible to get the phasing in line with Rodney Street – Pentonville Road. It required no big change, but a little bit shifting and logical linking up. This, in spite of clear intentions, at least in words, to wish to improve pedestrian experience in the area (or say safety).
On the other hand, waiting times and the two-phase system is similar to the junction between Kings Cross Road and Pentonville Road, further down. Here again, there are frequent pedestrian runs over the street during the red phase, because the waiting time for pedestrians is so long.
The pedestrian crossing at Caledonian Road with Pentonville Road may be the worst of all, and it is much worsened by the building works going on there. There is a huge need for a crossing on the Eastern flank of that junction.
And there is more. Pancras Road has become a new danger spot. In spite of being in front of the international station.
Posted in Bad Gyrations KX Campaign, Gyratory consultation 2016, Kings Cross Station Refurbishment, New | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments