The York Way improvements consultation ends tonight!!!! Below is my response. I've sent it with my name, address, email, phone number, confirmation that I am a local resident and request for an acknowledgement of receipt by email to LB Camden. If you'd like to get your response in quick smart, that's the email address to use. Meanwhile, here's what I've said on behalf of myself and my partner:
We welcome the options put forward and very definitely prefer Option 2.
- Removal of the sheep pens at the junction of Wharfdale Road and York Way and their replacement with pedestrian crossings allowing north/south and east/west crossings will be of great benefit to all using this stretch of road. Removal of the sheep pens is likely to lessen the amount of remedial works needing to be done resulting from heavy goods and other vehicles regularly damaging the metal works and putting pedestrians and cyclists in additional danger.
- Reduction of bus stands on the western side of York Way will lessen the dark, smelly and particulate ridden air faced by pedestrians within inches of their walking routes.
- Recessed loading and parking on the eastern side will be welcomed by local businesses.
- Expansion of the pavement on the western side is much needed and will start to introduce a sense of greater safety for pedestrians.
- The move to one lane traffic is marvellous step forward. The current two lane, one-way layout encourages traffic to move at speed along York Way, including but not limited to boy racers overtaking each other at intervals along the short length between the main junction at Euston/Pentonville Roads and Wharfdale Road.
- The zebra crossing is desperately needed and will make a tremendously positive practical impact on our daily lives. The narrowed carriageway surrounding it will lessen the potential danger there would have been had the zebra been installed without such narrowing. Its situation is appropriate as it is a key desire line for people crossing to Tesco, the hotel and the Cally Road.
- The cycle lane markings are very welcome indeed.
There are some key critical points that it is vital to raise as part of this consultation. They are:
- York Way is one short section of the King’s Cross Gyratory. Piecemeal improvements are far from ideal and are likely to result in very poor value for money and be of little benefit to pedestrians, cyclists or motorists. York Way needs to be viewed as part of the whole gyratory system, this is most immediately relevant for (but not limited to) the junction at Euston and Pentonville Roads. Without knowing what is proposed for this junction any comments to proposals are of extremely limited value. The most pertinent example of this is perhaps the speed of traffic moving from Gray’s Inn Road into York Way. This traffic flow dodges the lights with traffic moving at great speed from the two lanes of Gray’s Inn Road into the single lane of York Way attempting to both overtake each other and move forward as lights change from amber to red. Indeed it is common for traffic to move off from Gray’s Inn Road in the few seconds that the lights change from amber to red and after the green man has appeared on the pedestrian crossing.
- Siting the bus stop closer to the corner of the above junction is problematic. This pavement area is currently over-stressed to the point of being very dangerous indeed. Pedestrians are forced into the road vying for space with taxi drop-offs and pick-ups at the most dangerous point of York Way. Adding the very large numbers of people standing waiting for buses to this melee may prove to be the last straw.
- The bus stand on the western side should be removed altogether. It is inappropriate for it to be here; it adds an unacceptable level of particulate emissions into the canyon of York Way and increases the sense of being trapped in a very narrow corridor when walking along York Way on either side of the road. There are other places that the bus stand could and should be sited, places that do not have residential housing or large numbers of pedestrians using them to move to and fro work, schools or leisure facilities: Goodsway is one, Pancras Way is another.
- It maybe worth considering the siting of the zebra crossing. Although it is broadly in the right place, shifting it slightly north to the other side of Caledonia Street maybe preferable. This would avoid pedestrians crossing to reach the hotel or Tesco having to cross two streets rather than one.
- The cycle lane at the approach to the junction with Wharfdale Road maybe a little precarious. I find cycling at this junction a very frightening experience, so improvements are much needed. However, I’m not sure cycling in the middle of two lanes of traffic would make me feel safer, unless there were a physical barrier such as the excellent cycle lanes that exist along Tavistock and Torrington Places.
- The consultation does not seem to take into account the myriad different uses of York Way. It is the key route to the local tube, train and main bus stops for pedestrians coming to and fro the north east of the station. It is the key route for business and leisure users of King’s Place including Guardian News Media and Network Rail. It forms part of the King’s Cross Gyratory for the very heavy traffic including a great many heavy goods vehicles and buses. It is a destination in itself for people using the restaurants, bars and other facilities along its length. It is an unavoidable section of the east/west cycle route from The Angel to Marylebone. It is a bus stand and a heavily used bus stop. It is a taxi drop off and pick up point. It is an unavoidable junction for pedestrians walking along the Euston, Gray’s Inn and Pentonville Roads.
- The consultation does not appear to be evidence based, without openly giving the evidence on which the options are based it is very difficult indeed to comment on their efficacy. Indeed, so much research and consultation has been done on this section of road that it is surprising it hasn’t been referenced. Of particular note here are the TFL commissioned PERS and SCA 07/08 Category A Station Audit of walkability around King’s Cross St Pancras (reference UPR/T/029/08), the LB Islington public space and movement strategy for the King’s Cross area, and the current Department for Transport Manual for Streets and Manual for Streets 2.
- Finally, the need to remove some of the uses of York Way for pedestrians is paramount. Its intense use is of itself a danger. The local community has campaigned for restoration of the bridge linking Battlebridge Road with Wharfdale Road over the tracks at the rear of King’s Cross Station. Without this bridge, which would remove a great deal of pedestrian stress on York Way by enabling pedestrians to reach the major King’s Cross St Pancras international transport hub without walking the entire length of York Way in either direction, any improvements to York Way are likely to have very limited positive impact at all.