For many, many years local campaigners have doggedly pushed for the dangerous, dirty and unfriendly traffic gyratory system to be removed and replaced with quality public space and safer, healthier roads for all. Their impressive unfailing commitment to achieve a seemingly impossible dream takes a massive step forward this coming February showing that remaining focussed on achieving real progress maybe no quick win but does move mountains.
The mountain in question is Transport for London. TfL and the current mayor have stuck to ‘traffic smoothing’ as their priority. Traffic smoothing, aka keeping the cars and lorries moving, results in ever increasing motor traffic loads. Designing the London traffic system to be motor traffic friendly as its top priority has made the gyratory system what it is today. Local people in our densely populated neighbourhoods suffer massive levels of pollution, cyclists and pedestrians are routinely put at risk, roads divide our community and our public realm is left filthy and unloved.
In 2011, after continual pressure from the community, TfL’s position shifted slightly and they held a series of public events to gather views about the gyratory. However, campaigners have had to push TfL every step of the way and the promised consultation on design options that was to have happened in 2013 was pushed back several times eventually being promised for winter 2016.
When TfL said they would work with Islington and Camden councils to produce new design options they were taken at their word. It appears TfL were surprised by the commitment to gyratory removal our councils brought to the table, hence the delays.
Bowing to local pressure TfL have announced they will unveil design options for public consultation, devised in partnership with Islington and Camden, in February 2016. This is a great result, the first time TfL’s hand has been forced to bring a gyratory removal deadline forward.
The local campaigners have asked local people to keep the pressure up and clearly focussed on TfL:
“We’ve got a big opportunity next year with a new Mayor coming in. Let’s make sure London’s Transport Committee is in no doubt we need a really good new design for our roads and public realm and we need it NOW!”
They ask people to write to the Transport Committee chair Valerie Shawcross now. Ask her to press TfL for a firm timetable for redeveloping the gyratory, one that recognises that their delays continue to kill people, damage our health and destroy our sense of community.
Extract from TfL’s website taken on 28 October 2015:
Phase 3 – King’s Cross gyratory
Work has started on a feasibility study in partnership with the London Boroughs of Camden and Islington, which will focus on the following roads:
A201 Penton Rise, King’s Cross Road
A501 Pentonville Road, Gray’s Inn Road, Acton Street, Swinton Street
A5202 Pancras Road, Midland Road, Goods Way
A5203 Caledonian Road, Wharfdale Road
A5200 York Way
We held focus groups with representatives from cycling and pedestrian groups, as well as local resident and business groups, in 2011.