Greens call for traffic ban for Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street in response to West End plans

31 July 2014

Greens and campaigners call for more space for cyclingCamden and London Green Parties have called for more space to be created for cycling, walking and buses by removing private motor traffic from Gower Street, not just Tottenham Court Road, in its response to Camden Council's West End Project consultation.

Camden Council plans to spend nearly £30 million on the West End Project, with the intention of making Tottenham Court Road and Bloomsbury safer and more attractive to residents. Proposals include removing the one-way system, Tottenham Court Road being restricted to buses, pedestrians and cyclists until 7pm, with two 1.5 metre segregated cycle lanes for Gower Street.

Traffic woud remain on Gower Street in the current plansWhile Greens believe the current proposals are a step in the right direction, they don't provide the 2 metre cycle lanes needed for safe segregated cycling, and should go further to create space for efficient modes of transport by reducing space for cars on Gower Street as well as Tottenham Court Road to allow this.

The party's amendments would go much further in the direction of healthy modern cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

Key proposals from the Greens:

  • Keep Tottenham Court Road restricted to buses, bikes and people on foot until 11pm not 7pm as currently proposed, and then only allow access for loading, with no through traffic
  • Create space for a full-size two way cycle route by removing vehicle traffic from Gower Street completely
  • Increase space for pedestrians on Gower Street
  • Reduce the number of 'dog leg' crossings for traffic (where vehicles would use Tottenham Court Road for a short time)
  • Switch all bus routes using Tottenham Court Road (which will be made two-way, roughly doubling the number of buses on the street) to the cleanest available low emission vehicles, including hybrids and electric buses, before the scheme comes into operation  

Sian Berry, Green Councillor in Camden says:

“The project as it stands misses the opportunity to build for a much more ambitious mode shift to cycling, public transport and walking on this crucial route through some of Camden’s most important public spaces and economic centres. We believe Camden should be planning boldly for the mode share we need in future decades, not for a slight adjustment to the prevailing conditions, especially when this results in less than ideal provision for pedestrians and cyclists – the modes that currently need most support.

"It’s a definite step in the right direction, but the improvements we are proposing will do more to reduce air pollution and benefit shoppers, office workers, visitors and the local student population, as well as thousands of residents."

Caroline Russell, Islington Councillor and the Green Party’s Local Transport Spokesperson says:

"Redesigning Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street can play a fundamental part in making London a more liveable city where active travel and public health are prioritised over the convenience of the few making trips by car.

"Camden should be ambitious to make this scheme a step change improvement for central London with streets that are safe, pleasant and convenient for residents, workers and visitors whether they walk, cycle or take public transport."

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