We can’t figure out the problem this traffic scheme is supposed to address
05 July, 2018
• PEOPLE living in and around Judd Street are still trying to figure out what is the problem that Camden’s traffic schemes are trying to solve.
We are being subjected to a number of changes – reducing motor traffic on Tavistock Place to one lane eastwards and providing double-wide cycle tracks in each direction; the closure of Lansdown Terrace to motor traffic but not cycle traffic; and the proposed closure of the top of Judd Street to motor traffic but not cycle traffic.
We were unaware that we had a problem until we were told by Transport for London’s traffic planners and the cycle lobby that we did. Now we do have a problem, that of access to where we live and work by car, taxi, ambulance, fire engine and police car. This problem has been compounded by the lack of specificity in the plans for the flows of motor traffic.
Although Camden provided 156 pages of proposals and scenarios in support of the Lansdown Place and Judd Street schemes (on past experience inaccurate and irrelevant), it has not told us where and how we can move in and out of the area bounded by Gray’s Inn Road, Theobalds Road, Southampton Row/ Upper Woburn Place and Euston Road once these schemes are implemented; other than to say that there are “alternate routes” which may not be “direct”.
The only hint is that the traffic going into or out of Judd Street at the top may be redirected into, but probably not out of, Dukes Road, Burton Street, Flaxman Terrace and Cartwright Gardens, narrow twisty streets unsuitable to take this load.
Throughout these planning exercises there has been a lack of transparency and genuine consultation. Most recently the proposals for Lansdown Place and Judd Street were put on the agenda of a special meeting on June 27 at very short notice (none of those who provided views/comments on the schemes were notified in advance), and, despite the protests of a large number of concerned residents and businesses who managed to attend, the leader of the council waved the proposals through.
So much for seeking and valuing people’s views. So much also for the support of local councillors. None of the King’s Cross councillors – Abdul Hai, Jonathan Simpson and Georgie Robertson – bothered to attend the meeting.
None of them seemed to think that there was any problem to be addressed, and I quote Cllr Simpson: “We’ve had a lot of correspondence on this from residents in favour and against the traffic scheme. We can absolutely reassure you that we have responded to the concerns of residents and asked officers to look into the issues raised.
“We’ve been in liaison with them for some time and will continue to make sure that local opinion is taken in to account. The council leader led the decision on this and we did not take part. We did make sure that the views of residents were taken into account and I understand that there is going to be a review in a year and a liaison group. Throughout the introduction we will monitor the implementation to ensure that any issues are addressed promptly.”
So that is reassuring. Our councillors have left decisions which are important to their constituents to others, TfL and officers, and the council leader. Their listening, liaising and taking views into account have resulted in bugger all.
It looks as though the problem is us, local people and local businesses. We are clearly blocking progress, getting in the way of cyclists having primacy; threatening to scupper the £1.9million to be provided by TfL; thinking about our own selfish needs, particularly those of us who might need a taxi, an ambulance, a delivery from the supermarket or a place to park a removal van and suggesting alternative approaches to problems defined by Camden to produce its chosen solutions.
We are retro (but not in a good way) and we must be put in our places. If there is any difficulty or danger or extra expense then that is what we deserve.