Kings Cross junction: tell Transport for London its plans for cycling are not good enough

Consultation closes soon on Transport for London's 'interim' plans for making the notorious junction outside Kings Cross Station a little less scary.

We have until Monday 24 March 2014 to make our views known, and we urge you to do so by using the following link: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/streets/kingscross

  • The key point to make to TfL is their plans lack connected and continuous protected cycle lanes or safe passage through the junction in every direction. There are considerable risks of potentially fatal left or right 'hooks' by lorries and other motor vehicles turning across the path of cyclists going ahead. 
  • Elsewhere in the junction, there are lesser risks of conflict with busy pedestrians areas.

There is a long-term study involving TfL, Islington and Camden on removing the mishmash of one-way streets making up the gyratory system that runs all traffic on a series of loops between Pentonville road and Euston Road.

The interim plans are driven by the realisation that changes made in 2012 to give more space to the Olympic Games crowds did nothing useful to make cycling safer. 

Kings Cross is where the proposed North-South Cycle Superhighway will cross London's busy inner ring-road.

Many more cyclists are already trying to find their way through here as the new developments north of the station open up.

Yet it was in this location, in October 2011, that Min Joo Lee (pictured below) was killed by a tipper lorry as she tried to get to the new site of University of the Arts London. She was beginning her final year at on the fashion course.

There are many small improvements with more and wider mandatory cycle lanes and little bits of protected space. However, it will not possible to go through the junction in any direction without being exposed to unacceptable levels of danger. Some sections do not even meet the old cycle design standards set out a decade ago.

Northbound from Grays Inn Road to York Way is where most of the changes are. This is the route for the new Superhighway. There is still the bus lane plus four lanes of merging motor traffic on the approach. After the bus stops, a cycle lane appears with a short protective barrier for those turning left towards Euston. Cyclists going straight on must go left on to the pavement, just where the pedestrian traffic is heaviest then wait for a signal change or two to get across towards the station.

Those wanting to avoid delay and stay on the road, and those unable to squeeze through the merging traffic still have to battle as two lanes of motor traffic squeeze into one lane on York Way. This is where Min Joo Lee died. At her inquest in December the lorry driver, Terry Gibbs, exclaimed that the Mayor should take out one of the traffic lanes and put in a proper bike lane. We agree with him, so did the coroner.

On York Way cyclists are again directed on to a pavement route, just where thousands of rail passenger exit the station. This is a very poor design and should have been sorted out when the station was redesigned in 2013.

Coming south, there are only minor changes: the one-way system from Caledonian Road to Kings Cross Road involves major risks from large vehicles turning left and right across the path of cyclists. This is simply not good enough for a scheme supposed to reduce the danger to cyclists. We can't see how this will encourage any more people to get on their bikes to get around this area.

Please send your comments to the consultation team by Monday 24 March 2014.

Replies

These proposals really are poor, especially when a 17-year old student has produced a better and safer scheme, see:

http://maidstoneonbike.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/kings-cross-can-be-cycle-friendly.html

is there a large version of the plan as being able to see it would help form some opinion!

This style of article is really useful, easy to pass on and get other people to respond to the consultations. good stuff LCC

  • By rlkswan at 12:24pm 21 March 2014

I was at Kings Cross only last week as a pedestrian and was amazed to see the lack of any provision for cyclists in that enormous new forecourt. Particularly that fronting the Euston Road, where the bus stop forces cyclists into the outside lane - why on earth they didn't make a bay for the buses?

I agree with the article - the whole junction is a nightmare and desperately needs safe passages for cyclists in all directions. No wonder so many cyclists leave their bikes behind in bike friendly Cambridge when coming to bike unfriendly London Kings Cross.

Rob

 

Seconded! V. useful to have a clear article with links. Sadly too, a stark reminder of why these works needed so urgently. Picture says a thousand words. Coming up on 3 years since and still no safer. Shame on you TfL. 

Put Maidstoneonbike blogger on the TfL 'team', and 'Dutch' it up!

  • By Dave H at 10:42pm 30 March 2014

TfL still trying ridiculous notion of 2 lanes feeding York Way (which immediately requires merging in to 1 lane), already a confusion where Grays Inn Road has 3 lanes South of King's Cross Bridge junction and with parking/loading there is masssive lane indiscipline/churn/straddling from Pentonville Rise (Swinton Street) Junction.  Grays Inn Road is only really busy after Farringdon (Acton Street), and Angel (Swinton Street) routes feed in to it, and bus lane starts there. A quieter cycling route can be bled off (Argyle Street/Cromer Street(less direct)) via back streets to Birkenhead Street from these junctions. 

Current 2 lane approach has seriously sub standard r/h lane and with HGV or PCV traffic force to single vehicle approach. As most traffic going West on Euston road make York Way feed 1 lane plus 1.5-2m cycle lane on l/h side with island segregation at stop line & approach.  Confident cyclists will ride directly in to this lane.  Less confident approach from both l/h lane on Grays In Road AND route along Birkenhead Street, which share pedestrian phase for crossing Westbound motor traffic flows in to Euston Road.

Birkenhead Street can take some Southbound cyclists avoiding the need to navigate Pentonville Road to head for Farringdon/Grays Inn Road parallel quieter streets, but main flow well established from Pancras Road as cyclists arriving at King's Cross/St Pancras do mass start on lights phase straight across Euston Road thence Belgrove Street to reach Judd Street or St Chads Street for route SW and SE.

South from Caledonian Road, use 2-way segregated route at King's Cross Bridge to go South for connection to St Chad's Street and connecting quieter routes. Use contra flow cycling on this network of back streets, just South of Euston Road to feed riders who are 'happier' to ride on near deserted roads barely 50 metres from the melee on Euston Road.

Use give way priority for cycle routes wherever possible, minimise the need to have stop & start at traffic signals 

 

This post was edited by Dave H at 10:57pm 30 March 2014.

@ dave H

good thinking, save for one point. we should not encourage tfl/boroughs to make routes for confident/less confident. all cycle infrastructure/routes should be suitable for all. 

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