Space for Cycling win goes in at Tavistock Place

In the run-up to the May 2014 local council elections, Camden Cyclists (the local branch of the London Cycling Campaign) asked ward councillors to deal with the overcrowded segregated track at Torrington Place in the west end. Camden Council is about to begin work on doubling track capacity.

The #space4Cycling ward ask was removing “through motor traffic along Tavistock & Torrington Places between Gray's Inn Road & Tottenham Court Road. Since Tavistock Place cycle track was built, cycling in London has doubled and the two-way track is now too narrow and heavily overcrowded.  It needs updating.” In July, councillors signed off on a scheme that doubles track capacity. And work finally starts this Friday, 6 November and is due for completion by the end of November.

By removing an eastbound traffic lane for a trial period of one year (under an experimental traffic order) between Gower Street and Judd Street, Camden will turn the existing two-way track into a suitably-wide eastbound track, and add a semi-segregated track (using “intermittent lightweight barriers”) westbound also.

Camden Cyclists is overjoyed, saying the scheme will make “the route safer, quicker and more pleasant for cyclists. And by reducing the number of motor vehicles it should improve air quality and increase the safety of pedestrians.”

The existing tracks already see more than 1,000 cyclists per hour on them during peak hours – making it not just the busiest cycling street in Camden, but one of the busiest in London. Camden Council says cyclists are currently 43% of transport share, during the morning peak, but only get 13% of space. The new scheme boosts that to 35% and improves space for pedestrians also. 

Camden Council believes motor traffic won’t be overly affected. It says: “Over the last few years there have been full closures of both Tavistock Place and Byng Place for utility works. The traffic impact of these closures was monitored and none resulted in any major issues in the local or wider area. Given that the trial would not close the route to all through-traffic the impact is predicted to be less than the recent closures.” LCC would still like to see the ward ask fulfilled – removal of all motor traffic using modal filters.

For now, though, as the trial progresses Camden Council says: “all views received during the trial will help inform a decision on whether the changes should be made permanent.” That means it will be vital that cyclists who use the new tracks and like the experience support the trial. Camden Cyclists suggests tweeting using #taviplace and emailing support for the trial during it to torringtontavistocktrial@camden.gov.uk

You can read more in Camden Cycling Campaigns' excellent blog piece.