Transport for London has today announced new changes at one of several junctions at King’s Cross that currently make this iconic London area so hostile and too often dangerous. We welcome action from Transport for London on the junctions around King’s Cross. Right now the tangle of junctions around King’s Cross so is lethally dangerous and hostile that we’ve named the area as one of the top priority junction systems for action in London as part of our ongoing Dangerous Junctions campaign.
But while the proposals at the junction of Pentonville Road and King’s Cross Road will offer some improvements to what is currently an extremely hostile and dangerous junction, they go nowhere near far enough and that is particularly worrying given that other, even more complex junctions are set to be tackled by TfL next.
The good news – the design for the junction sees a modal filter on Northdown Street that delivers half a cycling link across the junction north-south, but also means a straight-across crossing for people walking and cycling is now possible.
The bad news – that north-south link peters out meters onto the hostile and often high-speed King’s Cross Road and anyone cycling east-west along Pentonville Road and Euston Road (well over a thousand people daily) will continue to face extremely hostile conditions – including the turn into King’s Cross Road if you don’t do a wiggle into shared space around the filter and onto the shared space area on the triangle outside Honest Burgers.
This scheme then seems overly compromised in order to keep motor traffic speeds and volumes constant through here east-west. The scheme FAQs even says “How will this scheme impact journey times for buses/freight/other motor traffic? No journey time impacts are expected for those using Pentonville Road or Kings Cross Road.” So, motor traffic not being delayed is more important here than tackling a cluster of collisions fully.
As a result the scheme likely won’t achieve the Mayor’s ‘Vision Zero’ target of eliminating serious and fatal collisions (by 2041). It is true the scheme will likely reduce collisions – but the missed opportunity is not just in eliminating road danger here (rather than just reducing it somewhat), but in helping make a better ‘place’ and delivering comfortable walking and cycling in all directions.
If you’re going to fill out the consultation now, our primary call is for TfL not only to deliver truly safe and better junctions and places, but to stop planning safety changes to these junctions in isolation. (More help on filling out the consultation coming soon.)
We want properly safe junctions throughout King’s Cross – and that means more seriously looking at where people cycling go, where buses go and how to not only reduce private motor traffic here but how to make sure the whole area feels nicer too.
We don’t think building a new ‘Palo Alto’ and loads of outdoor space and public amenity north of the station where motor traffic is largely absent, whilst ignoring the horrific Euston Road, the dangerous crossings and cutting off everything south of the road is a wise approach. And that means TfL needs to stop doing minor tweaks to one junction at a time, particularly when those tweaks are so weak and partial. More on this consultation soon…
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