If you’ve ever stood, ridden or driven through Euston Circus you’ll know it is a nightmare. An area infested with fumes, ear piercing screeches of buses coming to a halt and sirens every 20 seconds. This is a part of London that you can’t wait to get away from as soon as possible. Yet, in one of the worst examples of urban planning, lies the greatest potential for improvement. In amongst this chaos also exists one of my favourite cycling facilities in London that I use on an almost daily basis.
TfL’s 11m makeover plans for Euston Circus
TfL today announced their 11m makeover plan that they are currently accepting public consultation on.
In their press release they recognise that this is “a traffic dominated area which acts as a significant barrier for pedestrians and cyclists.”
The new design has been a collaboration between TfL, Camden Council, Design for London and British Land. It aims to make things a lot easier for pedestrians with fewer crossings and more pavement space.
TfL also state that it provides a safer journey for cyclists with plans to enhance the contraflow (against traffic) cycle lane along the Euston Road.
Camden Cyclists plans for Euston Circus
Whilst the design upgrades look set to improve things for pedestrians with wider pavements, trees and easier crossings, the improvements for cyclists appear severely limited.
Here’s an example of a typical ride currently using the contraflow lane:
The video shows how there is plenty of room from improvement through re-allocation of under used space. However, I see little in the plans that would serve cyclists better.
Instead, cyclists will now have to take a less direct route and will continue to face many of the difficulties shown in the video above.
The main point of contention, is that once again, cyclists are having to mix with heavy moving traffic. Whilst it is something that experienced cyclists are able to grin and bear, new cyclists will continue to be put off switching to a more effective mode of transport.
However, there is an alternative. The below is the proposal by Camden Cyclists:
The proposals make it far easier for cyclists to travel from Camden and the Euston Road down towards central London through a contraflow cycle lane. The space does exist to make this happen. This is a facility I would personally use on an almost daily basis.
They also call for phased traffic signals, similar to the ones that will be installed at Bow Roundabout. This would give cyclists time to move across multiple lanes of traffic without having to battle for road space. The plans do not compromise on the amount of road space available for vehicular traffic.
If the original TfL plans go ahead unchanged, then it is unlikely they’ll be any further major improvements for another 10 years.
Information on the public consultation can be found here.