It’s a normal day at work when suddenly a new message pops up in your inbox: “Congratulations on your new job as head of TfL!”.
Reading the email you are excited. Not only do you have a fat new pay check to look forward to every month but your first task in office is to pick a road in London you want to turn into a flagship example of a liveable street. What road do you pick and why?
My choice: Pedestrianizing Camden High Street
Personally, I’d opt for the Camden High Street. The 0.2 mile stretch that goes from Camden Town tube station to near the Hawley Arms. This stretch of road must have one of the highest number of pedestrians in London and already has only a single, northbound lane of slow moving traffic.
If you mention Camden to anyone who’s visited London, usually there’s a lot of excitement and interest. Along the short stretch is the famous Camden market, a number of pubs, bars and independent stores.
However, the market is crowded and people are crossing the street both at day and, more dangerously, at night as they pour out of the many bars.
Pedestrianizing the street would make it far more enjoyable and easy to traverse on foot. Turning the high street into an even greater tourist attraction. As part of the pedestrianizing, there could also be installation of a two way bicycle lane, making the area more permeable and safe to cyclists.
As for the existing, minimal amount of traffic moving through the short 0.2 mile stretch, this could easily be diverted along the A400 and A502 to go around Camden.
In the hot chair: What would you choose?
If you were given the choice, what road would you change? It can be a road that you feel should have a separate cycle lane, perhaps part of your commute or, as in the example above, a busy high street.