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Council green-lights safety changes to London's lethal Holborn gyratory

Consultation found more than two thirds of respondents support overhaul of junction where a number of cyclists have lost their lives

Changes to a junction in central London where a number of cyclists have been killed have been given the go ahead by Camden Council’s cabinet.

The decision to approve changes to the Holborn gyratory system aimed at making the area safer for cyclists and pedestrians as well as enhancing the public realm was made at a meeting yesterday evening.

The gyratory lies at a point where two busy cycle commuting routes intersect, with the one running west towards Oxford Street and east towards the City particularly well-used.

However, it lacks physical segregation from motor vehicles, and has been the site of several protests over the years by London Cycling Campaign and Stop Killing Cyclists following deaths of cyclists there.


Under the plans approved by Camden Council yesterday, two-way protected cycle lanes will be installed on Procter Street as well as a contraflow protected cycle lane on Red Lion Square, and other improvements will include advance stop line areas being enlarged, and a new x-style pedestrian crossing outside Holborn Underground station.

The go-ahead for the changes follows an urgent public consultation launched in October and which closed last month, which found that more than two in three respondents backed the changes, with 70 per cent in favour of it and 28 per cent opposed (although that hasn’t stopped a number of Twitter users from blasting the scheme when the council’s decision was announced last night).

Support was stronger from the six in ten respondents living outside the borough, of whom 83 per cent were in favour, compared to 56 per cent among Camden residents as well as businesses and organisations based there.

High Holborn Healthy Streets scheme (Camden Council)

In its consultation, the council underlined that its Transport Strategy 2019-2041 “has an objective ‘to substantially reduce all road traffic casualties in Camden and progress towards zero Killed and Seriously Injured casualties’,” and said that “it is imperative that we make more changes to reduce the risk of injury or death around High Holborn, Drake Street and Procter Street.

“This is also an opportunity to make other ‘Healthy Street’ improvements in this area, including better pedestrian facilities, adding plants and trees, and giving bus journeys more priority,” the council added.

Earlier planned safety improvements to Holborn gyratory, announced in March 2019, were put on hold due to the funding crisis that engulfed Transport for London (TfL) after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving it relying on short-term funding from central government to be able to continue operating.

> London’s lethal Holborn gyratory to get £12.6 million makeover for safer cycling as TfL unveils 11 new projects across the capital

Speaking after the yesterday evening’s decision, Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden, said: “It has been clear for too long that the Holborn area needs safety improvements. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of people who have died on the roads here while cycling.

“We have brought in a number of permanent safety improvements over the last few years, the most recent being in August this year at the Southampton Row/Theobalds Road junction.

“I would like to thank everyone who responded to our consultation on the proposed safety scheme for High Holborn, Drake Street and Procter Street. The responses led to amendments to include contra-flow cycling on Catton Street and further improve connectivity for cycling through the area.

“This is also a chance to bring in other “Healthy Street” improvements in this area, including better pedestrian facilities, adding plants and trees, and extending bus lanes.

“Working together with TfL, London's walking and cycling commissioner, and the mayor of London, these agreed changes will help ensure that the safety of cyclists is prioritised in the Holborn area, whilst improving the area for residents, businesses and visitors,” he added.


London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, commented: “We’re determined to make London’s roads safer for everyone, which is why we are working with boroughs like Camden to deliver new investment in walking and cycling schemes across the capital.

“These changes in High Holborn, completed as part of the Healthy Streets scheme, are the next step in a number of new safety improvements in the area.

“We’re continuing to work closely with Camden to make roads across the borough safer as part of our commitment to improving London’s network of high-quality routes and infrastructure - and will be working with all boroughs over the coming months to develop our future plans for investment.

“There is still more to do to eradicate road deaths and serious injuries from our streets, but improvements like these are welcome as we build a greener, more sustainable and safer London for all.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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mitsky | 1 year ago

I believe the pedestrian crossing outside Holborn is already in the X format with lights, though the road itself isn't yet marked as per the picture above.,-0.1204469,3a,90y,49.22h,49.51t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sALiKj5Mcqzc5opb6d4rcgw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

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