Bedford Avenue Safe and Healthy Streets Consultation - Permanent Proposals

Closed 22 Mar 2022

Opened 3 Mar 2022

Overview

Proposals to make the trial Safe and Healthy Streets changes to Bedford Avenue permanent

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how people in Camden live, travel and work. We want our streets to have more safe space for everyone to walk and cycle, for children to get to and from school safely and healthily, for businesses to be able to flourish, to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles and for you to be breathing cleaner air.

We want to ensure that our streets support a strong recovery from the pandemic and provide a lasting legacy of greener, safer, healthier travel helping us to deliver our wide Transport Strategy objectives. Transport strategies and plans - Camden Council.

As 69% of households in Camden do not own a car and public transport use remains much lower than before the pandemic, we know that safe and easy walking, cycling and scooting routes are more important than ever. Supporting and encouraging those who are able to walk and cycle, by creating safer streets will ensure that there is more space available on public transport and on our roads for those who need it the most.

To help respond to the transport challenges on our streets caused by the pandemic, and in line with our Camden Transport Strategy and Climate Action Plan, we have been making changes across Camden as part of our Safe and Healthy Streets Programme. This included making trial changes on Bedford Avenue in December 2020 as part of our Cycle Permeability Programme, when we introduced measures to help cyclists travel more easily and safely in both directions on a section of street which is one-way for motor vehicles, helping make the street safer and healthier.

Photo of Bedford Avenue cycle contraflow looking east from Adeline Place

The rest of the information below sets out our proposals to make the current, trial scheme on Bedford Avenue permanent, and provides details of new proposals as follows:

  1. New road safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists at the junction of Bedford Avenue and Bloomsbury Street.
  2. Installation of a bike hangar on Bedford Avenue to provide storage facilities for 6 bikes.

About the Bedford Avenue Cycle Permeability Scheme

The overarching aim of the cycle permeability programme is to help overcome barriers to cycling. Many streets in the borough are one-way and links between streets on desired routes and Camden’s cycle network are often severed by infrastructure, traffic restrictions or highly trafficked major roads. The cycle permeability programme aims to make more Camden streets more accessible to cyclists and provide better connections and links through measures such as adding two-way cycling on one-way streets and cut-throughs at physical road closures. A number of such permeability improvements for cyclists have been made in recent years at various locations across the borough.

Bedford Avenue is a street running east to west, linking Bloomsbury Street and Tottenham Court Road. Prior to the trial scheme being implemented, Bedford Avenue was one-way for traffic, westbound, on the eastern section between Bloomsbury Street and Adeline Place, and two-way on the section from Adeline Place to Morwell Street (since ammended to one-way westbound for motor vehicles and two-way for cyclists). Beyond Morwell Street to Tottenham Court Road, the road narrows and allows cyclists only, in both directions. The pre-trial restrictions therefore allowed cyclists to travel eastbound, from Tottenham Court Road only as far as Adeline Place.

The trial scheme introduced eastbound cycling (contraflow) on Bedford Avenue between Adeline Place and Bloomsbury Street, providing a continuous and direct two-way cycle link between Tottenham Court Road and Bloomsbury Street.

We implemented the scheme as a trial in December 2020, under an Experimental Traffic Order which came into force on 23rd November 2020, as part of Phase 2 of our Cycle Permeability programme. The decision report related to this Experimental Traffic Order (and others) was approved on 13th November 2020 and is provided in the Related section at the bottom of this page.

This decision report noted that a further consultation, after approximately 12 months of the trial scheme being implemented, would take place relating to any proposed permanent changes. The trial scheme went live in December 2020 (once implemented) and during this period, the scheme has been monitored and comments from local residents and stakeholders have been received.

This consultation now asks local residents and stakeholders to give their views on whether or not the scheme should be made permanent after the end of the 18-month Experimental Traffic Order trial period.

Monitoring information

During the trial period of the scheme, we have been collecting monitoring data which can be viewed in detail in the monitoring factsheet provided in the Related section at the bottom of this page. Headlines include:

Traffic volumes

  • Traffic levels overall on Bedford Avenue (western section), near to the scheme, are low post scheme implementation. After scheme traffic flows have reduced by 42% compared to before scheme flows.
  • Traffic counts undertaken on Bedford Avenue (eastern section) at the location of the scheme, in January 2022 show, on average, 487 motor vehicles per day are travelling westbound on Bedford Avenue from Bloomsbury Street.
  • Video surveys undertaken at the junction with Bloomsbury Street in January 2022 show, on average, 363 motor vehicles per day are turning into Bedford Avenue from Bloomsbury Street during daytime hours (7am-7pm).

Speeds

  • Average speeds have remained the same on Bedford Avenue (western section) (10.5mph to 10.6mph) before and after the introduction of the trial scheme. This remains well below the 20mph speed limit.
  • In January 2022, average speeds on Bedford Avenue (eastern section) were 16.2mph. This remains below the 20mph speed limit.

Cycling flows

  • Cycling flows on Bedford Avenue (western section) have increased between 2020-2021. Cycling eastbound has increased by 209% and cycling westbound has increased by 35%. Overall cycling has increased by 71%.
  • Cycle counts on Bedford Avenue (eastern section) undertaken in January 2022 show, on average, 90 cyclists are travelling westbound on Bedford Avenue, whilst 39 cyclists are travelling eastbound (making the contraflow movement).
  • Video surveys on Bedford Avenue (eastern section) at the junction with Bloomsbury Street undertaken in daytime hours in January 2022 corroborate this showing, on average, 89 cyclists are travelling westbound on Bedford Avenue, whilst 39 cyclists are travelling eastbound.
  • In August 2021, 725 Lime Bike trips were recorded on Bedford Avenue, which is equivalent to a 13% increase from August 2020 (644 trips recorded).

Pedestrian movements

  • Video surveys on Bedford Avenue (eastern section) at the junction with Bloomsbury Street undertaken in January 2022 show, on average, 742 pedestrians are moving between Bedford Avenue and Bloomsbury Street in daytime hours.

Collisions

  • No collisions were recorded on Bedford Avenue between 1 January 2017 to 26 November 2020, before the scheme was implemented. Following the scheme implementation, no collisions have been recorded.

Feedback received during the trial

During the trial, residents and local stakeholders were able to provide feedback on the scheme. The feedback is summarised in the Monitoring Factsheet in the Related section at the bottom of this consultation front page.

What are we now consulting on?

Based on the monitoring data and the feedback received from residents and stakeholders during the trial period, and in line with policies and objectives set out in our Transport Strategy, Climate Action Plan and Clean Air Action Plan, we are now consulting on making the trial changes permanent.

The scheme provides a continuous and direct eastbound cycle link between Tottenham Court Road and Bloomsbury Street, and a quieter alternative to Great Russell Street which is more heavily trafficked, and is used by buses, and where businesses are loading. It also improves cyclists’ access to Tottenham Court Road and Bloomsbury Street; both streets are key north-south cycle corridors, forming part of the Council’s primary cycle network where the West End Project (WEP) has delivered significant improvements for cyclists.

We are now consulting on whether to make the following trial changes permanent:

  • Keeping two-way cycling (contraflow cycling where the traffic only flows one-way) on the section of Bedford Avenue between Adeline Place and Bloomsbury Street.
  • Keeping traffic islands installed on Bedford Avenue to separate cyclists travelling against the flow of motor vehicles at the junctions with Adeline Place and Bloomsbury Street.
  • Permanent relocation of the motorcycle parking place near the junction with Bloomsbury Street (relocated slightly to the west).
  • Permanent relocation of the disabled parking place near the junction with Bloomsbury Street (relocated slightly to the west).
  • Permanent removal of 20.9 metres of resident permit holders only parking place (circa 4 parking spaces).
  • Keeping waiting and loading prohibitions (double yellow lines with double kerb blips) at the junctions with Bloomsbury Street and Adeline Place.

We also want to capture your views on new proposals to make further improvements to Bedford Avenue and nearby Adeline Place. In summary, the new proposals consist of:

  • New road safety improvements for cyclists and pedestrians walking along Bloomsbury Street by introducing a ‘continuous’ pavement across Bedford Avenue at the junction with Bloomsbury Street to highlight pedestrian priority. Continuous pavement are uninterrupted pavement that extend across a side road. They aim to give the visual impression of priority to pedestrians over motor traffic, thereby improving safety for pedestrians. See Figure 1 for an example.
  • Installation of a bike hangar for residents on Bedford Avenue to provide covered and secure storage facilities for 6 bikes. Further details of bike hangars currently being installed on the public highway in Camden can be viewed here.

Figure 1: Example of a continuous footway – like the one proposed

You can view drawings of the changes in the Related section at the bottom of this consultation front page.

 

Why your views matter

As 63% of households in the area do not have access to a car and public transport usage remain lower than before the pandemic, we know that safe and easy walking, cycling, and scooting routes are more important than ever. Supporting and encouraging those who are able to walk and cycle, by creating safer streets will ensure that there is more space available on public transport and on our roads for those who need it the most.

The previous changes were implemented as a trial under an Experimental Traffic Order for 18 months. We committed to undertaking a public consultation after around 12 months of the trial scheme to seek the views of local residents and stakeholders on making the trial scheme permanent after the 18-month trial period.

Your views are important in providing feedback both on the proposed scheme as a whole and elements of it, and we would therefore welcome your responses on the pages that follow. To view the plans and find out more about the proposals, click on the links in the Related section at the bottom of this consultation front page.

We would be pleased to hear your views on the proposals as well as any alternative suggestions or objections you may have to any aspect of what we are proposing.

 

What happens next

After the consultation, a decision report will be produced and published online via our website. Local residents and stakeholders will be notified of the outcome. The report will consider a broad range of information including officer observations, consultation responses, feedback received during the trial period, relevant policies, and other data/information.

The report will then outline if at the end of the trial period, the experimental scheme should be made permanent, modified, or allowed to lapse. Subject to the decision to make the scheme permanent, officers will continue to monitor the scheme and will consider additional measures if necessary. These will be progressed and publicly consulted on as part of a separate scheme.

Areas

  • Bloomsbury

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background

Interests

  • Transport and streets