Healthy School Streets Consultation - Holmes Road Trial Proposals

Closed 17 Jan 2022

Opened 18 Dec 2021

Overview

Proposals to trial changes on Holmes Road


Photo of Holmes Road outside St Patrick’s Primary School with parents congregating on narrow pavements

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how people in Camden live, travel and work. Since the start of the pandemic many of us have been spending more time closer to home, making our neighbourhoods more important than ever. We want our streets to be safe spaces for you to walk and cycle, for children to get to and from school safely and healthily, for businesses to be able to flourish and for you to be breathing cleaner air. We want to ensure that our streets support recovery from the pandemic and provide a lasting legacy of greener, safer, healthier travel, helping us to deliver our wide Transport Strategy objectives.

As 69% of households in Camden do not own a car and public transport usage 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 can 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.

Healthy School Streets create a safer and healthier environment by temporarily closing roads to motor traffic outside schools during drop-off and pick-up times. This enables more children to walk, cycle or scoot to school, with less air pollution, road danger, congestion, and more space for people to interact. The schemes help to discourage car trips, particularly amongst parents and carers, by providing a safe and inviting space for more walking, cycling, and scooting.

Fifteen Healthy School Street schemes have been rolled out across Camden since March 2020, including Kentish Town Primary School on Islip Street and Hammond Street. This brings the total number of Healthy School Street schemes in the borough to 21, covering 27 schools. These schools are covered by timed or permanent road closures.

About the proposed trial St Patrick’s Primary School Healthy School Streets Scheme

The St Patrick’s Primary School Healthy School Street scheme on Holmes Road was requested by a representative of the school, and a number of local residents and stakeholder groups, to address road safety concerns on Holmes Road and Raglan Street at the start and the end of the school day. The pavements next to the school are narrow and often become overcrowded from parents waiting to collect children and from the large number of people trying to pass by.

Over the last 20 months we’ve also received 24 comments via our two Commonplace “Safer Travel” sites, agreed with by 101 others in total, calling for traffic restriction measures on Holmes Road (including 9 requests for a Healthy School Street scheme). In particular comments mention the safety of children and the school here which this proposal responds to.

Healthy School Street measures for Holmes Road would involve the introduction of motor vehicle restrictions between 8am - 10am and 2pm - 4pm on Monday to Friday during school term only.

Healthy School Street measures for Raglan Street would involve the introduction of an ‘at any time’ motor vehicle restriction. This recognises that St Patrick’s Primary School has an entrance on Raglan Street and the need to reduce motor vehicle traffic movements at that location. It would also restrict through motor traffic on Holmes Road by preventing motor vehicles gaining access to Holmes Road from Raglan Street during the restricted periods. This element of the Healthy School Streets scheme is proposed to be at all times not just at school drop off and pick up times. This would prevent motor vehicles using Raglan Street as a short cut between Kentish Town Road and Prince of Wales Road.

This is particularly important as changes will be made to Anglers Lane early next year once the junction improvements currently under construction at Kentish Town Road / Prince of Wales Road have been completed. This will prevent motor vehicles from accessing Kentish Town Road from Anglers Lane. Without adding an additional restriction on Raglan Street following the Anglers Lane restriction traffic levels on Raglan Street could rise even further.

Traffic flows on Holmes Road are generally at their highest at arrival and departure times as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1 – Holmes Road traffic flows on a typical school day

As Figure 1 shows, traffic levels build until a peak level of over 150 vehicles per hour in the morning and then peak again in the afternoon to over 200 vehicles per hour. If Healthy School Street restrictions were introduced between 8am - 10am and 2pm - 4pm it is estimated that there would be up to a 24% reduction in traffic volumes on Holmes Road, which would equate to over 650 fewer vehicles per day. While the proposed scheme (outlined below) would not include restrictions directly outside of the Collège Français Bilingue de Londres school towards the western end of Holmes Road, the removal of Holmes Road as a short cut between Prince of Wales Road and Kentish Town Road during the operational hours of the scheme would bring a significant reduction in motor traffic to the whole road.

Officers have facilitated two stakeholder meetings with ward councillors, representatives from St Patrick’s Primary School, the Collège Français Bilingue de Londres school, and the Inkerman Area Residents Association to discuss road safety concerns and the opportunity to introduce Healthy School Streets traffic restrictions to address those concerns.

What are we now consulting on?

We are now proposing a trial Healthy School Street outside St Patrick’s Primary School on Holmes Road and Raglan Street. The proposals would make it safer and easier for children to walk, cycle or scoot to school, with less air pollution, road danger, congestion, and more space for people to interact. They would also address traffic using residential streets as short cuts between main roads in the area. We propose to trial the below measures, using an “Experimental Traffic Order”, for a period of up to 18 months. A scheme drawing for the proposed measures can be found in the Related section at the bottom of this page. The proposals include:

  • Creating a timed Healthy School Street road closure on Mondays to Fridays during school term time only from 8am - 10am and 2pm - 4pm, by preventing motor vehicles from accessing the section of Holmes Road, from the junction with Kentish Town Road to the bend in the road at 54-74 Holmes Road (Unite Students - Mary Brancker building). This would improve safety for local residents, parents and pupils accessing St Patrick’s Primary School, and provide benefits for the Collège Français Bilingue de Londres school by restricting through-traffic using Holmes Road to short cut between Grafton Road and Kentish Town Road (and vice versa) at those times.  
  • Installing relevant signage to alert drivers to the restrictions and Automatic Number Plate Recognition enforcement cameras on Holmes Road and Kentish Town Road (facing Holmes Road). The signage would state the times when the road closure would be in place to all motor vehicle traffic and would be closed during school holidays.
  • Creating a permanent restriction to motor traffic on Raglan Street by placing “droppable” bollards (that can be removed for emergency vehicle access) in the street and 'No through Road' signage just south of the Raglan Street entrance to the school.

The following vehicles would be exempt from the timed restrictions on Holmes Road:

  • Cycles including standard and electric powered bicycles
  • Vehicles registered to properties and businesses on the section of Holmes Road within the timed restriction area (exemptions would need to be agreed with the Council)
  • Any vehicle being used for ambulance, fire brigade or policing purposes
  • Refuse collection vehicles
  • Blue Disabled Badge holders (exemptions would need to be agreed with the Council)
  • Vehicles belonging to parents or carers of pupils of St Patrick’s Primary School that have a disability that prevents them from walking, cycling, or scooting to school (exemptions would need to be agreed with the Council)

St Patrick’s Primary School staff and visitors to the school will not be exempt. Taxis and delivery vehicles will not be exempt either and these should be scheduled outside of the restricted times. However, exemptions can be applied for in exceptional circumstances, such as when people with mobility issues may need essential taxis during the restricted hours.                    

If the scheme goes ahead, details of how to apply for an exemption will be posted to residents and businesses in the consultation area.

The following photos show two existing schemes within Camden, one of which has a two-hour Healthy School Street restriction and the other an “at all times” traffic restriction with a “droppable” bollard. These demonstrate how the elements of the proposed scheme on Holmes Road and Raglan Street could look.

Photo of Healthy School Street Signage on Crogsland Road with a two-hour traffic restriction in the morning and afternoon (as proposed in this consultation for Holmes Road)

Photo of “at all times” traffic restriction using “droppable” bollard and temporary wooden planters on Albert Street, near Mornington Crescent (as proposed in this consultation for Raglan Street).

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 consultation responses, relevant policies, officer observations, and other data/information including monitoring information collected to date.

All of this information will be considered in making a recommendation in the report about whether the proposed changes to Holmes Road and Raglan Street should be implemented as a trial under an Experimental Traffic Order for 18 months.

Implementing a Healthy School Street scheme as a trial would allow us to quickly address road safety concerns raised by representatives of St Patrick’s Primary School, local residents and stakeholders. If approved, we would continue to work with St Patrick’s Primary School and the Collège Français Bilingue de Londres, local residents, stakeholders, and organisations during the trial period to understand the impact of the scheme and discuss what future measures may be implemented, such as pavement widening, further traffic restrictions and public realm improvements including street greening. Any such improvements would be subject to a further public consultation.

We would also collect a range of pre and post scheme monitoring data: traffic counts on Holmes Road and Raglan Street and all surrounding roads to ascertain the impact of the scheme, monitoring of traffic speeds, levels of cycling, road traffic collision data, and air quality. We would also have a Commonplace survey open for the duration of the trial so that feedback could be collected on the scheme and Camden officers would be available to answer any questions or concerns via our dedicated Healthy School Streets email inbox.

Why your views matter

As 62% of households in the area do not have access to a car and public transport patronage levels 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 proposed changes, if approved, would be implemented as a trial under an Experimental Traffic Order for 18 months. Officers would seek the views of local residents and stakeholders during the trial period to help decide, alongside monitoring data and relevant policy contexts, whether to retain, remove or amend the  scheme 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 page.

The Council will 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. Further details on Healthy School Streets in Camden can be viewed here.

What happens next

 As the consultation is now closed,your views, and those of everyone who contributes to this consultation, will be analysed and considered, alongside relevant data available on the scheme and in light of how the scheme aligns with our current policy objectives, in order to put forward recommendations on whether to proceed with the proposals. A summary of this analysis will be provided in the decision report, and will be made available on the Camden Council website in due course.

If you have any other ideas for improvements to make travel safer and healthier in this area, please go to Safe Travel Camden Map  to make some suggestions.

Areas

  • Kentish Town

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background

Interests

  • Transport and streets