Southampton Row and Theobalds Road Safe and Healthy Streets consultation

Closed 1 Dec 2021

Opened 13 Nov 2021


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.

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.

Why are we proposing changes? 

Since 2008 four cyclists have tragically been killed at the junction of Southampton Row with Theobalds Road with eight further tragic cyclist deaths in the Holborn Gyratory area. The most recent fatality was in August 2021.

Camden Councils 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.” With the latest tragic death of a cyclist in Holborn it is imperative that we further help to reduce the risk of injury or death at Southampton Row junction with Theobald’s Road.

What have we already done?

In October 2021 we installed a number of temporary changes to the junction to reduce the risk for cycles.

The immediate road safety improvements included:

  • Changing the southbound Southampton Row approach to the junction from three lanes to two to reduce the risk to cyclists of vehicles turning left from the current centre ahead-only lane
  • The central ahead-only traffic lane was replaced with a temporary island to separate vehicles turning left and vehicles going straight on
  • Amending the nearside left-turn lane so that cyclists and buses can travel straight ahead through the junction, while general traffic is only allowed to turn left
  • Adding cycle boxes (advanced stop line) for cyclists at the traffic lights on Southampton Row which provide a safe space to wait at the front of queuing traffic

We are now consulting on a new set of proposals to replace these temporary changes with a permanent scheme to futher reduce the safety risk to road users.

Why your views matter

We are proposing to make changes around Southampton Row & Theobalds Road junction to help people, to walk, cycle or scoot safely by improving the attractiveness of the local area, tackling air pollution, road danger and traffic congestion.

The proposed changes include:

  • A new segregated cycle track northbound and southbound on Southampton Row
  • A new cycle gate southbound on Southampton Row at the junction with Theobald’s Road. Cycle gates are where cyclists are held at a red signal while motor traffic flows through the junction first, and then cyclists get a green signal to enter into an enlarged cycle box area so they can then move before the motor traffic. You can see an example photo of this in the related section.
  • New cycle boxes for cyclists in all directions providing safer spaces for cyclists
  • An early start of around 4 seconds for cyclists in all directions. Buses are also expected to get around a 4 second early start with cyclists on Theobalds Road. This helps reduce conflict between cyclists and motor vehicles
  • Cyclists being able to turn right in two steps (stages) on all approaches. A two stage right turn allows a cyclist to more forward from when signalled, before waiting in a safe designated area for right turns. The cyclist can then turn to face the direction of travel, where a second traffic light will change to green when it is safe to complete the right turn. This prevents cyclists having to wait in the road while traffic passes in both directions around them when they want to turn right. You can see a diagram of this in the photo guide in the related section
  • Bus, cycle and taxi lane southbound from 150 Southampton Row through to junction with Theobald’s Road converted to 24 hours per day operation with two loading bays made available (10am- midday and 8pm-midnight)
  • Bus, cycle and taxi lane southbound from Southampton Row junction to Catton Street converted to 24 hours per day with no loading provision
  • Bus, cycle and taxi lane extended westbound from Vernon Place through to 124 Theobalds Road. The bus, cycle and taxi lane to be converted to 24 hours per day between Vernon Place to junction with Lamb’s Conduit
  • Bus Stop X: Theobalds Road relocated to the south of the junction to provide even spacing between stops and to allow cyclists easy access to the segregated cycle track
  • A newly realigned and widened pedestrian crossing on Vernon Place
  • Cyclists to be allowed to turn left from Southampton Row into Vernon Place
  • Removing the pedestrian guardrail around the junction to reduce potential harm to cyclists
  • New ‘buff’ coloured surfacing at crossing points, making them more noticeable to traffic

Other public realm improvements are being considered such as improved lighting, seating, landscaping and cycle parking.


Further details of the proposed changes including a drawing of the changes we are proposing and example images of some of the proposed measures can be found in the Related section below.

Please note: the designs are still subject to approval with Transport for London based on the outcome of traffic modelling.

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 the consultation responses, relevant policies, and other data/information.

Should a decision be made to proceed, we would implement the proposed changes on under a Traffic Management Order (TMO).  We would also monitor the changes to make sure it operates effectively.

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

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.


  • All Areas


  • Anyone from any background


  • Transport and streets