CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Split opinions over wider pavements in Camden Town

More space for pedestrians but warning that traffic jams will build up behind bus stop

28 May, 2020 — By Tom Foot

A new look for Camden Road [Photo: Simon Lamrock]

WIDER pavements introduced on a key stretch of road in Camden Town to help social distancing and reduce traffic have split opinions amid warnings it will lead to congestion. Camden Road has been reduced from two lanes of traffic to one in each direction.

This provides more space on the pavement to follow the two-metre rule but means cars can not easily overtake frequently stopping buses.

When the New Journal shared a photo of the changes on Facebook, there were contrasting views.

Bill Greenwood, who lived and worked in Camden Town for 30 years, said: “We all know how busy that road gets with buses. There are at least nine bus routes that travel through there. There is no place to pull in, it’s clear it will just be clogged up. It doesn’t look well thought through.”

And Constantine Buhayer, a former council election candidate, said the switch would mean buses “slowing down even more to a crawl” with “people squashed inside for even longer periods”.

But another reader, Cathryn Symonds, said: “Traffic is likely to be lower for a long time, given that it’s one of the main routes out of central London, and there is likely to be a lot less happening there in the future.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan unveiled TfL’s London Streetspace programme earlier this month and predicted a “possible ten-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking when lockdown restrictions are eased”.

Measures are being rapidly introduced without months of consultation as they are considered urgent in the pandemic.

TfL says that to enable social distancing the transport network will only carry 13 to 15 per cent of normal passenger numbers, even when the full service is up and running again. The Mayor’s Office said: “If people switch only a fraction of these journeys to cars, London risks grinding to a halt, air quality will worsen, and road danger will increase.”

Pavements have already been expanded in Camden High Street and temporary cycle lanes have been introduced in Euston Road.

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