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Camden Council is replacing a lane of car traffic with a bike lane for the trial, starting next month

One of London's earliest protected bike routes will be doubled in width for a year from November, replacing a lane of motor traffic.

The popular East-West commuter route runs from Tottenham Court Road past Gower Street along Torrington Place and Tavistock Place, and is currently served by a narrow two-way bike lane protected by a concrete kerb.

Although 43% of those using the road are currently cyclists, bike infrastructure claims just 13% of road space, while motor traffic, used by 16% of those using the route, gets 43% of the road space. The new configuration will give cyclists 35% of the space and motor vehicles 21%.

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Camden Council says: "The number of cyclists has grown to a point where the existing cycle track does not provide sufficient space and also makes it difficult to safely overtake."

"The route suffers from a poor casualty record, particularly due to collisions between motor vehicles and both cyclists and pedestrians.

"Because of the width of the road it is not possible to provide more space for walking and cycling without significantly reducing the space available for motor traffic. The experimental trial gives the opportunity to test a potential solution to these issues."

 

Torrington Place infographic.jpg

Infographic showing allocation of road space before and during the trial, and current usage

The London Cycling Campaign's Charlie Lloyd says the plans will combat rat running, which was predicted to increase as part of the West End Project, where private motor traffic will be banned from Tottenham Court Road for much of the day.

Lloyd said: "We are very positive about Tavistock Place and what [Camden Council] are doing. It links to the what they're doing on the Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street.

He said by making motor traffic one-way, which changes direction part way along the route, the high volume of rat running traffic will be removed.

Lloyd said the London Cycling Campaign would prefer modal filtering - where junctions are blocked to motor traffic but cycling traffic permitted. However, he says, the new bike lane and one-way motor traffic, with banned turns to protect cyclists, represents a significant improvement.

He said: "We would prefer a filtering [plan] that would stop all through traffic, but this calms down the junctions on Tottenham Court Road and on Gower Street and on Gordon Square, so effectively takes the rat running motor traffic. So they aren't there but they are 80% there."

Bike lanes will be protected from one-way traffic by what Camden Council describes as "intermittent lightweight barriers". Work to change the street configuration will take place between 6-23rd November, during which cyclists will be directed into the new lane as required.

It is estimated 50,000-60,000 students are based at the University of London Bloomsbury campus, generating a high number of walking and cycling journeys. UCL and SOAS university campuses are also situated along the route. 

You can read more about the plans on Camden Council's website.