Camden doesn’t get a ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’ – initially, at least.
Our bid was:
“too complex and to pose too many challenges to be included in the phase 1 programme as a complete project”.
Cynical as it may sound, it is difficult not to think that with the electoral cycle dictating an election in 20 months time and with no tangible delivery on one of their their flagship manifesto policies that the Lib-Dem Administration needed something which would be a vote saver and certainly not a vote loser.
What might not be understood by the assessors are two things:
- Ever since LTNs appeared in the current administration’s election manifesto in early 2019 we have considered carefully and consulted, where we were able, on how a Low Traffic Neighbourhood might be applied to the whole of the NE Bath cut-through which extends through Lower Lansdown, Camden, Fairfield Park, and Larkhall.
- As a community we were quite prepared to lead this work and accept the continual inconvenience of being subject to the same restrictions it might impose on others.
- We also recognised that any schemes would be subject to the safeguards included in Experimental Traffic Orders and therefore might not endure.
At the Cabinet Meeting when the choice of candidate area was to be ratified, I was there and got 3 minutes to make my points, amongst which were that that:
- we were extremely keen to get into in the Liveable Neighbourhood programme as soon as possible,
- for our own education, could we see the detail of the assessment of the Walcot bid to understand what the project team’s misgivings were over complexity and challenge so that we, and our colleagues, could start to address those now. We’ve not yet got these.
Meanwhile the situation gets compounded by Cleveland Bridge:
We are stoically living with the effects of Cleveland Bridge being shut, with likely delays. Traffic levels have increased by 20% for us, according to our councillors.
Thanks to several of us we counted vehicle numbers in the first two weeks after the closure, at peak times and counted up to 100 vehicles in 10 minutes which equates to 600 vehicles per hour. A more typical peak time number might be 540, which equates to about 450 vehicles without the ‘bridge effect’..
Do we think that’s acceptable?
- Well, if they were evenly spaced, perhaps it would not be that disturbing but they do come through in pulses because of the single lane operation caused by the chicanes
- There is also a lot of stop-start and queuing at the pinch points with engines running and acceleration and braking
- All this frustration does lead to a high proportion of speeding vehicles (68%) when measured in 2019
- This is includes bus movements at 8 per hour. These cause several instances of either buses or other vehicles mounting the pavement.
What’s our position now?
- Current traffic calming measures have reached the limit of their effectiveness in Camden and could be counter productive now
- If anything the spasmodic squeezes they put on drivers cause frustration and extreme behaviours along various sections of the road – the opposite of calming
- Slow consistently queuing traffic, as seen on the wider London Road, is a safer pattern
- Off peak, Camden Road can be a temptingly exciting road to drive along making active travel on the same route unsafe and threatening to the many – the opposite of a liveable neighbourhood
- The speed limit signs are inadequate in number and positioning (see our report in 2018) and are totally unenforced
- Do we have to wait for the inevitable fatality before getting considered for some action?
- The speculative controversy over an LN in Camden is that it will affect a lot of people’s habitual journeys, but that’s the point isn’t it? A lot of people are currently being encouraged to drive unsafely along our streets so it is a big issue affecting a lot of people. Those living on or willing to travel actively through Camden Road have a continual problem, unlike those individuals choosing to cut through Camden perhaps once, or even less frequently, per day.
By replying to this post, do let us know what you think?