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Halt plans to remove Camden Town left turn, say residents

Concerns over increased traffic on residential streets

05 December, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Residents including Phil Kemp, left, and Kate McLaren, third from left, oppose the plan

PLANS to ban a left turn in Camden Town would push traffic onto smaller streets, say residents.

Transport for London (TfL) wants to stop traffic turning from Camden Street into Camden Road and install a new pedestrian crossing in Camden Road outside the British Transport Police headquarters.

Nearby residents support the new crossing but say the turning ban would bring more vehicles onto residential streets, making the air near homes more polluted and streets more unsafe.

Phil Kemp, who lives in Jeffreys Street, said: “Traffic is going to try and find its way because people who want to get to Holloway, who have been coming Chalk Farm Road and Hawley Road they’re going to look for somewhere else to go.

“I think a pedestrian crossing here is an excellent idea but you could put an extra green arrow on these lights, holding the traffic on this left-hand lane, until the pedestrian crossing is open again.

“OK, it will slow traffic a little bit but surely that’s better than sending it around these very narrow local residential streets.”

TfL said in the consultation it has decided to go ahead with the scheme in spring next year, despite opposition. A report published after the survey found 33 per cent of people thought the banned left turn would make them feel “much less safe”.

Kate McLaren, who lives in Ivor Street, said TfL should take a “step back” and look at the options and how they can change it. A resident count calculated about 400 vehicles an hour used the turning.

John Chamberlain, from Camden Cycling Campaign, said many were concerned that banning the left turn will put more traffic on the side-streets.

He said: “Further, the scheme does very little for cyclists and does not address the main issues at the junction. I am surprised that TfL are going ahead given the consultation responses.”

According to the report, Sustrans, a UK walking and cycling charity, said the scheme improved the safety of the junction, but leaves “many significant dangers to people using the junction”.

TfL said banning the left turn will make a “safer environment for people walking” and also protect journey times for the 10,000 bus passengers that pass through the junction in the morning.

A pedestrian crossing outside Sainsbury’s in Camden Road will also be widened in the plans.

Penny Rees, head of network sponsorship at TfL, said: “We’re committed to making junctions across London safer and this busy junction at Camden Road is close to stations, multiple schools and a large supermarket, so we know the route has to be safe for people walking, with adequate crossings.

“We understand residents’ concerns about the banned left turn, but our analysis shows that it will impact a small number of vehicles, which will redistribute over a wider area, making the impact on individual roads relatively small.

“We plan to monitor traffic redistribution before and after we make changes to the junction, and will continue engaging with the local community and Camden Council to ensure that the changes are working for everyone in the area.”

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