Cobden Junction consultation response

While the public realm improvements at the Cobden junction - in particular, the large new public space on the east side of Camden High Street - are welcome, we are alarmed that cycling as a mode of transport appears to have been almost completely ignored, relegated as a concern behind maintaining journey times for private motor vehicles, and buses.

Particularly disappointing is the complete lack of an east-west cycle route through this new layout. Crowndale road remains a three lane one-way road, with no cycle access - protected or otherwise - eastbound. A safe route along Crowndale Road could have linked up with the new segregated provision on Royal College Street; as it stands, this scheme will remain isolated. The proposed layout of the Cobden junction also means that it is impossible to access Eversholt Street from the west by bicycle; all eastbound movement from Hampstead Road is impossible.

The Cobden scheme - while admittedly something of an improvement over the existing arrangement - will still present considerable difficulties for anyone attempting to cycle through it. Those coming from Crowndale Road and wishing to head north will have to cycle in the middle of three lanes of motor traffic through most of this junction, or face the serious risk of being left-hooked by motor vehicles turning across their path in lane 1. This is hardly an attractive prospect for most ordinary people - to say nothing of the potential danger for those currently willing to cycle through these kinds of junctions. It is consequently inevitable that this new junction will represent a major barrier to cycling in Camden. 

We are also concerned that what cycling provision is being included in the scheme is far from adequate. Cycle lanes are not an appropriate treatment for roads carrying this volume of motor traffic. Physical separation should be provided on the approaches to the junction that are covered by this scheme. In addition Advanced Stop Lines do not represent the kind of junction design needed for inclusive cycling; while they solve some conflicts, they merely displace others, and may actually increase the potential for conflict by encouraging people to move up the left hand side of vehicles about to turn left (this looks to be a particular problem on Crowndale Road). We would have liked to have seen Camden being bolder and implementing a design that separates turning movements completely - for instance, an all-green phase for cycling.

We appreciate that there are constraints on what can be done at one junction in Camden, given the existing problems with Camden High Street remaining one-way as far as Britannia Junction. But surely this was an opportunity to at least start providing comfortable and safe two-way cycling access in this area of the Borough - an opportunity which has been missed.


The consultation closes Tuesday 1st October - respond here