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Tottenham Court Road £41m revamp

Words: Laura Edgar

Camden Council has approved a £41 million redevelopment of Tottenham Court Road following public consultation in summer 2014.

The scheme will improve public safety and the attractiveness of the area, as well as boost business levels and create five new public spaces.

To reduce the amount of traffic and congestion in the area and speed up bus journeys, the one-way system on Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street will be replaced with two-way, tree-lined streets.

The area will also see, says the council, the installation of direct pedestrian crossings, segregated cycle lanes on Gower Street, and a new, wider crossing outside University College London.

Additionally, there will be a pedestrian plaza at the foot of Centre Point next to the new Crossrail station and a new park created.

The project, Camden Council explains, will address poor air quality and the confusion felt by commuters travelling by bus in the area.

But the proposal that taxis will be banned has been criticised by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, with the group telling the BBC that little thought has been put into what the people who get taxis to and from Tottenham Court Road will do. They plan to challenge the ban.

On the other hand, the plans have been welcomed by London Cycling Campaign. The group stated that if the number of journeys made by bike are to double by 2025 - something Camden Council wants - then Tottenham Court Road and the wider West End area has to be made safer.

“We’d like to see the exclusion of taxis extended later in the evening to prevent Tottenham Court Road becoming a taxi race track just as many workers and students in the area are cycling home or on leisure trips; and while we recognise that the concentration of bus routes on Tottenham Court Road will improve conditions on Gower Street and New Oxford Street, we have concerns about the number of buses that cyclists will be expected to share road space with on Tottenham Court Road itself. This will have to be an area that is improved in future,” said campaign manager Rosie Downes.

“The new plans represent a genuine step forward, and we will work with Camden Council in future to further improve the area to achieve conditions for cycling that are safe and inviting for people of all ages and abilities,” she concluded.

Image courtesy of Edward Betts