Kings Cross Gyratory must be transformed! Implement the 2016 vision!

Kings Cross Gyratory must be transformed! Implement the 2016 vision!

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We demand that the Kings Cross Gyratory Changes planned in 2016 are implemented rather than scrapped.

In November 2021, it became apparent that TFL quietly stopped in the preceding year (2020), the ready-to-go plans to change the Gyratory of Kings Cross in London, one of the most traffic-dense, air-polluted and dangerous to navigate areas of London. (1) 

These plans to change the King's Cross Gyratory were introduced in 2016 by the outgoing Mayor Boris Johnson following several fatalities and loud and noisy lobbying. (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (9), (12), (13)

Sadiq Khan promised before becoming London Mayor in 2016 that he would continue to consider the Kings Cross Gyratory changes. This commitment was repeated throughout, albeit with the caveat of being subject to funding. But funding never came, or perhaps Kings Cross was never priority enough? (1)

Concerns about the roads known by many who live in London as treacherous and dangerous go back decades. Some residents have been discussing traffic reducing measures for Kings Cross already in the early 2000s.

Initially, under Ken Livingstone, but also the first period of Boris Johnson, there was no willingness to consider anything that would inconvenience motor traffic, but when young people started to lose their lives, as predicted by some, this changed eventually. This November (2021), there was another severe incident at Kings Cross (2), (3), (4), (5), (6),(7).

TFL has introduced some changes already, but many pointed out that these are not sufficient or safe enough. (11) There are plans to work on some of the junctions soon, but the vision to transform the entire Gyratory System has been shelved. If they stuck to the plans of 2016, this would introduce more segregated cycle paths and changes to traffic flow and connections of Kings Cross major TFL roads with smaller ones for cyclists, where Camden and Islington have already introduced traffic calming changes.

The implementation of the 2016-plans was also delayed due to HS2 demanding essential parking space for lorries on the Gyratory Roads of Kings Cross. Whilst this paused the redevelopment plans for a safer Kings Cross Gyratory to go further, no lorry of HS2 ever parked in the allocated spaces. Now Kings Cross residents and visitors, including many tourists and travellers from abroad and the North of the country, pay the heavy price for that decision - another indirect victim to inconsiderate HS2 planning. (1)

Having kicked the can down the road (five years since the consultation on the gyratory overhaul was complete), TFL claims it has now no funding to implement the plans and wishes to spend only a tiny fraction of the prior budget on selected spots. The overall plans were initially costed between £29,320,639 and £54,452,615 but have now been scrapped. Instead, Kings Cross will see but a fraction of the proposed changes at the cost of between £3,500,000 and £5,000,000. We believe this is not proportionate to the importance and centrality of the Kings Cross Gyratory to London and neither adequate, given the fatalities in the area and the degrees of pollution the region has suffered over many years, nor is it proportionate to the enormous investments adjacent to Kings Cross on the land acquired from British Rail. (figures correspondence from Mayor held by DZL, Dec. 2021)

Kings Cross gyratory roads were not even considered for some changes when extra funding became available for pandemic related schemes. Presumably, it was once again not a priority to those making decisions. (1)

1. We believe the plans for the gyratory changes should be kept alive. TFL owes it to the people killed on Kings Cross Gyratory and to those who suffer high or illegal amounts of air pollution daily.

2. We demand that all Gyratory Changes planned in 2016 are implemented fully and at the very least remain the long term vision, starting with a review of the most dangerous junctions and roads. Where possible, slightly less expensive options may be feasible, but overall there needs to be a recognition that the Kings Cross Gyratory as a whole needs to change - all of it. The  priorities are:

a. Create safety for cyclists and pedestrians, primarily through segregated lanes throughout and intelligent unambiguous fool-proof solutions that take safety first at the Kings Cross Gyratory,

b. More Reduction in traffic-induced pollution and noise levels for some of the most polluted streets in London, here at the Kings Cross Gyratory, including the strong consideration of affected populations that live there. Pollution Maps and Data indicate that the roads of the Kings Cross Gyratory are currently among the worst affected in London, despite some reductions due to the UELZ. We want to see those levels urgently reduced further.

c. We need the implementation of a holistic solution that deals with all Kings Cross Gyratory Roads together, rather than changes here and there. Safety and Health of people have to be paramount, and Kings Cross should be a top priority amongst the London Roads.

We demand a long term plan of safe Gyratory Roads at Kings Cross for all users. The 2016 Plan contained most of this. We insist that Kings Cross is a priority zone that should not be used to make savings!

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MORE INFORMATION:

Which roads are affected?

The Kings Cross Gyratory refers to Euston Road, Pentonville Road, Kings Cross Road, Swinton Street, Acton Street, Caledonian Road, Pentonville Rise and Gray's Inn Road, Wharfdale Road, also York Way, Pancras Road and a few others.

Information about the changes and plans:

(1) kingscrossenvironment.com/2021/11/22/2016-kings-cross-gyratory-development-plans-axed-by-tfl-and-sadiq-khan/

Fatalities:

(2) https://www.islingtongazette.co.uk/news/crime/cyclist-dies-in-king-s-cross-accident-3686734

(3) https://www.standard.co.uk/hp/front/coroner-s-plea-after-new-cyclist-death-6625388.html

(4) https://www.dailyadvent.com/gb/news/7b0d0f8ad3cfdb6ed9fe51f78ede12cd-Live-Kings-Cross-updates-after-cyclist-hit-by-bus-near-train-station-as-police-set-up-huge-cordon

(5) https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/cyclist-who-died-after-pentonville-road-crash-said-i-went-for-it-as-he-lay-injured-inquest-hears-a3686161.html

(6) https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/injury-claims/case-studies/over-15-million-recovered-for-cyclist-involved-in-head-on-collision-with-london-bus

(7) Latest Casualty Nov 2021:  https://www.mylondon.news/news/north-london-news/live-kings-cross-updates-police-22061666

Recent LCC petition:

(8) https://www.lcc.org.uk/news/dangerous-junction-petition-handed-to-london-assembly/

 

Original Announcement by TFL in 2016:

(9) https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2016/september/public-support-plans-for-a-safer-and-simpler-king-s-cross-gyrato

Article about the original plans announced in 2016:

(10) https://premierconstructionnews.com/2016/09/08/changes-kings-cross-gyratory/

Changes made not safe enough, more change needed, change not fast enough:

(11) https://www.london.gov.uk/questions/2021/1667

Past Lobbying 

Example from 2004

(12) https://camdencyclists.org.uk/2004/06/kxgyratory0504/

Example from 2011

(13) https://londonist.com/2011/10/tfl-accused-of-corporate-manslaughter-at-kings-cross-junction(13) https://londonist.com/2011/10/tfl-accused-of-corporate-manslaughter-at-kings-cross-junction

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